Archive for category My Collections

Makeup Roundup: Purchases in 2014

Hello and a happy last day of 2014 to you all!! I sincerely hope everyone has been having a lovely holiday and enjoying family (as much or as little as you like), fun, and delicious food! As always, it flew by for me this year, but I took time off from the 19th and don’t return to work until the 6th, so if nothing else I’ve been relishing my sleep-in time and some laid-back days!

I thought I’d do a little something different this time around in wrapping up the year. Since I’ve spent much of 2014 trying to rein in my beauty spending, I was curious to see just how well I did and how much I purchased in the end. I thought perhaps you might be curious too! Some of the numbers are surprising to me, mostly due to what I DIDN’T buy *pats self on back* – but that doesn’t mean I didn’t go a bit crazy in other areas 😉  Let’s get to it, shall we?

*Note that the numbers below represent the total number of products I own in my current stash (some items have been given away/tossed/etc.), and the number that I have purchased in 2014 – not overall.

PRIMERS (Own: 3 full size, 1 sample, 1 eye. Purchased: 0)

OK, OK, so while I didn’t purchased any primers myself this year, I did receive 2 via PR samples (Make Up For Ever HD Primer in 6 Yellow, and Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray), so this is a bit of a cheat. But still, I personally haven’t bought a primer of any kind in over 3 years (NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base in July 2011), so that’s pretty impressive. I’m not a huge primer person though, so there’s that – but lately I’ve been reading a lot about the Chanel Le Blanc Light Revealing Brightening Makeup Base, and it sounds right up my alley –  all I’m ever trying to achieve is a lit-from-within glow to my skin, and this might be the ticket to getting it!


FOUNDATION (Own: 4 full size, 1 travel-size. Purchased: 1 travel-size)

Until very recently, I hadn’t bought a foundation in almost 3 years (Hourglass Immaculate in Mar 2012); all others have been received either via PR samples, or through my Clinique gratis (though this year I only snagged 1 new product, Clinique’s Stay-Matte). But a couple weeks ago, when I was in Sephora trolling the aisles for things to buy to utilize my $20 off a $50+ purchase coupon, I snagged a travel size of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in St. Mortiz. I’d been hemming and hawing over the product for ages, and when I saw the smaller sizes (the other shade offered in travel size is Alaska), I figured it was a great opportunity to give it a shot. St. Mortiz is a shade too light for me (but Cuba, the next shade up, is too dark), but I’ve been mixing this with my deeper-toned summer foundations and I’m quite liking the result. I’ve been wearing some form of base makeup almost every day lately (again trying to work that pregnancy glow) so I’m hoping I might have a couple products for the empties bin by the time the warm weather hits – I’d love to try out some of the new offerings, but I can’t justify a purchase till I get through some of the ones I already own.


CONCEALER (Own: 5 full size. Purchased: 1)

In my Sephora VIB {Rouge} sale haul, I showed you that I picked up Lancome’s Effacernes to try – but unfortunately I had to return it, as I found it didn’t meet my expectations at all (though it’s nice and lightweight, it was somewhat dry looking under the eye, and the tone was a bit greyish). I exchanged it for Tarte’s Maracuja Creaseless Concealer, which I’d sampled before but wasn’t super keen on. While it still doesn’t give me true FULL coverage that I need to hide my ever-present dark circles, I like that it’s a bit dewy-looking, so at least my undereye looks hydrated, and it even seems to reflect the light a bit. I look tired but youthful I guess…I’ll take it! lol


The other concealers I have are all on their way out – I’m scraping out the last bits of my two NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers (purchased in 2013), my Clinique Airbrushed Concealer is almost finished (which I did add to my collection this year, but which I received via my gratis), and my Benefit Boi-ing (purchased in 2012 or 2013, I can’t remember) is my leave-at-work shade and has major pan showing. So the 5 that I currently have will very shortly become a small number of 1-2. Just the way I like it.

POWDER (Own: 2 full size. Purchased: 1)

Powder isn’t all that exciting, so it’s no surprise I only have two. I bought MAC’s Blot last year and I rarely use it, mainly only for travel as it’s a compact – to be honest, it doesn’t wow me much. What I did buy this year however, was Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder, which I’d read good things about over the years. I do like it, and it doesn’t even leave me looking too powdery, but I still find I have shine peeking through by mid-day without fail. However, I suspect no powder will ever be able to leave me both shine-free yet still luminous, so my expectations are low.


I’ve been thinking about trying the Secret Brightening Powder from the brand however, to use under my eye area to give it some more brightness and help set my concealer. However, every time I swatch it in store it looks SO GLITTERY. Has anyone tried it?? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

HIGHLIGHTER (Own: 3 full size plus 1 sample. Purchased: 0)

While going through my stash, I was surprised to find that I hadn’t bought ANY highlighters this year – I think because the year before, I picked up 3, so I was still feeling a bit overdone. Though I wear highlighter almost every day (usually opting for Chanel’s Poudre Signée de Chanel), it seems to last ages, so I really have no need to buy any more at the moment. Aside from the Chanel, my most cherished is my deluxe sample of Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal – when that runs out, I will be buying a full size, STAT. However, though I love highlighters and how they look, I’m fairly content with just owning a small handful – perhaps if I hit pan or use one up over the next year I’ll pick up a holiday one (they tend to be SO GORGEOUS, ahhh MY EYES burn from the BEAUTY), but I think that every year and then every year I don’t bother…so we’ll see.

BRONZER (Own: 3 full size plus 1 sample. Purchased: 0)

Bronzer has been on my ‘to buy’ list for two years but I keep putting it off – I can never fully convince myself that I really need one! Aside from the NARS Illuminator in Laguna, which I bought back in 2011 (!!), I’ve never really bought a bronzer. The others I have were swap items (a deluxe sample of Too Faced Chocolate Soleil, and a full size of Too Faced Sun Bunny), and the last isn’t truly a bronzer, but I use it as such (Estee Lauder’s Shimmering Sands Illuminating Gelee, which I use to achieve a ‘sunburnt bronze’ look). Maybe this will be the year…

BLUSH (Own: 28 full size, 1 palette size. Purchased: 2)

Dudes. I only bought 2 BLUSHES this year!!! Seriously, do I deserve a pat on the back or what!? Last year I bought 7, and the year before, 6…so I consider this a HUGE WIN. The first purchase, Benefit’s Lollitint, is still a fave, and Chanel’s Malice, while a slight disappointment, is nevertheless a wearable shade of which I get use. Again, I did receive a bunch of great new shades via PR samples (MUFE HD Blush) and my Clinique gratis (Cheek Pops and a Chubby Stick Cheek Color) though, so that helped keep my own spending in check.


My goal is to keep my blush number at 30 or less, so it’s nice feeling like I still have a bit of wiggle room if new shades catch my eye next year. After I hit that 30 mark though…some lesser loved shades will have to go, it’s as simple as that!

MASCARA (Own: 4. Purchased: 4)

I blew through a bunch of mascara samples this year (4), some drugstore offerings (L’Oreal, Maybelline, CoverGirl), and a couple PR samples (Benefit, Arbonne), but nothing truly wowed me. I picked up Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Intensifying Mascara while in Ottawa though, the first time I’d spent money on a department store mascara since fall 2012, and I quite like it (separates the lashes nicely, subtle but pretty). Never completely satisfied however, I then grabbed CoverGirl’s Clump Crusher Extensions Mascara a few weeks ago, and it’s great. Maybe not HG, but I would definitely repurchase again, especially for the price – it gives good volume, decent length, and best of all you can add coat after coat and it never gets clumpy!


