Posts Tagged illamasqua

Fun with Fuchsia: American Apparel Neon Violet Polish, NARS Desire Blush, and Illamasqua Divine Lipgloss

As some of you may know, I’ve been in a slight polish slump for the past while.  Nothing has really got me excited much, though I have picked up a few shades here and there (as seen in my last post) that were great additions to my collection.  Last week I was admittedly quite enamoured with China Glaze’s new Dandy Lyin’ Around, a sparkling white polish, but by the end of the week, as usual I was ready for a change.  I was feeling kinda frisky (huh?) and pulled out American Apparel’s Neon Violet polish, a blue-leaning bold pink, which is part of their Neon collection that came out quite a while ago.  I haven’t given this polish much love for whatever reason, though it often draws my eye as it stands out a lot amid the other shades in my stash.  As soon as I put it on, my love was seriously revived – guys, this is a fantastic shade!!  I’ve shown pics to you before (once as a pedicure and once on a friend’s hand) but I’m not sure I’ve given it enough due – you really gotta check it out.  Aside from the glorious color, it’s a near one-coater with a great formula – it’s just FABULOUS.

American Apparel Neon Violet swatch American Apparel Neon Violet swatch (6)

Anyway, it got me thinking again about skintone and whether I am more cool or warm – this is most definitely a cool-leaning shade, and while I inherently think I’m warm-toned because of my caramel coloring, more and more I think I might actually just be neutral, leaning neither way, because I seem to be able to pull off shades all over the color spectrum (hooray for me!).  I also am realizing that it has a lot more to do with just finding the right shade within each color range, rather than whether or not you can wear ‘warm’ or ‘cool’ tones.  After all this thought and over the past few months with some of the beauty accruals I’ve made, I have found my jam in one area at least – fuchsia.

Fuchsia makeup

A few months ago, I was on this kick where I wanted to collect NARS blushes – I already owned four and I thought I’d just keep going with it.  I’ve since kind of gotten over that, but not before I scored Desire in a swap.  Initially I thought it was probably a stupid move – a cool ‘cotton candy pink’ on my skintone??  I just wasn’t convinced.  And since I received the shade in the late summer, which did not seem like the season for this color, I left it alone for ages.

When winter rolled around, I figured it was time to give this ago and decide if I was going to keep it or not.  As true for many NARS blushes, it has great pigmentation, and because it’s completely matte it’s exceptionally wearable (as a general rule, I find bright pink + shimmer = TOO DAMN MUCH).  The first time I wore it, I happened to pair it with heavy black liner and naked lips, and BAM!  Compliments galore!!  It looked smokin’ (sadly, I do not have pics from that day).  It was then that I started to think that fuchsia might be a color I want to start giving more of a chance.

NARS Desire Blush

One night a couple months ago when Illamasqua was having their last huge sale, I was perusing the site – and on top of discovering that my current blush lemming Crush was on sale, I also could score the Sheer Lipgloss in Divine (a ‘deep fuchsia pink’) for 1/3 of the regular price.  When my package arrived, I was pleased to find that Divine was a wonderful addition to my gloss collection, as it was unlike anything I already own.  Additionally, it’s smooth, non-sticky formula was a pleasure to use, and while it isn’t as pigmented as it looks in the tube, its a great shade to brighten up my face in a pinch.

Fuchsia gloss and blushFuchsia gloss and blush (2)Swatches: Illamasqua Divine (left), NARS Desire (right)

As I already noted, I had previously always thought I had a warm-leaning skintone, so when I saw evidence of how yet another cool-based color looked great, I was finally convinced – fuchsia rocks my world!!

