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Review: TheBalm Nude 'Tude

 I really don't need another nude palette (bear in mind need =/= want), so when I received this palette as a Christmas gift from my brother, I was thrilled.  Can't say no to a gift, after all!  This is TheBalm's offering of a neutrals-only palette, cropping around the same time as all this Urban Decay Naked hoopla.  I've had a few experiences with TheBalm -- so far, all good.  They currently make my favourite blush (Hot Mama) and bronzer (Sexy Mama), so I had high hopes for this palette.

This palette costs $38 CAD -- way cheaper than what UD Naked costs here, but the cost per oz is actually fairly similar.  If you were to purchase UD Naked in the States, the cost per oz is a little better than with Nude 'Tude.  The texture of these shadows is comparable to that of Urban Decay, they apply smoothly with minimal fallout.  Some of the matte shades swatch a little chalky, but on the eye they blend beautifully without getting murky.  Do you need both (or all three, if you also have Naked 2)? Likely not.  They're not similar palettes, but I can safely say that one will work better for you than the other.  And if it doesn't, there aren't so many different looks you can create between them that you need both.

What I will say is that if you have one eye look and you occasionally like to change up the colours and achieve a different effect that way, Naked is where it's at.  If you like to change up your eye shape with different eye shadow techniques, Nude 'Tude is better for that -- since it provides highlight, lid, crease and liner colours in a variety of shades, it's a much more versatile palette.

Sassy, Stubborn, Snobby, Stand-offish
 Sassy is a white shimmer -- it's too pale for me to use as a highlight.  Stubborn is a lightened baby pink with silver shimmer.  Snobby is a pale gold, like a shimmery version of UD Foxy.  Standoffish is a slightly warmer version of Snobby.

Selfish,, Sophisticated, Sultry, Schitzo
Selfish is a midtone taupe shot through with silver shimmer.  Sophisticated is a cool, dark brown with a fine multi-coloured glitter running through it.  Sultry is a matte, warm, medium brown -- picture UD Buck without the grey undertone.  Schitzo is a khaki brown shimmer.
Sexy, Serious, Silly, Sleek
Sexy is a matte, dark burgundy -- almost plum.  Serious is a matte black, not as black as UD Blackout.  Silly is a silver-shimmered dark brown -- Sophisticated's cool twin.  Sleek is a brown-black which is way more pigmented than Serious.

TheBalm is available at Rexall, and is regularly available on Hautelook for a discounted price.

What are your other neutral palette favourites?  Anything else I should try from TheBalm?

Review: Cle de Peau Extra Silky Lipstick

MAC Hug Me, Cle de Peau #129, Chanel #54 Boy, Buxom Dolly

I've mentioned before how much I hate concealer-nude lips -- they trot the line between porn star and zombie in the least attractive way.  I'm forever searching for that perfect pinky-nude -- slightly lighter than a my-lip-but-better colour, nuding out your lips just enough to accommodate a smoky eye. 

I caught sight of a Cle de Peau lipstick on Kijiji (sketch) and decided to check it out.  I found one single colour swatch of this on Temptalia (or I likely would have assumed it was a fake), and decided to throw caution to the wind and get it. 

The lipstick itself is a long, slim tube; Dior makes a similar one.  I'm really surprised that the cap doesn't close with one of those satisfying clicks, but I can see that the shape of the product might get in the way of such a detail.  The texture of this lipstick is extremely soft -- it will glide over your lips like softened butter (and the bullet will indent in a similar fashion), but be warned, it will emphasize roughness like nothing else.  That said, this is the most moisturizing lipstick I've ever put on.  It reminds me of the texture of Clarins Lip Perfector actually.  Lipsticks as soft as these don't have the greatest wear time (I got about an hour and a half with no eating/drinking), but if you get a vibrant enough colour, it'll usually leave a nice stain. I've also read that these lipsticks don't retract once you've twisted them out, so attempt that at your own risk!

The colour on me just doesn't work.  Sadness!  On my hand the swatch looks fine, but on my pigmented lips, it pulls oddly baby-pink. My body chemistry is weird.  I can't help that.  Also, in the same way that Chanel Boy does, it makes my lips look weirdly full.  I know most people want that, so this is probably good for people with smaller lips, but on me it becomes a caricature of my natural lip.

And the search goes on...

Cle de Peau is available at Holt Renfrew (and the occasional shady back alley). Extra Silky lipsticks will run you about $62 CAD.

Lazy 5 Minute Face

While I'm usually very comfortable with not putting any sort of make-up on my face, the New Year tends to bring out a more "polished" version of me.  You know, the best Procrastinator there is -- no dirty dishes in the sink, a fridge full of raw ingredients instead of condiments, and an 11 pm bedtime.

I'm already defecting on my shiny self; my bedtime has become more of a get-into-bed-and-watch-Youtube-time, I'm starting to introduce bread and butter back into my life, and there are a few mugs that could use a good soak.  What's remained though, is a polished, 5-minute-face that keeps me polished with minimal effort and looks natural.

After my skincare routine, I squeeze out a pump and a half of Josie Maran's Argan Matchmaster Serum Foundation -- this is a new buy I'm testing out, and so far I adore it. It's got such light coverage that at first I can't even tell where I've put it, but later on in the day I'll catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and be like, "I did put something on!"  After smoothing that on with my hands and buffing out with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, I'll sweep Clinique's Airbrush Concealer under my eyes and use the same brush to buff it out.  It's a little dark for me now that it's winter, but it works with enough blending. I use my fingers to tap Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage on any red areas or blemishes, and blend out the edges.  I'm usually one to go for blush over bronzer, but lately I've been enjoying having cheekbones!  Tarte Mineral Bronzer in Park Ave Princess has the tiniest bit of shimmer in the pan, but applies rather matte-looking.  I use the Real Techniques Blush Brush to apply this under my cheekbones and onto my temples.  I need a little bit of shading in my eyes, so I've been using my Hakuhodo Kokutan T brush to apply the same bronzer into my socket.  Whenever people visit me, I brush this across their fingertips and as creepy as it sounds, they adore it.  To finish, I apply a generous coat of Prestige My Blackest Lashes on Shu-curled lashes.  Check me out, I'm remembering to put mascara on!

And because I enjoy parallels such as these:  if you don't count the tools, there are only FIVE products in my FIVE minute face.  I'm a nerd.

My Skin Saviours: Acne

I've always been relatively lucky with my skin. Through high school, I had very few blemishes, if any.  My brother had quite serious acne so my mom started me on facials when I was 12 or 13, in hope of avoiding any emotional or physical scarring.

It worked, sort of.  It worked right up until I stopped getting facials, which was when I went off to university and got lazy about them.  I don't blame the facials for this exactly -- I think what happened was that I never really bothered to take care of my skin because someone else was taking care of it for me.  When someone physically squeezes the gunk out of your pores every two or three weeks, it's hard to understand the merits of regular cleansing and toning.  Throw in the typically terrible eating habits of a first-year, and already-grubby face was due for a massive eruption.

It cropped up slowly, and I think the absolute worst of the breakouts didn't show up until my third year.  That was when I started to do some massive research into my skin type, finding out what was triggering the breakouts and what I could do to calm it.  I went on a round of antibiotics, which helped, but it was such a pain I quickly gave up on it.  Nearly three years later, my skin has calmed down and I've got a small by formidable army of products that I call upon.

You'll remember my first Clarisonic post -- I don't use it as religiously as I used to.  It got really expensive to replace the pads, and once my acne calmed down, using it twice a day seemed rather abrasive.  I've cut it down to once a week (if that) when my skin starts feeling sort of ratty.

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