Tuesday, 1 September 2015

July + August Favorites

Since I failed to get a favourites list up last month, I decided to combine all of the products I've loved over both July and August. Since it's a bumper crop, I'll jump right into it:

RMS Buriti Bronzer: This bronzer is perfect for the summer months. There is nothing I would change about it. Rather than being a typical orange bronzer, it has red undertones, mimicking an actual tan. It is beautifully luminous on the skin, without being glittery or over-the-top and it blends easily (I prefer to use a stippling brush). I'm not one to normally wear bronzer in winter, so I'll be temporarily retiring this one once autumn rolls in. But keep this in mind for next summer...or get it now if you want to have a beach babe look year round! Available at Beauty.com for $28.

JINsoon Nail Polish in Kookie White: I adore the look of white nail polish with a tan, and Kookie White offers an interesting twist on this. It is a very, very pale white-based blue shade. I like the way the formula applies (not streaky or gloopy, both of which seem to be common with pale shades). It didn't last particularly long on my nails before chipping, but few polishes do due to my weak, peeling nails. This is my first JINsoon polish, but I would be willing to try out other shades based on this one. Available at Nordstrom for $18.

Josie Maran Honeymoon Honey: I've loved this blush formula for years, but Honeymoon Honey sat unloved in my drawer in favour of Pink Escape (reviewed here) until recently. Applied with a stippling brush, this absolutely melts into the skin. It looks terrifyingly brown in the pan, but on the cheeks it is a beautiful pinky neutral shade. If you want a dewy, glowy cheek without slapping on any shimmery or sparkly products, give this a try. And as an added bonus, this will last you a lifetime as you need to use only the smallest amount each time (and it doesn't seem to have problems with drying up). Available at Sephora for $22.

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel: This is my second bottle of this stuff and I would not want to be without it. Paula's Choice products are no-nonsense, but they get the job done. I have non-sensitive, clog-prone skin that needs as much chemical (and sometimes physical) exfoliation as it can get it. Pairing this with Sunday Riley Luna (another favourite) has made my skin smoother and more radiant than I have ever seen it. Available at Paula's Choice for $28 (the site also allows you to order samples if you want to try out products before committing to a full-size).

Sunday Riley Luna: There has been massive hype around this product over the past few months, so I will get my thoughts on whether you need this out of the way: I think it is a great product and I notice that it does make a difference on my skin (it improves the overall radiance and texture of my skin, and I have noticed that it helps blemishes heal faster). But I think you might be disappointed if you think that this product will single handedly fix all of your skin concerns overnight. For that you will need to come up with an appropriate regime for your skin, which could include Luna. For that reason, I recommend trying a sample of this first, if you can (Sephora has been popping up with deluxe samples of this with the code LUNAOIL now and again). But overall, I have had a good experience with Luna and it has replaced my Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial Serum. Available at Sephora for $105.

Roger & Gallet Fleur de Figuier Eau de Toilette: I talked about my new obsession with fig scents here, and although I do really love Diptyque Philosykos, I think Fleur de Figuier from Roger & Gallet is my favourite. It's sweet floraly scent (super articulate, I know) that is feminine without being sickly or too juvenile. The bottle is simple and small enough to through into my hand bag for a mid-day spritz. And the price tag is right: available at My-Dermacenter for about $18.

MAC Lip Liner in Subculture: Over the past year or so, lip liners have become a must-have in my daily makeup routine. But Subculture stands out amongst the crowd. It is the perfect liner for my lips. Most other lip liners either make my lips too dark or too pink, but Subculture is pretty much a slightly warmer dupe for my natural lip colour. It is, therefore, perfect to wear when I don't want my lips to change the colour of a lipstick or a lipgloss by making it cooler. This is a staple that I think everyone could use in their collection. Available from MAC for $16.50.

