Monday, 14 April 2014

Make Up For Ever / HD Cream Blush in 410

My new go-to and the latest addition to my purse, the Make Up For Ever HD Blush in 410 is a dream and a must have for Spring/Summer 2014! The beautiful coral colour blends so easily and seamlessly into my skin - I love it.  This new generation HD Cream Blush "has been created to melt into the skin for a natural flush of colour for both on camera and in everyday life." 

Available in such a wife range of colours, it will suit every skin tone, and give you naturally sculpted cheeks for a healthy glow. No more clown look! The hues range from light to medium to tan to deep for both cool and warm undertones. The compact with a mirror, being small and lightweight, makes it ultra-convenient for any size makeup bag or purses. I've applied the HD Cream Blush with my fingertips, as well as a small sponge - it blends very well!

 For a warm look, I'm wearing the 410 along with Rouge Artist Intense in 50. Take a look:








PROS:
  • Sheer, seamless finish
  • Perfectly balanced and smooth texture
  • Lightweight
  • Long lasting
  • Natural colour with luminous finish
  • Compact packaging with mirror
  • Comes in 16 shades
  • Great for everyday use
CONS:
  • None!

Where to Find: in-store at Sephora, online at Sephora.ca, and MAKE UP FOR EVER Boutiques
Price: $31.00

Value: 5/5
Quality: 5/5
Performance: 5/5
Packaging: 5/5
Price: $$$$


Overall: 5/5 

Would I use it again? YES!
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Friday, 4 April 2014

New & Noteworthy from NARS / Matte Multiple, Contour Blush, and Artistry Brushes.

I am so excited for these new additions to the NARS family - the Matte Multiple, Contour Blush, plus an array of amazing quality brushes. As a fan of NARS for many years, I've been using their infamous blushes and illuminators for quite a while and overall, the products have always been a good investment

Just in time for its 20th year anniversary, NARS introduces the new multi-use Matte Multiple (blushes & bronzers) - the product can be used wet or dry for a versatile cheek or lip application. Plus, it comes in gorgeous colours and shades!

Available in seven shades from ginger pink to golden bronze, the Matte Multiple features a creamy, lightweight formula that delivers buildable, long-lasting, hydrating colour for lips and cheeks. This innovative formula can be applied dry for a soft yet vibrant matte effect or wet for a rich and vivid finish that melts into skin. 




Products Include:
ANGUILLA, Ginger pink 
EXUMAS, Pink apricot 
SIAM, Poppy red 
LAOS, Rose coral 
ALTAI, Rose bronze 
VIENTIANE, Copper bronze 
CAPPADOCE, Golden bronze 
Price: $46 

Available April 14th at select NARS retailers (including Sephora, Hudson’s Bay, Holt Renfrew and MURALE) and www.narscosmetics.ca

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But that's not all...NARS also launched Contour Blushes, the ultimate essential in makeup artistry to create natural-looking definition with a luminous finish.

Now available at select NARS retailers (including Sephora, Hudson’s Bay, Holt Renfrew and Murale) and www.narscosmetics.ca - The beautifully balanced duos feature a lighter shade to illuminate the highpoints of the face and a deeper shade to enhance definition. Ultra-smooth, lightweight texture lends itself to a luminous finish and the specially designed contouring formula adds visual depth and dimension in a single swipe. 

To create the perfect contour on cheeks, apply the deeper shade of the Contour Blush to the hollows of the cheeks and along the hairline; sweep the light shade across the cheekbones toward the temples to soften and highlight. Finish the look with a pop of your favorite blush shade on the apples of the cheek. 




Products Include:

OLYMPIA, Ivory/Rose 
PALOMA, Pink beige/Deep rose 
GIENAH, Honey/Amber 
Price: $46 

Last but not least, NARS also launches a comprehensive 16 piece Artistry Brushes collection featuring  an exquisite design conceived by Founder and Creative Director François Nars and Fabien Baron, of New York design firm Baron & Baron. 

 Each brush is designed with the finest quality hairs and delicately weighted to provide the necessary balance for a professional and precise makeup application. The custom brush and packaging feature the iconic matte black finish with sharp debossed logo and signature pop of red.


“You cannot achieve good makeup without good tools.” – François Nars 

FACE CATEGORY Refine. Blend. Conceal.
Powder Brush #10, $58 
Blends, buffs, and diffuses loose powder for a lustrous finish. Double domed with layers of full, soft hair to pick up and deposit powder evenly. 
Bronzing Powder Brush #11, $58 
An artist essential for controlled application. The dense concentration of soft, natural hair holds and applies product for an even, all-over glow. 
Cream Blending Brush #12, $32 
A versatile, multi-use brush for face and eyes. Designed for gentle application of concealer around the eyes and effortless blending of cream textures. 
Precision Blending Brush #13, $30 
For precision application of concealer. Ideal for focused use on spots, pigmented areas, or around the eyes and nose. 