BROW PRODUCTS (Own: 3. Purchased: 3)

I’ve always been pretty lackadaisical when it comes to brows – I guess since mine are decent I haven’t cared to fuss much with them. But since becoming pregnant, for some reason I got it in my head that I needed bigger, bolder brows! I’ve been letting them grow out somewhat, and on top of that I’ve been investing in a few products to achieve this goal as well. However, don’t get me wrong – I’m still resistant to spending much on my brows, and even the $16 I paid for Sephora’s Waterproof Brow Liner was kind of pricey for me. Most recently, I picked up a couple cost-effective drugstore options: Revlon’s Super Liner Brow Artist pencil and Maybelline’s new Brow Drama brow gel, and both have been doing the trick for me. Brow-wise, I guess I’m easy to please 😉


EYELINER (Own: 24. Purchased: 4)

I feel like I bought a lot of eyeliners this year, though I only picked up 4, two of which were black. I generally only wear liquid or cream eyeliner as I prefer to wear it in the ‘flick’ style – I think it’s most flattering / impactful on me, so that’s mainly the formula I picked up (a MAC Fluidline, Kat Von D’s Ink Liner, and a NARS Eye Paint). I did pick up one pencil though – Giorgio Armani’s Smooth Silk Eye Pencil in 1 (black), and so far so good. I recently received Make Up For Ever’s Graphic Liner, another black liquid liner iteration, to try, and it also seems up to the task. I’m a bit inundated with black liner now though! For someone who doesn’t even really wear eyeliner much as a whole, 24 is kind of a lot. I’m going to try this year to reduce that number by half – wish me luck!


EYESHADOW (Own: 72 shades [not including ones still in palettes]. Purchased: 5 plus 4 samples)

Though I got rid of a ton of eyeshadows from palettes this year (18 shades!), I also picked up a handful of new shades (oops) – most which I purchased myself (though I did receive 3 new shades from MUFE PR). I seemed to be on a cream shadow kick (a Bobbi Brown Long-Wearing Cream Shadow, the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Quartet, a MAC Paint Pot, and a Maybelline Color Tattoo), with only one powder shade purchased (MAC Soul Serenade). Just before the holidays however, I got it in my head that I *NEEDED* a sparkly, glittery shadow to up my festive game, and I grabbed an Urban Decay Moondust Shadow in Space Cowboy. It’s been the perfect way to glitz up my holiday looks!


I still plan to get rid of more shadows, as my original goal of owning less than 100 shades total (singles and palette shades) has been reached; now I’m aiming to have less than 75. Here goes nothing!

PALETTES (Own: 3 [21 shades]. Purchased: 0)

This probably comes as no surprise to any of you who’ve been with me for a while. Palettes = BAD in my world. Too much choice all in once place! Gah, the anxiety. Having said that, I’m very happy with my palette stash, and unsurprisingly I didn’t buy any this year (nor did I last year…I’ve actually only ever bought two in my life, once in 2010 [the Urban Decay one, now since completely deconstructed] and a small 5 pan in 2012 in New Zealand [the Kate palette]). Nor am I likely to buy any next year, either! This, my friends, is OK by me 🙂

LIP LINER (Own: 3. Purchased: 0)

Lip liners, meh. Boring category. As such, I only own 3 total, and had no need to even look at them this year. I picked up a translucent shade last year which pretty much covers my needs entirely. However, I was seduced by a MAC shade last year (Fashion Boost), and I’ve owned MAC’s Subculture (procured via a swap) for a couple years, only to have used it maybe once or twice on myself (I use it more frequently on others when doing wedding makeups due to it’s neutral tone). If I were smart, I’d toss Subculture in my kit and pick up a great neutral red liner just to round things out.

LIPSTICK/LIP STAIN (Own: 28 lipsticks, 6 lipstains, and 5 samples. Purchased: 11)

Lipsticks and lip stains clearly came out on top this year, with me purchasing almost 1/3 of my stash in this year alone (yikes!). I’m trying REALLY hard to get the total number down to under 30, but DAMN it’s hard. I have slowed considerably on my purchasing in the past few months though, so I just *might* achieve my goal. The problem is lately I keep getting lured in by drugstore brands (Revlon’s Color Burst Matte Balms, and more recently Maybelline’s Color Sensational Color Elixir in Signature Scarlet), which are just too easy grab when you’re looking for a cheap pick-me-up. There are some great options out there for anyone on a budget, no doubt, but this is one reason I try and keep to the higher-end brands – it curbs my shopping habits better!


LIPGLOSS (Own: 12. Purchased: 4)

I had a strange, mild love affair with lip gloss this year, even though I generally like my lips either bold and mostly matte, or nude (as in, nothing on my lips but balm). I picked up 4 new shades on my own, nonetheless, and I’m on the fence about most of them – I love the YSL Gloss Volupte I got during the Sephora sale, and the Ilia Lipgloss I snagged is a great neutral, but both my Dior Addict Gloss in Exquisse, and the NARS’ newly formulated lipgloss in Istria I picked up, I hardly wear (for no good reason!). Silly rabbit. I’m hoping because the two latter shades are cooler-toned, that it’s just been a matter of not reaching for those kinds of shades in the summer and fall months. Hopefully they’ll get some love in the New Year!


BRUSHES (Own: 24. Purchased: 4)

I mentioned in my Summer Recap post that I’d picked up some Hakuhodo brushes in August. I’d been keen to try the brand for quite some time, and I have been very pleased with each brush I selected. I tried to choose brushes that both filled a gap in my collection but also would be useful on a frequent basis – no specialty brushes here! If you’re curious, after a LOT of research, I chose the J142 Eye Shadow Brush (a lovely crease brush), the G5520BkSL Eye Shadow Brush (a pencil brush, great for detail or for the lower lash line), the G5512BkSL Eye Shadow Brush (a teeny tiny liner brush that is perfect for tightlining) and a Medium Pointed Yachiyo Brush (which helps me blend out my cheek products beautifully – especially as I can be heavy-handed at times [MOAR BLUSH!]). I don’t have my sights set on any new brushes or brands for the New Year….but we all know that could change in a heartbeat 🙂


BONUS CATEGORY: NAIL POLISH (Own: 103 Purchased: ~18)

I bought less nail polish this year than usual, around 17-18 shades (as opposed to my average of about 25+) – in part due to my efforts to keep the number at 100 or lower, and also due to the fact that since being pregnant I’ve not been as crazy about polish as normal – it takes effort to put it on all the time lol! That being said, the total number is at 103, plus 3 shades I consider base staples (white, black, and sheer nude), and I’d still like to bring that number down even lower before the baby comes. But dudes, it’s HARD. I’ve pulled my favourite shades out and that hits around the 50 mark, but then the majority of the other shades are still ones I enjoy…GAH. The reason I’m making the big CHOP is because I figure, when baby comes – if I can manage to paint my nails once a week I will be a superstar.

IMG_3720So. much. POLISH!

Considering I’ve been hovering around the 100 mark for a couple years now, it’s clear I do well at getting rid of ‘meh’ shades regularly, but now that I’m much more particular about any new shades I pick up (as in, I must LOVE them to give them a go), the remaining shades are well, DARN PRETTY, you guys! Maybe I should just go on a purchasing ban for a while, see if I can use up a few shades and bring the number down that way. ~sigh~ Rough life, eh?

