Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Sleek Storm palette and why you need it! Review, Swatches & Comparisons.

I've reviewed Sleek palettes before (Oh So Special and Sunset in case you're interested) and I've said it before, but I'll also say it again: these babies are excellent value for money. Sleek palettes offer 12 pigmented (mostly) eyeshadows for $9.99. WIN.

Sleek is a makeup brand available in UK drugstore. However, their products are also available for international purchases on their website. I'm a big fan of these shadows - they are smooth and pigmented, and last all day on my primed eyelids. Bonus: Pixiwoo uses these palettes all the time in their makeup tutorials.

The colors look a bit washed out in my swatches, but I promise that these shadows are very potent.

For fun, I compared some of these shadows to what I already had in my collection to see if there were any dupes. Surprisingly, nothing really matched!

Sleek #4, MAC Woodwinked, Bare Minerals The Playlist Palette shadow in Louder, L'Oreal Infallible in Sahara Treasure. As you can see, none of them match up at all. And they're definitely the closest match as everything else I own is much yellower than #4.

Sleek #5, MAC All That Glitters, Bare Minerals The Happy Place palette shadow in Imagine, Estee Lauder Violet Underground's pale pink shadow. Sleek's #5 shadow pulls a bit more mauve than most of my pinky shadows. This shadow is really gorgeous on the lid.

Sleek #7, MAC Bronze, MAC Mulch, Dior Aurora palette the brown shade, L'Oreal Bronze Taupe. (sidenote: I need to use Bronze Taupe STAT it is so beautiful). Sleek #7 is absolutely GORGEOUS. This is definitely my favorite from the palette. It applies so smoothly and doesn't crumble like some of the softer shadows. I think MAC's Bronze is the most similar to it, but Bronze has a dryer texture than Sleek's #7 shadow. Seriously, #7 is one finger swipe. It's awesome.

And finally, Sleek's #10, Estee Lauder's Violet Underground palette in the blue shade, and MAC's Contrast. #10 is quite similar to MAC's Contract, but Contrast was pretty much 15 vigorous finger swipes to make it look even. #10 wins by far.

Now there are minor disadvantages to the shadows. For one, they do have a bit of fall-out if you're not careful when applying them. They do not fall out during the day, but application can be tricky with the softest of shadows (#5 is a bit problematic) as they can have a tendency to crumble. For me, a bit of fall-out is nothing a swipe of foundation brush can't fix. Also, most of my Sleek palettes, including this one, have duds. The duds here are #3 and #7. They're not horrible, but they're not as pigmented as the other shades, and they apply a bit patchy and dry. I don't love MAC's matte shadows, but they are much better than the two Sleek mattes in this palettes.

Favorites in this palette include #1, #5, #7, #8, and #9. Based on these shadows, I think the palette is worth it. Especially at such a low price point. Some of these shadows aren't colors I would consider wearing on a day-to-day basis, but are really great for a dark smoky eye on a night out.

Hope this review was somewhat helpful in helping you decide whether it's worth it!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Laura Mercier Metallic Eye Cream in Gold - Swatch & Review

I originally wasn't going to write about this product because I was under the impression the Laura Mercier Metallic Eye Creams were not in production anymore. While they don't seem to be selling them on Sephora, they are available on the Laura Mercier and Nordstroms website. So yay! I don't feel bad writing about it!

I first heard of these in a video from Lucy Garrick on Youtube where she recreated a Keira Knightly look with the Laura Mercier Metallic Eye Cream in Burnished Copper. At the time the Ebay seller I was eying (I ain't like customs/shipping prices of Nordstroms/Laura Mercier) only had the shade Gold, so I went for that one. I've since shamelessly purchased more shades.

The color reminds me very much of Woodwinked from MAC but Gold is a touch less yellow. It applies like a dream. I love that it doesn't dry too fast which gives me a chance to work with the product. I use it over a primer (I always use primer, no matter what) and it stays on all day, without creasing whatsoever. I also like layering it with powder shadows on top to give it more dimension, not that it really needs it.You only need a tiny little of this product in order to get an opaque finish. While some paint pots (like MAC or Maybelline) never quite give me an even finish, this is a breeze to use. I doesn't take much to make this product "work" so to speak.