CHEEK CATEGORY Sculpt. Contour. Highlight.
Blush Brush #20, $47 
Professional domed shape deposits blush pigments perfectly. Diffuses as it blends for smooth, effortless application. 
Contour Brush #21, $47 
Expertly angled for sculpting and highlighting the cheekbones. An artist essential to define and blend with controlled application. 

EYE CATEGORY Line. Define. Blend.
Eye Shadow Brush #40, $36 
Deposits the perfect amount of pigment for a masterful sweep of all-over shadow. 
Diffusing Brush #41, $37 
A must-have for blending and creating the smoky eye. Lush bristles softly apply shadow for a light veil of colour. 
Blending Eye Shadow Brush #42, $37 
Ideal tool for applying high-shimmer shadows and effortless blending for a soft-focus effect due to softer, longer hair design. 
Wide Contour Eye Shadow Brush #43, $37 
The go-to artist essential that does it all: tap, blend, or sweep shadow with ease. Angled shape allows for all-over or precise application. 
Precision Contour Brush #44, $32 
The firm, flexible hair design of this brush is ideal for applying concentrated colour in the eye crease. 
Smudge Brush #45, $32 
The smoky eye artist essential. Expertly deposits colour along the lash line and diffuses and softens eyeliner. 
Push Eyeliner #46, $32 
Transforms any cream or powder eye shadow into an eyeliner for a smooth, fine line at the base of the lashes. Use wet to apply powders for stronger colour impact. 
Angled Eyeliner Brush #47, $32 
Designed for impeccable glide when applying liquid and cream textures along the lash line. Perfect for use with NARS Eye Paint to create a variety of effects, from natural to dramatic. 
Brow Defining Brush #48, $30 
Define, shape and fill in sparse brows. Firm bristles provide control and deposit powder for a hair-like effect. 

LIP CATEGORY
Precision Lip Brush #30, $30 
Designed with a wide, flat surface to evenly apply lipstick with precision. 

Available April 3 at select NARS retailers (including Sephora, Hudson’s Bay, Holt Renfrew and Murale) and www.narscosmetics.ca
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Monday, 17 March 2014

Make Up For Ever - NEW HD Pressed Powder




Having oily skin is no fun! Especially when having a flawless complexion all day is a must. With the blotting papers and tissues conveniently stored in my purse, I run to the nearest mirror every chance I get. Touching up on the go is the norm and can be quite a nuisance if I have to do it so often. Yes, it can be so frustrating when I'm out and about and the makeup is literally melting. 

I've always been looking for a silky, lightweight finishing powder that doesn't increase the appearance of pores and doesn't make the skin look dry. Luckily, I think I've found the one! The industry's leading professional makeup brand, Make Up For Ever, has reinvented its best-selling HD Microfinish Loose Powder and has launched the HD Pressed Powder.

So very impressive - it does it right and does it well. It's lightweight texture softens the appearance of fine lines and pores. The exclusive formula is a combination of three premium powders (silica, vinyl crosspolymer and Micro & Spherical powders). Best of all, the talc free, professional touch up powder is perfect for use throughout the day helping reduce that dreaded shine while remaining completely invisible. 

Available in one universal shade, as it's translucent, the powder is suited for all skin types and skin tones and is formulated with hyaluronic acid to help prevent skin dehydration. 

Stay tuned for featured looks! I will be trying it out for all day events this week.


PROS:
  • Sheer, chalk-free finish
  • Oil-absorbing
  • Lightweight
  • Long lasting
  • Completely translucent
  • Compact packaging
  • A little goes a long way
  • Softens appearance of fine lines and pores
CONS:
  • Don't over do it - may look chalky in photographs

Where to Find: in-store at Sephora, online at Sephora.ca, and MAKE UP FOR EVER Boutiques
Price: $41.00
How to Use:

  • Swirl #124 Medium Kabuki Brush into powder.
  • Beginning in the center of the face, press and roll brush onto the skin.
  • Finish with gentle, downward strokes to blend.
Value: 4/5
Quality: 4/5
Performance: 5/5
Packaging: 4/5
Price: $$$$


Overall: 4/5 

Would I use it again? YES!
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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Brand Spotlight: theBalm Cosmetics


This first of many brand spotlights is all about TheBalm Cosmetics, a brand I’ve been in love with for the past few years! TheBalm's multi-use, mega-fabulous beauty products offer quick fixes and wondrous solutions - and you'll love it too.

TheBalm Cosmetics was founded by Marissa Shipman when, in 2004, she realized that there were few simple products to help her look and feel glam all the time. What started as merely mixing cosmetics in her kitchen, TheBalm Cosmetics has grown to one of the hottest brands in cosmetics, with a product lineup consisting of makeup, skin care, hair care and nail polish. The products are both paraben and cruelty-free. Shadows and blushes are also talc-free.




A noticing feature of the brand is the packaging – retro and vintage images featuring women of the 20s, 30s, and 40s cover the palettes that stick out compared to the drab designs of many other brands. It’s a very unique take that promotes female empowerment in a neat memorable package.

