Monday, May 30, 2011

MAC Foundations Overview

When I first got into wearing liquid foundation years back, MAC was my favourite. I find their staff very useful in helping to find the right shade for you, it's definitely daunting at first to understand the NC and NW system, which is backwards from most makeup brands. I would suggest going to a MAC counter and being colour matched. I am quite pale and wear NC15 in most of their foundations, it's a great match for those who are more yellow toned, or want to offset the pinkish tones in their skin (like me). However, as I started experimenting with other brands of makeup, I began to ignore my MAC foundations, as they started to feel too cakey and thick for my liking. I do feel that MAC makes great foundations but definitely not a foundation for everyday use.

This a general overview of some of MAC's liquid foundations. For the purpose of this review, I will only focus on their liquid foundations. I won't go into much indepth detail here, but if you would like a more detailed review on specific ones please let me know. Foundation is definitely very personal and what may work for me, may not work for you, I tried to not get too personal here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Review: Essie Good To Go

Like many of you, I used Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat to get my nail polish to dry quickly, however recently I switched to Essie's Good To Go and am pleased with my decision. This topcoat is described as "sets nail color in seconds, perfectly polished manicure, ultimate shine". It has a built-in silicon drying agent to help your polish set in a flash. I always use a topcoat, I just don't have the patience to wait and am prone to ruining my polish if I let it air dry.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review: MAC My Paradise Surf Baby Cheek Powder

MAC's "Surf Baby" collection launched finally, I think officially at MAC counters and stores today. I say finally because the UK got this before North America and I was going crazy not being able to buy this while youtubers were posting videos of all their hauls. The only item that I wanted from this collection was the "My Paradise" cheek powder and I got it here. I can't say this enough lately but I love orangey/peach blushes and MAC knows how to drive me crazy with them, first it was Ripe Peach (missed out on it), Marine Life (my order got cancelled it sold out) and now this, it seems like every summer there is a blush similar in colour.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review: NARS Taj Mahal

Let me take a moment to profess my love for NARS Taj Mahal... this is a thing of beauty! NARS Taj Mahal is a true bright burnt orange blush with a pretty gold sheen. Just like all NARS blushes it's super pigmented and buttery quality, they make the best powder blushes in my opinion, at least from the ones that I've tried. I am a peach blush junkie, if there is a peach blush out there, I need to have it! And NARS Taj Mahal is up there with the best.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review: Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer

The newest drugstore concealer is Rimmel's Match Perfection Skin Tone Adapting Concealer. This is described as a "2 in 1 concealer and highlighter. Banish signs of fatigue and illuminate the eye area. With an oxygen complex. Lets skin breathe" I should start out by saying that the foundation in this range, "Match Perfection" was a terrible match for me, I swatched it in the store and the lightest shade was far too dark for me, but the concealer intrigued me after all the positive reviews that I've read. I am happy to say that the concealer is quite alright. I picked this up for only $4.99 CAD at Shoppers Drug Mart, it was on sale, I think it's regularly about $8.

The packaging is a squeeze tube, different than the click and apply that most concealers like this have. When I first used it, I was perplexed with how to get the contents out, but then figured out the only way was to squeeze the tube. I am not really a fan of this method because you can't really control how much you get out, and as the end of the product nears, I think I'll be struggling to get contents out.

The brush is like the type that you would find on the YSL Touche Eclat or Milani HD concealer. The product comes out from the centre of the brush and you apply it directly to your skin or on your hand and then blend it with your fingers or a brush. I find the brush fibers a tiny bit scratchy on my skin, when I apply it under the eyes, it's a bit irritating. But this may just be me being super picky.

This product comes in only 3 shades (which kind of sucks): Ivory, Classic Beige and Soft Beige. I have this in the lightest shade cause I am fair (NC15 in MAC for reference). It's a skin colour with some illuminating qualities. The texture is neither watery or chalky, it's creamy and opaque, which I enjoy much about this. I find the coverage is very good, this is a pretty pigmented concealer. It's meant to be a 2 in 1 product, both concealing and illuminating (or highlighting) the area, and I think it does that pretty well. I find that I can pack on quite a lot of this and it blends in well and conceals alright. However, since it contains Talc, I find it can look dry on my skin, which isn't great for under the eyes, an area that I like keeping hydrated looking and not..dry, this is something that I find in most undereye concealers though (including the Hard Candy Glamoflauge) perhaps I just need to moisturizer under the eyes more.