So 2014 wasn’t a record-breaking year, either in purchasing or restraint, but I feel pretty good about it nonetheless. I plan to kick-off 2015 with a similar mentality, keeping my purchases to only those that really excite me, and trying to weed out the ‘ho-hum’ products that I only use because they’re there and I should. It may seem like the same old, but you know – I love these perpetual challenges I hold for myself! 🙂

What are your New Years’ goals, if you have any? How did you fare in terms of purchasing/restraint in 2014?


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My Lip Color Collection (Part II – Lipsticks)

Lipstick Collection

Here is the second part of my lip color collection – my lipsticks, as well as a couple lip liners to boot (check out the first part – glosses – here)  I am kind of surprized by the number of lipsticks I have – as in, how few I have, when it seems like I’ve been ogling rich, pigment dense lip colors for the last long while.  I feel like I should have a lot more than I do considering the long wishlist of shades I’m dying to own – let’s hope this year I change this!  You’ll see that similarly to my glosses, I tend to stick to a few shade categories – actually, even more so here.  There is a WIDE gap in colors which I am all too happy to fill 🙂  Let’s take a look!

First up, we’ll start with the neutrals again:

Neutral Lipsticks


Neutral Lipsticks (2)

Natural light

Left to right: NARS Velvet Gloss Pencil in More, MUFE Rouge Artist Intense in N10, Burberry Lip Cover in Rosewood, Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Pencil in Sydney

The NARS lip color is called a gloss, but it’s far too pigmented and not really all that glossy, so in my opinion it’s more of a lipstick.  This is not true for all of the NARS gloss pencils though, as a note.  Out of all of these, I actually only really wear the Buxom lip pencil regularly (which is actually a nude shade on me rather than ‘neutral’) – I think the others are supposed to be kind of ‘my lips but better’ shades, but they just aren’t nailing it very well for me.  Thankfully, out of the four I only purchased one (the NARS), so it’s no real hardship.  But once I use up one or two of these, I’ll be investing in a really good every day shade – every girl’s gotta have one!

Next, we have another shade category of which I think every gal should own at least one color – RED:

Red Lipsticks


Red Lipsticks (2)

Natural light

Left to right: Dior Addict Glitter Collection in Show It, MAC Lipstick in Dare You, MUFE Rouge Artist Natural in N46, MAC Lipstick in Russian Red, MUFE Aqua Rouge in 08

I have a hard time not buying every single gorgeous red on the market – I LOVE me some red lips!  Though as you can see, my stash is very homogenous – where are the orange reds!?  I didn’t realize that all the shades I owned were essentially true reds or even blue-leaning until I did this swatch session.  It’s interesting actually because I think my skintone leans warm, which typically means that I should be choosing a more orange-based red to get the most flattering effect.  However, I do feel the colors I have are great and I feel very good wearing them, so I’m not going to concern myself with it too much.  But, it gives me great pleasure to realize that I have this gap, as it gives me free reign to buy a few more 😀

I would say I wear all of these reds equally as often, except for perhaps Russian Red, which I feel is a more ‘special event’ red as it’s so bold.  The Aqua Rouge is also very ‘in your face’ but because it’s so long-wearing I’ve put it in more regular rotation because it’s so low-maintenance.  The Dior Addict shade, which has since been discontinued, is the sheerest of the bunch, but with a flushed cheek it looks just perfect (though it’s a bit gritty feeling with the gold sparkle).

Yet another ‘must-have’ shade in my humble opinion, is a good vamp:

Vampy-Berry Lipsticks


Vampy-Berry Lipsticks (2)

Natural light

Left to right: MAC Mattene in Bing, Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102, Dior Rouge Dior in #976 Daisy Plum, Shu Uemura Lolishine in #789, MAC Lipstick in Funbathing

MAC’s Bing (an LE shade) was my first vampy shade, and as you can see I pretty much dove right in!  It’s VERY dark and mysterious and…insanely hard to wear.  I either blot it down to wear as a stain (as you saw here), or I mix it with other shades to tone it down a bit.  I still dream of being able to wear it full force, however, reminiscent of the looks in these pics below:

LeightonM Goth

LOVE this photo all around – fabulous makeup on Leighton, and he-LLO Ed Westwick!!

Fall - Dark lip 2

Chanel Noirs Obscurs Winter 2009 collection

I’m not too upset by the difficulties of Bing however, because I have found MY best berry lippie shade since – Ellis Faas’ L102.  I get so many compliment on this lip color, it’s crazy!!!  You’d think I’d wear it every day, but it’s almost like I’m trying to ration it or something, because I don’t.  Silly, I know.  In any case, when I do wear it, it honestly makes my day.  You always have to have one of those kinds of products in your back pocket, right? The Dior #976 is actually a similar color but doesn’t have the same impact, somehow, perhaps because of the golden shimmer.

The Shu lipstick is very sheer and not really my style, but I don’t own any Shu and I got it in a swap, so I’ll hang onto it for now (note that it is no longer available).  Funbathing was also procured via swap (and LE), and I really like it’s berry-bronzey goodness, but it feels fall-ish to me, and I haven’t really had a chance to wear it since I was away for most of the fall and was doing the whole *next to no makeup* thing.  It’ll get it’s chance next year!

And now…CORAL.  While it isn’t the typical ‘you gotta own one’ color, trust me – you gotta own one!

Coral Pink Lipstick (2)


Coral Pink Lipstick

Natural light

Left to right: MAC Lipstick in Crosswires, Burberry Lip Cover in Cameo Pink, Chanel Rouge Allure Laque in Empire, MUFE Rouge Artist Natural in N36

These kind of look pink in my swatches, but IRL they definitely have a coral leaning.  Crosswires is described as a ‘clean pinky orange’ but I don’t see any orange when I wear it at all.  Chanel’s Empire (LE) is described as a ‘pink-peach’ and MUFE’s N36 an ‘iridescent coral’, but to me they’re all in the same vein – coral-pink.  In any case, these are highly wearable shades and seem to go with almost any look I choose (well, Crosswires is a bit bright, but the rest are good to go).  I love them all and enjoy each of these shades immensely! No favorites nor duds in the bunch.

I have one straggler shade here, and sadly it’s also one that I wish would just DIE already – it’s a mauvey purple shade, and I’m not hating on the color, just this one in particular:

Revlon Berry Haute (2)

Revlon Lustrous Lipstick in Berry Haute

Ehhh…it’s just not my thing!  It’s got too much grey in it, which I have to steer clear of (which tends to rule out a lot of mauve tones) – it just washes me out and doesn’t do me ANY favors at all.  I try to wear it occasionally to use it up, and pair it with brighter shades and bronzer in order to keep me from looking dead and blah.  I’d love to have a great purple shade, as I’ve seen it look truly amazing, but just not this one.  Think more like this:

Purple lip

Gah.  Such an awesome look.  SO not like that lipstick I have.  Must rectify.

Lastly, we have my few lip pencils, which I keep because it seems prudent to do so, but which get absolutely NO play from me at all (oops):


Left to right: Joan Rivers Lip Pencil in Nude!, MAC Lip Pencil in Subculture, Nacara Lip Pencil in Sequoia

I think have have the gamut covered well here – a nude, a neutral, and a red.  These will work with all the lip colors I own, if I ever do get the idea to wear one lol.  Happily, none of these cost me a dime so I might as well keep them on hand and not worry about using them – it’s not like they take up a lot of space!

