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My Drug Store Favourites

I can feel that this week and the next is going to be a little department store-heavy, so to shake things up a little, here are my thoughts on the other end of the spectrum.  Some of these things you'll have seen me use or heard me talk about before, and that's just a testament to how much I really, really love them.  Being a stickler for texture, pigmentatio and wearibility, I don't often like drug store products, so if I like something from the drug store, you know it's worth a second look.

Products Mentioned
Wet 'n' Wild Comfort Zone Palette
Revlon Lip Gloss in Nude Lustre, Pearl Plum
Revlon Matte Lipstick in Nude Attitude, Wine Not
NYX Blush - Red
Prestige - My Longest Lashes, My Blackest Lashes
Real Techniques Brushes -- Stippling Brush, Deluxe Crease Brush

What else do I need to try at the drugstore?  Let me know in the comments!

Haul: Le Metier de Beaute Birthday

Clockwise from right:
Le Metier de Beaute True Colour Eye Shadow in Chameleon
Le Metier de Beaute Colour Core Moisture Stain Lipstick in Madaket
Le Metier de Beaute True Colour Eye Shadow in Tamarack
Le Metier de Beaute True Colour Eye Shadow in Bordeaux

On this last repeating day of our century, I'm turning 23.  I can't remember if I've ever posted about my birthday before, but I couldn't not -- 12.12.12!  I knew I'd regret it if I didn't.  A part of me also wishes I were turning 12, but then that got me thinking.

23's not a landmark birthday, but this year has been a strange one for me.  For the first time in my life, I haven't been in school, I've lived completely alone, and I've written somewhere other than this little corner of the internet.  These changes have been anticipated and gradual, and honestly, I feel like the exact same person I was 17 and heading off to boarding school.

One very pronounced change has been all the grown-up makeup I've been buying.  I've always been obsessed with quality and texture, but now I can feel my relationship with cosmetics changing.  Before, I'd lunge at anything new, fresh, different and purchase even if I had something exactly the same in my collection -- buyer's blindness if you would.  Not to say that that's not still happening, but I've been looking to fill holes in my collection, or replace sub-par products with higher quality versions.  Not to worry any of my younger readers though, as there will still be a new Urban Decay palette that tugs my heartstrings and leads me to my nearest Sephora.

The photo above is a tiny Le Metier de Beaute haul I made a few days ago -- they had these at Winners, of all places, and I leaped on the chance.  I've never tried their products before, so I'm excited to play with these and let you know what I think.  First impression:  These have insanely long names.  The packaging is gorgeous, but a little fingerprint-y (hey, I didn't say my vocabulary would mature).

For those who have celebrated with me, wished me well and put up with my non-stop chatter, thank you.  It has been a fantastic birthday experience so far, and I can't wait to see where the next 12 months take me.

I hope they bring Twinkies back though.

Review: Chanel Foundation Brush

There's a certain prejudice against a traditional, paddle foundation brush.  The past few years have offered us some amazing foundation brush options that have pushed aside ol' traditional -- the Sigma F80, CoverFX 160 and the Sephora Airbush #55, to name a few.

After methodically watching every single Lisa Eldridge video this summer, I noticed that she almost always uses a traditional foundation brush.  If The Great One herself uses it, there must be some merit.  She favours the Boots No 7 one, and in her Chanel Confidential videos, she sticks with her Chanel one.

What I liked about this brush in particular was the thickness and density of the bristles.  The last paddle foundation brush I owned was by EcoTools and it wasn't thick at all.  Some people like that for the flexibility, but therein lies the magic of the Chanel foundation brush.  The bristles are beautifully dense at the base of the brush, which gives the brush the stiffness it needs to push the product around your face.  They taper gradually at the tip, and this thinner end is great feathering out any edges.  The size is perfect for my face, and I don't see anyone having an issue with it.  It fits comfortably around my nose and under my eyes, so I've been using it to blend in my concealer as well.

This doesn't drink up nearly as much product as other foundation brushes I've used, so be aware that however much foundation you apply to the brush is pretty close to how much will end up on your face.  My favourite aspect of applying with this brush is that it makes it really easy to go back and add coverage -- with a kabuki or a buffing brush, I find that I end up with similar coverage everywhere, even if I don't necessarily need as much on one area. 

Chanel's No. 6 Foundation brush is a synthetic brush that measures just over six inches and comes in a velvet pouch.  In Canada, it costs $47 CAD, and is available at Chanel counters. 

Review: Wet 'n' Wild Comfort Zone

Another blogosphere favourite this week!  A drugstore item, no less.

I'm sure you've all gathered by now that I'm pretty willing to spend on my face.  Of course I still root around the drugstore in the hope that something amazing will come up, but...those are few and far between.  At the end of the day, there's a difference in quality that's up to you to decide if it's worth the price increase.

Enter Wet 'n' Wild's reformulated eye shadows (hauled and played with here).  From what I hear, about a year ago WNW decided to do a huge brand overhaul.  If anyone remembers the line from my days, it was the quality equivalent of those sketchy pink lipsticks you find in the dollar store.  You know, the kind you pick up because you're a beauty junkie then go..."Why am I looking at makeup in the dollar store?"  Then you proceed to drop it and block the experience from your memory.  However, if this palette is any indication, the brand has come quite a ways since then.

Below are some swatches on my NC40 arm -- these come off much more pigmented on the lid than on my arm, so do take those in with a grain of salt.  The texture is a little powdery, but still ridiculously creamy.  In fact, I find these creamier than some MAC shadows I have, almost to the squishy level of TooFaced shadows.  The colours in this palette are well-edited; the only thing that's missing is a matte shadow to help contour, but that's a personal preference.  In fact, from what I hear, there are quite a few MAC dupes, but I don't own any of the comparable shades to swatch for you.

