Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Beauty Haul

I hope everyone had a great Christmas holiday! I've been pretty busy lately, we spent Christmas Eve with my family (Europeans celebrate on the 24th) and Christmas Day at my boyfriend's family. I also had relatives up from Illinois so we spent a couple of days with them as well. And we still have Christmas dinner with my boyfriend's family tomorrow. Didn't do much Boxing Day shopping this year, decided to sleep in and relax instead. I am the beauty person in the family, everyone knows each year that I'd love to get makeup most of all and they came through. The above pic shows the goodies that I got this year.

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation: My first Laura Mercier product ever, I heard this is great for dry skin and it was definitely on my wishlist. It's full coverage and hydrates nicely.

Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet +: I picked this up before Christmas technically but it was with a gift card for Sephora so I've included it here. Despite hearing this wasn't for dry skin, I think I prefer this to the HD since the coverage is better.

Bobbi Brown Corrector Light Bisque: Got this with a Holt Renfrew gift card. I asked the sales person if they give samples to try it out first and she looked at me like I was insane, since it's so small no they do not. So whatever, since I don't normally shop at Holts I picked it up anyway and it's great, may be the best undereye concealer ever since it corrects instead of just covering, very creamy too.

Sonia Kashuk brushes: Every time I am in the US, I always hit up Target and get some of these cause we don't have them in Canada (we really should!). I asked my cousin to get some for me, even gave them links to specific ones. I got the Synthetic Multi-Purpose brush, eyeshadow brush, dome shaped crease brush (love this the most) and one of the regular line eyeshadow brushes too. I love the handles on these, so cute.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Professional Size: Thank the lord they came out with this in a professional size, much more user friendly. However, I do find the product really hard to get out since it's thick you have to really squeeze the container. This will last me forever since I had the original UDPP for two years.

I will do full reviews on all these products once I use them up more.

Now for some Christmas shopping pictures. Here is the Toronto Eaton Centre, they had a giant Christmas tree in the centre of the mall, it turned. Also that is snow that you see falling from the ceiling there, not real snow of course but a short of soapy stuff that fell from the ceiling, it was really cool!

They also had a Ferrero Rocher tree. We lined up for like 15 minutes to get a free chocolate. If you can see in the bottom left corner they had a smaller tree, you'd take a chocolate off the tree, open it up and depending on what colour ball you had on the inside you could win money or gift cards, or at least a free chocolate. We got the free chocolate.

The top 4 pictures are of The Bay Christmas window displays, the pictures do not do justice to how cool these are, there are moving parts and they are so elaborate. One of the nice things of living in Toronto is finally being able to see this.

And here is how busy the Eaton Centre was on the 23rd.. people everywhere! I do not miss this at all. :)

Did you do much Christmas shopping this year? Or boxing week shopping? Did you get some nice beauty items in your stocking this year?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sigma: New "Make Me Up" Collection 12 Brush Kit and Brush Container

"Introducing the new Sigma Beauty 'Make Me Up' collection! Our best seller professional 12 brushes kit now comes in beautiful colors and inside a durable and multifunctional container! Besides protecting your brushes, this exclusive container transforms into 2 stylish brush holders!" I like scoping out the Sigma makeup website from time to time, just to see if they have any new items available and just looked now and they sure do.

These new products are basically their 12 brush kit collection in 4 colour: black, purple, coral and aqua and then a handy dandy brush holder container to put all your brushes. The way I see it is the holder can be used to transport brushes during travel or keep them dust-free, or you can open it up and have two compartments to store your brushes, one side for face, one side for eye brushes. I like the idea of the brush holder a lot, and it's cute that it comes in different colours, although I probably would aim to get the black one. These sets sell for $99 and come with a free E25 blending brush too.