Illamasqua Divine lip swatch FOTD MUFE 21L and Illamasqua DivineWearing Illamasqua Divine Lipgloss

Out of all this discovery, one thing became glaringly clear – I desperately need a bright fuchsia lipstick!!  The lovely Sarah from Beauty and the Baked Goods send me Revlon’s Sweet Tart lip butter, which is a great pink, but it leans more candy-colored.  I’ve been doing my research and I’m torn between Bite Beauty’s High Pigment Matte Pencil in Quince $28CAD (described as a rose berry – but looks pretty fuchsia to me), YSL’s Rouge Volupte Radiant Lipstick in Rose Culte $39CAD (a ‘vivid fuchsia’), or new NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Yu $30CAD (a ‘shocking pink’).  I haven’t gotten to swatch the NARS pencil in person yet, so not sure if it’s the right tone, but the other two totally do it for me – it’s likely I’ll opt for the Bite pencil as it’s more reasonably priced and I have yet to try a lippie from the brand.

All said and done, I’m pretty stoked that I’ve stumbled upon a go-to shade that seems to work so well with my skintone.  I’ve made several discoveries of this kind over the past couple months while funds have been so limited – I’ve been taking the time to play more and make more informed decisions about what I purchase when I have the means to do so, and it’s been a positive learning experience 🙂

Fuchsia makeup (2)

What unlikely makeup / polish shades have you discovered to really work for you?

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Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Crush – The Perfect Transitional Blush!

Transitional.  Transitional?  It’s a word, I checked, but I’m not sure I’m using it correctly….

Baby ExpressionsHaha…I had to post this, I googled ‘confused face’ and this came up.  Awesome! (photo credit: iStock)

ANYWHO.  What I’m trying to say is, Illamasqua’s Cream Blusher in Crush, a gorgeous deep berry/wine, is the perfect shade to take you from a flushed, wintery look to a pretty, fresh pink look appropriate for spring.  So, it can transition well between seasons.  Ahhh, see what I’m sayin’??

Last month (which seems like AGES ago now), I was reading all about Amy’s hankering for a fabulously deep, rich-toned blush, and as you do when you’re a beauty fiend, I got it in my head that Crush was going to be THE dark berry I needed in my collection.  Lo and behold, while scoping it out on the brands site, it turned out to be majorly on sale, as was a beautiful cool-toned fuchsia gloss called Divine (which I will review soon!), so I sucked it up and paid the shipping costs to buy the both of them.  It ended up only costing me like $37CAD with tax and shipping, so I still saved a bunch (both the blush and sheer lipglosses are regularly $28CAD approx. and shipping $13 approx. on the site).


When my package arrived, I opened it to find delicious goodness – Crush was exactly what I was hoping for!

Illamasqua Crush (3)Illamasqua Crush (2)

At first glance, this shade looks intense, I know.  And truth be told, the first time I went to wear it, I was like WHOA!  It can get pretty hardcore, as evidenced by the swatch below.  However, as long as you remember that you only need the *tiniest* amount to get a full-on flush, you’ll be good to go.  I tend to be heavy-handed with blush because a) half the time the shades I wear are better suited to fairer skin, and b) because I FRICKIN’ LOVE BLUSH and just want to smear it everywhere.  In any case, I just can’t get all slap-happy with this blush, and the results you get from taking a bit more time to get it right make it all very worthwhile.

Illamasqua Crush swatch

The consistency of the blush is soft, smooth and sort of gel-like – likely because of the inclusion of petroleum.  I didn’t like the idea of that at first, but I have found that this hasn’t made my skin oily or clogged my pores at all, so no harm, no foul (it also contains fragrance, but so far it hasn’t caused me any grief, thankfully!).  In fact, this blush wears terrifically, lasting all day at almost the same strength as when first applied, which I think is due to the way it melds and clings to the skin.

This is an intense shade, no doubt about it, but it can be sheered out beautifully – my application method goes something like this: after applying foundation, very lightly dab a stippling brush into the pan, then dot it along the cheek / cheekbone on both sides of the face.  Go back and buff it out for the desired look, and then go over the edges to soften with your foundation brush.  I also patted right over the blush with my foundation brush to make sure it looked as natural as possible.

Illamasqua Crush‘Scuse the plain look, I was going for a run, and was running TO a coffee shop to meet friends, so I didn’t want to go totally bare – LOL! 

Illamasqua Crush (4)Better?  This is me today – I didn’t show a full-face because my hair is all sorts of crazy today for some reason, but you get the gist.