Don't feel pressured to use the shadows according to the label that's stamped into them -- the bottom right Definer colour is the most beautiful wash of blue-brown duochrome all over the lid.

Left Browbone -- neutral cream shimmer
Left Eyelid -- peachy-pink shimmer, can get frosty
Left Crease --  neutral, teddy-bear brown, 
more suited for the lid or outer-v, due to shimmer
Left Definer -- blackened, reddish purple with minimal
sparkle.  Great for the crease.

Right Browbone -- silvery taupe shimmer.  
Wouldn't use this on anyone's browbone
Right Eyelid -- cool, yellow-green shot through with silver shimmer
Right Crease -- gray-brown satin, one of the 
least shimmery shades. Great for liner.
Right Definer -- mid-tone raisin colour 
with a blue/brown duochrome.  Shimmer finish.

I'm lusting after the matte, rainbow version of this palette.  Any other tried-and-true drug store favourites?

Review: Dior Amber Diamond

While I've been purging my collection these past few months, I realized that I don't have a single powder highlighter.  Sometimes, you just want to highlight after you've carefully powdered your work.  Or in my case, you forget to highlight before you've carefully powdered your work and you don't want to do it all over again.

There are pale, shimmery shadows that could be substituted of course, but unless you apply those uber carefully, you end up with a streak of champagne-coloured powder on top of your cheekbone that just. Won't. Blend.  When Tod lived with me I used TheBalm's Mary Lou-manizer (which I LOVED), but that's gone with her to the boonies.

I was contemplating picking one up for myself, but when I swatched it on myself, it just didn't read right.  I'm not much of a highlighter user myself because I tend to have large pores, and shimmer tends to highlight that. I was looking for something insanely finely milled.  For a long time, I had my eye on Kevyn Aucoin's Candlelight, but I keep missing the chance to swatch it.

Finally, I went to the Dior counter to try Ambre Diamond.  I really didn't think it would live up to the hype -- when things get over-blogged, I'm a little suspicious.  I also didn't think a peach highlighter would work on me, and this thing is not cheap at $42 CAD.

Then I swatched.
Then I gasped.
Then I applied.
Then I applied more.
And more.

Click through to properly examine the sheeny goodness.

This stuff refuses to look over-done.  I think the only way to make it look garish in the least would be to gouge your fingers into it and smear it all over your cheeks.  Even then, that would take a while.  Click through on the above photo -- you see that swatch on the back of my hand?  That's Josie Maran's Luminizer, which I previously thought was the most beautiful highlight I'd ever seen.  See that indentation between the knuckles of my thumb and index finger?   That's because it's been highlighted by the most subtle, beautiful highlighter known to me.  Dior Amber Diamond.

I apply with a MAC 184 Duo Fibre Fan Brush, but fingers also work really well if you want a heavier application.  I can't even explain the effect of sweeping the brush over my cheeks, forehead, nose and lip -- my skin just looks...smoother.  Like there's a sheen over those areas simply because my skin is so impossibly smooth, it is reflecting light.

What highlighters do you use?  Do you prefer powder, cream, or liquid?

IMATS 2012 -- Haul, Thoughts and Swatches

This Saturday, Tod and I made our way to Beauty Mecca -- well, Toronto version, as I think the goal is to get to New York or LA.  I can't even let myself dream about that just yet.

A couple things about IMATS Toronto...

  • The TTC most certainly does not go directly to the Toronto Congress Centre, no matter what it tells you.  The walk from the bus isn't all that bad though.
  • Don't go early.  I accidentally kept Tod up late the night before and couldn't get her to wake up, but that turned out to be a blessing, as we managed to avoid the crazy registration lines.
  • People are shockingly nice when it comes to crowding.  Yes, they crowd, they take wayyyy too long to swatch, but they'll move if you ask nicely.  I even had a woman mix me a lip colour while we were waiting to get our orders filled at OCC.
  • Eve Pearl looks much younger in person than she does on camera.
  • There are some truly awful brush booths.
  • Z-palettes were conspicuously absent!
Check out the video below so you can hear a little more about the products, why I wanted them, etc.

L - R:  OCC Lip Tar in NSFW, MUFE eye shadow refill in #09, MUFE HD blush in 07 heavy swatch, blended out, MUFE HD foundation in N123

Did anyone else go to IMATS?  What did you get?

My recommendations for Sephora's VIB 2012

After much strife with this year's Friends and Family sale, Sephora has finally released its VIB dates.  Those of you who are VIBs will know that the sale starts tomorrow and goes until the 12th, offering a 20% in-store discount.

I've always maintained that you should do all of your Sephora shopping at this time. In fact, if you can, you should try to become a VIB for the next year by making your $350 purchase -- you'll receive $437.50 worth of stuff. You could, in theory, purchase 14 Clarisonic heads.  They won't spoil and they'll be useful as long as you don't abandon your Clarisonic.

That said, I haven't been using my Clarisonic much lately, so I've compiled a list of things that I would or will likely purchase...

1.  Tools:  If you don't have a Clarisonic, a GHD, or any of these big-ticket items, now would be the time to invest.  20% off a $225 flat iron is pretty significant, and GHDs never go on sale at Sephora.  Come to think of it...nothing ever goes on sale at Sephora unless the brand is being discontinued at the store.  This Clarisonic set with travel-sized Josie Maran products seems like a pretty sweet deal.

 2.  Gift Sets and Value Palettes:  There's nothing more delicious than getting a discount on an already (sort of) discounted item.  I'm personally eyeing the Super Stars set (Exfolikate and a full-sized NARS Orgasm?  Count me in.) and the Give Me Some Lip Sephora Favourites.  If nothing else, think of the fact that you're purchasing a Tarte Matte LipSurgence for $24, when they regularly retail for $31.

