Posts Tagged Mascara

Recent Purchases, Part III: The eye make-ups

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


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


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

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

Benefit Roller Lash MascaraBenefit Roller Lash Mascara

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

Benefit Roller LashTwo coats of Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

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

IMG_1018L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara in Black

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

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

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

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

IMG_1016L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Mascara in Blackest Black

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_0938 IMG_0944

GAH. My kid is so stupidly cute.

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

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Make Up For Ever gives ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ a touch of class

When I was in New Zealand, I spent a lot of time traveling around on a bus. To pass the time, I read a handful of books, two of them being part of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. There are a couple points to note here: I only read two of the three books; and I read more than one of the books only because at that time I had nothing else to read. Are you getting the picture yet? Quite honestly, I found the ‘Fifty Shades’ books ridiculous – the sexy bits were repetitive and silly, and I actually started to skip over them to get to the ‘meat’ of the novel. I struggled to get through the second book, and I had NO desire to read the third novel and find out how Christian and Anastasia ended up.

NEVERTHELESS. This should not be taken to mean that I will not give a ‘Fifty Shades’ themed makeup collection my full attention and appreciation – particularly one from a favourite brand of mine, Make Up For Ever. The Fifty Shades of Grey Give In to Me make-up coffret ($90CAD) by the brand is especially worthy of a serious look – even though I could take the books as anything but!


The kit contains a handful of Make Up For Ever’s most iconic products: their popular Smoky Extravagant mascara (review here – though please note that while my original review was less than stellar, the one in this set is quite lovely!), their new Graphic Liner (review here), two natural-hued lip products – a Lab Shine Lip Gloss in D14 (a shimmering indian pink) and a Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N4 (a pink-beige), and four neutral shades of the exquisite Artist Shadows, in I-514 (‘pink ivory’), S-556 (‘taupe grey‘), ME-612 (‘silver brown,‘ previous review here), and I-628 (‘reptile‘ {WUT?}).


The Artist Shadows have been taking the beauty world by storm, and for good reason – they’re silky, smooth, pigment-rich and come in a vast array of colors and textures. The shades in this set are neutral but not boring and are all very different, so a variety of looks can be created (sometimes I find palettes like these contain shades that vary by only a fraction). I also enjoy that the palette can be worn by both cool or warm skintones – both the highlight shade (I-514) and crease/liner shade (I-628) are tonally neutral, with the taupe shade (S-556) leaning just a touch cool, and the shimmering brown shade (ME-612) warm. Lastly, can I just say that it’s so nice to see a palette like this in which the shadows are still as good quality as you would find if you bought them singularly (*cough* MAC, I’m looking at you *cough*)?

IMG_0294 IMG_0234Clockwise from top left: I-514 (‘pink ivory’), ME-612 (‘silver brown’), I-628 (‘reptile’), and S-556 (‘taupe grey’)

IMG_0241 IMG_0240

The lip colors are complimentary to the shadows, both MLBB shades that would work with most looks and on most skintones. The Rouge Artist Natural lipstick in N4 is a pretty shade of dusty rose, and the formula (previously reviewed here) is comfortable and lightweight, with a softly creamy finish. The Lab Shine lip glosses, here in D14, are some of the only glosses I’ve ever finished (previous shade reviews here and here) – in part due to their beautiful shine and wonderfully moisturizing qualities, and in part because they’re kinda small at 0.09oz (a YSL gloss by comparison is 0.2oz). I don’t mind much as it’s quite gratifying to finish a makeup item! – but something to note all the same. You can see below that in just using this regularly for the past few days that it’s already on it’s way to being used up.


Below are swatches of the shadows and lip colors!

MUFE 50 Shades of Grey Makeup Coffret swatchesLeft to right: [Shadows] I-514 (‘pink ivory’), S-556 (‘taupe grey’), I-628 (‘reptile’), and ME-612 (‘silver brown’); [Lipstick] N4 (pink beige); [Lipgloss] D14 (shimmering indian pink).

MUFE 50 Shades of Grey Makeup Coffret swatchesClose up of Rouge Artist Natural in N4 and Lab Shine Lip Gloss in D14. 

Overall I think this kit is kind of awesome, and I’m not really one for makeup sets like this. Every item is a stand-out, and the palette is extremely wearable and appealing. If they had included a blush I would have died and gone to heaven! If you haven’t tried the brand yet, this would be the opportune moment to do so – though I see that this set is no longer on the Sephora website, so my apologies if I just created a lemming you can’t fulfill! I would definitely head to your local store to see if you can still score the set – but if you can’t, happily all of these shades are in the permanent line-up, so though it’s not a ‘deal’, you can still grab any shades/products that have caught your eye!