Too Faced Melted Chihuahua: I'm not quite sure why I waited so long to jump on the bandwagon of the Too Faced Melted Lipsticks, because they are phenomenal (and possibly my favourite lipstick formula of all time). I think I was worried that the application would be a mess and/or that they would bleed, due to their 'melted' nature. But I finally gave in to the hype and picked up Melted Chihuahua after seeing a number of rave reviews. It's a shade I would normally avoid like the plague, as it falls into the 'brown' category. But it has just enough pink that it ends up being a stunning warm neutral lip that goes with everything. I've picked up a few more shades from the Melted line, but Melted Chihuahua remains my favourite! Available at Ulta for $21.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Deep Comfort Balm: I've spent a lot of time at the beach this summer and have been desperately trying to prevent my tan from peeling (and yes, I know I should be avoiding the sun altogether...) I've been trying to keep my skin as hydrated and moisturized as humanly possible, which led to my discovery of this gem. I think I paid less than 3€ for it at the drugstore and it is easily one of the most moisturizing lotions I've ever used. Similar to a body butter, this rubs into skin easily and doesn't have a strong scent (to me it simply smells clean). If you want a cheaper alternative to the Body Shop Body Butters, I would recommend giving this a try. I'm not sure if this is available in all markets, but if you see it, throw it in your cart!

Whew! Those are all of my favourites for now (well, there are more, but I tried to be selective so as to not have a post the length of War & Peace). Let me know what your favourites have been below! And please check out my BloglovinInstagram, and Twitter!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Matte Eyeshadow Palettes

How many matte natural eyeshadow palettes is too many matte eyeshadow palettes? I'll leave that as a rhetorical question for now, mainly out of fear that I've already vastly exceeded a reasonable limit. I've had the IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty palette and the Becca Ombre Nudes palette (reviewed here) in my collection for a while, but I couldn't resist adding the Kat Von D Shade and Light palette and the Too Faced Natural Matte Eye palette during the sales back in the spring.

But for those of you who aren't as crazy as me and can actually manage to not buy all four of these palettes, which one should you buy?

Becca Ombré Nudes Palette
Becca Ombre Nudes Palette wasn't a huge favourite of mine when I reviewed it (here), but everyone is raving about the Becca Ombre Rouge palette, so I am willing to go back and give this yet another try to see if my opinion has changed. Overall, though, I didn't find that these shadows blended very well and the colours are just a bit boring. But if you are lacking some basic shades to build up your collection, this could be a good buy. Available at Ulta for $40.

IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Palette
The IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Palette offers the widest range of shades, including some that might not traditionally be considered neutral. These shadows apply and blend beautifully—I haven't encountered any patchiness, which is quite a feat for matte shadows. When you dip a brush into the pans, there is a bit of powder kicked up, but I haven't noticed this translating to fall out on the lids. The only downfall in this palette is that a couple of the lighter shades are a bit lacking in pigmentation; but the mid and darker shades have great colour payoff. Available at Ulta for $42.

Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye Palette
The Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye Palette is probably the most user friendly. The shadows are grouped together by 'neutral', 'cool', and 'warm' tones, meaning that you don't even have to think about which shades will work best together. But even though there is more variety in this palette than in the Becca Ombre Nudes Palette, I still find the shades a bit boring. So although I might bring out this palette when I'm looking to do a very professional eye for work or if I need a matte shade to pop in the crease, I don't find myself grabbing for it too often. Thus,  despite the excellent quality of these shadows (they apply wonderfully—even better than the IT Cosmetics matte) I don't think this has the potential to become an absolute favourite or must-have palette in my book. Available at Sephora for $46.

Too Faced Natural Matte Eye Palette
I have saved the best for last with the Too Faced Natural Matte Eye Palette. If there is just one palette from this assortment that you pick up, I think this should be it. I love the shade selection in this one, which has primarily warm/neutral shades with a couple of cooler tones. The combinations you can create for a variety of looks seems endless. And the formula is easily my favourite. The shadows are beautifully pigmented and blend out exceptionally well. Available at Sephora for $36.