3. Things you already love: If you know you're going to repurchase your favourite red lipstick or your daily brow pencil, you may as well get one (or three) while your discount is active.  Some of my favourites include Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer and Caudalie Beauty Elixir.  And the aforementioned Clarisonic Sensitive brush head.

What is everyone else purchasing from this year's F&F?  Leave it in the comments so I can peruse!

I wish I had at least two of these brushes...

When I first started the blog, I had exactly three kinds of brushes:  paddle brushes, angled brushes and one lonely oversized paddle brush that I referred to as a fluff brush.  It really wasn't a fluff brush.

My brush collection has since grown, and even with the number I've collected, I can still tell that I'm comfortable with certain shapes of brush.  I often find myself reaching for the same brushes over and over for different products, and wishing I had backups.  Theoretically, brushes should last forever (if you treat them right), but spot cleaners shorten their lifespan dramatically.

Counterclockwise from the left...

Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush
I use this brush for concealer every single day all over my face.  The synthetic fibres are so beautifully even and dense that it's almost like using your fingers to blend out the colour, except that this gives a much more airbrushed finish.  I don't like using face brushes more than once (especially since this one covers blemishes), so having one (or two) more would come in really handy.  It's also great for blending out cream products.

MAC 239
This quintessential shader brush is sneakily thin -- it's greatest quality.  Not only does this effectively lay pigment onto the eye, it's thin enough to line under the eye and the inner corner.  I used to use only one brush for my entire eye look, so it's not like this is the most revolutionary of notions, but the 239 makes it so easy.

MAC 217
Here's a secret:  I already have two of these.  I want a third one.  I use one for powder products, the other for cream, and I desperately want a third to blend out product.  I always finish my looks by using a clean brush to blend out the edges, and none do it so perfectly as the 217.

MAC 263/266
I'm not even sure which one this is, but they're both great.  The 266 is slightly stiffer, but the difference is extremely minimal.  I use these for my brows, for my liner, for my lipstick, for my inner corner highlight, and most often:  drawing webs/stars/lace on people's faces for Halloween.  Yes, it happens once a year, but that's when they get the most use.

Shiseido Perfect Foundation brush
This is one of my favourite liquid foundation brushes.  The best part is, I think it could be used for powder and cream also, which is why I want a second one.  I regularly use this for cream blushes that lack pigment like the Tarte cheek stains, and they buff in the product beautifully.  The bristles are so incredibly dense that they'll blend out any cakiness and leave your skin with an air-brushed finish. Watch this video where the makeup artist uses the brush with all different textures.

MAC 187
This is hands-down my favourite brush for ultra-pigmented blushes, cream, gel or powder.  It just stipples on the tiniest amount and makes the colour much more manageable.  It's also easy to build up a concentration of colour.  I often use this with my cream bronzer for a more natural-looking contour.  I want a second one for powder -- it gives the most beautiful, light dusting.  I usually use it with pressed powder or my Guerlain Meteorites.

NARS Yachiyo
I love, love, love this brush for blush, bronzer and highlight.  Here's a secret: I also use it for foundation on days that I want high, but light-feeling coverage.  I think I could own three or four of these.  I wish they made them in a smaller size!  It'd be even better for focusing colour.  If I'm not mistaken, Hakuhodo makes a similar one?

What brushes do you wish you had multiples of?  Share below, I can't wait to check out your recommendations!

my current lip balms.

Lips are one of the few places which I've ever had a problem with dryness -- usually in the winter, but if I even go one day without enough water, I start reflexively peeling the skin off my lips.  That was likely too much information. Regardless, it's hard to find a balm that actually hydrates instead of just being phenol-licious, so I tried to include a few that I love for the colour, and a few that I love because they work.

La Roche-Posay Ceralip
I'm not crazy about it.  It's a thick, translucent consistency that spreads easily over the lip, but it doesn't really hydrate.  What I use it for is to seal in a balm that actually hydrates.

Nivea Cherry and Labello Strawberry
These are actually the same company as they were selling these Labello balms in the Nivea Haus in Hamburg.  The cherry is a more cool-toned berry stain and the strawberry is warmer, but more natural-looking on me.  In terms of the colour's lasting power, both are more or less gone around the same time the gloss wears off.  These are ultra-soft so you run through them rather quickly, but the moisture they give is rather temporary.

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Rose and Hibiscus
These aren't as soft as the Nivea balms, but definitely way softer than their regular, untinted counterpart.  Rose is more or less the same colour as Nivea cherry, maybe slightly more of a true red, but once you apply it, it looks the same.  Hibiscus is a pinky-nude, and I use it on days that I want to look "appropriate" but not put any effort into it. I think I use Hibiscus more often because I feel that Rose tends to get patchy if I over-apply.  Like the Nivea, the moisture is superficial.

Jack Black's Therapy Lip Balm
Here's one that actually hydrates.  This is a clear balm with a bit of shine once it's applied, but definitely not as shiny as the texture would suggest.  Mine's an old one, so ignore that SPF label -- the active ingredients don't actually work.  I love toting this around with me because I don't like dipping my fingers into pots when I'm about and about.

I think this is being discontinued, but I love it so much, I need to say something.  I don't know if it's my actual favourite out of all these balms, but it's the one I reach for the most.  It's really nothing more than Vaseline mixed with calendula, but it's so much less sticky than normal petroleum jelly, and it just seals in moisture better than anything else.  I've put this on at night to find that it hasn't fully absorbed in the morning.  We'll miss you, Homeoplasmine.