IMG_0237 IMG_0289

The moral of the story? Even if you weren’t a fan of the books, don’t let that deter you from looking at Make Up For Ever’s take on the ‘Fifty Shades’ franchise – theirs is probably the best thing to come from the phenomenon, hands down!


Did you read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy? Will you see the movie? 

*Product(s) were provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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Arbonne Mascara? It’s a Long Story

…Well, not really. But that’s the name of the Vanity Fair-approved mascara from the brand: It’s a Long Story! Kinda cute, eh? Last month I was sent a sample to try out, and I was eager to see how it would perform. Like many people, I’m fussy with my mascaras, and am always on the look-out for the best of the best.

Arbonne It's a Long Story mascara

Arbonne’s It’s a Long Story mascara ($40CAD) boasts a flexible, uniform bristle brush, designed to create perfect lash definition with a high-gloss look. The vegan formula contains polypeptides to promote the appearance of longer lashes, bamboo and pea (?) extracts,  and pro-vitamins B5, C and E to nurture the lashes.

Arbonne It's a Long Story mascara

Initially I was a bit let-down by the mascara, as I was expecting super-long lashes for some reason – but after using it a few times, my opinion changed. For starters, it really does separate and define the lashes beautifully. Though I tend to prefer full, voluminous lashes, I find that defined lashes during the day is appropriate and quite pretty. Additionally, the formula is exceptionally buildable – I can apply several coats without it becoming clumpy, crunchy or flaky. Combing through each coat is a breeze. In my experience, there are few mascaras that will allow this, so I was quite impressed.

Arbonne It's a Long Story mascara (one coat)One coat

Arbonne It's a Long Story mascara (two coats)Two coats

Ingredients: Aqua, Iron Oxides, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, C18-36 Acid Triglyceride, Synthetic Beeswax, Cera Carnauba, Stearic Acid, Silica, VP/VA Copolymer, Acacia Senegal Gum, Butylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-10 Diisostearate, PEG-40 Hydrogentated Castor Oil, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Bambusa Vulgaris (Bamboo) Leaf/Stem Extract, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Ethylhexylglycerin, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17 (Polypeptide), Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1 (Polypeptide), Oleanolic Acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Apigenin, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenethyl Alcohol, Glucosamine HCI.

I’m glad I gave this mascara another shot, because it really is quite good for daytime looks. I find myself reaching for it most days because it just seems to do the job well. I will say I find the $40 price tag quite high, but as Arbonne is a more ‘natural’ brand, I’m not entirely surprised. But otherwise, this is a lovely mascara that is well worth a look!

Do you prefer length, volume, or definition when it comes to mascara? What is your mascara price cap?

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

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Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant: A Beautiful Disaster

This review has been a long time coming, but it took me a while to formulate my thoughts on the product. Make Up For Ever’s Smoky Lash Extravagant ($28CAD) is the brand’s newest mascara offering, and I was stoked to try it out when I received it about a month ago.  Before I get to the review, let’s see exactly what the product is all about, shall we?

Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant (4)

Described as a ‘precision mascara that adds volume, length, and curl,’ Smoky Lash Extravagant claims to deliver ‘long-lasting wear with no clumping in one stroke.’  Without getting too technical, it is supposed to contain ultra-black pigments, and the cone-shaped brush allows the tip to separate lashes while the rounded base creates ‘extravagant volume.’  The difference between the original version and the Extravagant (aside from the visible differences in the brushes) appears to be the ability of the latter to separate the lashes more effectively, as well as offering even more volume.

Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant (3)

Being a pretty serious Make Up For Ever fan, I was eager to try the mascara out right away.  Sadly, my first (and several subsequent) tries with the product were less than ideal.  After application, in which I spent several minutes trying to correct the ‘damage,’ my lashes looked tangled and not all all what I had hoped.  I simply could not get it to work for me with any success.

MUFE Smoky Lash Extravagant failed attemptFirst attempt – see, wonky!