Ahh, this blush is just so great!!  Love, love, love.  And see how it gives me a pinky tone?  I think that with a slightly more concentrated application, it could look more wintery/windblown, but with it’s cream-gel texture and by keeping it more subtle, it is totally spring-appropriate too.  The sheerness keeps it fresh and happy 🙂

Ingredients for your perusal!

Illamasqua Crush ingredients

If you’re in the market for a cream blush and/or a berry blush, I would start your hunt with Crush!!

Have you hit the jackpot on a sale item lately?  Do you own a fabulous berry blush?

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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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Holiday Color Pairings

Holiday Colors

When I start to think about it, it’s not really a surprise to me that I love makeup.  When I was a kid, I use to spend hours pairing my crayons together in color combinations I thought looked good together (which was also a great indication of my obsessive tendencies toward organization, but that’s a whole OTHER topic in itself!).  While I don’t feel societal pressures to follow trends in shades (woohoo, Emerald for 2013!), nor feel like I ‘should’ wear darker colors in winter and brighter colors in summer, I choose to follow these paths often because it just makes sense to me.  I love the idea of changing the shades I wear according to seasons – heck, I even do it with the change in weather!  Rain means somber shades of grey or blue; sun means warm tones of gold, or brights like aqua and orange; and snow equals icy silvers and cool pinks and purples.  Its just how I roll, ya’ll!

Holiday Colors (2)

As it’s the holidays, of course I imagined an array of festive shades to represent the season, and since the work was already done, I thought I’d share them with you!  On the weekend for the first time I matched my lips to my tips, and it was a lot of fun.  I’m not entirely sure I’d do the same with eyeshadow, but the colors below all complimented a polish I own so well I figured what the heck.  I hope you enjoy!

Holiday Colors - SilverBobbi Brown Chrome Eye Shadow in Pewter; Chanel Le Vernis in 529 Graphite

Holiday Color Swatches - Silver (2) Holiday Color Swatches - SilverChanel Graphite; Bobbi Brown Pewter

Both of these silvers are so much more than plain ol’ silver.  They both veer into a warmer tone rather than stark icy shades, which means they’re quite wearable for all skin tones.  Pewter is currently unavailable as this was an LE shade, but at times Bobbi Brown brings it back in palettes and such, so keep your eyes peeled!  Graphite has had a ton of reincarnations over the past year since it was released (though I don’t believe it’s LE anyway) – the best being Sally Hansen’s Shoot the Moon which was just featured on All Lacquered Up.

Holiday Colors - RedEssie Limited Addiction; Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural in #46

Holiday Color Swatches - Red (2) Holiday Color Swatches - RedEssie Limited Addiction; MUFE #46

MUFE’s #46 Rouge Artist lippie was the red shade I wore on the weekend to compliment my red manicure (done with China Glaze Ruby Pumps).  I ADORE this lipstick; it is by far my favorite red that I own.  It’s more of a true red I think, and looks so darn good on!  The moistness of the lipstick keeps it looking so juicy and festive without being overwhelming in the least.  It feels amazing on and I just can’t get enough!  The only downside is that it’s only available at MUFE Pro stores and kiosks, but well worth the effort.

Essie Limited Addiction was, unfortunately, limited edition, but there are a billion reds out there I’m sure that are similar – just a bit deeper than your typical shade and neither warm nor cool.

Holiday Colors - GreenMAC Jealousy Wakes; a-England Saint George

Holiday Color Swatches - Green (2) Holiday Color Swatches - Greena-England Saint George; MAC Jealousy Wakes

Hot DAMN Saint George is beautiful!  I don’t wear this polish nearly as much as I should, mainly because when I bought it last year, I wore it about three times in a few weeks – obsessed, I was!  I’m wearing this to my work Christmas party this week and I’m super excited!  Its one of the few greenish hues I own, and one of the few of that color palette I like.  In truth it’s more teal than green but whatever – evergreen, shall we say?  I LOVE IT and all it’s prismatic shimmer.

