Archive for category L’Oreal

Recent Purchases, Part III: The eye make-ups

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


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


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

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

Benefit Roller Lash MascaraBenefit Roller Lash Mascara

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

Benefit Roller LashTwo coats of Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

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

IMG_1018L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara in Black

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

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

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

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

IMG_1016L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Mascara in Blackest Black

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_0938 IMG_0944

GAH. My kid is so stupidly cute.

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

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A Fall Color Story (Swatches Abound!)

Ok.  So fall has officially sprung arrived.  I am SO ready!  I know you summer babes who love your heat are crying “WTF Latoya?!” and for you I say – I’m sorry 😦  I’m not hating on warm weather and sunshine, I love it as much as the next person.  But after a few months of bright polishes and ‘au naturel’ looks, I’m eager to get down and dirty with some sultry, vampy makeup.  I love change, what can I say?

As I’ve mentioned before, my makeup purchasing has slowed down considerably over the past 6 months +.  One of the best ways for me to curb the impulse to buy something new is to go through my own collection to revisit old shades and swap out colors to reinvigorate myself.  While doing the official ‘switch over’ for autumn, I got the idea to put together a few color stories that I felt were appropriate for the start of the fall season!



I’m starting you off slow with a shade that it incredibly wearable for almost all skintones – russet.  These colors would be great for an easy going fall walk through the woods, that add a bit of life to the face but not a whole lot of color, per se.  I picked up LMbD’s Rumour blush in a swap in early spring, and started wearing it fairly regularly during the summer as it added the nicest warm, radiant glow to my cheeks.  It looks a bit scary in the pan but with a light touch for fairer skins, this is a great alternative to bronzer and leaves my skin looking naturally healthy.  This is one of those awesome transitional shades that also works well in fall – the color reminds me of the turn of the leaves.  L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Colour Caresse Shine Stain in Eternally Nude (a product which shall henceforth be known as CRCCSS) was a spurr of the moment purchase back in the spring, and was initially a bit of a disappointment – on my lips, it’s not terribly nude, but rather a sort of warm reddened brown – but I ended up liking the color for what it is, anyway.  Another super wearable shade, and the formula is quite close to the YSL version, enough for me to probably opt for these over those due to the huge price difference.  Sadly, the Urban Decay 24/7 liner here, in Lucky, a wonderful coppery shade, has been discontinued.  I honestly need to start shopping for a dupe now, because this is probably one of my top favorite liners and I’m gonna be heartbroken when I finish it (which will actually happen because I use it regularly).  Sigh.

Swatchy time!

Fall Makeup - Russet swatches (3) Fall Makeup - Russet swatches (2)Left to right: UD 24/7 Eye Liner in Lucky (DC), LMdB Blush in Rumour (swatched heavily, then buffed out), L’Oreal CRCCSS in Eternally Nude



Rose is not normally a shade I gravitate toward, as it tends to look very drab on my skintone, but these particular shades are both light (the lippies) and dark (the blush) enough to work well on me.  Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge in Velvet Plum, a discontinued shade (sorry!) in the old packaging, was something I picked up when I had my makeup done at the counter several years ago.  It would never have been a shade I’d have picked, but it ends up being one of my favorites for it’s exceptional wearability.  It looks great with tanned skin, but is also perfect for fall/winter as well with it’s plummy tones.  I quite like the formula of these as well – easy to apply and blend, and doesn’t leave my oilier skin greasy-looking.  Laura Mercier’s Lip Glace in Discrete was kind of an impulse purchase – I don’t think I realized at the time that it was like $36, which is kind of a lot for a gloss – but its been well-used (despite the fact that it contains lanolin and I try to avoid wearing it two days in a row).  It’s an easy nude-type shade that wears well with cooler toned smoky eyes, and isn’t TOO glossy.  Lastly, I snagged a sample of BITE Beauty’s Luminous Creme Lipstick in Pepper a couple months ago, and it is a dusty rose shade that is similar to my natural lip color but a bit deeper and warmer.  The formula is creamy and feels great on the lips, and goes with just about everything!

Fall Makeup - Mauves swatches (3) Fall Makeup - Mauves swatchesLeft to right: Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Discrete, BITE Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Pepper, Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Velvet Plum (swatched heavily, then buffed out; DC)

Deep Red

Deep Reds

Now these are the shades I can get behind!  I love me a good deep red anything in the fall – makeup, clothes, you name it.  L’Oreal’s La Couleur Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany is still one of my favorite eyeshadows, particularly so after wearing it in my friend’s wedding with such success, and was quite honestly MADE for fall.  It’s gorgeous brown-red tones work with just about any cool-weather outfit I can come up with, and the color compliments just about every eye shade beautifully.  NARS Turkish Red Cream Blush (another discontinued shade…oops) is a fabulous shade of blood red that is awesome for that windswept/windburnt look – however, it does require a bit of a skilled hand.  It can go on a touch patchy due to it’s intense pigment (which also means a light hand is necessary), but when its done well, the effort is SO worth it!  And, I just had a brainwave that MAC’s Dare You lipstick, shown here, could potentially be used as a cream blush if you were aching for that kind of shade.  It has the similar deep red tone – which is particularly fabulous on the lips!  This is a more wearable red for those of you who are a bit gun-shy of an in-your-face bold red, and looks amazing in the cooler months.  LOVE.

Fall Makeup - Deep Red swatches (3) Fall Makeup - Deep Red swatchesLeft to right: MAC Dare You lipstick, NARS Turkish Red Cream Blush (swatched heavily, then buffed out; DC), L’Oreal La Couleur Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany



I am also particularly partial to berry tones in the fall/winter…they’re just so delectably sexy!  Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102 is still one of my absolute favorite lipsticks and hands down the shade I get the most compliments on.  If for no other reason, THIS lippie is why I love fall so much!  The fussy packaging is totally worth the drool-worthy, long-wearing shade.  Illamasqua’s Crush Cream Blusher was a sale find I scooped up last winter, and while it didn’t get too much love from me since then, I plan on rocking this baby out all season long.  When my skin isn’t tanned, it turns a bit pinkish, but right now with my fading tan, it looks more like it does in the pan – a gorgeous deep berry shade.  YUMMY.  Another Illamasqua fave is their Precision Ink in Havoc, which is still honestly capturing my heart some two years later.  I mean, it’s a dark wine -colored eyeliner that doesn’t look black – how badass is that?!  I wore it over the weekend while working at Clinique, and I swear I sold more because customers just thought I looked THAT GOOD.  LOL!