Discouraged, I spoke with the PR rep for the brand about my disastrous experience, and she suggested a few tips (which included applying the original Smoky Lash first and then adding the Extravagant version on top) to see if they would improve the performance.  Happily, I did find success during my second go-around.  While I didn’t find using the original Smoky Lash in combination with the Extravagant effective, I did discover that after a few uses the formula seemed to ‘settle’ somewhat (a phenomenon I’ve noticed with a few mascaras) and it applied fairly nicely to the lashes.  They look separated and yet somehow full, and the brush gives a nice rounded shape to my lashes that I really enjoy.  It’s relatively tenacious and I only notice slight smudging at the outer corners of my eyes (which are leak-prone as it is) on really hot, humid days.

MUFE Smoky Lash Extravagant (2)My apologies for the difference in lighting – the photos were taken on different days.

To be clear, there are still times when I use this mascara that my lashes just do not seem to behave.  If I fuss with it too much, or go in for a second coat, all hell breaks loose.  I don’t know if it’s the shape of the brush or the formula (I think it might dry a little too quickly), but every so often my lashes get bunched up and look a mess.  However, despite that hiccup, I find myself reaching for this mascara the most out of the handful of other ones I own, so clearly I must like it 😛  Its a bit tempermental and unpredictable at times, but that can make for the most interesting relationships, no?  😉

For those interested, here’s the ingredient list (click to enlarge):

MUFE Smoky Lash Extravagant ingredients

Have you had an experience with this mascara?  And does anyone else find that mascaras tend to improve after a few uses?

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

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Hourglass Best of Hourglass Collection Has a Few Gems You Need to Try!

While some people are able to go away on vacation and continue to communicate with the outside world, I was pretty much MIA the entire time I was in New Zealand (there I go again!).  Any time I wanted to access the internet, I had to pay for wireless or for computer time, and I was just not having it.  In this day and age, it’s like paying for water (which also annoys me), so I pretty much forgot the whole idea except to periodically let my family and friends know I was alive.

However, when I got an email from Sephora’s PR giving me the opportunity to chose one of the sets from the holiday collections, I happily paid a few bucks in order to respond and select my set.  Of all the offerings, the cream of the crop was most definitely Hourglass’ Best of Hourglass collection ($68CAD), which came with a travel size of their popular Veil Mineral Primer, a full size Film Noir Full Spectrum mascara in Onyx, a full size Extreme Sheen lipgloss in Ignite, and a deluxe sample of the new No. 28 Primer Serum.  Hel-lo!  How could I pass up on on these goodies!!?


Hourglass Best of Hourglass

As I had tried the Veil Mineral Primer before, in the travel size, and finished it, I was happy to have another small bottle to replace it (for a glowing, more thorough review on this product, see Liz’s post at Beauty Reductionista).  The other three products were entirely new to me, and as anything I have tried from the brand has pretty much knocked my socks off, I was totally eager to get my grabby hands on them and play.  First, let’s discuss the Film Noir Full Spectrum mascara:

Hourglass Film Noir Full Spectrum mascara (5)

To be clear, there is another Film Noir mascara that Hourglass makes, but it is the one that you paint on lash by lash.  This is your regular bristle-brush mascara, and in reality the brush itself IS pretty regular.  It doesn’t have any bells or whistles and looks pretty…normal, compared to every gimmicky brush that’s come out in the last few years.  Don’t let that fool you, however!  Though my pictures below don’t truly do it justice, this mascara is LOVELY.  It separates my lashes perfectly while giving them some serious length as well as volume.  It’s one of the few mascaras I’ve tried that I’ve actually gotten compliments on from people who aren’t bloggers (you guys count…but not in this instance because this is our BIZNESS, yo).

Hourglass Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara (4)

Hourglass Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara

Hourglass Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara (2)

Hourglass Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara (3)

It’s a drier formula than I usually like, but I think it’s actually the *perfect* consistency – not really dry at all but not so wet that its glopping on and causing clumps.  The brush really combs through the lashes each time, leaving them entirely clump-free.  I didn’t have to separate my lashes in the photos above with a comb afterward at all, which is uncommon I find.  It’s a total win.  I would actually spend the $33CAD and buy this again!  Note: There ARE parabens in the mascara.

Hourglass Extreme Sheen in Ignite (2)

Next, we have the Extreme Sheen gloss in Ignite, described as a ‘rose beige shimmer.’  I’d say this is more of a sheer shimmering gloss with a touch of beige more than anything, but it’s still pretty.  To buy this separately would cost $33CAD so with that plus the mascara you’re almost have the price of the set alone – not too shabby!  The gloss does have fragrance but it’s the last ingredient listed and it’s faint.  I haven’t noticed any issues yet so hopefully it remains that way!