The brushes that come with this set include:
Medium Angled Shading - E70
Large Shader - E60
Pencil - E30
Large Angled Contour - F40
Large Powder - F30
Duo Fibre - F50
Foundation - F60
Concealer - F70
Tapered Blending - E40
Eye Shading - E55
Eyeliner - E05

Click here for more information.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope you have a nice, relaxing time with your families and get lots of nice presents! :)

Sephora: Awesome Beauty Insider 500 Point Perk Benefit Benefaves

Every time I am at Sephora I scope out what the Beauty Insider freebie gift is, and it's rarely something that I would actually redeem for. Then the other day, while looking up products on Sephora online I notice this awesome Benefit 500 point perk and almost placed an online order just to get it. Then I was at Sherway Gardens (Toronto) tonight shopping and their Sephora had it. So I picked up some things, or so my cousin bought me some Christmas presents and I got this pretty thing. This is the first time I've redeemed my points ever, so it's a big deal for me.

It comes with a full sized Coralista blush (I know full size!), and a 4g size Badgal lash mascara. I have several Benefit boxed blushes and they are pretty good, but expensive and I've always wanted this one, so I am so happy to have it. The blush retails for $36CAD ($28 US) and the mini BadGal I think I saw it for $8 CAD in the store today. So that's not a bad value there.

Coralista is a peachy blush, it has a coral pink sheen which is supposed to look great on the cheeks. It's definitely a sheen and not glittery overload, which I appreciate.

And here is the brush on the Benefit Badgal Lash, pretty average looking I think, it's a big brush for sure. I took it out of the tube for the photo-op and it's going back sealed and in the box until I go through my mountain of opened mascaras.

Anyway, I loved Sephora's little Christmas present to those who spend lots of money in their stores. This was a nice start to Christmas for me. Definitely check out your local Sephora if you are interested in this one, they change around the perks every now and then.

What's the best points perks you've redeemed for at Sephora?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review: Make Up For Ever Face and Body Foundation

If you are looking for a foundation that looks like a second skin, undetectable and gives sheer-light coverage, Make Up For Ever (MUFE) Face and Body will be the foundation for you. This retails for $42CAD ($38US) at Sephora, I bought it recently during the $15 and $20 Sephora coupons offer. This foundation is described as "liquid makeup combines an ultra lightweight formula with seamless coverage. The unique gel formula comprised of more than 75% water delivers a natural result suitable for all skin types. It gives the skin a uniform tone and leaves a satin finish. Easy to apply and water resistant, this is a also a perfect formula for the body." I love this foundation, it feels like nothing on, however I would only recommend it to those with decent skin because this won't cover anything really, it just gives colour and evens out, but it does give my skin a radiance I really enjoy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

American Apparel: Trenchcoat and Rouge

Did you like my American Apparel swatches yesterday? Hope you aren't sick of them, I have a couple more here today. These two come from the new shades that they've recently added. These two shades are pretty unique I think, which is something AA polishes are known for.

Trenchcoat is like a muted mustard colour. I imagined it would be a tan, but once I received it, I realized it definitely was not. A shade that you are either going to love or hate I think. I don't know how I feel about this, it reminds me of Misa's Hot Couture a bit. This one is going to my cousin, we will see what she thinks of it. It applies very nicely.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

American Apparel: African Violet, Coney Island and Berry

I love American Apparel nail polishes, most are opaque in one coat (I know one coat!), they are all creme finishes and they come in cute square bottles. They have recently added some new colours to their collection, I checked my local AA store for them last night and they only had one new colour in stock (African Violet), they hadn't received any others yet. I will show that one to you today as well as some old colours. They sell for $7.50CAD, or 3 for $18, so of course I bought 3.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: Lauren Conrad Style

I think Lauren Conrad is totally cute. I was an avid fan of The Hills, The City, even Laguna Beach and I appreciate her simple, laid back, classic style. Despite being younger than me, Lauren is what I would love to be when I grow up, who got famous for being a reality-show star, then went on to "write" very successful books and has a style that gets mentioned in magazines everywhere. I purchased this book for my cousin, and I admit I flipped through it myself too. It's a very light read, basically pictures of Lauren being cute and sharing her fashion and beauty tips. Anyone could write a book like this since the tips in here are pretty common sense, but she does add her own style tidbits in there, the stuff she is known for, her winged eyeliner, goddess sidebraid, light makeup etc. Although this book is aimed at teenagers, Lauren is filthy rich and has expensive taste like Chanel, Balenciaga and Christan Louboutin, stuff that those even in their late 20's cannot afford (ie me).