Korres Lip Butter in Rose and Plum
I love, love, love the texture of these.  The only word to describe such a thing would be cushy.  If you've used these before, you'll understand what I mean -- they're just so buttery and smooth that when you dip your finger in, it's like sinking into an extremely soft couch.  Rose is a dark red that sheers out to a mid-tone pink if you use a small enough amount.  Plum is exactly what it sounds like, but it's harder to build up to the pot colour.  It's one of those "my lip but better" colours on me, leaning towards a mauve-y pink.

Nuxe Reve de Miel
I'm in love.  This is insanely expensive lip balm in Canada (and not that cheap even in Europe), especially since it's a pharmacy product but I think I have to repurchase it.  It's a blend of beeswax, shea butter, calendula and god knows what else, but it smells AMAZING and it actually works!  This makes my lips feel better from the inside -- a huge difference from my usual experience.  It gets gritty, but don't let that bother you -- think of it as a gentle lip scrub.  Also, it's completely matte so it's great for lipstick prep, and for people who don't like a shiny lip.

Jurlique Love Balm
I use this light, yellow balm on everything -- my brows, my cuticles, elbows and under the eye. On my lips I use it when I feel like getting a punch of real moisture, but want something lighter than Reve de Miel.  It's a little shinier than RdM, but it absorbs rather quickly, so there won't be much shine after a while.  When I warm this up in the pot, it almost feels like it's going liquidy between my fingers. I love this for my cuticles because it absorbs almost instantly.

I was thinking about doing a video for this post, but I'm fairly certain it would have been about half an hour long, given how obsessed I clearly am with lip balm.

Got any lip balm recommendations?  Share it in the comments!

Review: Kanebo Sensai Fluid Finish Lasting Velvet Foundation

This was an impulse buy on my trip to Germany -- I've heard great things about Kanebo before, and I was really excited to try this.  I justified the purchase by telling myself it would be cheaper in an airport than anywhere else.

The foundation comes housed in a glass bottle, so it has that touch of luxury.  Foundation also tends to keep better in glass, and I feel like this one will age especially well, since it has a pump.  The SPF 15 will probably expire in about a year, but I'm comfortable keeping pump-bottle foundation as long as it doesn't look or smell odd.

The colour is called Amber Beige -- it's extremely warm and golden, but it has just enough neutral beige in it that it doesn't go orange.  While I wouldn't call my skin neutral, it does need a less warm shade to accommodate the olive in my skin.

As for the texture...oh, the texture.  It's magical.  It feels better on the skin than even my beloved MUFE HD.  I'm pretty sure there's no added benefit to this foundation, but it has a buildable medium coverage, which usually means that it doesn't feel like naked skin, even with the most expensive foundation.  This doesn't feel like nothing, but it feels like a treatment for your skin.  I rub it in with my fingers and it absorbs like a serum.  And not to make any sweeping declarations, but my skin feels even better with it on than without.  Even Tod thinks so and she's patently against foundation.

I still need to use a dab of concealer after this, but the finish is so natural -- not a cakey or fake matte at all.  It's classed a semi-matte, and I couldn't agree more.  This really is one of those "your skin but better" textures.  I picked the Velvet version because with such a dark colour, I knew I would only wear it in the summer.

I paid 40E at the Vienna airport, but I've seen it at other airports for 35E.  Definitely not a cheap foundation, but for that texture, it's well worth it. 

my new favourite red lipstick.

I've swatched some of my red lipsticks before (I need to do a collection...not unlike my red nail polish collection), and if you've been following me for sometime, you know that I love everything blue-based. I've never been one for coral, brick or peach, simply because it usually makes my skin look dirty.

Until now.

A couple weeks ago, my friend (and regular blog model) Peruana dropped off a NARS lipstick that she was struggling with -- we have a similar skin tint, but I'm more olive and she's that fantastic mixture of mauve and gold that can wear every nude lip I've wanted my whole life.  

And thus Heat Wave made its way into my life.  If I'm going to start off with an orange-red, why wouldn't it be so bright it's almost neon?  That's just how I roll, kids.  This intense, fire-engine-but-oranger red will pop right off your face.  I tried to Instagram a photo and my camera turned it neon pink -- that's how bright it is.  The texture is the same as my other NARS semi-matte, Schiap.  I do find NARS's lipsticks to be a tad drying, but the colours I have I love to pieces, so I can't complain.  I typically run a lipbalm over my lips, let it sink in for a minute and wipe off all the excess.  You can do this with a cotton swab, but I usually just grab a tissue and really soak up all the excess moisture.  Then I apply straight from the bullet to get that ultra opaque, bright finish.  A lip brush will just tone down any neon potential this sort of colour can give you.

Since this is so bright, I try to tone down the rest of my face.  Starting with a very sheer base (usually just enough concealer to get rid of any blemishes), I pair it with NARS cream eye shadow in Etrusque.  If I want to be super NARS-y, I'll run the South Beach Multiple over my cheekbones and finish with a black pencil liner.  Don't forget to layer a couple of mascaras for an extra-feathery look.

I'm already itching for another NARS lip.  Any recommendations?

Inglot, revisited.

Note: My July Favourites are coming, Youtube is just really not cooperating with me.  Must have started this upload at least four or five times now!  Will try again tomorrow!

So near the very very very very very beginnings of this blog, I wrote a little piece about Inglot where I called it the Coach of high-end makeup.  Take that as you will and read the rest here.

I wrote that piece way before Inglot got popular with the Youtube crowd, when they had only the one store in Manhattan.  However, since starting the blog and dreaming of a streamlined collection (quite the conundrum, as I continue to purchase more product in order to find the next 'it' thing that will beat out my need for everything else), I've been meaning to get one of those Freedom palettes for myself.

The idea is that they have set palettes in varying sizes, with or without mirrors, and you can customize to your heart's delight.  With Inglot's extensive choices of tints, tones and finishes, you're sure to find something you like.