This little tube retails for $22 USD and I think that it is well worth it. If you take a look at these lovely swatches from Karla Sugar I'm sure you now understand why I need/want them all.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Favorites: Reads of the week

This Friday is just dragging on. Can it be 4:30 already? My brain is mush - I need the weekend!

I thought I'd share with you my favorite reads of the week. Some of these blogs are my long trusted sources of makeup information, others are newer blogs I've been readings and loving!

Little Red Bow shares with us her makeup storage space! I love to see how us makeup fiends store our stashes!

Wandz does one of the things she does best this week: editorial looks. These are one of my favorite posts of hers to read. She always nails the look, and makes it look so effortless on her flawless face. Love!

Jenny inspires me with her makeup looks. I can't count the amount of times that I've literally copied what I've read on her blog (cough) the next day. This one is definitely one of my favorites. Other notable looks include this and this. Stunning.

The High Life of Mars has me totally lusting after the new Clarins spring collection. That gloss needs a place in my collection!

Kelly over at A Blog of Vain Pleasures tells us about her experience with Lasik. I don't need glasses in every day life, but still found it a very interesting read!

Revlon's  Nearly Naked Foundation was reviewed this week by Amy from theprettyvain, one of my favorite bloggers lately. This is one I'll have to try!

Not technically a read, but definitely worth a mention. The Beauty Sample is having an amazing Jouer cosmetics giveaway on her blog. This has been one of my favorite blogs to read lately as well!

Rocaille shares with us an Inglot haul and makes me think that greens might not be so bad. Emerald is after all the color of the year.

Secret Life of a Pharmacy Student review's Maybelline's Color Tattoo shade in Inked in Pink. I love her review format!

And there are my favorite reads! I shall now resume to having mush brain for the rest of the day.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday!

This is what happens after Christmas. You start wishlisting because your finances aren't good enough to justify spending on frivolous things. Making a wish list totally curbs that for me... sort of. Here's what I've been eying lately.

1. After seeing this gorgeous lip gloss on Jessica from Getting Cheeky, I was smitten. Burberry's new spring line includes Mallow Pink, a gorgeous strawberry pink gloss which is bound to brighten your face. I want.

2. The ongoing search for the perfect nude continues and Armani has me eying their new spring collection lipsticks. Their Sheer Lipstick range has been on my list to try for a long time, and their shade #101 for Spring 2013 looks like it would suit the nude lips look I'm looking for. Unfortunately, no counters are near where I live, and my best bet is Nordstroms online which charges ridiculous shipping prices to Canada. Oh well, that's why it's called a wishlist!

3. With all the gorgeous fashion offerings for Spring 2013, my wishlist clothing item is a cozy sweater from J Crew. Why? Because it's friggin cold out here! It's currently -33C (-27.4F) and will be -37C (-34.6F) overnight. Oh Canada, I love you and all, but please tone it down. Now I'm sure you understand why sweaters are all I think of.

4. Beauty bloggers are raving all over the internet about Diptyque candles. I only wishlisted what I thought I might like the smell of, and I like lavender, but it's hard to tell what Feu de Bois smells like, or Figuier, or Vervene, or Muguet. I'm sure they are all smell wonderful, but at $60 a candle, I'm afraid they'll be staying on the wishlist for a long long time.

5. Ahhh, Rebecca Minkoff. While I already own a few of her bags, I have been seriously wishing for a smaller black bag for evenings out. The MAC mini seems to be absolutely perfect for this purpose - small, classic and black. Hopefully it will come off the wishlist in 2013!

6. Speaking of something coming off the wishlist, these gorgeous Rag & Bone Harrow booties never ever will. At $495, higher than what I pay in rent, the price of these is absolutely ridiculous. Still, I can't help but admire these. I love the details of these booties - the cap toe, the not-too-obvious straps, the dark wooden heel. But seriously, my feet aren't even worth that price!

7. After Best Things in Beauty reviewed this Chantecaille palette, it has lingered in my mind ever since. The palette is a work of art! And even better, looking at the swatches from the review, the shadows are stunning. LOVE!