So – gaps.  There is a lot (in my mind!).  I’m thinking I need a true girly pink, a bright fuchsia, an actual nude, an orange-red (and – just an orange!), a coral-orange, and a fabulous purple…sound about right?  Since I went with 25 as my ‘max’ for lipglosses, I don’t see why I can’t apply the same number to lipsticks.  I’ve got 19, add these shades I’ve noted…well, that makes 26, but I’m sure I’ll finish one of these in time no problem 😀 ~schemes~

Lipliner Collection

What are your thoughts?  Any shades here you’ve tried and loved (or hated)?  What color do you normally gravitate toward?

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Sunday Afternoon Fun: My Lip Color Collection! (Part I – Lip Glosses)

After my last swatch-a-palooza, my poor arms were in rough shape (literally), looking like I had a case of serious carpet burn.  They’ve finally healed, so I thought that spending the afternoon swatching all my lip glosses, balms, and lipsticks was the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday.  This finishes up my makeup color collection (see previous posts on my blush/bronzer, eyeliner, and eyeshadow collections!) – I hope you enjoyed sneaking a peek into my stash as much as I did going through it all (swatch-burn aside).  This has been the absolute perfect way to curb my spending, revisit neglected shades, and get inspired by what I already own – you may have noticed I’ve been playing a lot more with color and posting more FOTD’s for your viewing pleasure.  I highly encourage anyone with a more than moderate collection to indulge in a similar practice!!  So, so fun 🙂

My Lipgloss Collection

As these posts can get a little picture-heavy, I’m splitting up  my lip colors into two posts – first, my lipgloss collection, which will include the few colored balms I have as they all have shiny, sheer finishes (which is what I consider the general definition of a gloss); the second post will contain all the lipsticks I own (which incidentally includes one product that is called a gloss but I find far too pigmented to dub it so).

Let’s start with the neutrals, which are often the gateway shade when one is starting a makeup collection:

Neutral Lipglosses (2)


Neutral Lipglosses

Natural light

Left to right: Benefit Ultra Plush in Dallas, Fresh Sugar Honey Tinted Lip Treatment, Benefit Ultra Plush in Hoola, MAC Lipglass in Clear, Illamasqua Sheer Lipgloss in Opulent, Hourglass Extreme Sheen in Ignite, Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Discrete, Clinique Chubby Stick in Graped Up, Pur Minerals Lip Gloss in Passion

I was surprized to find that I had so many neutral glosses – I always feel like I’m looking for one and never quite get what I need.  Laura Mercier’s Discrete is probably the best shade of the bunch when I need something but want to keep the lips lowkey (but not nude), but I wish it were a creme and not with that shimmery finish.  I also like Benefit’s Hoola which is essentially clear but with a hint of sparkle to keep it interesting.  The rest of these I’m pretty much ‘meh’ over, sad to say.

Cool-toned glosses:

Cool Lipglosses


Natural light

Natural light

Left to right: Benefit Ultra Plush in Dandelion, Tarte Vitamin-Infused in 40 Winks, Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Polish in April, MAC Chromeglass in Prize Shine (I think), Illamasqua Sheer Lipgloss in Divine, it Cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush in Je Ne Sais Quoi, Benefit Ultra Plush in Bella Bamba

The three baby pinks on the left are all quite nice and each look different on the lip – the Benefit gloss is pretty basic; the Tarte gloss has a sheer pink base with gold shimmer for warmer looks; and the Buxom gloss is a bit more opaque with quite a bit of silver sparkle, which I love in winter and for nights out.  The MAC lipgloss here I picked up ages ago (the name is worn off, so I’m not 100% sure, but I think it was Prize Shine), and I got it because of this promo pic:

MAC Chromeglass

Actually, it was this girl with this makeup but the shot was at a different angle (which I can’t seem to find online).  Anyway, she looked AMAZING and since her skintone is close to mine, at the time I thought it’d be a great idea.  Uh…. It is one SERIOUSLY METALLIC lipgloss, which makes it exceptionally hard to wear :S  However, back then I was determined to make it work, and picked up…ah damn, I can’t remember now, but it was *like* C-Thru but it wasn’t that.  Anyway (getting rambly here!), I paired the pale milky sheer nudeness of *whatever it was* with Prize Shine, and BAM!  We got this:

Me circa 2006! Check out those majorly groomed eyebrows and purple shadow (wonder what shade that was). Also, that gal with me is still one of my besties - I would have shown her full face (hate cropping people out) but I don't think she wants to have her mug online all the time like mine lol.

Me circa 2006! Check out those majorly groomed eyebrows and purple shadow (wonder what shade that was). Also, that gal with me is still one of my besties – I would have shown her full face (hate cropping people out) but I don’t think she wants to have her mug online all the time like mine lol.

It probably seems crazy that I can remember what I was wearing for a lip color in a photo from 5 years+ ago, but that’s the life of a beauty obsessed gal.  What can I say?  In any case, this was a combo I was totally infatuated with, but  you only needed the tiniest bit of the metallic purple, so I’ve still got about 1/3 left of this gloss (which is LE by the way) – I ran out of the other shade long ago.  I’m determined to finish it this year!

The last two shades are nothing to write home about, the but 3rd from last – Illamasqua’s Divine – will be getting it’s own post.  I got this on mega-sale a couple months ago and I LOVE IT SO MUCH.  Best cool-toned pink ever!!!

Lastly, we have the warmer-toned glosses:

Warm lipglosses (2)


Warm lipglosses

Natural light

Sephora Reflex Gloss in She Sparkles, NARS Lip Gloss in Wonder, MAC Dazzleglass Creme in Luscious Spark, Benefit Ultra Plush in Coralista, MAC Tendertone in Purring, YSL Glossy Stain in #7 Corail Aquatique, MAC Lipglass in Lychee Luxe, Illamasqua Intense Lip Gloss in Plentiful

This shades of gloss are clearly my fave.  I went through a big kick wearing Sephora She Sparkles last Christmas, but haven’t worn it much since.  NARS Wonder and MAC Luscious Spark (LE) are lovely in summer, and I highly enjoy MAC’s Lychee Luxe – so much so that it’s almost finish (yay!).  I’m going to play around with Illamasqua’s Plentiful this spring, as if you recall it was a touch light for my skintone, but I think I can make it work.  I want to love the YSL Glossy Stain, but the fragrance is a little off-putting (mainly because it makes me nervous), and I wish I had chosen a more punchy shade.  I’ll probably pick up another over the next while and I’ll reevaluate my feelings on them then.

So that’s my gloss collection!  It’s actually not SO huge, at 24, considering.  Maybe I’ll set a mental ‘max’ at 25 – so I better hop to is using some of these up!  I’m actually not huge into gloss right now, opting more for a bold lipstick, or even bare lips, but here and there I’ll throw one on, as they can be a convenient way to perk up your look.  My wishlist has very few glosses on it and many, MANY lipsticks, so topping off at 25 should be a piece of cake 🙂

My Lipgloss Collection (2)

I don’t think I’m desperately missing any shades here, though not because it’s such a vast array, but more so because as mentioned, I’m just not terribly concerned with gloss.  A nice nude may help round it out, and I have one in mind actually – Becca’s Ultimate Color Gloss in Fallen Angel.  There!  25 it is.