Fall Makeup - Berry swatches (2) Fall Makeup - Berry swatchesLeft to right: Illamasqua Precision Ink in Havoc, Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102, Illamasqua Crush Cream Blusher (swatched heavily, then buffed out)



Here comes the trickiest shade to wear of the bunch – violet.  Too much red and it can make you look like you’ve been crying; too much blue and you look like you just had a throw-down with one of the ‘Real Housewives.’  It can quickly veer in to goth territory if you’re not careful – thankfully, all of you know just what you’re doing at all times, right!? Right.  So, first we have the most challenging of the bunch – MAC’s Mattene Lipstick in Bing, and LE shade from 2008 or 2009, that has been making my life difficult since then.  I WANT to rock this blackened purple shade full force, but alas I am still a scaredy-cat.  However, I have managed to find various ways to wear it in a toned down way, either mixed with a red lippie or as a stain, so that will have to do for now.  The lovely violet shadow you see here is a new acquisition (in fact, the three shadows are) from Inglot, shade # 325, a matte purple.  I have yet to wear it, but I’m going to make an attempt this week – wish me luck!  Finally, we have another UD 24/7 Eyeliner, in 1999….which is discontinued…but which I JUST purchased from Sephora two weeks ago (so that makes it better, right!?).  They had several of the old shades up for sale, at $7.95CAD a pop, and I couldn’t resist.  This is an awesome toned down version of violet, that does have a hint of red but seems to work perfectly on my eyes to subtly add a touch of color without going to crazy town.  I’ve been wearing it on my lower lash line to give just a bit of definition and I’m really loving it.

Fall Makeup - Violet swatches (2) Fall Makeup - Violet swatches (9)Left to right: MAC Mattene in Bing, Inglot Matte Eyeshadow in #325, UD 24/7 Eyeliner in 1999

What are your favorite shades/products to wear in the fall?  What color story do you like the best?

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Alternative Bridesmaid Makeup Look

Good day to you! 🙂  I am off today after a crazy couple weeks helping plan and coordinate our Public Service Week here at my work.  I am the co-chair of our Youth Network for the Atlantic Region, so I was also organizing some events for the offices in other provinces as well.  Quite the job!  In any case, I think the week went pretty well, and yesterday our internal news publication came out with an article on myself and my co-chair on how we’re aspiring leaders, and basically made us sound really snazzy.  It was really nice to get recognition for the work we do so I’m feeling pretty awesome right now! (despite the four glasses of wine I had last night in celebration LOL).

Anyway, enough with the recap.  Today I wanted to show you a recreation of the look I did for my friend’s wedding last month.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to capture the actual look itself, but I used everything I wore in the shots below – though I’m missing the false lashes.  Use your imagination for those 😉

Anyone who knows me knows I always like to take what’s considered the ‘norm’ and put a little spin on it.  A lot of people I know have traveled/lived in Australia, so I went to New Zealand.  I once attended a formal event where everyone wore dresses, and I wore a white pant suit (see below – not a great shot, and eeks! to the fuzzy straightened hair – but damn it if I didn’t love that outfit :)).  So, when I started thinking about what makeup I wanted to wear for the wedding, I wanted something still appropriate but with a twist.  And so: red eyeshadow.

Pics to Sort etc 137Also – pink heels!  YES.

Ok, maybe not full-on red.  That would probably clash with the whole romantic theme.  But a metallic cranberry?  Now we’re talking.

The shade I used was L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany, a shadow I’ve shown you before.  I don’t wear it very often because in my mind it’s ‘red shadow,’ but since the wedding, I’ve been pulling it out a lot more – it’s like the best version of red ever, that is actually super-wearable.  As it’s quite standout on it’s own, I paired it with subdued shades everywhere else to keep it the focal point – soft pink cheeks and rosy-beige lips.

Wedding Makeup Swatches Wedding Makeup Swatches (2)Left to right: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, L’Oreal Golden Mahogany shadow, MAC Arena shadow, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer, Illamasqua Hussy blush, Laura Mercier Lip Glacé in Discrete.

As you can see, very few products were used for the look.  At the wedding, by using false individual lashes (which I prefer because you can apply them the night before to save time), coupled with the shadow, I didn’t need to work too hard to have my eyes really stand out.  False lashes are especially awesome for photos (of which you can see here).  All that I did was to use a cream liner to get into any spaces in-between the lashes to make them look full, and then applied Golden Mahogany all over the lid and into the crease.  I blended MAC Arena into the brow bone and inner eye corners, et voila!  That was ALL I needed to do to get the look below.  Simple and pretty!

Wedding MakeupWedding Makeup (2)

Again, with the false lashes this look was made much more KAPOW!

The base used was Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder foundation (which I’m fairly certain I’m going to buy for the rest of my life) worn over Hourglass No.28 Primer Serum (which really is AMAZING at keeping the oilies controlled).  Some contouring with bronzer, a touch of blush and highlight (I used Chanel’s Poudree Signee, not shown in the swatches), and a dab of lipgloss were the finishing touches.

I was really happy with the resulting look, and felt that I managed to continue with my habit of doing something not quite the norm, but also not so far out there either.  And that shadow really has reach HG status with me (which incidentally has put me on a quest to weed out all my HG’s and get rid of anything less)!

What do you think?  Would you wear red eyeshadow (to a formal event, no less)?  How do you ‘break the mold’ when it comes to makeup?

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…On Becoming More Well-Rounded (?)

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that it’s rare that I’m at a loss for words.  Even those posts in which I say I’m going to keep it short and sweet, usually end up longer than planned – what can I say?  I’m a chatty kind of gal.

Lately though, my capacity for wordiness has really left me, which poses a problem when you’re try to say, oh I don’t know, WRITE SOMETHING.  May has clearly been a slow month on Beauty Obsessed, which is largely due to getting a new roommate, standing in my friend’s wedding and all it’s required prep, training for the Ottawa Half Marathon which I ran this past Sunday (which, if you’re interested – I ROCKED 😀  Finish time was 1:40:16, and since my goal was around 1 hour 40 mins., I was SUPER STOKED!), and then – my 31st birthday, which was yesterday (which included lots of long-lost sun, meals out with friends and family, and a ton of lovely birthday wishes)!  Yea, that all happened in one month.  It’s been a tad bit busy.

NARS Boys Don't Cry Blush (4)NARS Boys Don’t Cry blush

However, it’s not just my lack of time that’s been keeping me from posting, but a shift in thought process that is screwing with my makeup mojo.  The past month has seen me only purchase two makeup items: the NARS Boys Don’t Cry blush, pictured above (which I am terribly delinquent on posting about, my bad) and a little birthday treat I picked up yesterday – another L’Oreal Caresse Wet Shine Stain, which was on sale and was inspired by this photo:

Doutzen Kroes
I needed to have that lip color badly, and I couldn’t wait.  I know Doutzen Kroes is one of the faces of L’Oreal so I took my chances and picked up Endless Red, which is a juicy cranberry red.  It turned out to be exactly what I was looking for shade-wise, as well as formula-wise as I knew the qualities of the stain were what I needed – you can see above its not a fully saturated look but more like she was sucking on a popsicle.  SUCCESS!  I’m not head over heels for the packaging of these, but nor am I for the 3 times as expensive YSL Glossy Stains, so I’ll take my grumbling on this front and shove it.