What have you been wishlisting lately?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Empties of the last few months

I got kind of bored of writing empties post every month, partly because I didn't have enough to write about or to justify a post. I thought it might be fun, however, to post what I've been using religiously over the past 3 or 4 months, and emptied through that process. I forgot to keep some products for this post such as mascaras and sampler - I just never think to keep them. 

1. Body Shop Olive Shower Gel - I actually really liked this body wash, but at the same time, I'm glad to see it go. I get bored of scents really fast, so using up a body wash completely is difficult for me! I don't think I'll repurchase this immediately, but I did like it.
2. Bioré Warming Blackhead Cleansing Scrub - I received this little guy in a Glossybox and actually quite liked it! I didn't expect to think much of it because I thought it would be too harsh. While I didn't use it every single day, it was great for a deep cleanse to my face. I don't think I'd repurchase this though since I prefer chemical exfoliants at the moment.
3. Bioderma Sensibio Cleansing Water - Ahhh, the ol' faithful. I already have another bottle of this. I pretty much use it every day to remove makeup. Don't think I'll ever switch it up!
4. Body Shop Ginger Scalp Care Clarifying shampoo - I love this shampoo! While the ginger smell is quite strong, I love that it clarifies my scalp while still being (somewhat) natural. I already purchased another. My heads feels so clean and fresh after using this. Highly recommend, especially if you use a lot of hair products.
5. MAC Brush Cleanser - Love this for spot cleaning brushes. Sometimes you just don't have time to deep clean your brushes and then wait for them to dry. I'm already using another bottle.
6. L'Occitane Hand Cream X 2 - Winter is deadly on my hands. L'Occitane hand cream has been helping moisturize my skin without leaving my hands greasy. There's nothing I hate more than leaving greasy hand marks everywhere - this hand cream sinks in immediately. Too bad the scent is too strong and I can't bring it to work.
7. L'Oreal Creme Deep Condition - It came with my hair color and seriously, I don't know why they don't make this in a regular bottle because it's awesome. I don't know why I added this one to my empties, because it's kind of lame, but it's there.
8. Bath & Body Works Sleep Vanilla Lavender Body Wash - I purchased a mini format of this body wash/bubble bath, and absolutely loved it. Once I'm done with my backlog of shower products, I'm buying this. It's such a soothing smell. I can't wait to use it again.
9. Acetone Nail Polish Remover - I use this to remove glitter nail polish, or gel polish. My friend gave me her leftover bottle because she moved away. Thanks girl, it's now all gone!
10. Caudalie Eau de Beaute - I've raved about this enough. I'm now on my third bottle. I love this stuff. I kind of hesitate at purchasing any more of it since it uses itself up so fast... but it's so good!
11. Joico K-Pak Color Therapy Shampoo - Meh, I didn't like this one. I didn't find it cleaned my hair very well and kind of left a residue. I don't think I'll be repurchasing any Joico shampoos in the future, especially since I'm so satisfied with Redken at the moment.
12. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser- Already repurchased this. The boy and I use this to wash our face in the morning. I also use it if my skin is particularity sensitive. This cleanser doesn't remove makeup at all, so you have to remove it before using this.

And there it is! Proof that I actually use up stuff!

Hope your day is going well! Project "clean-the-second-bedroom-and-make-it-into-an-office" is now officially underway for 2013. This means making it NOT a storage area! Hopefully I'll update with the finished results after we purchase a desk.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Exposed

Today I bring to you a review of an old favorite. I've had this blush in my collection for more than a year, and I must say, it remains a favorite.

Tarte's Amazonian Clay blushes has been receiving lots of love from bloggers. I have to agree with most of the positive reviews. The first blush I ever bought from this line was Exposed, which my mom kindly brought back from a trip at my request (thanks Mom!). It's a gorgeous neutral pink natural looking color.

As you can see, it's quite used.

The blush pan is magnetized and removable. This gives you the option to add this blush to your self-made palettes. I really like the packaging of this blush, so I haven't had the heart to remove it. I also love that the packaging matches the color of the blush - it makes it really easy to find in a sea of blushes.