Lauren starts out her book by thanking her stylists "this book is dedicated to the wonderful team that spends countless hours doing hair, makeup and styling to put me together." She sounds pretty high-maintenance right? In the picture above you can see her in a pointed shoulder blazer, I think those are really cute.

One of Lauren's basic go-to pieces are black heels, especially platform heels, she owns countless pairs of shoes, but always comes back to these. You can tell these are Louboutin here with the red bottoms. Nice shoes.

I was hoping this book would give actual examples of what Lauren like and wears, but it isn't difficult to figure out some of the items in the pictures like the Essie nail polish on this page. Lauren sports what looks like black nails in the entire book, her nails are short and filed. She lists nail polish as her "outfit finisher". I definitely agree with that.

Oh look some NARS products! This book is careful in trying to disguise what brands they use, but we all know this is NARS.  "Apricot or peachy colored is a good basic standby, and if there's a range, go for one that's slightly more orange in shade, otherwise it will turn pink once it's on the face." I usually opt for peach blushes so I found that neat.

The white brushes in this picture definitely look like Sonia Kashuk and that purple sponge is her's too, I have that sponge!

This book wouldn't be complete with instructions of how Lauren's does her side braid, possibly her "trademark". She claims that the first time she did the side braid was to "hide an unfortunate self-bangs-cutting incident." She goes over how to do this, if you want to read about it, just enlarge the image above. The book also goes into embracing what nature gave you and ensuring your hair is healthy before anything else.

This picture is cute, she is surrounded by people making her up. And notice the Sonia Kashuk powder brush? I have that same brush. ;)

I think this book is cute, more for young girls, even though they can't afford most of the stuff. In the back, there is a section for 'fashion credits' and it goes through page by page what clothing she is wearing, and you'll notice some of it is her own fashion line too. Some pieces are listed as unknown because they are vintage. It's a style guide so to speak and makes for a nice Christmas present.

Have you read Lauren's book? or any of her others?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Review: MAC 109 vs. Sigma F05

I own a lot of Sigma brushes I will admit that, I was slow on the Sigma-wagon but once they started offering individual brushes for sale on their website I went full speed ahead. I have posted numerous reviews of their brushes here and have tried to use MAC comparison pictures whenever possible (what Sigma became famous for). I do not own a lot of MAC brushes so I apologize I cannot compare them all like you see on some websites. But I do my best to give as accurate comparisons as possible. Today I will compare the MAC 109 to it's Sigma counterpart the F05. These two are "small contour" brushes, they are meant to be used as contouring, but many in the youtube beauty community use them for liquid foundation application, myself included. I think the MAC 109 is a neat brush, the shape is really unique and I hadn't seen any company do a shape like this until the Sigma one. The MAC 109 sells for $38.50CAD and the Sigma F05 is $14USD. But how similar are they really?

From reading reviews, this Sigma brush is supposed to be one of the closest to the MAC, so I was really curious to do this review myself. Alright, laid here side by side, can you tell me which is which? You probably can if you own the MAC 109 yourself. The Sigma F05 is on the left, MAC 109 on the right (same in the picture above too). The MAC 109 is considerably more dense, round and domed, while the Sigma has a more rectangular, flatter top. I suspect this is because MAC user laser cutters in their brush manufacturing and can get a more precise shape.

A closer look here at the brushes, you can really see the shape difference. Now keep in mind my MAC 109 may not be the same as yours and the Sigma brushes do tend to vary a bit too. I find my MAC is much more rounded than other people's I've seen, I like that about it though. I've had my MAC one for several years, it has remained that same shape, I have not had much shedding issues with it earlier (this brush tends to shed a lot). The Sigma one did not shed much either, in washing a bit here and there.