And here it is blended in slightly, you can tell it's close to my skin colour, but a tad lighter. The colour is neither peach nor white, but a good skin colour (if you are pale 010 Ivory should work well for you). It's advertised as being "skin adaptive" I am not sure about that, since there are only 3 shades, and they are all light-medium I am betting those with dark skin tones will not adapt so well to this! Rimmel goes on to say that this product "contains blue sapphire pigments to deliver a fresher colour and an oxygenating complex to let the skin breathe.", not sure about that either, blue sapphire sounds cool though!

Would I recommend this product? It's okay, but since it's a tad drying it's not my favourite. However, the consistency is very nice as I mentioned and I enjoy that about it. If you're looking for a cheap undereye concealer, this may be for you.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Baby Pastel Blue Nail Polish Swatches and Comparisons

I love baby blue pastel nail polishes. Recently I picked up the new Essie Burrowed and Blue from the Wedding Collection and wanted to compare it with the rest of my light blue polishes. These types of posts always help me a lot in deciding whether or not I need a polish, by comparing it to other ones that I may already have in my collection, I hope this helps someone!

OPI What's With The Catitude came out in the Shrek collection last year. I passed on it initially because I read it was a dupe for China Glaze Bahamian Escape, but as you will see later in this post, they are not the same at all. Out of the four here, this one is my favourite because it applies very well and I love the sharpness of it, it's pale but still pretty bright of a pastel, and I think it looks the best on me.

Revlon's Lilac Lagoon is a new one for me too. I was excited when this came out, but once I picked it up I was disappointed to find out that it has shimmers in it, silver ones (I prefer creme finish polishes). The application on this was not great, I felt the shimmers gave it that grittiness that I don't enjoy. The colour is pretty though, it's a bit lighter than What's the Catitude.

Essie's Burrowed and Blue is the palest blue I've ever seen, this colour is like blue white-out. Since it's so pale, you have to be careful when applying it, if you're like me and messy when you apply your nail polish it can be very obvious. Also notice the left over shimmers from Blue Lagoon here, that stuff is a pain to take off.

China Glaze Bahamian Escape was the palest palest blue that I owned, until recently, and it's actually not that pale now that I've used the others! This one applies like a dream, I find China Glaze polishes are very opaque, with the others here, I had to do coat after coat and this one you can get away with 1-2. This one is perhaps a less "daring" pale blue.

And here they are together, as you can tell Essie Burrowed and Blue is super stark and white compared to the others. OPI and Revlon are close and the China Glaze is definitely much darker, but still in the pale blue family. I would definitely recommend OPI's What's With The Catitude if you can still get it.

What's your favourite pale blue polish?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Review: Stila Make Me Blush

Have you ever bought a beauty product just because it was pretty to look at? Stila's Make Me Blush blush is beautiful, one of the prettiest products I've ever seen. I didn't get MAC's Marine Life, but I have read that the colours in this are quite similar (check out NaturalNChicMakeup's comparison post here). This blush came out at the start of the year and was limited edition. Honestly I don't pay much attention to Stila's products, so I didn't get this back then and thought I missed out on it entirely. However, while waiting in line to pay at Sephora the other day, I noticed it, and quickly put back something else that I was buying and got this! It was $18 CAD. The cashier seemed to like it too. :)

This blush has a really sweet and gorgeous heart pattern on it, there are coral/red, pink and peachy-pink hearts throughout. The gold parts are very vibrant, however the gold will go away since it's just overspray. I think it would be cool if a company made a blush like this where the gold goes all the way through.

The gold hearts are the prettiest part of the blush I think, embossed on the hearts are cute words like "I Heart You", "Stila", "XOXO" and "Kisses". I could stare at this blush all day long it's so pretty, I didn't even want to use it, but it would be silly to buy something just to look at it right? At least I think so.

Here are the swatches of the blush, I took a small amount of each coloured heart, you have the peachy-pink on the top, then the pink, then the coral/red, and then the gold on it's own. To the left there is a swatch of all the coloured mixed together. The mixed part is very pretty, it's a peachy coral with a gold sheen, as you use it though, that gold sheen will minimize.

And here you can see how the gold bits wear away over time, half of the gold parts of the heart in the center is all gone revealing the normal colour underneath. Although I do like the gold mixed it, I do like the colour of the blush itself without it, so it's not a huge loss. Although I will try to keep some of the gold hearts intact as I use it, just to keep the original colour of the blush as long as I can.