I've always wanted something that would hold a brow colour, a cheek colour, a daytime look and a nighttime look.  I think I've come pretty close with the combination I chose.

I wanted matte eye shadows that I use every day for a neutral, office-appropriate look.  I have a million and one shimmery neutrals, but I'm severely lacking in mattes. The eye trio in the lower right hand corner is their Rainbow shadow in 117R -- they have three of these trios that look basically exactly the same, and this is the coolest one, so it works well for my brows.

The texture of the matte shadows is a tiny bit chalky, but I think that's to be expected with mattes.  I don't suggest using your fingers for these, they'll apply much less patchy with a brush.

I've been looking for a light pink blush for a while, since most of mine tend to lean very dusty, mauvey or hot pink.   I used this this morning and when I brushed my MAC 168 over it, it kicked up a TON of powder.  They're extremely pigmented.

I maintain that only one of these is neutral.  I've been lemming an olive and purple shimmery shadow for a while -- I was thinking Sumptuous Olive from MAC for a while, but that was a little yellow for my liking.  P419 is quite a gray-green, I see myself using this under the eye.  As for a rich, royal purple, I couldn't find one I liked from any of my usual haunts and when the SA swatched P446 for me, I knew I was sold.  The brown on the right is fairly basic, but it has just enough copper and silver shimmer in that it'll suit most skin tones and eye colours.  As for the finish, the shimmer is not at all frosty -- the tiny glitter particles make up a beautiful shimmer, just pearly enough to bring a little light to the eye.

Blush in 20, Eyeshadow in P419, P446, P422, R117 (last group of three)

I know a lot of you have indulged in Inglot, would love to hear what combinations you've made, or any products you love from them.  Anyone tried their brushes?  I was recommended the eyeliner brush!

Current Beauty Pairings

This summer I've been staying inside, playing with makeup and mixing pitcher after pitcher of Starbucks' passion tea lemonade.  Here are some things I've been going back to over and over again, because they just work so well with summer colouring.  Despite not having gone out that much, my face has darkened somewhat, almost to the colour my body normally is (NC35-40), so I've been pulling out every kind of peach, coral, bronze and gold.

1. Orange lip + brown smokey eye -- Since making my lip palette, I'm obsessed with orange everything.  It really does prove that to use products, you need to see them. I used to use orange only in this look, but now I'm loving using this MAC Pro Longwear Lip Creme in Good to Go as a light stain on my lips and cheeks, paired with a smudgy brown smokey eye using Cocoa Puff and Push-Up the TooFaced Natural Eye palette.

2.  Viva Glam Gaga + Revlon Nude Lustre -- I know Viva Glam Gaga is one of those lipsticks that people hunt down in blog sales and on eBay (I used to be one of them), but after purchasing one...I just don't get it. I think maybe it's the gold/olive undertone in my skin?  It pulls all the life out of my skin and makes me look a little like a street walker the way concealer-filled lips do.  However, I knew there was a way to make it work.  After layering every single gloss I own over it, I finally realized that the peachiness of Revlon's Nude Lustre was the way to make me not look like a zombie hooker.

3.  Tarte Natural Siren + Bobbi Brown Pink Pout -- I've been so into layering blush.  It reminds me of my 9 year old self mixing eight different brown lipsticks (remember the 90s?  Good times).  Layering a cream blush under a powder one makes for great staying power, but I've been enjoying mixing my own colours.  Both these colours show up fairly natural on me, but in different ways.  Tarte shimmery coral makes me look like I'm 'glowing from within' and Bobbi Brown's mauvey lip and cheek colour is almost a natural sculpt on me, kind of like Benefit Dallas.  To get a dusty flush, I use a foundation brush and apply to the top of my cheekbone, blending down to the apple.

What products do you layer?  I'm think I want to start learning how to layer fragrance, so I'd love to hear your advice!

Polish Collection: Red

I don't often wear red.  I tend more towards cool colours -- anything blue, teal, turquoise, green, etc.  I've never gone very classic with my enamel.  There's nothing I hate more than a French nail, but I think that has more to do with how poorly they're applied.  Why does anyone want the smile line of their nail to be halfway up their nailbeds??  When people tell me that it makes their nails look longer, I throw my hands up in the air and don't bother explaining.  What I will say is though, the reason that your nails look longer when you paint them is that they're all one colour, so you see one continuous line.  It's kind of the same reason T-strap ankles make your legs look short.

Rant over.

French nails suck and have come to connote not classic elegance, but streetwalker.

Rant really over.

If you must do a French nail, keep the white edge thin and round off your nails.  Your fingers will look longer, more natural, and not like they have white shovels attached to the end.

Preaching over.

Anyway, onto my collection of red nails!

L.A. Girl, Zoya Riva, Essie Lollipop (bottle attacked by Deborah Lippmann's Ruby Red Slippers), Essie Limited Addiction
China Glaze Ruby Pumps, Revlon 730 Valentine, OPI Quarter of a Cent-cherry, Chanel 18 Rouge Noir

L.A. Girl, Zoya Riva, Essie Lollipop, Essie Limited Addiction

L.A. Girl: This red has a lot of pink in it, but I got it because it glows in the dark.  Yes, I'm 11.
Zoya Riva: This is very pink-based red, chock full of gold, silver and red glitter.
Essie Lollipop: This is as much orange as my skin tone can take -- it reminds me of poppies.
Essie Limited Addiction: A blue-based red.  I can't get enough.