Hourglass Extreme Sheen in Ignite swatch Hourglass Extreme Sheen in Ignite

As you can see, the gloss is essentially colorless with a hint of shimmer.  I typically like my glosses fairly opaque, but this somehow makes my lips look quite nice in the absence of pigment.  It’s a nice way to punch up clear gloss, and  it adds a subtle something extra layered over other lip colors.  Surprisingly, the staying power is pretty decent even with its translucency, and it feels good on the lips – smooth and not sticky at all.  I’d love to try this formula out in a few other shades.

Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum

Lastly, but far from least, is the No. 28 Primer Serum.  I know it’s a cheap cop-out to put this marketing image versus the real thing, but to be honest – I don’t want to waste a drop of it’s precious contents.  IT’S SO GOOD!  And as much as I love you, I just can’t swatch this for no good reason.  I’m hoarding it like crazy! At $75CAD for 1oz, you can probably understand why (though – I just saw that you can also get this in a travel size like the Veil primer – 0.33oz for $26CAD – sign me up!!).

Essentially the product combines the effects of a primer (reducing the look of pores, refining and smoothing the skin’s surface, and luminizing) with the treatment of a serum (strengthening skin’s moisture barrier, shielding against environmental aggressors, and hydrating).  All this action means that the skin looks younger and dewier and AMAZING.  It contains essential oils, lipid-rich plant oils, and vitamins to nuture the skin, while being free of parabens and fragrance.

DUDES.  Not only does it sound amazing and make a whole lotta fabulous claims, but it delivers.  I actually wore it for about 5 days straight (before remembering I can’t afford to buy the full size right now and hence it must be conserved), and my skin looked awesome.  Not just while wearing makeup, but overall it was improving the look of my skin!  It’s all sorts of YES PLEASE and believe you me I will be shelling out for this when the sample vial is finished.  I love that it helps my makeup wear better.  I love that it doesn’t make me greasy and in fact helps to control oil while still giving me a fresh, healthy look.  I love that it doesn’t irritate my fussy skin one iota.  The only thing I don’t love is the price, but I can get over that.  When you think about it like a two-in-one product, primer + treatment, the cost doesn’t seem so outrageous.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

So, basically, the moral of the story is, you need to buy this kit.  Or if not the set itself, you need to try each and every one of these products at some point, especially the Primer Serum.  I can’t imagine anyone NOT being happy with the collection, and it just reinforces my belief that Hourglass might just be the best makeup brand EVER.  Just sayin’.

What do you think of Hourglass?  Would you be willing to shell out for a product that produces results, or do you have a $$ limit?  What makeup brand do you think is worth the hype?

*Product was sent for my unbiased consideration.



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Fall FOTD with Ellis Faas Creamy Lips L102

Sorry for the non-ingenious title, but I’ve been running on very little sleep for the past couple weeks and my brain just isn’t pumping out the good stuff lately.  In fact, I’m not pumping out much of anything (blog-wise), and I apologize!  It’s been a busy month and my prime blogging days – the weekends – have been full to the max.  As well, work has been crazy, as I’m currently manning the helm of three other people’s jobs (one’s on vacation for 6 weeks, one’s on assignment for 6 months, and one has just retired) – plus still doing my own job, so…essentially I’m pretty much burnt out when I get home and have NO desire to be on the computer at all.  My RSS feed is terrifying right now :S  But, there will be an end in sight at some point, so I’m just bearing it for now and trying not to be too hard on myself for not posting more often!  I hope you can forgive me!

What I’m really aiming for with this post is to bolster your opinion of me back up with a lil sumthin’ sumthin’ from ELLIS FAAS ELLIS FAAS ELLIS FAAS 🙂  Sneaky/shameless ploy, I know, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!  And…I had these pics ready to go from last week lol.  So without further ado, I bring you Faas’ Creamy Lips in L102!

There is SO much hype about the Ellis Faas products, both good and bad, that I knew I had to add them as my fourth brand to try (since May) from my “12 New Beauty Brands” list for the year.  The Creamy Lips shade was the only item I picked up from the brand, as I was feeling a bit cautious due to all the negative feedback on the packaging – $36CAD is not terribly cheap to pay for a product that *might* be totally defective.