Jealousy Wakes is also another shade I rarely wear, probably because I don’t wear color in my shadows nearly as much as I used to, but I still enjoy it from time to time when I do pull it out.  I dislike the texture of the shadow immensely – it’s so stiff and rough! – but it IS a lovely shade.

Holiday Colors - GoldSephora Brand She Sparkles; SpaRitual Aurum

Holiday Color Swatches - Gold (2)Holiday Color Swatches - Gold (3) Holiday Color Swatches - GoldSpaRitual Aurum; Sephora Brand She Sparkles

Oooh, sparkly indeed!  Though Aurum is sort of a crap color on me – probably on most people, it’s so damn blingy I’m going to HAVE to pull it out for the holidays!  Look at that sparkle!  It’s a bit more greenish-gold than the orange-y gold of She Sparkles, but they both shimmer prettily together, don’t you think?  I wore She Sparkles like crazy the last holiday season (when I purchased it), but haven’t given it much love since.  I’ll surely be pulling it out again this month!

Holiday Colors - BlackMAC Dark Soul Pigment; Illamasqua Creator

Holiday Color Swatches - Black (2) Holiday Color Swatches - BlackIllamasqua Creator; MAC Dark Soul

Though I’m not a huge lover of black nail polish, Creator has won me over with its glittery goodness, and looks both elegant and edgy at the same time.  It compliments Dark Soul so perfectly!  I could totally see rocking these two shades together, it’s like they were made for each other.  I rarely wear Dark Soul for sort of obvious reasons (its a shimmery charcoal shadow – the rockstar look doesn’t exactly work at the office), but I’m trying to find ways to implement it more when I can.  It’s definitely a perfect shadow for the holidays!

It was fun making these pairings and a huge throwback to my formative years 😛  It’s also scary to see that I happen to have enough polish and makeup that I can actually make pairings that coordinate so well… ~shrugs~ I’m a collector, what can I say?

Have you gotten into the matching trend?  Would you be willing to try it, or do you avoid it at all costs?  What colors say ‘holiday’ to you?

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Illamasqua Lip Twin Sets Make for No-Brainer Pairings!

Throughout my entire New Zealand trip*, I never purchased one cosmetic save for a mascara in the airport en route, so it was a nice end to my self-imposed purgatory to arrive home to three different holiday sets to play with.  I was most excited to play with one of Illamasqua’s holiday Lip Twin Sets ($41CAD), which provide you with a matching gloss and lipstick to wear separately or together depending on your look that day.  The set I received contained Obey, a pale peachy pink matte lipstick (reg. $29CAD), and Plentiful, a bright peachy pink gloss (reg. $27CAD).

*note: I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned New Zealand in every single post since I got back – forgive me, I’m just hanging on to those memories for dear life!


Illamasqua Twin Lip Set

The two shades are very close, albeit Obey is lighter, and compliment each other exceptionally.

Illamasqua Lipstick in Obey and Lipgloss in Plentiful swatches (2) Illamasqua Lipstick in Obey and Lipgloss in Plentiful swatches

On a pale complexion, or perhaps someone lighter with less pigmented lips, these shades would be quite pretty.  They veer into nude territory without being dead-looking, and the effect would be very flattering.  However, because the two lip products are so pigment-rich, the paleness of the colors in their opaqueness do not work well on me.

Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Plentiful (2) Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Plentiful

If blended out as I’ve done here, Plentiful is a nice peachy shade that makes me think of spring.  With the makeup I have on in the photo, it actually works well as a more nude-natural lip.  The gloss is fairly thick however, and must be applied carefully to avoid it looking milky and obvious (at least on me).

Illamasqua Lipstick in ObeyIllamasqua Lipstick in Obey (2)

Obey, on the other hand, washes me out completely.  If I had a smokey eye here, it *might* work ok, but I would have to sheer it out to be comfortable with the shade.  As well, due to the somewhat chalky nature of the color, you MUST have your lips in perfect condition – otherwise flakes and other issues are entirely apparent.  I had exfoliated and hydrated my lips for a good hour before trying this again, with the same patchy results.  Again, I think if your lips are less pigmented than mine (and you hair a more fair complexion),  you could wear this shade well.  I don’t think it’s a total no-go, just a complete NO-NO for me.