China Glaze Ruby Pumps, Revlon 730 Valentine, OPI Quarter of a Cent-cherry, Chanel 18 Rouge Noir
China Glaze Ruby Pumps:  It's not showing up in the photo, but this is ultra-shimmery, glittery beauty.  It's exactly what Dorothy would have wanted.
Revlon 730 Valentine:  This was the first red I actively recall seeking out.  A good friend of mine lent it to me for a semi-formal in high school, and I remember thinking how beautiful red polish is.  I've been hooked on blue-based red ever since.
OPI Quarter of a Cent-cherry:  This is the salon brand dupe of Revlon Valentine, since I think it might be discontinued.
Chanel 18 Rouge Noir: Formerly known as Vamp -- now they've replaced it with a shimmery purple mess, and renamed Original Vamp as Rouge Noir.  Ever seen Pulp Fiction?  Me neither, but this is all you need to know.

Man, I like blue.  Even my reds aren't safe from the blues.

What reds do you love?

Downsizing and a DIY Lip Palette

Since coming back and having binged intensely on make up in Europe, I've been thinking...why can't I downsize?  Although this blog may lead you to believe otherwise, I've always been a person who wishes she had one go-to.  As in, one holy grail (HG) red lipstick that satisfies all my red lip needs and I'll never use another again.  We can all dream, can't we?

I've been reading several posts on essential beauty items and downsized makeup collections, I've decided to take matters into my own hands.  This past week, I've taken it upon myself to throw away anything I haven't used in one calender year.  I gave myself 12 months because my skin colours swings rather wildly throughout the seasons, so I end up purchasing for two skintones.  I started with my lip products, which needed desperate help.

Remember this?

I think that was about half.

I've managed to get it down to this.  I'm thinking of eventually doing a makeup collection, if you'd be interested.  Once it's all sorted and weeded out of course!

But one thing I knew I wanted to do in my downsizing process was to create a lip palette.  I normally prefer bullets, but I realized that this was a fantastic way to Back to Mac colours I wasn't sure I wanted to let go of quite yet.  Also, since I think I'm going to adopt a one-in-one-out policy (don't quote me yet, no big, sweeping declarations here), I wanted to find a way to fit a couple extra colours in here.

Hence, I read a random DIY article, stole a pillbox from my dad and went to town.  There are a million and one DIY videos/posts on how to make your own palette, but the gist is this:  Flame, bullet, spoon.  Light a candle, put your lipstick in a spoon and hold it over the flame, and pour.

I also read this really interesting post where a girl's lip colours changed after depotting them.  Of course this put me into a lip-depotting existential crisis where I couldnt decide how much of the bullet to leave behind.

Clockwise from upper left:  Revlon Certainly Red, MAC Pro Longwear Lip Creme in Good to Go, MAC Viva Glam V,  Joe Fresh Baie Sauvage

The answer?  None.  If you have wells as deep as mine, they'll just barely cover the bottom.  If you look in the upper left compartment, you can tell where I realized I didn't have enough product.  Also, lipstick hardens extremely quickly, in the time it took me to melt more of the bullet, the bottom layer had already solidified.

L: from the bullet, R: from the palette
Certainly Red, Baie Sauvage, Good to Go, Viva Glam V

I didn't lose too much pigmentation, but I will say that Viva Glam V (far right) lost some of its shimmer.  And it doesn't show up exactly in the photo, but I think Baie Sauvage has a touch less blue, which is actually fantastic for me -- it made me look the tiniest bit dead before (see it on my friend Peruana here).  Certainly red got a little more sheer, but I think that's to be expected if you plan to dab on your lip colour with your fingers.  I haven't used these with a lip brush yet, but I'm fairly happy with the way it turned out.  I chose these colours because I figured that wherever I go, you can't go wrong with bright fuschia, classic red, muted, shimmery nude and orange to warm everything up.  I know some people like to group colours together (all red, all nude, etc) in larger palettes, but I think for daily use, this works for me.

What colours would you put in?  Any downsizing tips for me?  I'm kind of struggling with foundations.

My Concealer

It's way too hot for foundation.  Agree/Disagree?
What I've been doing instead is a Lisa Eldridge-esque point concealing, but without foundation underneath.  To do this, you need a concealer that matches perfectly with your skin.

Clockwise from Left
Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda 07 Concealer Palette
Cle de Peau Concealer in Ochre
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC-3
YSL Touche Eclat*
Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Peach
Clinique Airbrush Concealer in 02 Medium

  1. Sonia Kashuk's palette comes with a green corrector (you can see me use it in a video here).  I am so insanely olive-toned that I use this as my base colour -- it matches my skin exactly. You need a minuscule brush to get into the pit of the scars and cancel out all the redness.  Also, you want to place the pigment directly onto the scar/spot and softly feather out the colour into the surrounding skin.
  2. Cle de Peau's ultra-pigmented concealer  comes in when I need a little foundation (usually MAC's Face and Body) or tinted moisturizer.  Since most foundation colours are not green enough for me, I end up using a different colour of concealer to match it.  I use it under eyes and on blemishes with my finger or a Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush.
  3. Secret Camouflage by Laura Mercier comes with two colours -- as of right now, I match the darker tone in this compact.  For nights out when I want more coverage, I'll actually just go over my entire face with this compact and a stippling brush.  That will probably be my next video.
  4. YSL Touche Eclat has a star because it is not a concealer.  This product has a surprisingly low rating on, but if you read the reviews (all 230934 of them), you'll find that most people are disappointed with its coverage.  It's marketed as a brightener, so the idea is to use it as a highlighting product in conjunction with a base product.  I usually end up using this on people to even out eyelid discoloration or along the cheekbone for a cheek highlight.
  5. Bobbi Brown Correctors are great -- I don't usually use a concealer over top.  I love the texture of this, but I do feel that it gets a little heavy and too 'done' looking if I don't have foundation on underneath.
  6. Clinique's Airbrush is the exact same colour as my Bobbi Brown Corrector, but since it's a liquid, the texture is much lighter, and I can use this on its own.  Just don't forget to wash the brush every few uses.
Bonus: Vintage Makeup also asked me (ages and ages ago) to compare TheBalm's Time Balm with Cle de Peau's concealer -- I bought the wrong colour and it's still a little dark for me, but first impression:  Cle de Peau is a bit softer, and blends in a little easier.  Also, the colour allows for use all over the face.  Time Balm only works under the eye because it's so pink-toned.  Then again, for those of you who are pink-toned...might just work for you :-)  

Happy Monday, dears!

my first Chanel lipstick...