Would I recommend this product? If you can still find it I would totally suggest picking up this blush, it's too pretty not to!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review: Make Up For Ever HD Blush

I love Make Up For Ever's foundations, but until now, that was the only product that I ever used from them. About a year ago now, they came out with their HD Microfinish Cream blushes.They are described on the Sephora website as "A cream blush that naturally sculpts and highlights the cheeks for a healthy glow. HD Microfinish Blush combines mattifying and reflecting powders to create a soft-focus effect for a radiant complexion. Its ultra-fine, second-skin texture blends seamlessly, imparting a healthy glow that's hard not to notice." They are also long-lasting, dermatologist tested and paraben free. They come in 14 shades on the Sephora website, I know there are more shades available however.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

OPI Pirates Of The Caribbean Swatches and Review

To celebrate the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie coming out in a few days, OPI has released a new collection of nail polishes. This set came with 6 new polishes plus a Silver Shatter. You won't see the Silver Shatter in my haul here, I am not really a fan of the Shatter thing, it's not for everyone. But I do like pastel hues and so this collection really intrigued me. I instantly fell in love with the seafoam green colour, Mermaid's Tears and picked up a couple more too.

The ones that I picked up were Planks A lot, Stranger Tides, Steady As She Rose and Mermaid's Tears. I actually ordered Skull and Glossbones, but was sent Stranger Tides instead. I thought I would hate Stranger Tides, but I actually don't mind it now seeing it in person. If you are wondering, I get the majority of my nail polishes through NailEtc on Their prices are pretty good, much cheaper (even with shipping to Canada) then what I would pay at the nail salon.

Planks A Lot is the more vibrant out of the 4 that I picked up, it's a purple, slightly greyed out giving it that slight dusty look, but still a pastel. Although all of the polishes in this collection are cremes, I found this one to be much more watery than the rest.

Stranger Tides is a murky grey khaki green. This one is definitely weird. I don't see myself wearing this often, but I have started to like it more than I thought I would, and it's unique.

Mermaid's Tears is my favourite from this collection. It's a seafoam green. Looking at it in the bottle it's very different than say, a tiffany blue colour, this has much more green in it. I love this because it's a bright colour, but still a pastel tone. This one is similar to Misa's Dirty Sexy Money.

Steady As She Rose is a very pale greyed out pink. This one takes three coats to look opaque and avoid that streaky look that really pale polishes can have.

Would I recommend this product? I really like the polishes in this collection, they have a pale unique quality to them. And if you are into the shatter thing, definitely get the silver one that comes in this collection.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Review: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage

When I look for a concealer, I primarily want something for under the eyes, I'd like it to be moisturizing, not seep into fine lines and apply easily. Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage is not the traditional concealer that I normally think of. The texture of this product is quite hard and waxy and if not applied correctly, it can be a nightmare and you will hate it. Lots of people have given this negative reviews because they didn't know how to use it correctly. If applied right, it can provide great coverage and be a wonderful concealer. The Sephora website describes this product as "A dual-tone concealer that completely camouflages dark circles, minor imperfections, and discolorations. This versatile concealer contains a unique two-shade system: one to match the skin's depth of color and one to match the skin's undertone, making it possible for every woman to custom-blend her own perfect shade. The high level of pigment requires very little product to achieve perfect coverage."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Review: MAC Magically Cool Liquid Powder

I bought the new MAC Magically Cool Liquid Powder on the morning that it launched on the MAC website, I was super excited about this product because I missed out on it when it first appeared in the Venomous Villains collection. Since I have dry skin, anything hydrating or cooling is high on my list. This product is a really neat concept, it's a loose powder, but when applied on the skin it has a "wet" or "cooling" sensation because of the high water content in the product. Other brands have some this before, including Presciptives, Revlon and Almay (which I will discuss below). I had some time to try this out this weekend and I can give an initial review here. Please note, to really "see" the sparkles in this product, please click on the images to enlarge the image.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Review: Chanel Pro Lumiere Foundation

If you've ever used Chanel Pro Lumiere, you can probably attest to how great this foundation is. I usually go on and on before getting to the actual review of this product, but for this, when it's great it doesn't take much words to describe it. I love love love the Chanel Pro Lumiere foundation. This product is described as "A flawless complexion in any light. PRO LUMIÈRE stretches like a canvas that forms a curtain veil of light on the skin. The material reshapes the skin, the colour adapts and the density adjusts depending on the desired effect. Soft to the touch and perfectly adjustable when applied, the PRO LUMIÈRE formula is highly concentrated in with high-tech radiance-emitting active ingredients. Rich in reflecting pigments and emollient elements that leave the complexion looking flawless, it also recreates the smoothing performance effect of artificial light. Blended in completely, it offers a semi-matte and luminous translucent result. Less blended, it provides a smoothing effect with perfectly even skin and tighter pore." This foundation gets high raves from all over, the PixiWoo girls love it and I would be hard pressed to find anything bad said about it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Monthly Faves: April 2011