L'Oreal Caresse Wet Shine Stain in Endless Red L'Oreal Caresse Wet Shine Stain in Endless Red swatch (2)

Anyway, moral of the story – I’ve been downgrading my cosmetics purchases big-time, which means I have a lot less NEW stuff to talk about.  That’s not a terrible thing, as I could stand to spend more time using what I have rather than expanding the collection, and I hope once I start getting on track again that I’ll be bringing forth some original and interesting posts for your reading pleasure.  However, what its translated to this month and probably into part of the next is that I cannot think of a single thing to write about!  Which is frustrating because it’s not as if I’ve not been wearing makeup and experimenting all this time – today, for example, I wore Endless Red with bad-ass black liner, flicked out on both top and bottom lashes, to compliment my faux leather skirt and ankle-strap peep-toe croc leather heels.  It was GREAT.  Obviously I still love to create a whole ‘theme’ from head to toe, and playing with makeup is always a huge part of that process!

Sephora Angled Blush BrushAlso part of the process is using good makeup tools – like this nice brush from Sephora that I just purchased!  It follows the contours of my cheekbones so easily 🙂

But lately, not the main part.  Before, I used to decide on my makeup look the night before, and then choose my clothing accordingly.  In the past two months however, I have been more engaged in my fashion choices, and creating a look now seems to lean more toward the clothing first and then the makeup.  Somewhere along the line, my focus shifted from makeup to clothes, and now I’m spending all my free cash beefing up my wardrobe instead of adding another lippie/blush/eyeshadow to my typically burgeoning stash.  I feel good about the change – great, even, as I feel more confident than ever in my fashion choices – but (SUPER long story short) it leaves this blog confused about where it wants and needs to go.

Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille CocoAnother area I’ve been focusing more on is fragrance – I finally caved and purchased the Comptoir Sud Pacifique rollerball in Vanille Coco that I have been eyeing trying on over and over for ages.  SO my kind of scent!

I still adore and obsessed over any and all cosmetics, don’t you worry.  It’s just that you might see some other topics creep in here and there as I grow and expand my horizons of interest (which was long overdue).  I’m off work on Friday, and it’s supposed to be sunny, so I’m hoping to pump out a massive number of posts to make up for my frequent absences over the past month or so.  Expect a variety of images of things I’m head over heels for these days, both in beauty and fashion (as well as one monster empties post that is long overdue!).  Hopefully you’ll still stick around!

Near EmptiesStraggler near-finished products…once these are gone, there will be an epic empties post forthcoming!

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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)
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)
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)
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 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 Swatches - UD Psychedelic Sister, MAC InfamousUrban Decay Eyeshadow in Psychedelic Sister (shimmer)
MAC Paint in Infamous (metallic) (discontinued)
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)
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 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 Swatches - MUFE #24, MAC Bright Future
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #24 Yellow (matte)
MAC Eyeshadow in Bright Future (
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)
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 Swatches - Avon Smokey EyesAvon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (medium grey & dove grey) (shimmer)
Black Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Perversion, MAC Dark SoulMAC Pigment in Dark Soul (frost w/glitter)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Perversion (matte)


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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Random EOTD’s For Your Viewing Pleasure

I’m having a bit of a moment lately; I’m rather uninspired to write, or even read blogs the past couple weeks.  Part of that is due to the fact that I’m trying to not buy anything: with my trip to New Zealand less than a week away (so crazy!!), I just can’t justify buying any pretties, especially just to have them sit there for over a month unused while I travel.  I know there are plenty of things I could write about, but the new stuff is always the most fun, am I right?  The other part is that anything that’s giving me the lemming itch doesn’t come out until after I leave, and will likely be sold out when I return, so what’s the point of getting excited for nothing?  It’s a sad state of affairs, my friends.

Wearing Chanel Abstraction Illusion d’Ombre over Clinique’s Rum Spice Color Surge Eyeshadow. As beautiful as Abstraction is, it can be tricky to get the true shimmering beauty to translate on the eye.  The deep warm bronze of Rum Spice helped give it a solid base to build upon.

What’s weird about this is that I’ve actually been more inspired than ever to play with makeup – almost every day I try a new ‘look’ and end up actually loving it.  It seems that while I’m having an ‘off’ month with respect to blogging, nevertheless I’m clearly having a makeup moment, in which I’ve figured out truly how to wear it.  That sounds kind of ridiculous considering I’ve been blogging for a while (with FOTD’s) and I have been doing wedding and event makeup for like, 10 years.  But truly – I’ve JUST GOT IT.

After a breakup, there’s often that feeling of wanting a change, to start fresh.  Naturally, my feeling was instantly related to beauty, and I decided to start focusing more on just one feature rather than overwhelming my face.  While I generally stick to that rule in theory, I would often do a smoky eye and neutral lips – but then add just a touch too much blush.  Or bold lips but then add a bit of shadow, which would end up looking ‘too done.’  I’ve really toned it down this fall, and now if I do a strong lip then I wear just the barest hint of blush and mascara.  Or I’ll wear a fierce flush and keep everything else very minimal (though sometimes I will go for a juicy matching pout).  I find the effect has been MUCH more satisfactory to me, and I’ve actually gotten a lot more compliments on how I look.

A look I did before going out last weekend, using MAC Vex shadow and Dark Soul pigment.  I find silver notoriously hard to wear, so this was a great achievement for me!

The real reason for this change was that I really want to make a statement.  My wardrobe is relatively basic, with only a few outfits that make me feel on-trend; makeup is really where I shine.  If I can’t generate attention via my closet, I can surely make something happen with my beauty approach, right?  And it seems that I’ve just about nailed it 🙂

Though the looks I’m showing in this post are all focused on eyes, believe me when I say that I’ve been having quite the time with dramatic lips this season as well – it’s just that I’ve already on one of the shades (Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102, which I love more every day!), and I’m planning on posting the other shade I’ve been rocking lately (keep your eyes peeled!).  What pleases me about these eye looks specifically is that not only have I gotten the rest of the makeup down pat, but I’ve managed to blend and layer my shadows much better than usual, which has made some previously hard-to-wear shades, actually quite wearable!