On top of the general shade issues of Obey, I discovered that the Illamasqua lipsticks contain lanolin, another no-no for me.  The gloss also contains linalool and limonene, two potentially irritating ingredients I try to avoid, and both the lipstick and gloss contain fragrance.  Neither appear to contain parabens, however.  Here is the ingredient lists for both products:

Illamasqua lip ingredients

Overall, I love the idea of the twin sets and I think Plentiful would be a gorgeous shade on the right person.  I withhold making a full judgement on Obey until I see it on someone with the ‘right’ skin/lip tone, but have my reservations.  Even the lip swatches on the Illamasqua site don’t make it look all that appealing.  However, if you’re interested in the twin sets, there is another available on the website with the shades Sangers and Succubus, a rich blood red duo (and much more up my alley!).

What do you think of the lip twin sets? Would you wear a matching gloss on top of your lipstick? What lip shades do NOT work on you and why?

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

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Upcoming on Beauty Obsessed…

So it’s been a week since I’ve been returned from my New Zealand adventure, and I’m slowly (verrrrrry slowly) getting back into the swing of things.  It’s quite an adjustment to go from an action-packed-always-on-the-go-surrounded-by-people-partying-every-night atmosphere, to being…back to work, home alone, same-old same-old.  I’m not knocking my life by any means – I’ve got a warm, cozy condo; a good (though perhaps boring) job; and great friends – but it’s still quite a change to get re-established into.  And I’m someone who really likes to have things to look forward to (which is why I’m planning my next adventure!).

When I googled this country, I noticed it ALSO has a lot of sheep…guess it’s my thing 😉  *Hint hint* 

ANYWAY.  Enough whining, and on with the show, right?  Right.  Tonight, I opted get a bunch of ‘To Do’s’ done and make bread (because what’s more comforting than baking bread!?), but I want to show you what you can expect to see on the blog in the next week or two.  I happily came home to a few surprise packages that had been sent my way, so despite the fact that I haven’t been buying much in the way of exciting cosmetics in the past couple months (though…I did pick up an eyeshadow this weekend ~guilty face~), I do have several holiday sets – four to be exact – to fill you in on!

Illamasqua Lip Twin Set*

Intense Lipgloss in Plentiful & Lipstick in Obey

Hourglass Best of Hourglass Collection*

(Top to Bottom): Veil Mineral Primer, Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara, Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss in Ignite, No. 28 Primer Serum

Make Up For Ever All Eyes On You Set*

(Clockwise from left): HD High Definition Powder, Aqua Cream Waterproof Cream Color in #16 (Pink Beige), Smoky Lash Extra Black Mascara, Aqua Eyes Waterproof Eyeliner Pencils in 21L (dark grey) and 0L (mat black)

Benefit High Flyin’ Glosses Lip Gloss Set

(Clockwise from top left): Coralista, Dallas, Bella Bamba, Dandelion, Sugarbomb, Hoola

I think that’s a pretty good start to the holidays, don’t you?  I will tell you now, I am absolutely IN LOVE with the Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum – it makes my skin look amazing on it’s own, improves it’s texture, doesn’t cause ANY breakouts or irritation (even on my normal-to-oily skin), and my makeup wears better and smoother with it on (though I will say, it doesn’t make it last all day long).  I’m definitely buying a full-size when money isn’t so tight!

So – keep your eyes peeled!  I spent the morning Sunday taking photos of everything, though I have to redo my lipgloss swatches as I had a bit of unnoticed flaking going on – yikes!  I don’t want to scare you away just when I’ve gotten back! 🙂  Also… (or even two!) of these sets just *might* be part of a giveaway coming soon to a blog near you – just sayin’.

What’s on everyone’s wish list for the holiday season, cosmetics-wise?  Anything you’ve already picked up and are loving?
*Products marked with an * were provided to me for consideration of review by the PR company/brand.