It looks a bit mauve in my swatch, but really it's more of a dusty pink. It's similar to MAC's Tenderling, except the latter is much much sheerer than Exposed. I can wear this blush with pretty much any look it's so versatile. Plus, it's very long lasting - it performs better than my MAC blushes.

If you do not have a blush of this type of color, get this blush. You will not regret it, I guarantee you. It's formula, color and performance is way above what I've usually come to expect of blushes. So seriously, get Exposed if you're in the market for a dusty pink!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

OPI's Skyfall and Conquering James Bond

For his birthday, my boyfriend received from yours truly, something that his little movie-buff heart desired: the 50 Year James Bond Box Set. I jumped on the chance of getting him something he actually expressed (out loud!) that he wanted since he is generally quite difficult to buy for. It didn't occur to me that this meant I'd be watching every single Bond movie with him over the next few months. That's right, I'm now James Bond literate. Well almost  - next one on our list is GoldenEye. So far, my favorite movie is either The Spy Who Loved Me or The Living Daylights. The worst was definitely You Only Live Twice and I didn't particularly like Diamonds are Forever, specifically because the Bond girl suuuuuucked. I think they make or break a Bond movie most of the time. My favorite Bond so far is definitely Timothy Dalton, but I'm pretty sure Daniel Craig wins overall, at everything.

After a lengthy intro (because I can't help myself and I'm now a little James Bond fanatic) I shall now get to the point. OPI has recently released a collection called James Bond/Skyfall and today, I have for you... Skyfall! It gets confusing when you name your polishes the same thing as the collection. But yeah, this one is called Skyfall.

I actually quite like this polish. Skyfall is a deep, almost brown in some light, red. I thought I had something similar in my collection by OPI called Mrs. O'Leary's BBQ, but it is much more plum toned. The formula was good (my application questionable) and it lasted well on my nails with no chips for about 4 days. I've also worn the Golden Eye polish from this collection and it was awesome. I didn't take any pictures because my nails were in horrid condition, oops.

Have you watched any James Bond movies you've liked? Who's your favorite Bond? 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Laura Mercier Lush Nectarine - why neutral blushes are now a thing in the past. Swatches + Review!

After doing my 10 best of 2012 post, I realized that I rarely every review blushes. Why? I'm not sure because I do wear blush every single day. I guess I never really get that excited about blush - I tend to wear it very subtle, and quite neutral. However, in an effort to bring to this blog diversified reviews, I will make it a point to review blush products I currently own and enjoy. I have quite a few lined up so far.

Today though, I'm bringing you a review of Laura Mercier, Lush Nectarine, a new acquisition. And I'm quite excited about this one.

I know I said I tend to wear my blush quite neutral, but this is an exception. Laura Mercier's Lush Nectarine is a gorgeous peachy/coral shade. What I like most about it is that on my skintone, it does not look orange in the least (even if it may look like it in the pan). Honestly, I never would have picked it out if it wasn't for Miss Anna from Viviannadoesmakeup raving about it every two videos. But Anna is definitely a blogger I trust in opinion and I thought I might give it a go. No regrets here, it's a stunner.

I truly think that this blush will be flattering on any skintone. I'm very fair and it makes my cheek look naturally flushed. I think the fact that it has a hint of shimmer helps it look natural. You barely need any product at all it is so pigmented. I have to dab my brush in the product and tap some of it off to get a natural application. What I like most about this blush is how easy it is to blend into the skin - I'm not sure how, but I barely have to blend it out in order for it to look even. Plus, it lasts all day on my skin, without budging.

I'll be looking into Laura Mercier blushes further - I am so impressed with this blush. Perhaps I've been using MAC blushes too long, but I really haven't encountered such a good formula in the past. This blush is truly gorgeous and versatile - I can see it being used every day in the summer! Bye bye neutral blushes - Lush Nectarine has got you beat!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

LUSH Mint Julips Lip Scrub!

Ahhh the Canadian winter. Every year, it wreaks havoc on my skin. My hands crack, my skin flakes, and my lips peel. It never fails.