Have you tried any of these palettes? Which is your fave? Let me know below and head to BloglovinInstagram, and Twitter if you'd like to follow me!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

A Drugstore Dupe for NARS Rikugien?

The NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien came into my life back in January as part of the Sephora Birthday Gift for 2015. I quickly fell in love with the 'my lips but better' mauvey pink shade and I knew I would be purchasing a full size tout de suite (as a side note, am I the only one who didn't realize that the Sephora mini sizes were sharpenable? If I had known sooner, I would have waited to order the full size...oh well, I'm keeping it as a backup for when I use my birthday version one up!)

R to L: NARS Rikugien, Revlon Blushing Mauve
My one complaint about Rikugien is that it has pretty poor lasting power (on my lips at least), so when I heard that Revlon might have a dupe, I thought it would be worth a try. Revlon's Super Lustrous Lipstick in Blushing Mauve is pretty close to Rikugien, but not an absolutely identical dupe. In the first photo above (on the white paper), you can see that Blushing Mauve is warmer and has more brown undertones than Rikugien. But in the swatch on my arm, these differences become less noticeable. 

On your left: NARS Rikugien; On your right: Revlon Blushing Mauve

And on my lips, the differences become even less apparent. NARS Rikugien is a bit more frosty in finish than Revlon Blushing Mauve. It's also a bit more sheer. But apart from that, these look exceptionally similar. Overall, I would give the edge to Revlon Blushing Mauve, as I like the finish slightly more, it lasts longer, and it's significantly cheaper than the NARS!

Let me know if you've tried any of these products or what other dupes you've discovered below!
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Monday, 24 August 2015

MakeupGeek Pigment in Insomnia

So, this is where I attempted to recreate a tutorial by Sharon Farrell. After watching the tutorial a few months back, I promptly bought the products that I would need to create the look. Namely, the MakeupGeek pigment in Insomnia. Sharon's tutorial seemed simple enough that even I could recreate it and even though my look is an inferior copy of hers, I'm super excited about the results. It's such an easy eyelook to do, but thanks to the duochrome nature of Insomnia, it looks like it takes more skill than it really does. AND as an added bonus, Insomnia is currently on sale for only $4.50 on the MakeupGeek website.

Insomnia is the first pigment that I have ever used but I am in love. I feel like I've been missing out and really need to make up for lost time! I am amazed by how beautiful this look is and how well the shadows held up throughout the day. I even did an Insanity workout with this makeup on, and my eye makeup didn't budge. Quite impressive, really (and no, I'm not the type to normally work out in makeup).

For the eyes, I pretty much followed Sharon's steps to a tee (apart from adapting the shape to better fit my hooded eyes). I applied the MAC Paintpot in Groundwork to my lid and Painterly from the brow down to the lid. Then I used a Bobbi Brown pencil eyeliner in black (rather than the Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Perversion, like Sharon did) to create a wedge-shape on the upper lash line. After smudging out the eyeliner, I applied Insomnia with a flat, synthetic shadow brush all over the lid.

On top of the black liner, Insomnia pulls a beautiful blueish green. Over MAC Groundwork, the reddish brown shade becomes more apparent. I used a fluffy brush to blend out Insomnia at the edges but I didn't go in with a powder shade in the outer corner (which Sharon did in her tutorial). I lined my waterline with the black Bobbi Brown eyeliner and smudged a bit of Insomnia under the bottom lashes.

To finish off the look, I used Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation, Le Métier de Beauté Crème Fresh Tint in Ginger Lily on the cheeks, and my lips are a combo of MAC Subculture lip liner, Laura Mercier Paintwash Liquid Lip Colour in Nude Rose, with the Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Sparkplug in the centre of my lips. 

I am pretty sure that this is going to become my go to look for nights out. It's so easy, and I absolutely love how it turned out. What other pigments (or duochrome shadows in general) should I try out next? Please give me your recommendations below!

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