L’Oreal’s Golden Mahogany Infallible shadow, using MAC’s Vex once again as an inner eye/lid color.I was inspired this week on Refinery29 about pairing reddish eyeshadow with silver, so I had to try it out – and I absolutely LOVED it!  New favorite right here.

In any case, while I’ve been somewhat absent around these here parts, don’t you think for a second that I’m not still living and breathing beauty.  I just seem to have a combination of writer’s block, decreased funds, and a mega-trip on my mind – but I think when I get back in November, I’m going to be chock full of energy to get back on the horse again.  I’ve been particularly desperate to do some swatching series, but as my hands and forearms have been having serious eczema breakout for two months now, it’s just not going to happen until that clears up 😦  I’m hoping the fresh NZ air will fix me – both my skin and my brain 🙂

Which look is your favorite?  Do you ever go through ‘slow’ spells with makeup and/or blogging?

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Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month Eight (And All’s Well!)

So here we are again.  For obvious reasons,  this month has been pretty lean in terms of shopping, especially on the beauty front, where I reallydon’t need anything, anyway.  And it was pretty easy to resist almost everything; when you have a goal in mind (to have the most awesome of times in New Zealand), and a life change (double the mortgage!), it’s really a no-brainer.  And actually, the purchases I did make were all before everything happened – the only thing I bought since then was a body lotion, which I needed (though…maybe not as pricey, but I was in a town with a Holts – IMPOSSIBLE to not buy ANYTHING).

As usualThe Guidelines:

1) Makeup: Purchase no more than 10 items per season (excludes replacing staples of foundation, concealer, powder)
2) Nail Polish: Purchase no more than 5 polish per month
3) Skincare/Haircare: Use one, Buy one

And here we have it!

Purchased (August 20-September 19):

– Kiehl’s Creme de Corps ($37.50CAD)

– Mill Creek Botanicals Biotin Shampoo ($9.89CAD)

– Kariderm Neutral Natural Soap with Shea Butter & Vitamin E ($5.29CAD)

– Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Lotion ($24.99CAD)

OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest ($10.50CAD)

–  Zoya Dea ($8.75CAD)

– Zoya Anchor Base Coat ($12.50CAD)

FYI: The L’Occitane shampoo I purchased back in July I returned, unopened.  I was just too nervous to use something so fragranced and really – I shampoo my hair like, twice a month, so why spend big bucks on something I hardly use!?  I haven’t yet tried the Mill Creek stuff because I just finished my last shampoo, but I have high hopes 🙂  I picked up the shampoo, bar soap and the Weleda lotion from – my first order from the company – and I had a $10 coupon code, so it was a good first experience!

Also, you may notice lately I’ve been buying a lot of base coats – I really find it makes a difference with my polish wear time if I’m using a compatible base.  I’m trying to pick up one from each brand I own essentially, and already my polishes have been lasting SO much better.  I might be crazy, but whatever works, right?

It might not seem like I pared down that much, but when you add up the actual dollar amount I spent this month ($109) as compared to the last ($198)…yea, you see what I’m sayin’?  ~pats self on back~

Used Up (August 20-September 19):

You see those empties?  Not too shabby eh??

Ah, my old friends.  No need to discuss Aveeno’s Eczema Care Cream, or the body wash, or the Neutrogena Hand Cream again – you’ve seen ’em all before.  Bye bye!

These were both just OK.  The L’Oreal Studio Silk & Gloss Curling Spray didn’t make my hair TOO crunchy, which was nice, but I don’t even know why I bought it because I hate spray gels.  Blah.  The Aveda Scalp Benefits Shampoo (which I bought last November if you can believe it! See how much I <don’t> shampoo my hair??!) was fine – I did like the way it seems to clean my hair without stripping it, and it made it soft – but I just don’t like the standard herbal smells of Aveda…I never learn.  Also, if you’re a fan of shampoos that lather a lot (I’m not, hence why I bought it),  you won’t like this.

On the right – Clinique’s Makeup Brush Cleanser.  Pretty good stuff, though nothing crazy.  It lasts a fair while and I like that if I’m really in a rush, I can spray, wipe and go.  I rarely do that though and typically spray, rinse, spray, rinse, dry.  Just to make it more difficult on myself.

On the left – I know you’re thinking “What the…!?!”  Well…does anyone remember when they carried the brand Pupa in Shoppers Drug Mart?  This was something they came up with, this ridiculous cow with a makeup palette inside.  It’s double-sided, too!

When I was traveling around Europe, this thing was GENIUS, with two blush, a bronzer, a powder, and a handful each of eyeshadows and lipglosses.  But guys – that was 6 years ago.  Since then, I’ve kept it in my office drawer ‘for emergencies’ and rarely used it.  When I moved my cubicle a couple weeks ago, I decided it was time to go.  Too bad, so sad, we had some good times!  ~Mooooooooo!~

And the pitiful makeup empties – they’re always so frickin’ tough to accumulate!  I finally finished that blasted tube of Jack Black’s Lip Treatment (two months later than planned), and my travel size of Hourglass’ Veil Mineral Primer.  I sort of fell out of love with it for a while, then got back into it when the weather cooled.  I found that it, on top of my Clinique City Block, didn’t mix well and I still got greasy throughout the day.  As a replacement for sunscreen (it has an SPF of 15) on rainy or overcast days, it’s pretty good.  Not sure I’d spend $70 on a full-size though (sorry Liz! *ducks*).

I also had a small sample of a L’Occitane Ultra Comforting Serum that seemed nice, but those kind of samples tell me NOTHING about the product as a whole, so no further comment there.  The mascara in the front is from Pur Minerals – and I used it once and just couldn’t.  Awful, awful stuff!  The brush was horrid and the formula was clumpy.  However, it could be old and I generally don’t make opinions on mascara based on sample sizes because it never seems true to form.  The mascara sample in the back is the famed Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara I’d featured in a couple FOTD’s, which sadly isn’t why my lashes are so curly (all-natural, sorry! *ducks again*).  But it was still nice and not even remotely clumpy and defined the lashes well.  Not sure I’d buy the full size though.

Lastly, we have a nail file.  I know that’s weird but I threw it in for fun, what the heck.  It is so worn down there is no filing to be had any more from this.  It was also in my desk at work, and it appears there’s food or some crap stuck to it – for that I apologize.  Another reason it has to go!

Phew!  Ok then – let’s Recap:

1) Makeup:  0 makeup items purchased [6 non-staples this season (Summer)], 1 palette and 3 samples used/tossed
2) Nail Polish:  2 polish purchased this month (20 total since the beginning of 2012)
3) Skincare: 3 skin/1 hair bought, 3 skin/2 hair used

Wha-wha-whaaaat!?  No makeup bought???  This is unheard of!  I didn’t even realize ’till I just did up those tally’s.  Wow!!  That actually makes me really happy – I’m trying so hard to use what I have an enjoy it rather than jumping on every next big thing.  I could handle a massive slow-down of makeup purchases for a while, no doubt!  And it’s likely to continue at least until I return from New Zealand, so hooray!!  And this ends the 10 per season for Summer…back to the drawing board for Fall!