Do you prefer gloss or lipstick (or neither)?  What shades tend to be your go-to’s?

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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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Where’s Waldo? – My (Fairly Robust!) Eyeliner Collection

Eyeliner Collection (6)

Continuing on with my dedication to filling the gaps in my collection, let’s turn now to my eyeliner stash.  This isn’t an area that I’m terribly concerned with, nor do I obsessed and stalk new eyeliners like I do blush, but it was a fairly easy task to swatch and photograph them, so I figured I’d get them out of the way.

Eyeliner Collection

In glancing at my stash, my first impression is that I’m not missing much of anything – however, that’s partially due to my semi-ambivalence toward eyeliner as a whole.  There are shades (and formulas – I tend to favor liquid) I own that I LOVE,  but overall I tend to wear eyeliner because I own it, not because I’m a fiend for it, and I purchase them infrequently (I wrote a previous post on my eyeliner collection, and since that time I’ve only accumulated …….though I literally just bought the Milani Gold eyeliner within the last hour, LOL! Hey, it was on sale!).  However, it seems I still have a fair number of shades somehow (26, in fact!), so maybe I don’t know what the eff I’m talking about.

Eyeliner Collection (7)

I seem to own at least two shades of most colors – grey, black, purple, etc.  I don’t really wear bold-colored liners much, though it appears I like to buy them!  I’m hoping to change that this year – maybe work ’em on the lower lash liner or blend with black to darken them.

Eyeliner Collection (9)(Left to right): MAC NW25/NC30 Chromographic, Chanel Khaki Platine Precision, MUFE #21L Aqua Eyes, MUFE #14 Aqua Liner, UD Oil Slick 24/7, Wet N Wild 861 (black) Mega Liner, Tarte Starry Night, MUFE #0L Aqua Eyes, Laura Mercier Black Violet Kohl, UD Crash 24/7, UD Ransom 24/7, Illamasqua Paddle

FYI: I forgot to add in the two aqua shades when I did my swatches, oops (since they usually only get pulled out in summer and were stashed away).

Eyeliner Collection (8)(Left to right): Illamasqua Paddle, MAC Blue Petrol Pearlglide, MUFE #4K Khol, UD Covet 24/7, Smashbox On Trend Cream, Clinique Egyptian Cream Shaper, Illamasqua Wisdom Precision, Milani Gold Liquif’eye, Lise Watier Gold Eye Shine, UD Eldorado 24/7, UD Lucky 24/7, NARS Via Appia Larger Than Life, Illamasqua Havoc Precision

Below (top to bottom): Milani Aqua Liquif’eye, MUFE #5 Aqua Liner

So, I’d say within this bunch, I LOVE 1/5 of them (both my Illamasqua Precision Liners, my MUFE #14 liquid liner and #21L pencil liner, and UD’s Lucky pencil), I like half of them (but they fall short of love either because of formula – for example, love LM’s Black Violet and MAC’s Blue Petrol as shades, but they smudge/run like CRAZY – or I just don’t tend to wear them much, like MAC’s Chromographic, MUFE’s #4K, UD’s Covet & Eldorado, Milani Aqua, and NARS Via Appia), and the last few shades just DO NOT do it for me at all (UD’s Deviant is a weird shade on me, Illamasqua Paddle is kind of crap to apply, and the Smashbox On Trend is better as a shadow than a liner).  Then there are about 5 pencils that are so close to being finished I can just TASTE it (UD Oil Slick, Tarte Starry Night, MUFE #0L, UD Crash, and Lise Watier Gold).

Check out what was left after I rubbed off the swatches with makeup remover:

Eyeliner Collection (11)

…That would be the MUFE Aqua Liners, and the Illamasqua Precision Liners – see why I love ’em??

Moving forward, I’m not really sure what gaps need to be filled, except the glaring one which is A BLACK LINER PENCIL.  Once my Tarte and UD liners are gone (–> very soon), I will not own a plain black pencil, just the Wet N Wild liquid one.  I’ve determined that I am going to see what all the fuss is about and buy Giorgio Armani’s Waterproof Eye Pencil in Granite, and I’m pretty stoked about it.  Otherwise, I don’t have any other liner purchases on the horizon just now – or should I?

Eyeliner Collection (4)

Can you see any glaring holes in my eyeliner collection?  What shades do you tend to wear most?

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Playing Where’s Waldo with My Makeup Collection

I spent two hours – TWO HOURS! – last night, researching what products and shades I should to order from Becca Cosmetics (a brand I’ve yet to try and desperately want to).  My (totally logical – I swear!) reason for doing this?  To avoid purchasing any shades that were similar to ones I already own.  I DID come up with a (very) pared down list, you’ll be happy to hear; if you’re interested (and FYI – the blog Shades of BECCA is a good resource for some swatches):

Papaya Beach Tint $30CAD (hot red)

Becca Papaya Beach Tint

Fallen Angel Ultimate Color Gloss $29CAD (nude spice)

Becca Fallen Angel gloss

There were a handful of other products I liked the look of, but in checking out swatches, they seemed to be too close to items I already own (though, c’mon, the brand is gorgeous and I could have easily gone for one of everything!).  Which brings me to the point.

You’re all familiar with my organizational obsession right? (and…if you’re new and not aware: Hello!  My name is Latoya and YES, I have a problem which manifests itself into a bit of compulsive organization.  Could be worse!)  Anyway, another problem I have is lack of funds; when you own a home on your own and don’t make the big bucks, things can get tricky.  However, I have ANOTHER problem (jeez, someone institutionalize me, will ya?), which is that I love shopping – for cosmetics in particular.  Smash the three of these together and what do you get?  Well…you get THIS:

Blush Collection (2)My poor broken MAC blush up on the right 😦

What ‘THIS’ is, is me taking a good look at an area of my makeup collection – specifically blush/bronzers in this instance – and seeing where I have gaps.  By gaps, I mean: what shades do I lack that I can justify buying, in order to round out my stash and also quell the burning desire to shop my face off.  Ya dig?  This fantabulous idea kills three birds three mosquitoes (no one cares about those) with one big-ass swat.   I get to organize something*, figure out what shades or products I’m missing, and rationally and systematically purchase new items that are on my wishlist and fit the ‘missing’ bill.  BOOM!

*Seriously guys, I joke but….I really like organizing things.  So much so, that near the end of the month I’m signing up for a Professional Organizers intro course to see if I’d like to become a professional organizer for realz.  It’s THAT serious :S

So, as you can see, I’m starting with blush – because clearly blush is THE BEST EVER and deserves the number one spot for allowing EVEN MORE BLUSH.  Because clearly 20 (+ 7 bronzer-type things and 2 mini-blush) are NOT ENOUGH.

