Thursday, 27 February 2014

February Favorites

Another month has passed. The month of February thankfully went by fast for me (I'm so tired of winter) and there were a handful of products that I used many times during the past month. I've been enjoying very tonal looks using different shades of brown and beige eyeshadow for soft and pretty definition. I've also been loving hits of pink and peach blush to liven up my complexion, specifically cream formulations for a sheeny, pigmented flush. I've also been really enjoying gloss, which is definitely not my norm (lipstick for life!) but a nice change that keeps dry lips feeling plump and moisturized. Here's the line up that have made multiple appearances on my face (and hands) in the month of February. 

I really really love Real Techniques (made by the amazing Samantha Chapman from pixiwoo) for their fabulous makeup brushes that are great quality at a very reasonable price point. I use this brush to buff in my foundation for a flawless finish. I love using this brush because it seems like I use less foundation than when I use my fingers but looks so much better on the skin. This brush should be called the anti-cakeface. I use it by putting five dots of foundation on my face and blending it in with circular motions with the brush, I found that dipping the brush directly into the foundation picked up way more product than I needed. This brush is about ten dollars (available at Lawton's Drugmart and Walmart) and I would highly recommend it to anybody (just make sure to clean it about once a week to avoid spreading nasty bacteria all over your face).

After dealing with skin woes for the entire month, I think my skin may finally be on the mend. I had some massive cystic acne breakouts in the past few weeks and none of my concealers could cover them. I decided to give this Stila concealer in shade 02 Fair a try and it is the best I have found coverage-wise. I would not use this under the eyes but it is great at covering up stubborn pimples and skin discolorations. It's very thick and waxy feeling and I use the smallest amount (literally a dot of concealer) over a spot and pat it in with my finger. I set the concealer by putting  powder directly over the top, and this normally does the trick. For extremely red breakouts, I'll repeat the process again with another layer of concealer and powder on top for complete coverage. I'm afraid to say it, but  my spots are becoming less angry by the day and my skin seems to be clearing up (fingers crossed).

I've mentioned this eyeshadow stick in past posts and I love to use it for creating smokey eyes,or smudged across the lash line for subtle definition. I love this eyeshadow stick in the color 003 Bad Girl Bronze because it is a beautiful reddish-brown that makes blue eyes pop. This is a fabulous drugstore product and it's staying power is impressive, it does not budge all day long. 

I bought this eyeshadow after seeing it featured in last year's Allure Beauty Awards. I had not heard much hype about it before, but I was looking for a neutral, shimmery shade that didn't look too pink or gold. I have the shade Blonde, a gorgeous shimmery beige that is beautiful swept all over the lid, or used as an inner corner eye highlight. I'm in love with this eyeshadow and I have used it every day in the last month. 

I have already reviewed this cream blush on here before (review found here) and I continue to love this product more with every use. The beautiful warm dusky rose color of Peony has been gracing my cheeks on multiple occasions, adding a pop of color while making my cheekbones look defined. With spring coming, I will likely be buying the coral shade because I love these so much.

This lip gloss was sadly forgotten about in depths of my car for months and months without getting any attention. After banging on about finding the perfect nude lipstick, I did not realize that I already possessed the perfect nude gloss. I have the shade 05 Latte and it is a pretty warm browny nude with no shimmer that smells delicious. When paired with a nude lip liner, I walk around feeling like Brigette Bardot (and like I've had my lips done).

I talked about this gloss in my recent post paying homage to all things rosy (post found here), and I have worn it so many times this month. I have the shade Signature which is a pretty rose pink. I feel like a lady when I wear this gloss and it compliments most makeup looks. I just wish it didn't have a gimmicky light-up wand, who needs a little flashlight to apply lip gloss?

I bought this hand cream (available at Lawton's Drugmart) after running out of my dearly loved The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector. I picked up the scent Pressed Olive and Avocado and it literally smells good enough to eat. It is super silky and absorbs quickly into the hands (no greasy paws here!) to moisturize the most chapped dry skin. I have extremely sensitive hands from eczema but this hand cream has done wonders to heal my irritated skin. 

So there you have it, the stand-outs of February. Bring on the spring, I'm ready for the sunshine and buttercups! What have you been loving in the month of February?

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Cheap Thrills: A Nail Polish Dupe for Essie Lovers

Happy Sunday friends! Today I present to you a very impressive dupe for Essie Nail Polish at the insanely low price of $2 (not joking!). I received this nail polish from my best friend for my birthday last year and didn't give it a second thought until trying it a few weeks later, only to be stunned with it's performance. I'm a devout Essie Nail Polish lover, loving the range for it's unique colors and smooth, opaque formula that applies perfectly in two coats or less. If I didn't know any better, I would think this nail polish was an amped up Essie nail polish, as I think it's even better than Essie. Enter the Pure Ice Nail Polish. 