Check out their site at thebalm.com, with one-of-a-kind tutorials filmed and added by wonderful ladies that love the product! If you want to get your hands on some of their products, TheBalm Cosmetics are found in retail stores around the globe and can be ordered online from their website. The company has also opened their first bricks-and-mortar store in the Mission District of San Francisco. If we’re fortunate enough, we could see more pop up through North America. Here’s hoping!





TheBalm is my go-to brand for almost everything. I believe I now have over 35 theBalm products in my collection...and it's continuously growing. Also, theBalm carries my favourite concealer (can't live without it!).



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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Naturopathica Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream / Product Review


I've been raving about Naturopathica for a few years now as they never disappoint. The brand is amazing at reinforcing our well being, and all the while living up to their word and commitment. During this winter, I've began using the Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream, a miracle worker for very dry and sensitive skin. It's "a nourishing, deeply moisturizing cream that contains anti-inflammatory Calendula Extract to soothe dry, sensitive skin and conditioning Borage Seed Oil to help soften the skin." My skin responded so well to Calendula, the main ingredient in this moisturizer, which happens to be a wound healing herb which contains properties to reduce inflammation and soothe irritation.

Being all natural, with almost perfect consistency and texture, this cream feels just right. And while it may seem pricy for some, a very small amount goes a long way! It's truly amazing how great my skin feels the morning after. I can honestly say this is one of the best hydrating creams I've ever tried.



How to use: Gently smooth a pea size amount over face and neck using upward and outward movements. Apply morning and night over serum or after treatment for best results.

PROS:
  • Beautifully designed
  • Anti-inflammatory and soothing
  • Natural scent with hints of lavender
  • Soft, creamy texture
  • Natural and Organic Cosmetic certified by ECOCERT Greenlife
  • Contains high quality, natural ingredients
  • Long lasting hydration
  • Perfect for dry and sensitive skin
CONS: None!

Value: 5/5
Quality: 5/5
Performance: 5/5
Packaging: 5/5
Price: $$$$


Overall: 5/5 

Would I use it again? YES! And you have to try it too.


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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

NEW Vichy LiftActiv Advanced Concentrate Daily Wrinkle Corrector

Our skin goes through dramatic changes as we age. These changes, like thinning skin and reduced production of collagen, alter our skin's surface appearance and create fine lines which eventually develop into deep wrinkles and folds. Sounds scary - and it can be - which is why now is a good time to correct such damaging changes.

Vichy's new Liftactiv Advanced Concentrate is a daily wrinkle corrector designed to visibly fill and smooth-out all wrinkles, even deep and vertical ones like frown and smile lines. The unique formula contains 0.2% pure Retinol, LR2412 (jasmonic molecule), hyaluronic acid, and other ingredients which give it anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties. For the first time, Vichy created their highest concentration pure Retinol in most tolerant formula - you can use it daily on most skin types, including dry and sensitive.

After using Liftactiv for two weeks, I can definitely see a slight improvement in my skin's texture and can feel the anti-wrinkle power of the product as my skin becomes smoother. It's quite pleasant to use due to its lightweight texture, and unlike most Retinol based products, it's gentle on the skin.


HOW TO USE: Can be used daily in 3 ways, on clean face and neck:
1. Alone as daily moisturizer
2. Layered on top of your daily serum or under your daily moisturizer
3. As a localized treatment

PROS:
  • Non comedogenic, Hypoallergenic & Paraben free formula
  • Contains Vichy Thermal Spa Water which gives a soothing effect
  • Gentle on the skin
  • Product penetrates quickly
  • Lightweight texture with lasting hydration
  • Non greasy, non sticky, making it an excellent base for makeup
  • Features look less tired
  • Smoother skin
  • With Anti-inflammatory Properties: Adenosine 0.1% 
  • With 24h Hydration: - Hyaluronic Acid 0.2% - Glycerine 8%
CONS:
Can be pricy at $50-$55 in Drugstores across Canada.

Value: 4/5
Quality: 4.5/5
Effectiveness: 4/5
Packaging: 4/5
Price: $$$$

Overall: 4/5  Give it a try! 






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Sunday, 5 January 2014

NARS Yachiyo Brush 27 Review

After years of using the perfect multi-functional NARS Yachiyo Brush I've finally decided to review it. Sadly, it looks like the infamous, highly rated brush is now out of stock at NARS.com and Sephora, although, I did find it available online by the Canadian retailer, The Bay, where I have originally purchased it for $73+!

So what's so good about it? The NARS Yachiyo brush's modern concept and function unites traditional Japanese culture, creating unique and versatile design. Featuring super black goat hair, known for its softness and strength, this Kabuki Artisan brush is designed for a variety of uses including color application, blending, contouring and highlighting. Super black goat hair is ideal for blending pigments.

PROS: 
  • Easy to use
  • Gorgeous packaging and design
  • Well-made and well-crafted
  • Multi-functional and versatile - it's great for contouring and highlighting
  • