Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Not My Cup of Tea: A Disappointing Mascara

Happy Wednesday ladies and gents. Today I am writing a review on an immensely disappointing product. I was on two minds about writing such a negative review as I like to keep things upbeat on the blog and highlight the best of the best rather than the worst on the market. This is an exception for two major reasons. First off, this is a fairly new mascara to hit the market from a brand that is famous for making excellent mascara formulations. Secondly, if I can prevent someone from wasting their hard earned dollars on a poor quality product- than it's worth writing about. Rambling aside, today I am breaking down the good, the bad and the ugly that is the Estee Lauder Sumptuous Infinite Daring Length + Volume Mascara. 

I picked up this mascara a few months ago when I was lucky enough to spend my Shoppers Optimum points on a huge slew of makeup. Although I had my sights set on the Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara, the sales assistant convinced me to buy this mascara, seeming extemely excited about the new release. I really don't even know where to begin with reviewing such a horrible mascara, so I'll break it down into pros and cons:


  • Makes my lashes feel soft, not hard and crunchy.
  • It comes in a pretty tube.

  • The "revolutionary" brush is a small plastic brush with plastic bristles, one side has longer bristles than the rest. The longer comb side makes it difficult to apply and excess product seems to build up on it.
  • It's extremely hard for me to apply this without my lashes clumping together. Adding any more than one coat will result in super clumpy lashes. Formula does not apply well to lashes in one coat and looks even worse when layered. 
  • It doesn't volumize lashes at all.
  • It doesn't particularly lengthen lashes.
  • It doesn't hold curl.
  • My lashes progressively stick to each other as the day wears on.
  • The formula dried up in about 3 weeks. 

All in all I would call this a sorry excuse for mascara. I have to say that after this disappointing high end mascara came into my life, I've turned to the drugstore once again and re-kindled my love for some old favorites. It's quite possible that I got the lemon of the group and perhaps there was something wrong with the specific Sumptuous Infinite tube I purchased. Either way, I'm not willing to potentially waste more money and find out. I haven't really read any other reviews about this particular mascara, and I'm wondering if I'm the only one that feels this way. I still would like to try the ever-popular EL Sumptuous Extreme, but for now I feel that high end mascaras have been tarnished (dramatic, I know).

Have you tried Estee Lauder Sumptuous Infinite Daring Length + Volume Mascara? Have you tried any other Estee Lauder mascaras? Are there other high end mascaras I should be setting my sights on? Please let me know in the comments below.
The disappointing result. (Note: clumped, sagging lashes)

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Trying Something New: "No Makeup" Makeup

Hello again to all my lovely readers. Today I am discussing the topic of "No Makeup" makeup. You know how celebrities are photographed doing mundane tasks like buying toilet paper yet still look amazing? You know how the Olsen twin are spotted on the streets looking as if they have not showered in a week but they still look fantastic? That my friends, is the illusion of "no makeup" makeup. Some may think it's absolutely insane to spend any amount of time putting on makeup to look like you are not wearing any but I disagree, that's what makeup is all about. Makeup is an illusion, there is so much money pumped into the cosmetics industry every year to create the technologies that mimic skin and disappear on the skin. If you really think that celebrities actually roll out of bed looking like a Clarins skincare advertisement, you can feel better in knowing that in actual fact they are wearing quite a lot of makeup.

The reason I've decided to rock the "no makeup" look is because today is my mini-detox from makeup. Yes, I am still wearing quite a number of products, but they are for the purpose of evening out my skin tone. This little detox has helped me realize that I don't need to wear a full face of makeup every day. There was a time (not so long ago) when I wouldn't dream of going outside my house mascara-less, but I have changed my opinion in the past few months. As I get older, I feel more comfortable with myself and in my own skin. I  find taking things back a notch can help me to realize my own natural beauty while also helping me to appreciate how wearing more makeup enhances what I already have. But for now, I just want to look like myself... minus the extras.

How do you feel about "no makeup" makeup? Do you like to take a detox from makeup every now and then? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

What I'm wearing on my face:

  • Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
  • Vichy Dermablend Foundation Stick in 11 Porcelain (to cover blemishes)
  • Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer (for under eye bags)
  • Clarins Ever Matte Powder
  • Nars Amour Blush
  • Benefit Hoola
  • Lancome Powder Pencil for Brows in Sable 
  • Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Pink Blossom
Thanks for reading.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Special Occasion Beauty: Tips for Eyes and Lips

Welcome back to the second installment of Special Occasion Beauty. I personally think that eyes and lips are the best way to add some interest to any makeup look for a special event. My main advice would be to pick eyes or lips as your main focus of the look. For instance, if you so choose a smokey eye, go easy on the lips. If you choose a bold lipstick, go easy on the eyes. When I find myself getting ready for a big day, I sometimes catch myself going heavy with makeup EVERYWHERE, which isn't necessarily the best look. Sometimes I need to step away from the mirror for a second and ask myself: is this too much? Keeping your look simple and clean is the secret to creating a beautiful, timeless look that won't produce cringe-worthy photos in 5 year's time. Although I love this spring's trend of bold colors, I think that using a neutral, pretty color palette will survive the test of time. Fuschia lips are gorgeous but perhaps try sticking with a classic red or plum lipstick. Fresh pinks, peaches and nudes are always in style, and a slick of black eyeliner always looks put together. Remember to have fun and to wear a look that you feel comfortable in!

  • Eyeshadow is a great way to define the eyes and really draw attention to your lovely peepers. I don't think there's just one eye look to wear on a special occasion and it comes down completely to personal preference. Adding a darker color to the crease and outer "v" area can help accentuate eye shape and make the eyes look more sultry. It's a simple look I go back to time and time again.
  • Matte eyeshadows look great in pictures, consider using shimmery eyeshadows sparingly to the center of the lid or to highlight the inner corners of the eyes. Shimmer sometimes translates to greasy when flash photography is added into the mix.
  • To avoid eyeshadow fall out getting all over your cheeks, apply under eye concealer after doing your eye makeup to avoid smearing eyeshadow over your face. Alternatively, you can do your eye makeup first and apply foundation second to conceal any mistakes/fall out.
  • Defining the lash line can help the lashes to look thick and voluminous. Consider using a dark eyeshadow to line the upper lash line for a subtle look. For a more dramatic look, use pencil/liquid/gel liner. I personally love the look of the timeless cat eye flick.
  • Consider how emotional the event will be. If there is the slightest chance that you will get tearful, waterproof mascara is a must. Even at an outdoor event, don't risk sweating off your mascara.
  • Individual lashes are a great way to amp up the lashes. I would recommend individual lashes applied to the outer half of the lash line for pretty, fluttery lashes. Strip lashes are also an option but tend to look less natural.
  • If you intend on waxing/threading/plucking eyebrows, make sure to do it at least three days before the event. Waxing on the day of the event risks having an inflamed and reddened face.
  • Defined brows are always a must. Use a brow pencil, matte eyeshadow/brow powder or a brow gel to define shape and keep them in place all day. 

  • If you will be kissing and hugging at your special occasion, consider avoiding lipgloss which will disappear quickly from your lips. In the same respect, wearing a bold lip can be high maintenance if you will be kissing and/or eating.
  • Stick to classic lipstick colors rather than trends (save the bright purple lipstick for a night out). Many shades of pink, peach and mauve look ultra flattering on a variety of skin tones.
  • Consider wearing a long wearing lip product if you will not have the opportunity for touch ups. Alternatively, matte lipsticks generally last longer on the lips than satin/shiny formulations.
  • Using a lip liner in under your lipstick will extend the wear time of your lip color.Line the lips and fill them in completely with the liner before applying lipstick. 
  • For those who couldn't be bothered with a high-maintenance lipstick, stick to nude and natural lip colors that will wear off in a discreet manner.
  • Placing a slick of lip gloss to the very center of the lips gives the illusion of a fuller pout!

So those are my top tips for any special occasion. If you have not seen Part One of my Special Occasion Beauty series, check it out here. What are your favorite tips for a big day? Please leave any questions or comments below, I always love getting feedback!

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Special Occasion Beauty: Flawless Base Tips

With the season of weddings, graduations and other celebrations upon us, it's helpful to know some makeup tips that will make your life that much easier on the most important of days. When I think about special occasion makeup, I think about those classic, timeless looks that never go out of style. I think about Audrey Hepburn, Kate Middleton and the ever classy Natalie Portman, never overdone but always refined and beautiful. When planning your look for a big event, it's important to stick with what you know, it's not the time to see if red lips are for you (not that there's anything wrong with a lovely rouge pout), as it can be risky to experiment with new trends and looks. I think that most of all, you should wear the makeup that you feel the most comfortable and confident wearing.