Gracing my fingertips is the Pure Ice Nail Polish in Bikini, a very pretty and springtime-appropriate pastel blue. This puppy is a one coat wonder! Pictured above is my nails with merely one coat of polish looking almost like candy on the nails. As a test, I have been wearing this single coat of polish for three days and it still has yet to chip. The formula feels thick without the clumps and glides onto the nails like butter. This formula applies in a uniform layer without any streaking and dries to a smooth and glossy candy-coated finish. I have already received compliments from a girl working at Shoppers Drugmart wondering if I was sporting the new Essie Spring Collection (to which I was happy to inform her of my discovery). The Pure Ice range is available at Walmart for the amazing price of $2! If you are tired of spending $10 a piece on Essie polishes, I highly recommend picking up one or two of these to see for yourself. I also own a purple shade in the Pure Ice called Jail Bait which performs just as impressively. I think these nail polishes are massively under-hyped and deserve Essie Dupe status!

Have you tried the Pure Ice nail polish range? Will you be purchasing one to update your nails for spring?

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Adventurous Beauty: Nars Satin Lip Pencil Review

I'm a creature of habit. I'm no stranger to wearing bold looks but I tend to go back to the same looks time and time again. Yes, I wear deep smokey eyes. And yes, I wear red lips and sometimes deep vampy plum. But I don't ever sport hot pink lips. Ever. I'm not a fan of pink against my own skintone but it's time to experiment and step outside my comfort zone a little. This is where the NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Yu comes in. It was not my first choice of the gorgeous range of lip pencils (the wine colored “Palais Royale” makes me swoon) but I decided to be rebellious and go for the less expected choice. It's definitely a different look for me but I think I have a soft spot for it. The satin lip pencil formula is absolutely beautiful, and I will likely be purchasing at least one more in the future. It looks like a lipliner but is used as a lipstick and liner in one. Super easy to apply, literally like coloring in the lips. The only downfall to this product is the fact that the pencil itself needs to sharpening, rather than having a twist-up mechanism (shame on you, Nars!). On the whole it is an exciting release that makes my heart flutter (I think I have a problem). Here's what I thought:

COLOR: The color of the “Yu” is described as “shocking pink” and I think I would agree. I first feared that this pink would look extremely cool-toned but after applying it for the first time it actually leans slightly warm on my lips. The pigmentation is insane and it takes very little effort to achieve an extremely hot pink pout. This shade is not for the faint of heart but still looks very feminine rather than punk. An amazing shade for spring that certainly livens up the face. The nice thing about wearing such a bright pink is that the rest of the face can be left quite clean and neutral. Which makes this a perfect choice to throw in your bag to take your look from day to night in seconds.

FINISH: The NARS Satin Lip Pencils are as the name suggests, a satin finish. Not overly shiny but slightly sheeny, similar to a semi-matte lipstick. Luckily these lip pencils have the pigmentation of a matte lipstick. Once the shine wears away, the lips remained stained and heavily pigmented. This product survived on my lips while I ate pizza and drank beer (classy, right?) and nothing EVER lasts on me through eating without needing a touch up. The lip pencils are super long wearing yet comfortable. My lips did not feel dry until hours later. Another plus, it doesn't feel tight or heavy on the lips, it hardly feels like wearing anything at all.


I love this purchase, I just need to get the courage to wear it more often. Such a stunning product that gets my stamp of approval. Even if you aren't looking for hot pink lips this spring, I highly suggest purchasing one of these pencils in the shade of your choice.

Have you tried the Nars Satin Lip Pencil? What are your thoughts on bright pink lips? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading. 

Monday, 17 February 2014

A Rosy Outlook: Rose-Inspired Makeup Bits

Roses. I love them. Although makeup is a big hobby of mine, I've always loved gardening. I remember spending hours out in my grandfather's garden as a little girl,  helping him to plant, prune and weed to produce a beautifully blooming chaos each summer. I have always been inspired by flora and fauna, and I sometimes look to flowers as an inspiration for makeup looks. As a result, I am a complete sucker for any shade of lipstick or blush that resembles the color of a rosy bloom. Roses come in such gorgeous hues, from the palest of pinks to the richest reds. As spring time is approaching, I like to don rosy pinks and reds from time to time as a pretty alternative to the neons and corals so often seen in spring makeup collections. Here are my pick of some gorgeous rose-inspired products for rosy cheeks and rose bud lips:

Lise Watier is a Canadian brand that I don't hear much about in the beauty community and I am new to the brand myself. I am thoroughly impressed with this lipgloss, if it is any indication of the rest of the line. This gloss is a lovey dusty rose color with a hint of plum. This gloss is so feminine and pretty for daytime freshness.