Using my trusty Nuxe Reve de Miel isn't always enough to soften my chapped lips.  While the Reve de Miel is great for moisturizing my lips, it does nothing in terms of taking care of the leftover dry skin. This is where LUSH's Mint Julips Lip Scrub kicks in. I apply this softly on my lips on nights where my lips feel particularly chapped, and rub it in softly to help loosen dead skin.

I'm not sure if this is just me, but I find the formula of this a bit dry, and messy. The sugar doesn't quite stay on the lips while I'm trying to rub it in, and I don't find there is enough oil. Nevertheless, the scent (mint/chocolate) is pleasant, and I do like using it. I didn't find it was too expensive either at $10. Plus, it does leave my lips quite soft and makes any lip balm work like a dream after usage.

Do you use lip scrubs? If so, which ones? Do you find they are useful?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Are you ready for a stunner? OPI Designer Series in Opulence

Over the holidays, one of my best friends was kind enough to gift me with OPI's Designer Series in Opulence. She said the color looked like something I would enjoy, and she was right! I didn't realize how stunning this polish was until I had it on my nails! It is seriously stunning.

I absolutely loved wearing this polish. It was stylish, but still conservative enough to not be too flashy for a glitter polish. The glitter in this polish is super smooth - much like a holographic polish. I wouldn't say this polish was holographic though - it simply has very very fine glitter, and loads of it. It wore very very well on me without any chips for three days. My nails are in rough shape lately though, and the polish peeled off my thumb nail on the third day. Damn this cold weather!

If you see this in your area, grab it before it's too late! I already regret not picking up the shade Reserve (a gorgeous nude, with the same glitter as Opulence).

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Battle of the Bronzers/Contour powders! A peek in my collection!

While some people think of them as an absolute must in their daily makeup routines, the use of bronzer or contour powder is usually done when thought of, or for a special occasion on my part. I just don't always think to put it on, even though with my round-ish face, it would do me a favor to remember.

My skin tone is so pale and pinky/neutral that I find they often make me look yellow. It took a lot of research and reading up of reviews in order to be satisfied with the small collection I've acquired. I must say, I really love every one of them in a different way. 

From bottom left to right, clockwise: Dior Diorskin Nude Tan 002, Sleek Face Contour Kit in Light, NYX Blush in 11 Taupe, Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Disobey, NARS Laguna Bronzer, MAC Pro Pan Blush in Harmony.

 NARS Laguna is showing pan!

From left to right: Sleek Contour Kit in Light, Diorskin Nude Tan in 002, NYX Taupe, MAC Harmony, Illamasqua Disobey, NARS Laguna.

As you can see from the swatches, they are quite different from each other. I tend to prefer the look of ashier or neutral brown powders on my skin tone such as the Sleek Contour Kit, and NARS Laguna for contouring the cheekbones. Laguna is my only contour/bronzing powder with significant shimmer but as stated by many bloggers before me, this shimmer is actually quite subtle on the skin, and does not interfere with its function as a contour powder. If not blended properly, especially since it is so pigmented, NYX Taupe can look dirty on my skin tone. I really like it for a night out because it gives a realistic and quite deep looking shadow to the hollows of my cheekbones - however, I don't think I'd use this everyday other than with an extremely light hand. I use the Diorskin Nude Tan Powder to create an overall glow (as it does contain a bit of light shimmer), rather than a specific contour. It's excellent for that purpose since it isn't too pigmented, and blends wonderfully into foundation. MAC Harmony works very well as a contour powder, or as a blush. It is a bit pinker than most of my contour shades, but I find this works especially well if used to contour without any blush to my face - it adds a bit of healthy color to it. Illamaqua Disobey tends to lean more yellow and is more suitable for my skin tone in the summer - the softness of this powder is amazing, and incredibly easy to blend. It's also a great color to blend in the eye socket to soften the edges of a dark eye makeup look.

Hope this comparison was somewhat helpful for you! Bronzers and contour powders are tricky - not every bronzer/contour shade will suit every coloring! The best thing to do is to test them out before purchasing - and don't be afraid to return something if it doesn't work for you!

What are your favorite bronzers/contour colors?  I'm curious to know what works for you!