Let me straight away say that while the product inside is quite lovely – the packaging is a bit crazy!  Maggie at Maggie’s Makeup needed 80 clicks to access the beautiful Holographic Bordeaux Lights shade she picked up – well, I went past 80 and probably needed about 120 clicks to get any product!! I don’t know what that’s all about, but it seems a TAD bit excessive, no?

Undeterred however, I tried out the product right away on my lips – creamy goodness!!  L102, a ‘deep plum wine’ shade, goes on smoothly and feels exceptionally lightweight on, though slightly less opaque than I expected.  It’s described as providing ‘classic lipstick definition and longwearing coverage,’ and while I only wore the shade for the duration of taking these photos (about an hour), it certainly does have the look of a lipstick for the most part.  The website recommends to use the sponge-tip to first paint the lip with a small amount of product, then fully load the applicator to fill inside the lips. The sponge-tip was surprizingly easy to use and wield and I had no problems defining the edges of my lips.

Though my skin is going through a ‘moment’ right now, I was able to capture the vampy berry goodness of this shade in a FOTD:

And in case anyone is curious about the rest of my makeup, I’m wearing NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Appia (a warm bronze-brown, received via swap), Urban Decay’s Supercurl Curling Mascara (sample), and Too Faced Sun Bunny bronzer (also received via swap).  I was trying to get in all the goodies I teased you with last week! 🙂

Now, before there are any misconceptions – you see my hair*?  You see how curly it is?  Yea, so my lashes are the same way.  That curl is NOT from the Urban Decay product, so don’t get excited.  However, I wanted to mention it because even though I have no idea if it’s doing anything to curl my already near-corkscrew lashes, it’s pretty damn great!  I get excellent definition with absolutely no clumps, and some pretty decent length too.  It doesn’t do anything crazy for volume, but because it catches every lash they do appear a bit thicker – overall, highly recommend.  It wears well in the heat yet washes off easily too 🙂

*It’s actually kind of amazing that you are seeing my hair – I almost always seem to have it up in these kinds of posts, I’m sorry!!! It’s weird too because my hair is more often down than up…just the way it goes I guess 😛

Overall, I am very much enjoying the Creamy Lips shade, it feels great on the lip and I am super-digging the color (thanks for the reco, MM!), I can’t wait to wear this in the fall!  Its just the perfect tone for my skin, and unlike anything else I own (I have reds but no berry shades!).  Note that this also makes an absolutely incrediblestain – when I went to remove my makeup I wiped this off first and it looked SO good! Otherwise…yeah, the click pen was a bit weird to start, and I wonder just how much product you even get in there, but for the time being I’m very satisfied with my purchase.

On to the next brand on the list!! 😀

Have you tried Ellis Faas, or are you turned off by some of the negative reviews?  What are your thoughts on the product if you have tried it?

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Best Bang for Your Buck Series: Lip Gloss

Welcome to the ‘Best Bang for Your Buck‘ series!  Each week for the next few months, I’m going to tackle certain types of beauty products, and list the offerings from popular department store brands and their sizes vs. costs.  At a glance, you’ll be able to see which items are most cost effective in that category, and get a better idea if your money is being well spent, or if you’re being, well – a little ripped off!  Also, if you’re hedging on picking up a certain product because of the cost, this will give you an idea of the true value of the product and if it’s worth your hard earned cash.

Many of the sizes and dollar values of products are taken from online websites; please let me know if anything is listed incorrectly and I’ll be sure to fix it!  Also, for products which we don’t have here in Atlantic Canada, or for items that are more difficult to find overall, I’ll note in green where they’re located for your reference – though I tried to mostly include products relatively accessible as a whole. 

Week Eight: Lipglosses

Ah, lipgloss – probably one of the first makeup items any of us tried; the ‘gateway’ product if you will 🙂  While lately I’ve been moving more toward balms and lipsticks, erring away from too much shine, a good lipgloss can still be invaluable to anyone’s stash, adding a hint of color and juicy shine which always seems to give an eternally youthful look.  I can’t deny the appeal of the ease of which gloss can be applied, and the typically forgiving nature of a glossy finish.  I’ll likely cave and pick up a few new shades this Summer, and who can blame me?

For those of you who still dabble in gloss, or are die-hard gloss fans, this list is for you.  Take a gander at the top gloss picks and their prices as compared to their size.  You might be pleasantly surprized at some!