Last week, I graduated from university, and my aunt handed me this.  We don't really do graduation presents in my family, but I suppose this falls into that category.

It's not like I shy away from high end makeup, but for whatever reason, I have never even entertained the idea of a Chanel lipstick.  It felt too grown up/classic/out of my league.  Having tried this though, I can visualize the beginnings of an haute lipstick binge.

This is a Rouge Allure lipstick in #28 Romantic.  On the bullet, it's a cool-toned berry colour with a very pink base.  The house's name is stamped on the side of the bullet, which twists out of a gold casing.  Funny enough, my aunt couldn't figure out how to open the lipstick.  There's a spring-loaded compartment that the bullet rests in, so you press on the gold bottom of the case, and an edge will pop out so you can remove the case.

The formula is extremely smooth but not too creamy -- right on par with all my department store lipsticks.  The colour payoff is excellent, too, almost opaque in one swipe and definitely opaque in two.  There's a tiny amount of reflection so the finish is pretty satin-y.  I personally prefer matte/cream finishes, but I can see a lot of people liking this.  In the swatch the colour is rather true, but on my pigmented lips, leans much redder.  It's a bright raspberry pink, which almost works on my skin.  

I'm not sure why, but I don't absolutely love this colour on me when I first apply it.  After blotting and powdering the brightness tones down a little, and it works better with my skin.  Isn't that weird?  I love NARS Schiap more than anything, but this just doesn't work.  Clearly I can't do anything in between; I need BRIGHT or muted.  To make this work, I'll apply a milky-peachy gloss on top -- something like Revlon Nude Lustre or Stila grapefruit works really well. 

This has been kind of a Chanel week.  What should my next item be?  Let's go three for three.

Chanel Diwali

I have been lusting this colour since last year's shows.  For a long time, there were so many photos that offered the tiniest glimpse of glowy, gold goodness on the models' tips, and from those I already knew I was in love.

Then one of these came out, and I was sold.

Yesterday, I caught a tweet that mentioned that the Bombay collection was up for sale, so I called my nearest Holt Renfrew and immediately put one on hold.  When I got back to my apartment, I didn't even bother to properly shape my nails or buff away my cuticles; I just needed to see how this metallic would translate.

The colour itself is a perfectly balanced combination of gold and silver, kind of what I imagine the Armani Eyes to Kill #19 to look like after you've used it a few times.  I find the best way to judge a colour is to see if it catches your eye at a glance and in different lighting.  For example, I knew I was in love with Chanel's Blue Satin when I was showering one day, and though you couldn't see the shimmer in my dim bathroom light, the navy still had an infinite amount of depth.  Also true with this one -- no one would think that a silvery gold would be unusual, but once again, Chanel has managed to create a deep "glow" about it that you can't describe until you've seen it in person.  If you've previously used another Chanel metallic, you'll understand.
Occasionally (especially for a hand-talker like me), it'll catch the light and give a pearly-white shine.

The formula is exactly like all other metallic Chanel polishes -- it can streak, but if you take your time with application, you won't have a problem.  If you also use their base coat and top coat, the finish will be even smoother.  The shimmer is extremely fine, almost as though the formula has no base colour, and they've packed metallic powder into a bottle.  In one thin coat you can still see a little of your nailbed, but it is completely opaque in two thin coats.  I have a feeling this would be a one coater if you could spread the polish evenly enough.

Base Coat: Butter London Nail Foundation
Polish: Chanel Diwali, two thin coats
Top Coat:  Butter London Hardwear
Diwali is available at all Chanel counters for $27 CAD.  It is also available at Holt Renfrew.

Interview Makeup

Over the past few weeks I've been heading to a series of interviews, and my look hasn't really changed from meeting to meeting.  It's an extremely basic, pared-down look, since I'm headed towards something a little more corporate/conservative.  My goal was to achieve a natural look, but with a little bit of effort -- this is one of those times that I think it's okay to look like you've put on a lip colour and that you've bothered to pluck your eye brows.  On the flipside, I don't want to look like I spend a lot of time on my look or have my makeup be the focus of the interview.  Can you imagine if all they remembered was how perfectly winged my liner was?

My look had to be clean, not too perfect, natural and easily touch up-able (that's officially a word on this blog).  My partners in crime...

Eyes:  I don't suggest anything too shimmery; it can look really harsh under fluorescent lighting.  Not to mention it can look semi-trashy if it's a cheap shimmer.  I also think this is the time to exercise a one-colour rule -- don't go for a look that requires four different colours, it'll just stress you out.  I did a simple wash of colour over the lid, but people with a crease would get the same kind of definition by placing the colour in their socket line.  Give your brows a quick brush, and fill them in just enough to look complete and natural.  As for eyeliner, I went for brown, even though my hair is so dark.  It looks much softer, almost like it's not there, and my mascara was dark enough to make me look like I still had lashes.

Clockwise, from bottom left:  Pupa Baked Eyeshadow in Warm, Urban Decay Buck, Korres Bronze Brown, Clinique High Impact in Black, Prestige Waterproof Automatic Eyeliner in Sepia, MAC Brow Pencil in Lingering

My Skincare: Moisturizers

There was a time that I never moisturized.  I was firmly in the school of "Well, if I have oily skin, my skin makes its own moisture, why should I pay good money to add to the oil when I could use that same money to purchase harsh, oil-free chemical exfoliants?"