Speaking of, I’m hoping to come back with less makeup than I bring while away – I’m packing the very dregs of a lot of little samples and ends of liners and stuff, so here’s hoping it’s gone over the course of 5 weeks.  Although, to be honest, I’m not even sure how much makeup I’ll be wearing down there!  In any case, I’m going to show you what I’m packing before I leave so you can be nosy and see for yourself 🙂

So, another month down!  Only four more to go before I can stop boring you with these posts, and I right!?  I’ll still continue with the continuous whittling down, but maybe not so regimented.  Though I always look forward to showing you guys – it’s like hoping for a gold star from the teacher 😛  It’s likely – no, a for sure – that my next post will NOT be on time, as I’ll be away, but I’ll do a special edition featuring the stuff I used up while away when I return.  I hope it’s a HUGE one!

Which do you like more: seeing the purchases or the discards?  What’s your average monthly beauty budget?

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Review: L’Oreal Eversleek Sulfate-Free Smoothing System Humidity-Defying Leave-In Crème (aka Longest.Name.Ever.)

Though I’m becoming more and more of a makeup snob (which I think is in part due to the fact that the more expensive it is, the less able I am to hoard things lol), there are some products that I will generally only spend a few dollars on – and hair styling products are one of them.  Every so often I’ll splash out and buy something pricier, but with the hefty amount of product I need to use in this curly mop of mine, it could get tres expensive.  I’m especially a fan of picking up anything that’s on sale at the drugstore – which is how I stumbled acrossd L’Oreal’s Eversleek Sulfate-Free Smoothing….ah, jeez, just read the title (really, why do they have products with such ridiculously long names?!).Silicone, sulfate, paraben, and protein-free, this leave-in crème seems to be the ideal pick for someone like me who tries to steer clear of these ingredients when I can.  Protein-free might seem like a weird claim, but if you know anything about African-American hair, certain proteins can sometimes make this hair type feel coarse and brittle, because we generally have an abundance of it already.  Where my hair is a lil half-and-half (crazy-curly but fine), I’m not sure if I need protein or not, so I just avoid it to be safe.

Aside from what this crème lacks, what it does contain is a whole lotta moisturizing ingredients, such as various oils like jojoba seed, olive fruit, and argan – as well as emollients like fatty alcohols, and humectants like glycerin.  And boy, you can feel it!  As someone with dry hair, I am loving the way this makes my hair feel instantly hydrated, smooth and soft.  It doesn’t leave a greasy or sticky feel like I find I get with a lot of serums; just control and moisture.  One pump does my entire head – but I wouldn’t recommend using that much for ‘normal’ hair; probably all that’s required would be a dime-sized drop or less.  My hair EATS product so I tend to use a lot.I’ve used this product both alone and with a separate styling lotion, and while I do find it keeps my hair soft and smooth and totally shiny (no more dry-looking ends!), it doesn’t control much on its own, so on a humid day you’ll need something more – even though it’s designed to ‘defy’ humidity.  It does a pretty good job, but not perfect.  I usually use some sort of leave-in plus styler anyway so to me this isn’t at all a drawback.  The fact that my hair stays smooth and doesn’t get flyaways or feel bone-dry during the Winter weather is proof enough for me that I’ll be definitely repurchasing this.

One of the only drawbacks for me with L’Oreal’s product is the fact that fragrance ranks fairly high on the ingredient list (though I don’t find you can notice the scent throughout the day at all).  Somehow I missed that when I bought this (the on-sale cheapy price tag may have had something to do with it).  So far it hasn’t seemed to cause an issue so I’m going to just go with it and keep it in the back of my mind if something crops up.  Additionally, something of note is that because it’s loaded with oils, it might not be ideal for those of you who are acne-prone, as I think it *might* be causing a bit of clogging on my temples (though not yet confirmed).  It’s very minimal, so for me, the pros far outweigh the cons!

Overall I’m quite pleased with this crème and truly look forward to using it every day.  I don’t fight with my hair much, and I’m not even very particular with it, but my main concern is dryness, which I find this alleviates quite a bit.  For that, it earns a big gold star from me 😀  See the ingredients below (please excuse the crookedness, I may or may not have had a couple glasses of wine while taking these shots):What’s your hair must-have?

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Update Time! Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month One

Well, we’ve successfully finished month one of the low/no-buys to which myself and several other fantabulous beauty bloggers have chained dedicated ourselves!  I have to admit, when it started, I thought it would be a piece of cake – my guidelines felt tough but reasonable, and left me a fair bit of leeway so that I wouldn’t go out of my mind from the challenge.  However, once I was well into week two, I found myself becoming maniacal with respect to listing all the products I was *going* to buy as well as figuring out what products I could get rid of so I could make said purchases.  I spent hours daily planning what I would do in order to be able to buy a new lippie or blush, in a way that would allow me to stick to the plan but get my ~fix~  Crazy, right?  Thankfully, the feeling passed near the end of week three, and now as I move into the second month, I feel stabilized and am spending more time enjoying what I have rather than obsessively plotting my next purchase.  Just like any craving, it passes if you don’t give into it I guess!

I’m going to combine my usual ‘downsizing’ post with my new ‘monthly purchases’ posts, since one directly affects the other.  No shady business here!  I promise to be truthful about what I pick up each month – if I slip, I’ll let you know about that too.  Keeps me on the straight and narrow 🙂

So, here are the products that I managed to finish/part with since my low-buy began:

Clinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer
Good hydrator for dry to combination-oily skin, but honestly I wasn’t wowed by this.  I find the Turnaround Concentrate, a serum, far out-performs this moisturizer, and I would recommend going for that plus your favorite basic moisturizer, rather than using this alone.  Just didn’t exfoliate as well as I wanted it to!