And from the top view here, the right one (MAC 109) is slightly fuller and larger, bristles do not splay out as much. The MAC one is also slightly softer on the face. But not much difference right?

Looking at the handles and size here, they are pretty much the same length, the Sigma handle is slightly thicker. I asked my bf to examine the two and he mentioned that the MAC one looks better made, fuller bristles, the ferrule looks more expensive and pinched nicer, MAC is slightly heavier too. But you are paying almost twice three times the price for the MAC one, so I would honestly hope there would be a difference.

These brushes definitely function the same way. I want to say that since the Sigma one is less dense and more tapered it would be better for actual contouring, which is what it's intended for, and using cream products such as cream blush. And the MAC one since it is more domed and rounded is better at liquid foundation, it can swirl well and tap the product. I think Sigma did a good job here overall of trying to duplicate this brush though.

Have do you own either brush and how do you think they compare?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review: InStyle Ultimate Beauty Secrets Book

I recently won this book, "InStyle Ultimate Beauty Secrets", it was from a Toronto-based television channel points program, you enter your points in hope of winning something and I got this book, which was neat! The program is OMNI VIP for those interested. This book is pretty rad, it has tips and tricks for everything, it has separate sections for skin, foundation/concealer, cheeks, lips, eyes, nails etc. This is very light reading material here, the tips are short and to the point, with pretty pictures throughout. You can go through the entire thing in a few hours. I am going to go through some of the tips here.

I found this one interesting, "if you have dry skin that is flaky, consider changing up your routine and washing your face with dandruff shampoo instead of your regular cleanser once a month". Head and Shoulders on your face? really? has anyone tried this? seems kinda of weird to me.

"Use separate towels to dry your face and face. This prevents the oils from your scalp from rubbing off on your face and causing breakouts." That is something that I definitely do, I have small towel for my face and is just for my face, and a separate one just for my hair.

"To rid makeup brushes of products that can clog pores, aim to wash them with a clarifying shampoo once a week." I actually wash all my brushes with face wash and baby shampoo, no fancy brush cleansers for me, I find this works just fine. Think about it, the brushes touch your face, so anything on them does too.

"Drink a glass of ice water if your face tends to get splotchy, especially when you're nervous. Doing so will town down the redness. The cold causes blood vessels to constrict and cool you from the inside." This is a good tip, never thought of doing this.

Here is one that I do everyday "For extra-thick eyelashes, dust lashes first with translucent powder, then apply mascara".

"Elongate your eyes by using dark brown mascara on the inner half of the eye and black mascara on the outer lashes". This is a new one, I've heard people use a different mascara on their top and bottom lashes, but using two together is a neat tip.

The book also has lots of celebrity pictures, there is a tip from Beyonce about moisturizing your face "A women is most beautiful when she smiles, other than that, the most valuable tip I've learned is always to use a skin moisturizer". I definitely agree with this and I think my face would flake off and die if I didn't use a moisturizer.

Most of the tips in this book are common sense I think, and most you would of probably watched youtube gurus mention before, but there are a few here and there that are neat. I like flipping through this when I am bored, it's a cute little book.

Do you have any beauty books that you like reading?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Review: ELF Studio Complete Coverage Concealer

Today's review is the ELF Complete Coverage Concealer from their Studio Line. This retails for $3 and is one of their newest products. ELF describes this product as "the perfect blend of colors to keep you "covered" throughout the year for when your skin is lighter in the winter and darker in the summer. The highly pigmented formula is easy to blend for customizable coverage. Use to disguise blemishes, dark circles and uneven skin tone for a flawless look."  Does it give complete coverage? keep reading to find out!

This comes in the sleek black ELF Studio line packaging, you get four colours inside, a mirror and small applicator brush (picture above). The brush is tiny, like the size of my pinky finger nail. The concealer comes in three shades: Light, Medium and Dark. What I like about this product is the fact that you get 4 shades, they are similar but different enough that you know at least one will match your skin perfectly. I know I've bought concealers in the past and they have been too light and too dark. With this product, you can also mix the concealers to get your perfect shade.

