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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?

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