(I swear I’m not on the sauce tonight guys – I just feel a little peppy ’cause I’m back into running and signed up for the Ottawa 1/2 Marathon in May…wooo! 😀)

Berry & Orange blush swatchesLeft to right (flash): Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita, NARS Turkish Red, Illamasqua Tweak; NARS Taj Mahal, Make Up For Ever Blush Powder #25, Illamasqua Lover, Make Up For Ever HD Blush #12 First Kiss

Plums and RussetsLeft to right (flash): NARS Sin, Bobbi Brown Velvet Plum (discontinued shade); MAC Raizin, CoverFX Bronzed FX in Garnet, Burberry Russet, MAC Early Morning

Even with 20+ blush, I can plainly see what shades I’m lacking: A bright red! (NARS Turkish Red is more of a burgundy)  A true orange! (NARS Taj Mahal is kind of a burnt orange and quite shimmery)  A neutral pink! (…I literally do not own one beige-y pink blush, for shame)   A nice deep berry would be lovely!  And also – varying formulations!  I have NO cheek tints, and only four cream blush.  You see, there actually ARE shades/formulas I do not have despite having far more blush than is probably necessary.  And then, there are shades I need NO more of, like medium pinks…I have enough of those, yep.  I don’t think I need any more bronzers, especially since I rarely wear them and I’m already kinda *ahem* bronze.  I only really have a couple coral shades, which tends to be the one a lot of people go gaga for (myself included), but I’ll hold off till the warmer months on thinking about those right now.  Same goes for apricot-hued shades.

Pink and Coral blush swatchesLeft to right (flash): NARS Desire, Illamasqua Unrequited (discontinued shade*), theBalm Down Boy, Chanel Blush Horizon de Chanel, Benefit Bella Bamba, Illamasqua Hussy, Bobbi Brown Calypso Coral, NARS Torrid, theBalm Hot Mama

Bronzer swatchesLeft to right (flash): NARS Laguna Illuminator, Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzing Powder, NARS Laguna Multiple, MAC Refined Golden Bronzing Powder, Milani Sunset Duos in Sunset Beach, Clinique Bronze Uplighting, Estee Lauder Illuminating Gelee in Shimmering Sands

What I’m wondering is, what gaps do YOU see?  Since I only have my stash to compare it to, I can’t get a good idea of what I’m missing.  What shades can you suggest that I should focus on buying?

Blush Collection

I’m planning on doing this little experiment with all my makeup over the next little while, so be prepared: more lame examples of my organizational obsession coming your way!  But do come back anyway, because I need your help 🙂

Is your makeup collection where you want it to be, or do you have a few gaps you’d like to fill?

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Something to Amuse You While I’m Gone: My Blush Collection (Part III!)

Oh my goodness, it doesn’t end, does it!?  Let me tell you, swatching all these blush took half a day to do; I can’t even imagine attempting something like this if you had a bigger collection than I (and I know some of you do!).  If I hadn’t been off for a couple days before we left, this would never have gotten done.  But, it’s been great swatching and categorizing some of my blush, as it allows me to see just where I can fit one more in LOL!  And, more importantly I hope it helps you out too!  I feel that you can never have TOO many swatches of a product 🙂

Today we’re going to look at something very fitting: orange blushes and bronzers, perfect shades for a tropical vacation 🙂  The bronzer swatches were reworked several times, because some of these products could be considered illuminators too, making it tricky to decide where they should go.  Again, I made a judgement call and I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out!  We’ll begin with the orange shade first however, as the collection is VERY small:

Left to right: Make Up For Ever #10, NARS Taj Mahal

Yep, that’s pretty much it!!  And it’s not even because I fear orange – in fact, I think it’s gorgeous and I stare at other orange blush longingly (I was sorely tempted by MAC’s new Modern Mandarin from Tres Cheek!).  However, it’s tricky to get a true ‘orange’ – usually they lean peach or coral one way or another, and it’s there that I start feeling like I might have a shade similar in tone.  Of course, orange blush isn’t for everyone, and those mid-way shades are often more wearable, but with my darker skintone I like to be a bit more daring.  Seems I need to get on that then, don’t I?

Anyway, Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Cream #10 is a ‘golden tangerine sheen’ which seems  a bit misleading, like it might be sheer – if you recall my review on this, it is NOT.  It’s a tough shade to wear, but I think with a little work it can be absolutely beautiful!  (Note that it can also be worn on lips, but isn’t recommended for eyes)  NARS Taj Mahal, described as a ‘blazing burnt orange with gold shimmer’ (wowza!), is pretty much THE orange blush if you’ve ever thought about indulging yourself.  Let’s look at some swatches:

All swatches taken with flash.  Left to right: Make Up For Ever #10, NARS Taj Mahal

As you can see, neither of these are for the faint of heart, but if you’re looking to be a little bit daring, here are two options to allow you to have some fun!  While both of these do require a light hand, as they’re orange and shimmery – c’mon! – the orange tone lends itself a great, warm glow to the skin that’s simply stunning come Summertime.  I’m definitely wearing Taj Mahal while I’m away!!  Speaking of which, here’s what it looks like actually worn (pre-tan):

Artificial lightingSunlight

Not so scary, right? LIGHT HAND people, and make sure to buff it into the skin well!

Now, onwards to the bronzers!!  Half of these will not be getting much play while I’m away, as I’ll be too tanned for them to show up at all.  I still sometimes shake my head at owning any, but they do add a nice warm glow during my more sallow months I guess!

Clockwise from top left: MAC Refined Golden, Milani Sunset Beach, NARS Laguna Multiple, NYC All-Over Bronze Glow, NARS Laguna Illuminator

I recently swapped for the MAC Refined Golden (in Style Warrior packaging), and while it gives me a really believable bronzed look (not too orange or brown), it’s almost too subtle.  It’s going to be essentially useless until next Winter, so I might swap it away.  Milani’s Sunset Duo in Sunset Beach is one of the cheapest products I own (I don’t own many!) and yet it looks absolutely amazing on, just really natural – and the bronzed shade alone is great for a contour as well.  NYC’s Mosaic Face Powder in All-Over Bronze Glow is another cheapo product, but not as deserving of praise; it transfers to clothing etc. easily (if I use blotting powders, its everywhere) and it’s REALLY dark, even for me – I’m taking it to Jamaica in hopes that once I’m tanned it’ll actually look good.  The NARS Multiples have a great consistency to them, not greasy at all and easy to use, but I don’t find they wear well – this bronze-y shade is no exception.  Lastly, the Laguna Illuminator I raved about last year:  I still love it, in indoor lighting – its just that the big chunks of glitter in it are deterring for wearing it outdoors.  I’m going to pull this out for our evenings while away 🙂

Above, with flash.  Left to right: NARS Laguna Multiple, NARS Laguna Illluminator, NYC All-Over Bronze Glow, MAC Refined Golden, Milani Sunset BeachAbove, natural light.  Left to right: NARS Laguna Multiple, NARS Laguna Illluminator, NYC All-Over Bronze Glow, MAC Refined Golden, Milani Sunset Beach

The NARS Laguna Multiple is really more of an illuminator itself on me rather than a bronzer, but it’s got brownish tones – hence why I categorized it this way 🙂  In the flash photos, you can see the glitter in the Laguna Illuminator – a shame, because otherwise the shade is a great match for me.  You can’t tell how dark the NYC bronzer is here, and in fact the brown shade isn’t terrible, it’s just that it’s just so pigmented it goes on far too heavily.  Alternatively, for the MAC swatch, I had to go over and over again with product to get it to show up as much as it did – it seems pretty goof-proof, so might be a good option if your fair and in the market for a bronzer.  The swatch of Sunset Beach is only of the bronzer part and not including the blush; when you swirl the two together, you get the nicest plum-brown shade that is insanely flattering on my skintone.  Here’s a few face shots for proof:

(PS: I have a Revlon lippie on here, in Berry Haute – thoughts??? Too cool??)