Lancome has some beautiful shades of rose (the rose is the signature Lancome logo!) and this Rouge in Love lipstick is no exception. This rich pinky red is such a unique colour that looks neither completely red nor pink and reminds me of deep pink roses. A lovely color to wear on an evening out paired with a slick of eyeliner and peach blush. I love this as an alternative to a red lip.

The shade of this lipstick literally translates to "rosewood" and I think it's a lovely day time pink to sport. This pink is my favorite kind of pink, it is warm toned with lots of brown pigment to look really natural. I tend to find that pink lipsticks can look a bit much on light skins but this Estee Lauder offering ticks all the boxes when it comes to a gorgeous natural rosy pink with a creamy finish.

When I think of pale pink roses in lipstick form, this Lancome offering comes to mind. This is a pretty pale nude pink perfect for those who enjoy sporting a soft, pale lip. This is even more lovely with a slick of gloss in the center of the lips to make them looks plump and pouty.

This shade of red is very close to the shade of my own roses pictured above. It's a gorgeous rich red that leans towards the warm end of the spectrum. This lipstick is gorgeous for creating that Old Hollwood inspired lip that is reminiscent of a red rose. Super classy.

This blush is unique to my collection and looks stunning swiped across the cheeks. The blush is really pigmented and creates a matte deep rose flush to the cheeks that makes you look as if you had just come in from the cold. Amazing to pair with a rose-inspired lip.

Are you inspired by nature as I am? I hope I've inspired you all to look like Disney princesses with rosy lips and cheeks.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Cheap Thrills: Rimmel Colour Rush Balm

As much as I love high end makeup, there's something so therapeutic about taking a gander in the drugstore. The joys of throwing in a product into your basket without the sickening pang of buyer's guilt before you even hit the cash register. Here is my latest drugstore purchase (and new release to Canadian drugstores) that I am loving, the gorgeous Rimmel Color Rush Lasting Finish Intense Color Balm in #710 Drive Me Nude. Before getting to the performance of this little lip pencil, I just have to point out how much I adore the name of this shade. I'm having a bit of a moment with nude lips (which is very odd for me) and I'm hoping to purchase a nude lipstick once my self-professed makeup spending ban is over (4 weeks and counting down). For now, this will certainly fill my boots.  Here's what I thought of the Color Rush Balm:

COLOR: Just look at that beauty! A lovely peachy dark nude. This is sort of like a my lips but better kind of color and I really really like how it goes with pretty much any makeup look I can think of. As it mentions in the ridiculously long name of this lip pencil, it's very "intense" in pigmentation. I definitely wouldn't call this a sheer balm and it's as pigmented as a lipstick.

FINISH: When first applied, this looks very satiny with a nice balmy sheen. The balmy feel wears off after about an hour and fades to a very pigmented stain (looks very lipstick-like). The stain itself lasts for a long time on it's own and may only need a quick touch up to the middle of the pout after eating/ tea drinking. It feels really moisturizing at first and I was happy to see that it didn't dry out my lips after the slippy feeling went away.

Overall Grade: A+

I'm so happy that Rimmel got their mojo back after my disappointing experience with the Rimmel Apocalips *shudders* which you can read about here. The Color Rush Balms conveniently have a twist up mechanism so there's no sharpening required. I'm so happy with this product mostly because it has the pigmentation of a lipstick without the maintenance and looks so chic. There are a bunch of colors in this range and I'm willing to bet that they are equally as delicious. Did I mention that these have a gorgeous vanilla scent?

I highly recommend this lippy! Have you tried the Color Rush Balms? Or will you be putting this in your basket on your next drugstore dash?

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Taking it Back a Notch: Natural Sunday Beauty

Today's post is not so much a tutorial, but more so ramblings on my thoughts of natural beauty. I don't necessarily think that natural beauty equates to a bare, makeup-less face (not that there's anything wrong with not wearing makeup), but it's certainly not the dreaded "cake face". Makeup is such a personal thing and it's not for me to decide what is "natural" and what is not. But today's Sunday face is most definitely pared down compared to my usual makeup looks and it feels so refreshing to look and feel like myself.