Clinique Superdefense Age Defense Moisturizer SPF25 (Combination Oily to Oily)
I really loved this moisturizer with SPF, until I started learning about how any beneficial ingredients in products get lost when exposed to open air.  Jars have got to be the worst packaging anyway, majorly unhygenic!  So, while the idea of this product is AWESOME (helps to repair the moisture barrier so skin stays hydrated; helps treat and prevent fine lines and wrinkles via antioxidants and sun protection), I suspect a lot of the good-for-you ingredients are gone within days.  Boo.  But, if you’re looking for a nice moisturizer with sunscreen, this is a pretty good choice!  It keeps skin feeling supple – though unless your very oily/do not need extra hydration, I’d probably opt for the dry to combination version as I found I could have used it this Winter.Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Facial Cleanser (travel size)
I liked this cleanser – it smelled lovely and rinsed away nicely without stripping the skin – but I always wondered if it was causing a bit of sensitivity in my skin.  I think the fragrance, while enjoyable, made me nervous.  It certainly didn’t soothe my skin at all.  For ladies with less sensitive skin, I think you’ll enjoy this – though it requires a second wash (or a makeup remover) to get rid of all traces of heavier makeup.  I’m not a fan of self-foaming cleansers as I find they run out more quickly, so that’s something to consider as the full size of this product is $38CAD.

B.Kamins Bio-Maple Suncar Sunscreen SPF30 (sample)
I used this while I was camping last year in Gros Morne, and didn’t experience any problems, it absorbed easily and a little went a long way – as I still had some left after 10 days!  I used it up the past few days just to get rid of it.  Nothing special, just seems like a basic physical SPF (it’s tinted pink and opaque and reminds me of Pepto Bismol…hmm), and shielded my skin from the sun.  Would be a good product for ladies with oily skin as it imparts no hydration or greasiness whatsover. Complex 15 Face Lotion/Complex 15 Body Lotion
Super basic face and body lotions that would be ideal for someone with sensitive, oily skin, or for really hot, humid days.  They both contain humectants such as glycerin to bind water to the skin, without being greasy AT ALL, but for me I need to also have products which act as a barrier so that I can retain that moisture.  Neither of these were enough for my eczema-prone skin, but I could see them working in a pinch for those who don’t have those issues.L’Oreal Nutri-Shimmer Shine Detangling Spray
I liked this leave-in spray – it detangled my hair and left it very soft without being weighed down – but I noticed that my scalp itched a whole lot less once I ran out of it.  Odd, because perfume was the last ingredient listed, but I have read studies that say that linalool (which is sort of in the middle of the ingredient list) can cause allergic reactions and inflame eczema, so I’m thinking that’s the culprit.  Soo…I won’t be buying this again.  But it was a good, light-weight leave-in all the same – and did make my hair quite shiny!Chanel Eclat Lumiere Highlighter Face Pen in 04 Beige Moyen
So. Glad. This. Is. Gone.  Remember how I said last week that I don’t believe in undereye illluminators?  Yeah.  I paid upwards of $40CAD to learn that lesson!  I tried to use this every which way – under concealer, over concealer, without concealer…the only real use I found for it was a subtle brightening of the inner eye area.  Other than that, it was a total bust and just didn’t do it for me at all.  If you have hardly any undereye darkness, by all means, give this a shot – I’m sure it’ll brighten the area just enough and its sheer enough that it looks quite natural.  But if dark circles are an issue for you, don’t waste your money.  Also – shade range is kinda crappy, this is the darkest they had and it’s still a touch light for my skin, and would be entirely useless once I’m getting sunshine on the regular.MUFE Smoky Lash mascara
I honestly don’t know how I feel about this mascara.  There were times when I really liked it, and then times when I REALLY didn’t.  I think the issue was that it was kind of dry to begin with, which makes avoiding clumps and flakes much more difficult.  I think the brush itself was pretty decent, so really it was the formula they need to tinker with.  All in all, I was glad to put it in the ‘finished’ pile.

Wet N Wild Color Icon Eye & Brow Pencil in Dark Brown
I got this from Walmart for like, $1.99, and it was a great pencil – just the right shade and was quite a large size to begin with, so it lasted ages.  I can’t comment on the lasting power because I never really pay attention to whether my brows are still looking good at the end of the day – I guess because my brows don’t *need* to be filled in, just polished up a bit.  I’d buy it again if I came across it, but it wasn’t so good that I’m going to seek it out, either.MAC Lustre Lipstick in Freckletone
Ugh.  Worst nude lippie (on my skintone) ever.  It was much too peach and looked far from nude on me.  I’ve had this for several years now, and I’m sooo happy it’s finished (though I just realized you can’t tell from the photo – oops!).  I had to mix this with a ton of other shades in order for it to work.  I like the lustre formulation, just not this color. 

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstain in In the Buff
This product isn’t ‘finished’, because I’ve only used it a handful of times, but it seems like it is bone-dry – to get any color from this (which is supposed to be a muted berry) is damn-near impossible.  It barely gives off anything at all.  So today I decided I’m done with this.  What’s the point of keeping something that doesn’t do anything?

Helena Rubenstein Stellars Gloss in Star Camellia
When I did my ‘Beauty Stash’ list, it was a process for me to find the actual name of this gloss, let me tell you.  The name on the end of the product is impossible to read, and I bought this about 8 years ago in Portugal, so I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it was.  I found a picture and a swatch online that seemed to match, but I could be wrong.  In any case, I don’t think they even make this anymore so no worries!  In the package you can see that there is still product left, but the wand simply won’t get at any of it!  The brush on the end of the wand is itty-bitty, first of all, and the way the tube is shaped you just can’t get at what’s left.  Oh well, after 8 years I’m totally over this bright sparkly coral shade!  It was fun while it lasted 😛

Fresh Sugar Plum Lip Treatment SPF15
I’m embarrassed, yet sort of proud, to say that even though this was essentially done in December (as Liz can attest to – she took photos!), I scraped and scooped out every last bit before officially calling it quits.  It wasn’t just that I liked the product – which I very much do, as well as loving the deep berry color this time of year – but for $22.50CAD, I just felt like I should make sure I get every bit of my money out of the product.  Which I did 😛  I still have the Sugar Honey and the original Sugar Lip Treatments to enjoy – but don’t expect to see them finished any time soon!Clinique Glow Crazy Powder Highlighter in 03 Gold Dust (sample size)
GAH.  I don’t know how old this sample is – Glow Crazy powder has been gone for some time now – but finally! I finished it!  It’s too bad it was a sample size (of which I kind of have issue with as a general rule), because this was actually a beautiful highlighter (or eyeshadow!), but it had to go.

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey (sample size)
I got this in one of my free GWP’s from Clinique.  Black Honey is our 2nd most sold product on the counter; the subtle reddish-berry looks good on everyone! ….Everyone except me.  On me, this shade is god-awful.  That sounds dramatic for a sheer lipstick, I know, but honestly, I can’t get down with this tone on my lips in any way, shape or form.  I’ve had this for so long just because there was nothing wrong with it.  Then, a couple weeks ago, I pulled it out to try it out again after the resurgence of the Almost Lipsticks, and it broke right at the base.  Woohoo, out it goes!  Bye BYE!!