Best Value
Lancome Juicy Tubes ($44 /oz)

Worst Value
Stila Lip Glaze ($362.50 /oz)

Most Product
Urban Decay Lip Junkie  (0.34oz)

Least Product
Stila Lip Glaze  (0.08oz)

Best Picks (Less than $25 and 0.2oz+)
Lancome Juicy Tubes ($22 / 0.5oz)
Urban Decay Lip Junkie ($23 / 0.34oz)
Clinique Long Last Glosswear SPF15 ($18 / 0.2oz)
Illamasqua Sheer Lipgloss ($20 / 0.2oz)
Estee Lauder Pure Color ($24 / 0.2oz)

Worthy Splurges ($30+ and more than 0.2oz)
Givenchy Gloss Interdit Ultra-Shiny Color ($30 / 0.21oz)
Dior Addict Ultra ($31 / 0.21oz)
Le Metier de Beaute Sheer Brilliance ($33 / 0.22oz)
Giorgio Armani Gloss d’Armani ($38 / 0.22oz)
Can you even deal with how NOT economical Stila’s gloss is!?  I can’t believe how poor the cost per ounce is – but I’m also happy with that because I’ve 1) never actually spent my own money on one of these, and 2) the ones I tried I didn’t even like it that much, so I’m not missing out on much by NEVER SPENDING A CENT ON ONE, EVER.

Something else that stood out to me was the sort of inside-jokey feeling I had when seeing that Lancome’s Juicy Tubes were actually the best buy out of all the other glosses – these were probably one of the first *high-end* products I ever bought, and back in high school they were the cat’s meow; if you owned a Juicy Tube, you were SO on point.  Now, these glosses aren’t even remotely on my radar, and to think they are a top contender in the gloss world just kinda makes me chuckle and remember the good ol’ days 🙂

Lastly, I am pleasantly surprized that some of the more expensive options I’ve listed actually have a decent amount of product offered, which makes the splurge much more justifiable for me if I feel it’s actually going to last a while.  On my list?  Definitely itching to try of the the Armani Gloss d’Armani shades (Messy Wands has swatches from the new Summer collection and I’m loving them!) – and on the ‘cheaper’ end, I think its high time I tried the yummy fig-scented Lauder glosses that I keep swatching but never go home with.  Yay new stuff!

Have you tried any of the glosses listed?  Does it matter to you if a product has a smaller quantity, if you love it?  Which glosses are on your to-try list?

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Review: Laura Mercier Full-Blown Volume Mascara

I can remember a time not too long ago, that I wasn’t too fussed with mascaras – I wanted to find one that gave me what I need, which is volume and length, but I really wasn’t too concerned about ‘the hunt.’ Well, like a lot of other things that have changed since starting this blog (like the number of nail polish I have…or the new-found obsession with blush), my approach to mascara has altered over time, and I feel like I’m going through a new one on a regular basis, and still not feeling satisfied. The only mascaras that I ever use that I like are Clinique’s (I’ve mentioned this before), but I think part of that is due to the fact that I have low expectations for a brand which prides itself on natural beauty. While I’m all for looking like a version of your best self, when it comes to mascara, I want big and bold – but not flaky or clumpy. As many can attest, this is often a tall order, and the search for ‘the one’ can go on for pretty much a lifetime!Today I bring you another one of my mascara experiments: Laura Mercier’s Full-Blown Volume Mascara in Black ($30CAD).  I had read some good reviews about the product, and since volume is what I’m gunning for, I thought this just might be the ticket. The brush is on the small side, with the typical spiral-type bristles which are sort of short for a mascara that’s supposed to be volumizing.  The color is not an inky black but leans a bit charcoal – though you can’t really tell on my very dark lashes.  The formula is not so wet that it goes on too thinly, but not so dry that it’s hard to use – application is fairly good with minimal clumping.The problem with Full-Blown Volume is that, while it might make the lashes fluffy, and therefore look volumized, it takes multiple coats to build up any kind of length.  Because the formula is wet enough that it doesn’t dry too quickly, and the brush bristles are short, adding multiple coats actually is quite painless, but more of an irritation to have to do at all (I do about three coats per eye).  Even then, my lashes are a fraction of the length than when I use other mascaras (eg. Clinique’s High Lengths).  To me, this mascara offers some volume but overall is more of a day mascara, with very little drama to speak of.If you’re a timid wearer of mascara and are looking to bump up for va-va-voom, this is probably an excellent option – it brush is easy to wield and you’ll get an extra oomph without going over the top (or even coming near it).  If you’re looking for notice-me-lashes, I suggest you keep looking, as Laura Mercier’s Full-Blown Volume really won’t have what you’re looking for.