With that said, it can be daunting to get ready for a day that you know will be highly photographed and distributed to all of your friends and extended family. Here is Part One of my Special Occassion Beauty series focused on achieving the perfectly photogenic base. Here are some tips to consider before a big day that can help prevent some makeup mishaps before they happen.


  • When you wake up in the morning, wash your face and apply a moisturzier and give it time to sink in before you apply your makeup. Alternatively, if you have oily skin it may be a good idea to skip the moisturizer as it may add more oil to your face.
  • After your skincare has had some time to really sink into the skin, I always recommend using a primer under your makeup. There are a number of different primers that produce different results. For those with dry/normal/combination skin you may wish to use an illuminating primer to add some glow to the face. Perhaps you want a primer that serves no other purpose than to extend the wear-time of your foundation. Oily/Teenage skins may want to consider using a mattifying primer to combat a shiny face as the day goes on, even if only applied to the T-Zone of the face (as noted above, oily skins skip the moisturizer and put the primer over bare skin).
  • When choosing a foundation, always choose a foundation without SPF. Although wearing sun protection is a great idea on a day to day basis, wearing an SPF on your face can cause a flashback from photography and make your entire face look white.
  • When applying your foundation, make sure to blend it down the neck to avoid a harsh line of makeup on the jawline.
  • Using powder if a great way to lock your foundation and concealer into place. If you have normal/combination/dry skin, consider using powder sparingly on the forehead and down the center of the face to prevent T-Zone shinyness. If you are an oily skinned gal, use a light layer of powder over the entire face to ensure your makeup stays in place all day.


  • Photography tends to wash people out. A touch of blush to the cheeks can make the face look healthy and fresh. If you have large pores or blemishes on the cheeks, avoid blush with shimmer which will emphasize uneven texture. Instead, choose a matte blush to disguise imperfections. 
  • Consider using a powder blush if you have oily skin. Alternatively, apply face powder on top of cream blush to make it last all day. You can also layer a powder blush over a cream blush for color that lasts all day. 
  • Bronzer can help to warm up the complexion and help add structure to the face. Remember to bronze the neck and chest to make the tan look realistic.
  • Highlighter is a great way to add some glow to the face. Remember to go easy on highlighters with lots of shimmer and sparkle as it may translate to greasy on camera. Apply sparingly to the tops of the cheekbones and under the browbone for a pretty glow.


  • For blemish prone girls like myself, consider cutting out dairy/sugar in the days/weeks leading up to your special event. I suffer from cystic acne and after cutting out sugar and limiting my intake of dairy products for only a week, I have not broken out once. 
  • Get some beauty sleep the night before. Going on a bender the night before a special occasion is not going to do you any favors and a heavy night will be easily detected on your skin. Go to bed early and get some much needed rest. 
  • If your event is taking place later in the day/evening, hold off on doing your makeup until it gets closer to the event. Holding off on doing your makeup for as long as possible will ensure that your makeup stays looking fresh for as long as possible. For instance, get your hair and nails done first and leave makeup for last. 

So there are some helpful tips for a beautiful base fit for any occasion. Remember that putting the time into doing your base makeup will save yourself some grief and allow you to enjoy your special day without worrying if your makeup has melted off. Keep an eye out for my next post on Special Occasion Beauty that will feature top tips for lips and eye makeup. 

What are your top tips for a flawless base on a special day?

Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

A Gloss for Gloss Haters: Maybelline Gloss Elixir Review

Maybelline Gloss Elixir in Glistening Amber
Maybelline Gloss Elixir in Glistening Amber layered over peach lipstick
Maybelline Gloss Elixir in Glistening Amber layered over light pink lipstick
Maybelline Gloss Elixir in Glistening Amber layered over red lipstick
Happy Saturday folks! It has been an incredibly stressful week, but it certainly worked out for the better (I have finished my degree and rented a new apartment). Lately I've been trying out a lot of drugstore makeup products, looking for good quality, affordable products to pass on to my lovely readers. I picked up the Maybelline Gloss Elixir in Glistening Amber to use as a golden shimmer gloss to layer over lipsticks. There are a wide range of colors within the Gloss Elixir range and I'm fairly certain that most of them don't contain shimmer. As I mentioned, I did not purchase this product to wear on it's own (I definitely don't like like it on it's own) but it layers beautifully over a variety of lipsticks to make the lips look plump and juicy. If you are someone who dislikes lip gloss for it's heavy, gloopy feel, this product may change your mind. It feels very similar to wearing lip balm as it feels light and hydrating with absolutely NO stickyness. Here's a little breakdown of my thoughts: 