So – yay!  Managed to get some makeup items in there, woohoo!  And I wasn’t just trying to get rid of stuff in order to buy more (I know you were thinking it! :P); either they finished or they were products I really didn’t care for in the least and was hanging on to them for no good reason.  Out you go!

Now, lets look at the purchases I made in the past month, and see if I stuck to my guns:

1) Chanel Blush Horizon de Chanel $74
I bought this the very next day after the low-buy began.  See how I started out strong?  I’m still very much in love with it, and I’ve never had a moment of doubt about the cost.  I am nervous to see if it’ll still show up once I’m tanned, but here’s hoping it’ll make a great highlighter if nothing else!  If not, then – till next Winter, my dear 🙂

2) Simple Sensitive Skin Experts Exfoliating Facial Wipes (25 wipes) $8.59
Since I tend to run on most of my lunch breaks, I was starting to feel like I really should be removing and reapplying my makeup on those days.  Though I leave my run till later in the afternoon, I still feel uncomfortable at the thought of my makeup mingling with sweat and possibly causing clogged pores and irritation, even in the two hours before I get home and can properly cleanse.  So, I picked up these wipes on a whim, as they contain aloe, vitamins, and no perfumes or dyes – while also being safe for sensitive eyes, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic.  Bonus!  The ingredient list is shorter than most as well, which always gives me comfort.  I’ve used them a handful of times to no negative effects – I’m not sure how effective they are at cleansing, but I still feel better at putting in an effort.

3) Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Blush in #12 First Kiss $29
Newly minted blush fiend that I am, I saw a photoshoot in the recent issue of Glow which showcased a delicate redhead with a gorgeous peachy flush.  The look I was hoping for with Torrid just doesn’t cut it, as it’s more pink-based than orange.  This bright apricot shade seems to do the trick, and I’m often partial to cream/liquid formulas because I find they give a more believable glow. 

4) Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm $24
I picked this up in anticipation of our Jamaica trip.  It’s supposed to help soothe and hydrate sun exposed skin and help prevent any damage that the UV rays cause.  I have wanted to try this product for AGES as I’ve heard so, so many good things about it – but amazingly, I’ve never had the opportunity!  I find it difficult to actually *purchase* Clinique when I get so many for free, but the time was right so I finally gave in.  I’ll be sure to report back once I’ve given it a go!

5) OPI ‘A Roll in the Hague’, and ‘Dutch’Ya Just Love OPI?‘ $9.99 ea.
I had long planned to grab ‘Hague’ once OPI’s Holland collection came to town, but I was pleasantly surprized to find that I ended up enjoying ‘Dutch’Ya’ as well! 

6) Boscia Restorative Day Moisture Cream SPF15 $58
This will replace my Superdefense as my daily moisturizer with SPF.  I bought it because my skin’s been tempermental with the Winter weather lately, though after the past week or so with unseasonably warm temperatures, I’m hoping this isn’t too heavy.  The cool thing I’m excited about is the inclusion of Magnolia Bark extract, which apparently has cortizone-like effects.  I’m hoping this will help with any eczema issues I have on my face and help keep any irritation under control.  Fingers crossed!

7) Bare Escentuals Flawless Definition Volumizing Mascara in Black $22.50
I’ve been meaning to buy this for ages but just haven’t taken the plunge for one reason or another.  It has great reviews on MUA and sounds like the perfect formula for my sensitive eyes.  I hope its as volumizing as it claims!

8) MAC Tendertone Lip Balm in Purring $18
I fell for all the hype about these Tendertones returning, and not wanting to miss out, I scooped up this sheer orange one this past weekend.  So far, I’m not terribly impressed, but I’m going to give it a fair shake before making my final judgement.  It’s not the sheerness I’m disappointed with (though it is very sheer), but the moisturization.  We’ll see how it fares in the end.

Not too shabby, eh??  If you recall, my guidelines were use one-buy one for skincare/haircare/essentials like foundation and concealer, and use two-buy one for everything else (ie. makeup).  Note that sample sizes are considered a half-one, so two = one in the ‘use one’ category.  Also, remember that I’m allowed 5 nail polish purchases a month.  Here are my totals for this month:

USED – 4 full-size skincare, 2 travel-size skincare, 1 full-size haircare, 1 concealer, 6 full-size makeup items, and 2 sample-size makeup items.

ALLOWANCE – 4 skincare items, 1 haircare, 1 concealer, 3.5 makeup items; 5 nail polish + 2 brought over from January.

BOUGHT – 3 skincare items, 4 makeup items; 2 nail polish.

So…let’s count the MAC balm as a .5 product, eh?? LOL.  I came pretty close!  All in all, not too bad.  It’s certainly gotten easier as time has passed – most of those purchases were made in the first two weeks LOL.  I will admit, there is a lot of things to remember, but thankfully I have lists upon lists just about everywhere I go reminding me, so it’s been doable for the most part.  Gotta keep on keepin’ on!

Have you put any restrictions on your own shopping habits?  If you have, how are you making out?  If you haven’t, what’s your secret to keeping yourself in check??


Working Hard or Hardly Working: Yes, I’m Still Downsizing!

The past couple months has been a slow one for using up products it seems – like anything else, when it rains it pours, but in those in-between times, it seems to be a bit of a drought.  I’m just on the precipice of finishing a handful of products, but before that happens, I want to round up all the items that I finished before I began my beauty challenge – I want to be fair and transparent (lol can you tell I work for the government?), so when the time comes to match products used to products bought, I’ve got clear evidence to show you that I’m still following the guidelines.  Meticulous to a fault, eh?The list of products below are pretty boring, I have to say – most weren’t very memorable and I wouldn’t repurchase the majority of them.  There are also a handful of samples that seemed to take AGES to finish, despite some being tiny.  Anywho…enough chat – let’s hop to it!Phyto Phytheol Intense Shampoo and L’Oreal Total Repair conditioner.  The former is an anti-dandruff formulation which I had hoped would help with my seasonal dry scalp, which I thought was dandruff.  Turns out, its more likely dermatitis, as per my dermatologist – surprize, surprize, the girl with eczema has one more skin issue to worry about.  Yay…. 😦  Anyway, this didn’t do a lick for my scalp, but since I don’t seem to have dandruff, I can’t really give it a fair rating.  I think there are probably treatments out there though that are more effective and far cheaper than this.