BAM!  Another part of my collection, down!  Are you getting bored/tired yet??  There’s only one more left to go!!  And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part I and II!

And now I’d like your honest opinion – do you think I should bother with bronzers at all, or is it kind of silly?  Do you wear bronzer year-round or just certain times of the month?

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Something to Amuse You While I’m Gone: My Blush Collection (Part II!)

Hello my dears!  I hope this Tuesday finds you very well 🙂  By now, I’ve gotten into the groove and I’m hopefully nice and relaxed (all the free booze doesn’t hurt!).  Today I have some more of my blush collection for you: ‘reds’ and plums.  I put red in quotations because they’re not exactly red, but their of that variety so lets just go with that (anyone else find categorizing blush shades super-difficult!?).

We’ll begin with the questionable ‘red’ shades:

Clockwise from left: NARS Turkish Red, MAC Early Morning, CoverFX Garnet

Notice anything about my MAC blush?  Like the fact that it’s BROKEN!?!  I dropped it back in February, after I’d only had it for about a month, and you know there isn’t anything worse than dropping makeup and it breaking.  I was pissed. It makes me not even want to use it much, but I’m trying to get over that!!

Anyway.  Even though MAC’s Early Morning is described as a ‘peachy-pink,’ I find on me it looks much more like a peachy-red, and more of a burnished shade, so I pulled it in with this group.  It’s probably fairly close to NARS Torrid when worn, but I wanted things to look pretty and complimentary in the product shots, so… 😛  NARS Turkish Red is a deep red cream blush, which I received in a swap last Fall – it’s now discontinued.  CoverFX Garnet is probably my oldest blush, as showcased by -*GASP!*- PAN!!  It’s part of the BronzedFX collection, but I feel it’s far too reddish to be considered a bronzer.  Its a great shade though; it looks fantastic with tanned skin in the Summer and great for a windblown flush in the Fall.

All swatches taken with flash.  Left to right: NARS Turkish Red, CoverFX Garnet, MAC Early Morning

As you can see, these blush aren’t exactly ‘red’ but they definitely have red tones in them.  Turkish Delight is a bit tricky to make work sometimes, but when it does, it truly looks stunning!  Garnet is just a great tone all-around with it’s brick-red qualities, and the shimmer isn’t so much that it’s gaudy.  Early Morning is a very wearable shade as well, as it IS coral (which works for most skintones) but with a faded, dusty tone to which you can wear very soft and subtle, or with a heavier hand to give the face a windburned look (which sounds weird but looks kinda great!).

Next, let’s take a gander at some of the plummier tones I have in my stash, which aren’t always the most popular picks because it can sometimes give a bruised quality, but can also be terribly flattering:

Clockwise from left: NARS Sin, Tarte Blushing Bride Cheek Stain, Bobbi Brown Velvet Plum

Plum blush actually looks quite lovely on my skintone, but like many I don’t gravitate toward them very often.  My first experience with plummy tones was with Tarte’s Blushing Bride Cheek Stain, a sheer deep plum, which I actually used first while staying with a friend in Toronto.  I loved it’s natural and glowing effect – but I find it’s lasting power and the stickiness leave something to be desired.  I also find it’s a bit too muted to show up much my skintone.  The other two shades here are just perfect though; NARS Sin, described as a ‘berry tone with gold shimmer,’ was a recent acquisition this year and it’s gives a great warmed-up look to my paler Winer face, and Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge in Velvet Plum is one of my favorite natural-looking blushes to use in the Summer.

All swatches taken with flash. Left to right: NARS Sin, Bobbi Brown Velvet Plum, Tarte Blushing Bride

I haven’t been wearing Velvet Plum much, which I hope to change when I come back from Jamaica – it really gives my skin a glow and looks super-natural and fresh.  Unfortunately, it looks like it’s been discontinued since the update to the packaging, so if you love it – you’re outta luck!  Sin will likely take a back seat until next Fall when my tan fades, as I suspect it won’t show up much on my darker skin.  As for the Tarte stain…I think it’s days are numbered.  It looks fantastic on my fairer-skinned counterparts, so perhaps I’ll leave it with someone who’ll give it a better home.  It just doesn’t get any attention and there’s still quite a bit left.

Part II finished on my blush collection!!  Be sure to check out Part I – Pinks and Peach/Corals – as well!

What are you’re thought so far?  See any glaring gaps in my shade selections, and particular products that I absolutely MUST own??

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Something to Amuse You While I’m Gone: My Blush Collection (Part I!)

Since it’s a well-known fact that blush addiction is 1) contagious, and 2) that it spreads quickly, I thought I’d leave you with a little *something* while I’m away this week – my gift to you 😛  It’s truly scary how quickly one can go from owning a handful of blush to moving into double-digits in an alarmingly quick fashion.  At the beginning of the year, I think I had 8 (plus a handful of highlighters and bronzers, so around 14 total), and in three short months I have pretty much doubled that number – yikes!!  I was so easy to judge when it was someone else, but I see how quickly things can go downhill.  It’s a fun ride slippery slope, but gosh are there ever some beautiful shades out there!  It’s so easy to fall prey to their powers.

The first installment in what will be a week-long series, are my pink and peach/coral shades.  It blows me away how some of these looks so similar in the pan, yet look nothing alike when swatched/worn.  I played around with the groupings a bit, but am fairly satisfied in how I divided them in the end.  Let’s begin with the pink blushes:

Clockwise from top left: Benefit Bella Bamba, Chanel Blush de Horizon, MAC Madly Magenta, theBalm Down Boy

MAC’s Madly Magenta, a matte cream, is really too violet for this grouping, but it’s the only one of it’s kind in my stash, so it’s joining the team.  I bought it well over a year ago, but the other three were bought or acquired over the past four months. Benefit Bella Bamba is a shimmering ‘watermelon pink’; Chanel’s Blush de Horizon is a shimmering cool-ish pink, and theBalm’s Down Boy is a matte baby pink.

All swatches taken with flash.  Left to right: Benefit Bella Bamba, Chanel Blush de Horizon, theBalm Down Boy, MAC Madly Magenta

Over the past few months, I’m coming to realize that what looks like one thing in the pan might be something else entirely when worn.  I thought for sure that Down Boy would look chalky on me, but it doesn’t at all – it’s just a lovely subtle pink flush.  I was surprized and slightly disappointed to see how close Bella Bamba and Blush de Horizon was, though Bella Bamba does have more pink pigmentation.  I’m still working on MAC’s Madly Magenta…maybe when I’m more tanned I’ll figure it out.

Next up, we have my peach/coral shades – my favorite color of blush.  I find myself always looking at these when I’m shopping, but so far I’ve been able to stop myself from buying more, until I can confidently say it’s a color I do not own.

From top left: NARS Torrid, Illamasqua Tweak, theBalm Hot Mama, Make Up For Ever #12 First Kiss

I know that Illamaqua’s Tweak (described as a deep hot pink) looks far too pinky to be here, but it’s too warm to be included with the ‘pinks’ group, and again it was one of a kind, so here it is. It actually wasn’t so far off from NARS Torrid, a ‘warm coral’ with shimmer, so it seemed to fit.  MUFE’s First Kiss HD Blush is a bright apricot (which is the only recent *purchase* out of this group), and theBalm’s Hot Mama is a pinky-peach with shimmer.