Have you tried Laura Mercier’s Full-Blown Volume Mascara?  What are you looking for when  you’re in the market for a new mascara??

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Best Bang for Your Buck Series: Concealers

Welcome to the ‘Best Bang for Your Buck‘ series!  Each week for the next few months, I’m going to tackle certain types of beauty products, and list the offerings from popular department store brands and their sizes vs. costs.  At a glance, you’ll be able to see which items are most cost effective in that category, and get a better idea if your money is being well spent, or if you’re being, well – a little ripped off!  Also, if you’re hedging on picking up a certain product because of the cost, this will give you an idea of the true value of the product and if it’s worth your hard earned cash.

Many of the sizes and dollar values of products are taken from online websites; please let me know if anything is listed incorrectly and I’ll be sure to fix it!  Also, for products which we don’t have here in Atlantic Canada, or for items that are more difficult to find overall, I’ll note in green where they’re located for your reference – though I tried to mostly include products relatively accessible as a whole. 

Week Six: Concealer

As I was going through the list of the popular concealers, I started to notice a trend: all the expensive designer brands only seem to carry illuminators rather than actual full-coverage concealers.  NOT INTERESTED!!  After the flop that was Chanel’s Eclat Lumiere, I will not fall for your (expensive) ploys again.

This week’s list has been one of my favorites to research, as it really helped point me in the direction of which concealer to choose next, as I’m in the market 🙂  I was especially thorough with the ingredient lists for each (as you’ll hear ALL about below), which made my selection that much easier.  I hope it helps you guys out too!  Any products that had high ratings on MUA with more than 30 reviews are also noted below (MAC beat out all the rest with the highest number of ratings – just over 1700!!!).

Best Value:
Lancome Effacernes ($52/oz, 4.1 rating)

Worst Value:
Guerlain ($1120/oz)

Most Product:
*TIE* Lancome, Cover FX & Amazing Cosmetics (0.5oz)

Least Product:
Chanel (0.04oz, 4.1 rating)

Best Picks (+0.25oz of product and less than $30):
Lancome (0.5oz / $26)
CoverFX (0.5oz / $27)
Clinique (0.37oz / $20)
Smashbox (0.27oz / $22)
Too Faced (0.27oz / $28, 4.0 rating)
theBalm (.025oz / $24)
*Honorable mention: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place (0.24oz / $26, 4.2 rating)

Worthy Splurges (+0.1oz of product and $30 or more):
Amazing Cosmetics (0.5oz / $43)
Dior (0.33oz / $30, 4.1 rating)
Stila (0.27oz / $30)
Josie Maran (0.32oz / $36)
Hourglass (0.12oz / $37, 4.1 rating)
Cle de Peau Beaute (0.17oz / $85, 4.2 rating)

So… I’m going to add my two cents here (like I don’t already!), since the perfect concealer is something I’ve been searching for forever: Though Cle de Peau’s concealer gets high rating on MUA, and it’s not as teeny-tiny as some of the other offerings, I still can’t get behind this concealer – and let me tell you, if it worked miracles on my circles, I’d willingly pay the whopping $85…but it didn’t.  So that one is a huge fail for me.  Also, I have to note that after my debaucle with Laura Mercier’s Secret Concealer containing the super-allergic-for-me ingredient lanolin (which was the catalyst for all my skin stuff over the past couple weeks), I went through the ingredient list of each concealer here to see which others were guilty of the same crime.  Take note for anyone else allergic to wool (as lanolin is a derivative of it), that Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer also contains lanolin (oil); thankfully, none of the other products did, which makes me HAPPY 🙂  However, some of the ingredient lists were still a bit suspect: the noted concealers from Amazing Cosmetics, Benefit, Cle de Peau Beaute, YSL, and Bobbi Brown all contain high levels of petroleum/paraffin/mineral oil or some combination of the three.  And Tarte’s Circle Defense lists canola oil as the first ingredient!  I know that for some, the inclusion of petroleum-type products isn’t a problem, but for some of you it is (myself included) so I thought I’d note it to be safe.  Mainly I just think of clogged pores and of the product sliding around and migrating a lot easier if it has greasy ingredients.  That’s just me I guess!