May is here, Happy Cinco De Mayo everyone! And today I am doing my favourites from last month. As you probably know, April was my no-buy makeup ban month, I did find except for the MAC Ever Hip lipstick that I couldn't resist near the end of the month.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review: L'oreal Sublime Mousse Hair Coloring

A little history into my hair dyeing.. The first time I ever had my hair dyed was when I was in my early teens and I told my mom that I wanted blond hair. She took me to a salon, but refused to use any peroxide in my hair. My hair is naturally light brown so the hair dye made it turn orange. My mother thought using peroxide on my hair would damage it and refused to do it. I was mortified with how it turned out, I then processed to spray Sun-In all over my head to lighten it to what I actually wanted. Fast forward into my twenties, I dyed my hair with Clairol Natural Instincts semi-permanent several times. The first time I ever dyed it with permanent dye was the Clairol Nice and Easy Foam, which I reviewed earlier. Since doing that, I have hated my hair, it turned out far too dark. I was hoping for a light brown (just to cover greys) and the Nice and Easy Foam turned it black basically. And since I am fair, I think lighter hair looks much better on me. I am still learning about at-home hair dye and am in no way an expert on this.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Review: Smashbox Photo Finish Adjust Primer

I've realized recently that the main reason why I wear foundation is to hide the redness in my face. My skin is actually pretty alright, but it can get red very easily. Washing my face makes it red, which I think is normal for most people, but it feels hot and bothersome afterwards. I've tried to use skincare items that are gentle for my dry skin and ones that do not irritate it, but it's definitely been hit and miss in that department. I also tend to blush very easily and flush if I am exercising. Foundations cover that up for the most part, but I find I have to focus a lot of product on my cheeks and use high-coverage foundations when I really shouldn't have to. If I could tone down the redness I would be much happier with my complexion.

In January, I decided to pick up Smashbox's Photo Finish primer in the Color Correcting version "adjust" which is meant to tone down redness in discoloration. It's similar to the original Photo Finish (which is very good) but with a green tone, I think it's more of an olive tone however. This product is described as a "silky blend of antioxidants, vitamins A & E, and soothing botanicals like soy, lemongrass, and orchid complex rejuvenates and refines." It's quite expensive, on the Sephora website it's listed as $38 US, more than any other primer that I've used, but I managed to get it for a bit cheaper, and unboxed at AllCosmeticsWholesale.

This product comes in a square airless 30ml bottle, online I've read that it's a glass bottle, but mine is most definitely plastic. It's very lightweight and smaller than I expected. The packaging is great, it comes with a nice pump, and I like that you can see how much product you have left in the bottle, as it moves up as you use it. This product is oil and paraben free as well.

And here is a bit of it on the back of my hand, as you can tell it's a green tint, but more of a olive or guacamole green I would say. Green is meant to cancel out redness.

Here it is partly blended in, you can tell there is a lot more yellow to the substance as you move it around. The texture is lightweight on your skin, you only need a small amount, that glob there would be enough for most of my face. As any primer it's meant to be worn under foundation to extend the wear of the foundation, help it apply easier, and even out your skin to prep it for foundation application. I do find the original Photo Finish primer to be a lot more greasy and has more slip to it.

To me this primer is quite nice, it gives my skin a slightly matte finish and makes it feel smoother. I notice it the most around my nose where there are minor pores, it fills them in nicely. I also have to use less foundation as it tends to absorb better with this primer underneath. It isn't hydrating though at all for my dry skin, and doesn't leave any kind of glow, more of a mattifying effect (mileage will vary for those with oily skin). In terms of application, if I did not give this sufficient time to sink into my skin, it did tend to ball up which was annoying. I would apply my regular moisturizer, let that sink in, then apply the primer wait again and then continue on with my routine. Some days I didn't have time and I passed on this product.

Now, let's be real, I bought the green version instead of the regular to get the redness correcting properties, and in that area this primer doesn't perform as well as I had hoped. In the picture above, on the left hand I have nothing and on the right I've applied the Adjust primer. It's hard to tell but the redness has been corrected in a minor way, I would say like 10%, my hand also appears more yellow.

Would I recommend this product? It's not a terrible product, but for the purpose that I bought it for, to correct redness it doesn't do as well as I hoped. My quest continues to find a product that can tone down my redness better. If you are interested in this primer, just get the normal kind, this won't be much for redness unfortunately. If you have any suggestions on redness reducing products, please let me know below and my red face will thank you!