Yes, I was that girl.

It wasn't until one of my friends who has the most beautiful skin in the world told me that she doesn't use cleanser, but she faithfully moisturizes with Nivea Soft that I got all moisturizer crazy.

(Funny enough, I thought it was an old family secret or something, but no, she just liked the commercial.  She was that girl.)

Since then, I've branched out and tried a few more things.  Moisturizer is one of those things I'm still really fickle about -- I'm wildly curious about all the different ones that exist, but simultaneously terrified that each new one I try will wreak havoc on my skin.  It's moisturizer limbo.

From left to right in the photo above, I have arranged the bottles from most moisturizing to most mattifying.

1. Jojoba Oil -- This essential oil acts most like our skin's sebum, so I was the most comfortable trying this as an all-over moisturizer.  I can't use too much or I break out, but I tend to apply a few drops all over and soak up the excess with a tissue.  Otherwise, I mix it into one of the other moisturizers if I'm looking for a natural kick.

2. La Roche Posay Substiane Yeux -- Technically, this isn't a moisturizer, but I still use it when my skin is in serious need of deep hydration.  I tend to use it at night like a mask and apply it in a thick layer without rubbing it in.  Then I wake up with the ultra-hydrated, glowy skin and I'm happy for the entire day.  I don't use this regularly, only when I feel like my skin is in need of a mild treatment.  Maybe this shouldn't have gone under moisturizer...

3. Embryolisse Lait-Creme ConcentrĂ© -- this is every makeup artist's holy grail moisturizer and I totally get it.  It's light but super-duper hydrating.  I've found these past few weeks that it's been a little much for me, so I no longer use it during the day.  You can also use it to remove makeup or as a hydrating mask, but I haven't tried it for either of those things since I have other products that I like for both those functions.

4. Aveeno Positively Radiant SPF 15 -- I like the finish this moisturizer gives, and it doesn't leave my skin too dewy-looking.  I usually follow up with an actual sunscreen, but I use this on days that I'm in a hurry and/or am being lazy.

5. NeoStrata Oil-Free Moisture Infusion Lotion -- I'd never tried anything from the Neostrata line before this product; to be quite honest, I'd barely heard of it.  A boy in my local Shoppers Drug Mart convinced me to buy it when I was spending my points and I'm so, so, so glad he did.  I don't often go for oil-free things, but this is a godsend when I choose to put makeup on.  It has such a lovely, smooth finish that I don't feel the need to use primer when I've used this lotion.  I've used this at night and haven't woken up with excess oil on my face.

6.  Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Moisturizer -- I got this as a 100-point perk from Sephora. I think this dries even more matte than the Neostrata and also seems to have a slight airbrushing quality to it.  I'm not sure exactly what it is, but this is the moisturizer I use on hot days when I don't want to wear makeup.  This is also one of those magical oil-free moisturizers that doesn't leave my skin madly overproducing oil, but that may be because I don't use it every day.

Rest assured, I've purchased a handful more moisturizers on my trip which I'm so ready to test out! I'm contemplating a Germany haul many hauls would that already be this year??

Review: Tarte Lipsurgence matte lip tint

Envy, Exposed, Lively, Fiery

The name's a bit of a mouthful, but don't let that stop you from inquiring!

I picked up my first one of these around Christmas, and the other three recently joined my collection.  If you can see, Lively is weirdly proportioned.  Its cap is also different -- I'm not sure what happened there.

Fiery, Lively, Envy, Exposed

Fiery: Red.  Just red.  Not tomato, not brick, not vermillion, not blood-red, not blue-red, not fire-engine-red.  Pure red and only red.  I'm wearing it in my foundation roundup and a recent haul.

Lively: Bright fuschia that's not too blue-based.  And it doesn't oxidize red like NARS Schiap does.  This was the first one I purchased.  Looks GREAT with a brown smokey eye.

Envy: Is it brown?  Is it berry?  Is it plum?  All three, depending how much you put on.  First layer:  It's a coloured-in version of my lip colour.  Second layer I get a berry stain.  Third layer and I've got that 2012 SS runway lip. This is a dark that I think would work on anyone because it's so perfectly neutral.

Exposed:  A mauvey-nude, leans a little cool but settles into something suitable for warm skintones.  Reminiscent of Revlon's Mauve it Over but much less blue.

I have no idea why I didn't keep these in order as I was shooting

Texture: Colour-wise, it's beautifully matte.  Product wise, it feels like you have nothing on.  However, these can emphasize dryness or encourage any existing flaking, so make sure your lips are smooth beforehand.  There's a slight mint flavour upon application, but disappears fairly quickly -- I think it's supposed to be part of the plumping action?  I can't tell because my lips are already huge.  I think the plumping action has more to do with the colour you choose rather than the formula itself.

Wear Time:  Not amazing.  Contrary to the product claim, this doesn't so much act as a stain as a fantastically-textured lipstick.  If you're looking for something with insanely wear longtime, you're better off with something more liquidy like those new Maybelline 24-Hour liquid lipsticks or a high-pigment lipstick patted on. This has slightly better wear time if you push it into your lips in really thin layers.

Price: $31 CAD for 0.1 oz, so it's pretty pricey. It's slightly more reasonable in the States.

Indirect sunlight


Like the Tarte blushes, this colour range is fantastically edited.  I mentioned in this post how much I love a brand that edits itself well, and Tarte has done an amazing job of it.  There are also two more ranges of lipsurgence, one that's  glossy and one that's less tinted, but for such a pricey product, I'd get the matte version just because you can add gloss and sheer out colour if you like.  In terms of colour and texture, these are hands-down HG.  The staying power could be a little better, but otherwise these are well worth the money.

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