Another comment I have is that while some of these products may be absolutely stellar all around, a lot of brands just DO not have an adequate shade range!  The worst culprits? Cle de Peau, Korres, Tarte, Guerlain, Dior, Too Faced, Estee Lauder, and Josie Maran. So even if I wanted to try the Hourglass option (which I SO do), I can’t, because the shade is just too light for me (much like their foundation shade range).  That really pisses me off.

OK!  So, now that I’ve totally lost you with my crazy rant, I’ll wrap it up on a more positive note here 😛  After reviewing all the info, I think for myself I’m going to go with the Lancome Effacernes – not only because it comes out a winner economically, but it scores high in ratings, and they’ve improved their shade range considerably so I probably can find a color to match my skintone!  I’d wanted to try this before but there used to be only like, 4 shades, which just wasn’t happening.  It’s time to find my HG already (or near it): Wish me luck!

Are you on the hunt for the perfect concealer, or have you found your HG (if so…do tell!)?  Do you wear concealer under your eyes predominately, or to cover other imperfections?

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Best Bang for Your Buck Series: Mascaras

Welcome to the ‘Best Bang for Your Buck‘ series!  Each week for the next few months, I’m going to tackle certain types of beauty products, and list the offerings from popular department store brands and their sizes vs. costs.  At a glance, you’ll be able to see which items are most cost effective in that category, and get a better idea if your money is being well spent, or if you’re being, well – a little ripped off!  Also, if you’re hedging on picking up a certain product because of the cost, this will give you an idea of the true value of the product and if it’s worth your hard earned cash.

Many of the sizes and dollar values of products are taken from online websites; please let me know if anything is listed incorrectly and I’ll be sure to fix it!  Also, for products which we don’t have here in Atlantic Canada, or for items that are more difficult to find overall, I’ll note in green where they’re located for your reference – though I tried to mostly include products relatively accessible as a whole. 

Week Five: Mascaras

Mascara has to be one of those products, like concealer and eye cream, that seems to be an eternal challenge for most women to find their holy grail product.  Even if you find one you really like, often it fails to meet every single criteria, and out we go looking for another that might fit the bill.  It’s one of the toughest-rated products out there, as shown through the small list of mascaras on Makeup Alley that rate higher than 4.0.  I’m certain that we’re all destined to continue to seek one that fits all our needs, so to make it a bit easier for you, here’s a list of 25 of some of the most popularly purchased mascaras on the market today.

*Indicates mascaras that rate a 4.0 or above on Makeup Alley with over 100 reviews.

Best Value
Urban Decay ($36.92/oz)

Worst Value
Guerlain ($227.27/oz)
*Though, to be fair, once you buy it once you can then just buy the refills, which are $28 and ring in at $127.27/oz

Most Product
Urban Decay (0.65oz)

Least Product
*TIE* Bobbi Brown & Yves Saint Laurent (0.2oz)

Best Picks ($30 and under and consumer favorites)
MAC Studio Fix Lash ($18, 4.1 rating)
Bare Escentuals Flawless Definition ($23, 4.1 rating)
Laura Mercier Full-Blown Volume ($30, 4.4 rating)
Bobbi Brown No Smudge ($27, 4.0 rating)
Estee Lauder Sumptuous ($23.50, 4.0 rating)

Worthy Splurges ($30+ and consumer favorites)
Hourglass Superficial Lash ($31, 4.0 rating)
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill ($36, 4.2 rating)
Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils ($36, 4.0 rating)

I can speak for several of these, as I’ve been trying out all of the higher rated mascaras methodically, looking for my personal HG.  Of the top rated, so far I’ve tried the Giorgio Armani, Bare Escentuals, and just recently bought the Laura Mercier (review forthcoming).  Though I really liked the GA one, something in it irritated my eyes terribly.  I’ve also checked out Benefit’s option, which I also liked quite a bit, as well as MUFE’s (meh), Clinique’s (a repeat product and personal fave), Buxom, and dabbled with Lancome’s Definicils a few times in High School (which I liked but which always dried out WAY too fast).  Wow, I’ve really gotten around eh?  And yet I never remain faithful 😉  I’m holding out for that one awesome mascara that blows my mind.  I’m fairly certain I’ll never find it, but in the meantime the search will continue because what other option do I have?

My next mascara purchase is going to be Estee Lauder’s Sumptuous, which has a huge dense brush that I typically favor.  Fingers crossed!

Which mascaras above have you tried?  What mascara in general is your #1, if you’ve found one?  Do you have any on your lemming list that you want to try?

*Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

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