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Illamasqua’s Generation Q: Creator Nail Varnish, Opulent Sheer Lipgloss, and Wisdom Precision Ink Review & Swatches

Even though the weather is still warm (though by no means as hot and humid as it has been!), and fall doesn’t officially start for like, 3 weeks, I’ve still jumped the gun and switched around all my makeup and nail polish to reflect cooler-weather shades.  What can I say – I love change! 😀

Illamasqua Opulent Sheer Lipgloss

Helping me kickstart my shift into fall beauty are a few great key pieces from Illamasqua’s new fall/winter collection, Generation Q.  I love the idea behind the collection, that beauty is ageless – particularly for someone who is just moving out of the ‘downtown party’ stage, I like to think that even though I’m not out every night dancing it up, that I can still wear fabulous makeup without feeling I’m now ‘too old’.  Truth be told, it’s not something I think of too much – my mom is a perfect model of someone who still absolutely loves to have fun with makeup and manages to still look fabulous doing it!

Illamasqua Creator Nail Varnish

The three pieces I have to show you today pretty much cover the bases for a great transition between seasons: an antiqued gold liquid liner (Precision Ink in Wisdom); a rainbow beige gloss (Sheer Lipgloss in Opulent); and a magical sparkling black nail polish (Nail Varnish in Creator).  All three are crazy-wearable yet still edgy, which is my kind of makeup!

First, the glittering goodness that is Creator ($18CAD).

Creator is a black polish with small glitter particles heavily dispersed throughout.  It dries with slight texture that is totally eradicated with topcoat – the addition of which brings out the shimmer that much more.  As expected with Illamaqua polishes, this was easy-peasy to apply – easy flowing with good consistency, and you can almost get away with just one coat!

Just a quick comparison between this shade and Orly’s Goth as I’m sure some of you are wondering – and as you’ll see, they’re really apples to oranges.

Index and middle finger – Goth; ring and pinky fingers – Creator

Obviously, Creator is far superior!!  While Goth is nice and shiny without topcoat, it doesn’t make up for the fact that it lacks the density of Creator’s glitter – which helps give the latter it’s fabulous sparkling quality.  Add a topcoat to smooth it out and you’re good to go!

Next, we have the ultra-pretty Opulent gloss ($20CAD).

Opulent is a lovely sheer beige lipgloss with pearly multicolored shimmer.  It’s wearable on it’s own, imparting a beautiful amped-up nude look to the lip, but it would also be fabulous layered over pretty much any other shade of lippie.

The texture of the shimmer is slightly gritty but only just so.  It’s comfortable to wear with a touch of stickiness that helps it wear well for several hours.  The only drawback I found to this gloss was the applicator, the bristles of which are somewhat stiff and don’t allow the brush to easily lay the gloss down on the lip.  The brush was also slightly splayed from the get-go, so my technique is to use it merely to dab the gloss on my lip then blend with my finger or separate lip brush.  Not ideal, but not a deal-breaker either!

I left my favorite product for last – the liquid liner in Wisdom ($34CAD)!

I have another Precision Ink liner, Havoc, which I also adore – liquid liner is my favorite style of liner, and these are some of the best.  I find the pointed, sponge-tipped applicator terribly easy to use; if I’m having a particularly challenging day, I can even just hold the wand parallel to my lash line and dab it on and still get a great effect.  These liners are also uber-waterproof, and won’t come off ’till you wash them off with remover or cleanser.

On top of the fabulosity of the formula, I mean – check out this shade, dudes!  It’s soooo good 🙂  I love that it’s the perfect mix of khaki and gold, which means it’s pretty much wearable all year round, seasonally speaking.  And I’m pretty sure it’ll look terrific with every single eye color of life!  Gah…I absolutely Love Love LOVE this liner!!!