As I have mentioned in past posts, my skin has been the most intolerant and angry with cystic acne (literally bringing me back to my "high school" skin) which I find incredibly discouraging. I put a lot of research into the products I use and I actually don't remember the last time I slept with makeup on. Even with a strict skin care regime, I guess I have genetics and/or hormones and/or stress to blame for my shitty skin. After watching a ton of Lisa Eldridge Youtube videos over the weekend (her channel found here), there was one in particular that really stuck with me. In her video about acne/blemish covering makeup (found here)  she beautifully explains her philosophy of "troubled" skin, which I think is actually quite a refreshing way to look at things. Her philosophy on acne is that she thinks more about the lovely skin in between the spots rather than focusing on the blemishes themselves. So instead of caking your face with layers and layers of heavy makeup to cover up 4 or 5 blemishes, think about the surrounding skin that doesn't have problems. Therefore, her advice is to use a sheer base to let your lovely healthy skin shine through, and only add layers of makeup directly to the spots.

This has helped to reshape my philosophy on how I see skin problems, and how we all tend to assume that people can only see our imperfections (when in reality, we have 95% perfect skin and 5% acne/rosacea/other issues).

When I woke up this morning, I decided to give it a go by slapping on a thin layer of Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation to put her philosophy to the test. I'm happy with the results and I feel very much like myself. I kept the rest of my makeup very minimal (though it looks like a lot of products) all in the name of subtly enhancing what I've got. I'm all about the groomed brows, fluttery lashes and a pink flush for a simple weekend-appropriate look. Paring things down once in a while is a good way to start fresh and see a slightly enhanced version of yourself.

I'm not quite ready to go bare-faced for an entire day, but this is definitely a push in the right direction to minimal makeup. I don't know if I'll ever master a 3-product face, but you never know! Do you like to take your makeup down a notch every now and then? What is your "natural" makeup look? Please let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Tints, Balms & Butters: My Sheer Lipstick Collection

Maybelline Color Whisper Pin Up Peach
L'Oreal Colour Riche Caresse Lipstick Sunset Angora
Maybelline Color Whisper Lust for Blush
Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm Pink Blossom
Revlon Lip Butter Raspberry Pie
I'm the first one to throw my hands up and confess to being a lipstick junkie. There's nothing like a beautiful, crisp, opaque red lip to make me feel like a classy lady. Unfortunately, my life does not allow for me to wear high maintenance lip products on a daily basis, and I'm willing to bet that I am one of many. Having a lip balm/butter/tint thrown in your bag is never a bad idea for slapping on a little bit of somethin-somethin to make you look more lively when on the go. The beauty of sheer lip-products is that you don't have to worry about ruining your lipstick on your morning latte, don't have to touch up a thousand times in a day, don't have to worry about it getting on your teeth and dry lips are usually a non-issue. Sheer lip color can be the answer to looking polished and put together with the ease of a mirror-less swipe. This is my current collection of sheer lipsticks (or whatever you want to call them), though I have went through countless products to find a few I like. I tend to give away things that don't tickle my fancy, and one of these puppies is soon being shipped off to someone else's hangbag, or the garbage. Here are the current contenders and my thoughts on them:

These are probably my favorite sheer tinted lipstick/lip balm/lip butters. They are ultra moisturizing, with a solid colour pay off. They can pretty much be slapped on without a mirror and they last for quite a long time. After they wear off, the lips are left with a pretty stain. I have two shades, Pin Up Peach (which is more pink than peach, but still leans warm) and Lust for Blush (a pretty pale pink), and they are both beautiful colors. I love these lip balms so much and I would not hesitate to purchase more colors.

Grade: A+

I enjoy this offering mostly because of the beautiful shade, Angora Sunset. This lipstick is super creamy and feels moisturizng on the lips but I'm not blown away by the wear time. After about an hour it tends to go a little patchy on me. It also requires a mirror to apply because it is so creamy that it could literally end up all over my face if I applied it blindly. This was my favorite until I bought a Maybelline Color Whisper.

Grade: B

I truly think this lip balm was designed for nurses (my mom loves these too). It can be swiped on without a mirror and applied multiple times a day without looking overboard. The tint is subtle but buildable and it has a sweet scent that I find quite enjoyable. The beauty of this lip balm is that it has the soothing properties of the good old original Burt's Bees Lip Balms with a pretty pink hue (I have the color Pink Blossom). It has a lovely, light feeling on the lips and almost feels as if you are wearing nothing but Chapstick. This is amazing for dry, chapped lips from the cold that can't tolerate anything else.