L’Oreal’s Total Repair conditioner was OK, but absolutely nothing to rave about and to be honest, I just stopped using it a few weeks ago and already I don’t remember what it was like.  It wasn’t as hydrating or as smoothing as I wanted it to be, so there’s that.  I can tell you that I already enjoy my current conditioner, an Infusium23 product, wayyyy more.  I bought this because it was on sale.  End of story.Philosophy’s Purity cleanser.  I’m sure everyone and their dog has tried this basic product at some point.  It’s a good standby and I didn’t have any issues with it, but jeez louise this size lasts AGES.  I know that’s a great thing for some, but for Miss ADHD here, I get bored halfway through and am just dying to use something else.  I always feel that there could be something better.  This cleanser didn’t irritate my skin, but I didn’t find it soothed it either, and right now while I’m fighting tooth and nail to keep my skin under control (this cold, cold Winter is doing a major number on it!), this just isn’t going to cut it.  Great for slightly sensitive skin or, of course, non-reactive skin in general though. The Body Shop’s Wise Woman Eye Cream, Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum, and a mini jar of Vaseline (though apparently I took the label off…?).  The Wise Woman eye cream was nice, decently hydrating but nothing crazy either way, so if you’re super oily/dry, you’ll probably need something else.  It didn’t help with my dark circle, which was one of it’s claims, and I’ve had other eye creams that kept my undereye area more supple.  But for $24CAD, it was a decent price and lasted me a good year or more.

I’m not going to talk anymore about Ole’s Truth Serum – I know you’ve heard enough!!!  If you haven’t though, or need a refresher, see my original post here.  I’m on my second bottle of this now.

Ah, Vaseline.  A medicine cabinet must, even though overall I’m not a fan of petroleum.  But I use this on my lips every night before bed and my pucker stays nice and hydrated for the most part, so for the couple bucks it costs, and the length of time it lasts (seriously, like 2-3 years for this tiny thing…crazy), I’ll keep on buying it!Another Vaseline product – Intensive Rescue Soothing Hand Cream.  I really liked this a lot – it wasn’t as occlusive as the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula, but it softened my hands big time and kept them moisturized for hours.  It even helped with some of my eczema patches, which is always a bonus in my eyes.  It had a relatively thick consistency but abosrbed fairly quickly and didn’t leave my hands greasy.  I can’t remember the price but it was something like $8.99 – around the same as Norwegian Formula etc. Here’s a sample size of Aveda’s Smoothing Body Polish.  I haven’t owned a body scrub in a while – in keeping with staying away from abrasive products as a whole, I’m sort of off the scrubs – but I picked this up in the Fall and used it sporadically here and there.  It had a fairly good granular quality though I never felt that I left the shower super-smooth, so not sure what that was about.  It worked better on damp skin than fully wet.  I wouldn’t buy the full size.More samples!  I’ve had the Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel for years, but finally got on finishing it last year.  It was pretty great, actually – the scent made me nervous, kind of floral and pretty strong – but it didn’t seem to irritate my skin that I noticed.  It comes as a fine powder, with you put in the palm of your hand and add water, then it foams and you apply it to your face for 30-60 seconds and the enzymes exfoliate.  It did make my face feel really smooth afterward, and this sample, if I had used it consistently (say, every 2-3 days) would have lasted me a few months – you only need a bit of powder each time.  If there were no fragrance, I’d pay the $60-odd dollars for the full-size of this; crazy price, but it was pretty lovely.

The CoverFX Nourishing Foundation Primer and Anti-Aging Serum was another sample that lasted quite a while considering its just a little packet.  I normally don’t include those types of samples, but because it lasted so long I thought it was worthwhile.  If I recall, Liz did a post on this a few months back, that was pretty thorough.  I don’t remember it too much, but I think it was nice enough – definitely more like a treatment serum than a primer, as Liz noted.  I think there are a bunch of different formulations of these, and they aren’t cheap, something like $39CAD?  I wanted to buy one but the packing is sooo tiny for that price!  Funny the things I’ll shell out for and those I won’t eh?

That little sample jar on the right was the Philosophy Help Me that I tried out.  I still maintain that it worked quite nicely considering my skin is almost always flared up and red these days – it didn’t add to the irritation – but the fact that the retinol in the ingredients is soo far down the list concerns me.  Obviously that would contribute to why it didn’t irritate my skin, but at the same time – do I want to pay $59CAD for a product that doesn’t really do what I bought it for???  The sample lasted almost a full week using it nightly though, so it seems to go pretty far.Finally, some makeup!!  Though sadly, only one product here is full-size; the others are all sample sizes.  Nonetheless, I got through them!  Here you see a random eyebrow comb that broke (both ends – the comb part you still see is just attached for show) which I included just because.  Then we have a Clinique Lash Doubling mascara sample – this is probably my second fave mascara by the brand after High Impact.  Gives nice volume and some length, but doesn’t clump at all.  Then below it, is one of Clinique’s Vitamin C Lip Smoothie’s in Strawberry Bliss.  The lip smoothies have antioxidants in them to help keep the lips healthy and more youthful looking.  This shade was just a dark but sheer pink shade, but it was really nice and I think the color would look good on almost anyone.  However, this sample went fast – I didn’t use it all that often and even so, it was gone in two months.  I also found that the texture of the gloss is a bit thicker than I’d like – not a big issue, just something of note.

Underneath the lip smoothie, we have a Long Last Glosswear SPF15 by Clinique, another sample size, in Knockout Nude.  Nice cool shimmering beige-nude shade that looks good on most skintones, but I find the newer glosswears with SPF get sticky faster than the old ones without sunscreen.  And they get funky after a while and develop this nasty plastic-type smell.  No thanks!  You can see I didn’t finish it – and I don’t plan to! I also didn’t finish the L’Oreal On-the-Loose shadow pot in Five Alarm below it – if you recall I swatched this with my new L’Oreal Infallible shadow I bought a few weeks ago, and realized how much nicer and more pigmented the newer one was.  And also, I had to bite the bullet that this old shadow was over 10 years old, so it HAD to go.  It’s still got about a 1/4 of the container left, but…oh well!

Lastly, we have a sample jar of a MAC Pro Longwear concealer (shade NC42).  I included this because this was another sample that lasted forever – I had this for several months and was using it on my undereyes almost every day.  It was ok – it covered my darkness but didn’t completely erase it.  I’m terribly fussy with undereye concealers and have yet to find one that lives up to my expectations, to take my review with a grain of salt – for some, this might be total love, as it does conceal better than some and is buildable.  However, the pump dispenser on the full-size is irritating because it gives too much product (you only need a small dot), so that’s a turn off.  I wouldn’t buy the full-size, which retails for $21CAD.

So there’s the rundown of what I’ve used up in the past while, up to January 20th.  Moving forward, anything that I finish now counts toward a new purchase – remember, its one for one in skincare, and two for one in makeup.  Sometimes this seems like no biggie, other times, I find myself just about to pull the trigger on a new product…..only to be reminded that I gotta use ’em to buy ’em!  Rats.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!!!  If you get out shopping, make sure you let me live vicariously through you OK???

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