Here’s a quick face I did using both the liner and lipgloss, and then just adding a touch of Estee Lauder’s Illuminating Gelee in Shimmering Sands on cheekbones:

What I love about these three products is how well they go together; and looking at the entire Generation Q collection, I find it exceptionally cohesive.  I also enjoy that while the promotional images for the collection showcase vastly different and sometimes outrageous looks, the actual shades used aren’t hard to use and work for all skintones (and ages!).  I feel that this is one of the most enticing fall collections for me – I want to pick up each and every single product in the launch!  And I just might do so….but this is a good start, for now 😉

What pieces from Generation Q are you lemming? 

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

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Pushing the Boundaries with Illamasqua’s Kontrol Lipstick

Lately I have been feeling very run of the mill, very generic…every so often I get this way and I crave breaking the mold and doing things unlike the status quo.  I think as a whole I always have an urge to go against the grain, but when I feel these particularly strong longings, usually someone or some persons are at the root of it.

This past week, I was really moved and inspired by some of my daily blog reads – they showcase things in a unique way, and played with makeup in a fashion that really got my attention and got my brain going.  Karen at the Makeup and Beauty Blog pulled out some great looks that I really enjoyed, that were both wearable and fun.  I especially like to see the looks she creates because our skintones are so similar and it gives me a great visual to work with.  Kate at Drivel About Frivol is just an absolute genius at makeup as a whole, and seem to view it as an art (which is how I see it and want to approach it as such).  She manages to come up with ideas that are both out of the box but still pretty, and they hold SUCH interest.  I aspire to be as creative as her one day.  These are just two bloggers of the infinite number that push me to really use makeup as a way to express myself, rather than to just wear to look ‘pretty’.

Another excellent source of inspiration for my lately has been the phenomenal promotional images churning out from Illamasqua for their new Fall collection Generation Q.  I love that they’re using ‘real’ people, not models, and pushing the boundaries of age, gender, skin color…and good gracious, they look stunning!  Can you even handle how sultry and sexy Patricia looks (and that mani!!)????

So.  Full of ideas and drive to step outside my comfort zone and get a little crazy, I decided it was time to try out Illamasqua’s Kontrol lipstick – a creamy blue violet that looks pretty terrifying in the tube, I must say.  It’s very, shall we say, eye-catching!  But if I’m going to work on being unique and original, I’m going to have to learn how to be comfortable with being a bit more ‘noticed’, so no time like the present!

Natural light


With flash

First I tried wearing Kontrol on it’s own, with a very little made-up face – just a touch of concealer and powder, shimmering bronzed powder buffed into the cheekbones and temples, targeted glowing highlights on the brow and inner eye corners, and a whole lotta mascara.  I applied it straight from the tube to keep it a little less intense, though I find the shape of the bullet allows for fairly precise application (a quick note: be sure to cover the entire mouth including your inner lip, as it can really look stark pink and noticeable otherwise).  This shade, my friends, is BOLD.  It is not for the faint of heart or the shy and demure.  It’s definitely a color which challenges the idea of what’s ‘pretty’ – but honestly, after wearing it for a few minutes, and with the warmth from my makeup, I kind of liked it!!  Super bad-ass 😉

Above, in sunlight; below, artificial light (both with flash)

However, of course we must remember that I’m just dipping my toe into this new arena of originality, so for my first foray out of the house with Kontrol on, I toned it down and warmed it up with a bit of coral gloss.

Above, in sunlight; below, artificial light (both with flash)

I really liked the way this looked with the gloss; I think as a way to ease into wearing a shade such as this, it made for an easy transition – still edgy without feeling a bit too ‘out there’ for this against-the-grain novice. However, I don’t plan to rest on my laurels here – the whole point is to push the boundaries of what’s considered ‘normal’ and step on the other side of the line just so.  I want to find that happy place that so many can achieve with fashion (which sadly I cannot master), where they draw gazes for their unique sense of style without also going so far past the line that they look ridiculous.  I think I can get there, but I will have to take chances.  I think Kontrol is an excellent place to start, don’t you?

What is your approach to makeup?  Do you have any beauty goals you’d like to achieve?

Ridiculous face because I am, in fact, ridiculous – this was actually my effort at a ‘real’ shot, not being silly…how lame am I?!