Grade: A+

This may be a controversial statement, but I cannot stand the formula of these lip butters. I was likely the first person to buy them when they were released and I probably bought 5 shades at once from pure excitement of the launch. Raspberry Pie is the last man standing and I'm not even sure why I still have it. If you can't tell from the picture above, the color is absolutely gorgeous... but that's about the only good thing about it. It dries out my lips horribly, it fades to leave a funky ring of colour around the lips and it smudges easily. It is impossible to make it look neat around the edges because the formula is SO slippy and pigmented. I never wear this. Ever. Don't buy them.

Grade: D.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Vintage Beauty in the Modern Age: 1970's Glamour

This a little series I have created to showcase some makeup looks inspired by vintage trends. Today's look is massively inspired by the disco glamour-puss look that IS the seventies. I was majorly inspired to try this look after drooling over the makeup looks in American Hustle. After doing a little research into the makeup of the seventies, I have discovered that it was all about the heavily contoured cheeks, the classic "seventie's stripes" of bright blush across the face, sultry smokey eyes, glitter, bright lips, and gloss. The 70's had some heavy looks for going out and here is my toned down version of 70's glamour makeup. I really enjoyed making this post and getting trying something different with my makeup. I'm hoping to do some posts on other eras of makeup (suggestions welcome!). 

For this look, I looked at some 70's Cosmopolitan magazine covers, along with some pictures of Amy Adams from the movie, American Hustle. I decided to go with a heavy dose of bronzer under the cheekbones, a deep rose blush swiped across the cheeks, bright reddish-pink lips with sparkly pink gloss, and a glittery smokey eye using a black and steely blue eyeshadow with a taupe glitter pressed onto the top. I found it really weird not to touch my brows, but brows weren't big in the 70's. In fact, they were quite skinny but I definitely didn't plan on plucking mine away, so I left them bare. 

Here's a breakdown of the look: 

BASE: I used Too Faced Primed and Poreless Face Primer to prep the skin.Though the 70's was all about a dewy complexion, my skin is not good enough to part with a full-coverage foundation. So I mixed in Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in 100 Ivory to my Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in 1W1 Bone to add a little bit of glow. I covered up blemishes with Bobbi Brown Creamy Corrector in Porcelain Bisque and set the concealer with Clarins Ever Matte Powder in 00 Opale. I chose to keep the look as glowy as possible, so I held off on putting powder anywhere besides the concealer. I used the Clarins Instant Light Brush On Perfector to highlight the under eyes, top of the cheeks, temples, down the nose and above the cupids bow.  

CHEEKS: I first used my Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer to contour the hollows of my cheeks to make them look as pronounced as possible. I also used a small amount down the sides of my nose to make the nose look slim. I them used Nars Blush in Amour (a rosey coral shade) swiped in diagonal lines across the cheeks to make the 70's stripes. I would normally never put blush on so heavy but I was trying to stay true to the time. 

EYES: For the sultry smokey eye, I began by priming the lids with Urban Decay Primer Potion. I used the black shade from the Urban Decay Naked Palette called Creep (second last shadow in the palette) to sweep a fairly thick line across the lash line and blended the edges upwards towards the crease. I then filled in the center of the lid with Gunmetal, a steely blue from the palette (the last shadow on the right) and blended out any harsh lines. From my research, I realized that many of the smokey eyeshadow looks had a messy appearance to them, almost if they had been slapped on without care and smudged out with a finger (hence: I was not too careful about this look). I used a super soft kohl pencil to line the lower lash line and dragged the line up towards the brow for a slight cat eye flick(which I blended in with my finger for subtle definition). For this, I used Elizabeth Arden Smokey Eyes Pencil in Espresso. I patted on L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Tender Caramel over the entire smokey eye with my finger for extra glimmer and sheen.The disco girls of the 70's did not go for big lashes, so I used Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara for separation and definition of the lashes without looking too voluminous. I combed Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara through my brows to keep them in place. 

LIPS: Bright, bold lips were all the rage in the 70's. Lip liner was basically never used, and lipstick was used alone to create bold lips that were fun and undone. I chose to use Lancome Rouge in Love Lipstick in 163M to mimic that bright fuschia pink seen so often in the 70's. I topped the lipstick off by putting a heavy coat of Revlon Colorburst Gloss in 006 Strawberry to add gloss and glitter to the pout. 

I am really pleased with the way it turned out, and I loved getting to research beauty of a different generation and try to recreate it in my own way. Would you try to wear a 70's look? Are there elements that you like/don't like? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.