PACKAGING: This lip gloss does not look like a drugstore product. The packaging is very sleek and sophisticated and at a glance it's hard to tell if it is a lipstick or lip gloss. I love how compact the lip gloss is, perfect for travel or throwing in your bag. For crazy people like me who care about packaging, it's aesthetically pleasing.

COLOR: This is definitely a sheer lip gloss. The name glistening amber is a great description of the color. It's a warm nude with micro glitter particles to give the gloss a shimmer finish rather than glitter. When layered over lipsticks, it makes the lips look juicy and shiny without any detectable glitter. Please note how amazing it looks over red lipstick (see picture above).

WEAR TIME: The gloss is impressively long lasting on the lips without feeling heavy or sticky. I would recommend this for gloss-haters as it doesn't feel like wearing traditional lip gloss and feels like lip balm on the lips. When layered over a lipstick, I did not notice the lipstick to wear off any faster. I did not have to touch up for a few hours but I will note that it did not last through a coffee (though few lip glosses could actually withstand a hot bevy). 

FRAGRANCE: Initially I didn't like the smell of the Maybelline Gloss Elixirs as it smells very floral and sickly to me. I have read other reviews and most people don't mind or really like the scent. Maybe it's just me and my sniffer. The good news is that the scent fades around 10 minutes after it's applied, so it's something I can deal with.


If these weren't so heavily perfumed, I would have given this a top rating. The formulation is spot on and I hope this is will be the new standard for drugstore lip glosses to come. I am definitely interested in trying more colors in the range to wear on their own rather than to layer with other products. I think one of the pink shades would be a lovely addition to the makeup bag for spring. The drugstore seems to be on it's game for making impressive products that could give high end brands a run for their money. Have you tried the Maybelline Gloss Elixirs? What shade should I try next?

Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Killer Cheekbones: How to Contour and Highlight

Apply bronzer in a "3" shape, apply highlighter in a "C" shape.
Happy Sunday folks! I'm happy to share my easy tip for contouring and highlighting the face. I think the idea of contouring the face scares a lot of people (even seasoned makeup addicts) and I used to be one of those individuals. After watching countless Youtube videos on achieving the facial structure of a Kardashian, I have figured out a simple technique for contouring and highlighting the face that's very effective. This requires two products: bronzer and highlighter. Powder products are probably easier for those who are beginners but cream products work just as well, I generally stick to powder for better control. I would recommend using a matte bronzer/contouring product for this job to keep it looking as natural as possible. A matte brown or matte grey shade can be a very realistic contour on the skin and mimic shadows on the face. If you do not have a matte bronzer, a matte eyeshadow can be a good substitute. As a substitute to a highlighter, a light shimmery eyeshadow can be used instead (e.g. light nude, light gold, light pink, white shimmer, etc). For this post, I have used The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in #03 Medium Matte and Stila All Over Shimmer Duo in Kitten (I used the light pink product on the left side). Here are my easy steps!

STEP ONE: Apply foundation and powder (if you wear either of those).

STEP TWO: Apply bronzer in the shape of a "3" starting at the temples, going in under the cheekbones, and ending at the jawline (refer to brown line on picture above). Make sure not to bring the bronzer all the way across the cheeks to your nose, stop half way across the cheek. Take a fluffy brush and blend in any harsh edges of the bronzer by going over the "3" shape a couple times.

STEP THREE: Apply highlighter on a small brush and swipe it on in a "C" shape, starting at the temple (above the brow) and bring it across the top of the cheekbone just below the eye (see picture above).

And that's my super simple technique for contouring and highlighting the face! It makes a dramatic difference to anybody's facial structure and really helps to slim out the face and bring out those cheekbones. It may sound confusing when written out in steps but I think that my diagram showing exactly where to put each product makes it easy to replicate. This look can be done on any skin tone, including pale girls like me (Benefit Hoola works really well on pale skins as well).

Do you like the look of a contoured face? It's a look I go back to time and time again. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.