A closer look at the palette here you can tell these are quite creamy, when I leave this in a warm place I notice beads of water/moisture/oil will build up on the top. I like removing the little plastic film that comes inside, that may be causing this to happen too. I have this in the colour "Light" which is supposed to suit fair to light skintones.

Looking at the palette alone, the colours seem to look very similar but notice in the picture above and in my swatch here, they are fairly different. The two on the left are very similar, one has more pink, one has more yellow undertones. I like the third from the left the most, it's kinda that salmon shade which I like for under the eyes. While the last, four from the left is very yellow. I find I use the salmon one the most.

And here are the swatches blended in a bit. As you can tell the concealer is still visible. I find the downside of this product is that because they are so creamy and thin, I don't think they would conceal very well and will not give that "complete coverage" as the name states. I prefer a thicker, waterier texture for my concealer. If you are looking for light concealing and have normal skin, I think this is a good product. Also if you are just starting out with concealer, it's great because you do get 4 colours.

Have you tried this product?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: L'oreal Visible Lift With Serum Foundation

I picked up this new L'oreal foundation recently during a 50% off face products sale at Pharma Plus. L'oreal products are if not the most expensive, definitely one of the most expensive drugstore brands. This foundation retails in Canada for about $18 I believe, which is so expensive. This foundation is a step up from the original Visible Lift formulation but with added serum. My bottle says "Visible Lift Serum Absolute". The serum in this is advertised  as addressing the "5 signs of aging to visibly transform skin to smoother, firmer, brighter, even, flawless." This is supposed to be "advanced age reversing makeup". I find it funny how the blue part on the bottle are just stickers.

L'oreal claims that this foundation provides "45% more even skin tone, 72% saw more youthful skin, 75% reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, 79% saw fewer imperfections and 90% saw smoother skin." The ingredients Hyaluronic acid, Pro-Retinol A, Pro-Xylane, Pro-Lastyl and Vitamin C. in this foundation include Personally, I don't think foundation can improve your skin, it can make it appear nicer, but I doubt it can improve it. Correct me if I am wrong, but treating your skin is up to your skincare routine. I bought this foundation to try and out and simply see if it's good, I wasn't expecting miracles in my skin, but the stuff in here sounds like it would be good for your skin, perhaps not reversal effects, but maybe prevention.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Announcement: Winner of Sigma Makeup Giveaway

It's time to finally announce the winner of my Sigma Giveaway. As you all know, the winner will get all 3 brushes that come in the Synthetic Kit. I will be contacting the winner shortly after this post goes live. The winner was chosen by Thank you to everyone who entered and blogged/tweeted about my giveaway. I hope to have more giveaways in the future, I am getting close to 1000 followers, and am planning a mega giveaway for that event. Thank you to Sigma Makeup for sponsoring this giveaway! And congrats to the winner! And the winner is....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dior DiorSkin Nude Hydrating Makeup

Today was/is the last day to use your $15/$20 off Sephora coupon! Thank goodness for great friends online I came across another $15 off coupon and hurried away to Sephora tonight to pick up another, yes another foundation. It's funny how much joy a little black bag can make me, that Sephora bag is so pretty and brings joy to me. What brings me more joy is having Dior DiorSkin Nude foundation. This retails for $47 CAD and I got it for $37 with tax today with my coupon. I got the lightest colour, 010 Ivory. I was recommend this by a friend on here, Junerose and decided to give it a go.

First impressions of this product, it comes in a luxurious heavy glass bottle with silver lid and a nice pump. The colour range is good, not many colours, but colours are nicely suited for lighter skintones I think. The shade is 020 could of worked for me, more yellow-toned, but the girl there said I should match it with my neck (pastey white neck) and this matched better. It feels nice on my dry skin, I like it lots so far. I will update with a complete review in a few weeks. I got three foundations out of this Sephora sale, I been bad.

Have you tried DiorSkin Nude?