All swatches taken with flash.  From left to right: theBalm Hot Mama, MUFE #12 First Kiss, NARS Torrid, Illamasqua Tweak

It still blows me away every time how light Hot Mama is, when it looks so similar in the pan to Torrid.  Also, comparing Torrid in the pan to Benefit’s Bella Bamba, they look so close, and yet Torrid swatched/worn is SO much deeper than it looks – it’s shocking.  I was also surprized at how much more orange-leaning MUFE’s  #12 First Kiss looks when compared to other shades – when I bought it I thought I might have repeated something else in my stash.  I’m please to know that I didn’t 🙂

As a bonus shot, here’s what Illamasqua Tweak looks like when worn (on me):


Artificial light

In these shots, it looks like it should be with the pink family, doesn’t it? 😛

So, there you have it – Part I of my ever-expanding blush collection!  I hope you enjoyed it – stay tuned tomorrow for Part II!! 🙂

Do you own any of these shades?  Were any swatches surprizing to you too?  What is your favorite blush shade?

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An Inside Look: My MAC Eyeshadow Collection

Now, now…don’t get excited, my MAC shadow collection is quite small – by no means am I a collector, and in truth over half of them were picked up through swaps, and not with my own cash, so…  Anyway, I have enough though (15 shades) to have a dedicated post to them, and I know how popular MAC is, so I thought ‘Why not?’  Let’s get crackin’!First, we have our warm-toned shadows – the first four are from the 2008 Cult of Cherry Collection, the Tempting Quad (which I got in a swap); the last four are singles.Tempting Quad (LE), from left to right: Next to Nothing, Tempting, Dark Edge, and Sharp.  Even though Next to Nothing is supposed to be a ‘yellow beige,’ which should be flattering on it, it just isn’t.  The pink pearl changes to hue to make it too pink for my skintone. Tempting is a lovely, lovely shimmering bronze color which reminds me of Urban Decay’s Smog, but is more sparkly – I wear this a fair bit.  Dark Edge doesn’t have great texture – it’s a bit chalky and hard to blend – but I desperately need a medium brown shade so I do get use out of it.  As for Sharp, I don’t tend to wear bright shades like this, but I’ve played around with it a bit, and paired with the tones in this palette it actually can look quite nice (try it in the inner eyelid for an interesting pop of color).  I used to own MAC’s Bitter (swapped it!), which is quite similar to Sharp, but more green.  The only shade still available from the four is Tempting. Next, a few singles (left to right): Bright Future (from the 2009 Style Warrior collection), Amber Lights, Arena, and Vanilla.  I snagged Bright Future in a swap fairly recently, but haven’t worn it as it seems like a Summer/Fall kind of shade.  I don’t own a yellow shadow like this, so it’ll be fun to play with when the time comes.  Amber Lights is one of my going out shades – it’s super metallic so not terribly appropriate for the office.  The copper shade is really pretty and looks great on, but it irritates my eyes a bit due to the intense pigmentation and the frosty formulation, which is a bummer.  Really good quality though.  I bought Arena (a skintone satin finish) this past year, and in the Summer I wear it almost exclusively as my brow bone/inner eye highlight – it’s got the nicest sheen without being over the top.  In the Winter, I’m too pale for it to work the same way, so if I’m feeling lazy I’ll just wear this as a lid color and be good to go.  Really nice, soft texture on this one.  Lastly, we have Vanilla, which I got in the same swap with Bright Future.  This pale cream shadow has crappy pigmentation which you have to build up, and I am not a fan of the dry, hard formula at all.  I’ve been using this as a brow bone highlight when I’m wearing shimmery shadow, but I’ve got it back up for swap and am hoping to buy a similar shade in a WAY better formulation soon.

Next, let’s look at the cooler-toned shadows in my collection, all singles:Left to right, we have Jealousy Wakes (from the Blogger Collection put out last Spring), Shimmermoss, Electra, Vex, and Shale.  I wrote my review on Jealousy Wakes here.  Sadly, I don’t use this shade much, not because it’s not a pretty color (emerald green), or even a workable color – but more so because, like Vanilla, its got a stiff, gritty texture that’s not the easiest nor a pleasure to work with.  I got Shimmermoss (which is being discontinued) in another MUA swap this past year, and its a nice color with good texture, but the combination of light, pastel and shimmery isn’t really my thing.  If I were more adventurous, I’m sure I could find a way to make this work, but alas – I’m kinda lazy 😛  My aunt gave me Electra years ago, and it is pretty much the silver version of Amber Lights – awesome, smooth texture and pigmentation, but whoa, it’s way too cool and frosty for my skintone (it’s a straight silver), and I cannot seem to make it look good no matter how hard I try.  One total win that I received in a swap is Vex, which was on my wishlist!  This is a really neat pearlescent color, with a slight duochrome effect – flashing between pink, purple and green.  The effect doesn’t show up much on my skin, but it adds a glow to any makeup look I’m wearing, and I think is the type of shade that would work on any skintone, as it’s more on the sheer side and blends nicely.

I cannot capture the duochrome for the life of me!

Last, we have one of my favorite overall shadow shades, Shale.  I bought this in Grand Cayman in 2008, and it’s one of the best subtle smoky shadows ever.  I firmly believe that certain purple shades look fantastic on all skintones and eye colors, and I think this could be one of them.  It borders on taupe/grey (which is more apparent in the photo above; in the pic below, you see the purple tones more), and blends into the skin seamlessly to create a sultry eye with hardly any effort.  Love!Finally, I have three paints, one in pot form, the other two in tubes….that are from so long ago that I probably should feel bad about still having them.  Dude, I bought these in like, the year 2000!  They don’t even make Paints (in the tube) that have color nowadays.  But they still work and are truly gorgeous colors so I just I can’t part with them.For some stupid reason the names of these shades aren’t written on the tube, so I had to do a little searching online to find them.  I’m fairly certain the blue one is called Blue Boy, a shimmering electric blue; the purple one I think is Infamous, a vivid purple with shimmer, from the Fall 2000 Lady Danger collection (if anyone knows otherwise for either, please tell me!).  Obviously these have been long since discontinued.  Both paints sheer out quite a bit if you blend, as like other Paints/Paint Pots, they’re intended to be worn underneath your shadow.  However, I bought them for their beautiful color, so I usually pat them on rather than blend, which helps to preserve their intensity.The one Paint Pot I own is in the shade Soft Ochre, which is a yellow-beige cream.  I almost forgot to add this to the collection (hence why its not in the main photo at top).  It’s close enough to my skintone during the Winter months that I can get away with it (though I don’t wear it alone as it’s still quite pale), but in the warmer months I’m far too dark to pull this off.  I’ve been wearing this as my base most days of the week, to keep my shadow in place – for special events I use a lid primer for better hold.

Et voila!  There’s my paltry MAC shadow collection, for your viewing pleasure (sorry that half the shades are no longer available!).  I don’t forsee my collection drastically expanding any time soon; the oversaturation of MAC collections being put forth the past few years has turned me off the brand to some extent.  I’ve actually swapped several of my shadows away, reducing my collection that much more.  Unless something is released that really catches my eye and is an exceptional product, I don’t even bother to stop by our local MAC counter anymore (which happens to be directly across from Sephora).  So sorry MAC, but more isn’t always better!

How many MAC shadows do you have in your collection?  Are you an avid MAC fan or have you become overwhelmed at the number of releases each month?  What products do you love/hate?

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