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

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Illamasqua’s Unrequited Powder Blusher – I *Might* Never Buy Another Blush

A disclaimer before I begin: the absolute awesomeness of what I’m about to show you is no longer available for purchase. *ducks hurtling objects* I know, I know!!!  I normally don’t like to do this, especially when I’m well-aware that the product has been discontinued.  However, I really can’t hold back on my excitement and I just really want to share with you, is that ok??  Please don’t hold it against me!!!

Alright.  So, once upon a time, about a year ago, there was a girl who owned 8 blush (give or take a few).  She really had no interest in accruing any more; blush was kind of a ‘must’ due to no natural flush of her own, but nothing that really sparked her interest.  Then, she began seeing swatch upon swatch of HG blushes: shimmery, matte, warm, cool, highlighting, contouring – and suddenly she became intrigued.  The word ‘blush fiend’ was thrown around a lot, and somehow a phrase that was supposed to imply something negative, started to sound kind of…fabulous.  Time passed, and suddenly the girl woke up to find herself with 3 times the blush she had before, and a MAJOR hankering for many more.  It seemed that none could satisfy her lust completely (though she managed to snag a TON of pretties along the way).


Illamasqua Unrequited

One day, said girl came across a blush that at first, seemed to be just like any other.  But, being the blush fiend that she had proudly become, she nevertheless forged ahead and tried it on…..and just like that, she fell hard for THE ONE.

(Ok guys, I can’t write in third person any more, it’s too hard on my head – and to top it off, I’m watching episodes of the discontinued ‘Lipstick Jungle’ series and drinking wine.  So yea.)

Unrequited is my fourth Illamasqua powder blusher – I also own Tweak, Hussy, and Lover – and while all of those shades bring joy to my blush loving heart, they do not blow my mind like Unrequited.

Natural light



The shade of this blush is utter perfection on my skintone – like my ultimate natural flush.  It’s soft and demure without being too subtle, and the pink tones compliment my skin – and pretty much any makeup look – in the best way possible.

Artifical light


I just can’t get enough of this shade, I want to wear it every day (and have been)!!  It is more powdery than my other Illamasqua blushes, and kicks up a fair bit, but it doesn’t look powdery on the face, and this one small drawback does NOT decrease how much I love this shade even one iota.  I suspect that the lighter the color, the more ‘fluffy’ it will be – a similar shade I own (though not as lovely), theBalm Down Boy, has similar issues.

Speaking of Down Boy, here is a comparison, along with Illamasqua’s Hussy:

Left to right: theBalm Down Boy, Illamasqua Unrequited, Illamasqua Hussy (natural light)

Left to right: theBalm Down Boy, Illamasqua Unrequited, Illamasqua Hussy (flash)

Left to right: theBalm Down Boy, Illamasqua Unrequited, Illamasqua Hussy (sunlight)

You can see that Unrequited has a touch of warmth and is a bit deeper than Down Boy, which makes all the difference – truly, this is the ultimate pink blush.  I’m always surprized by shades like these, because they look so light on my skin in swatches, but then turn out beautifully on the skin.

If you own Unrequited – good for you!  May you use it in good health for the rest of your days (I know I will be)!  If you don’t….truly, I’m  sorry to rave about this, but it literally *just* was discontinued, and I just can’t get past how much I love it to NOT show it to you!  My advice is to find it somewhere, somehow – on eBay, or Makeup Alley – or possibly better yet, find a dupe!  And if you do, please let me know, as I’d love to put a note about the shade on this post, I’d feel so much better about my total awfulness.

Do you own Unrequited (please say yes!)?  What is your ultimate shade of blush for your skin?

*Product was provided by the Brand’s PR for my unbiased consideration.

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Summer Looks, 3 Ways: Cheeks, Lips or Eyes

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

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

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

Good grief I’m chatty.

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

Look #1 – Focus on Cheeks:

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

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

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

And the resulting look!:

Above – In sunlight; Below – With flash

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

Look #2 – Focus on Lips:

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

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

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

My interpretation:

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

Look #3 – Focus on Eyes:

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

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

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

Here’s how I made it work:

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

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

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

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

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

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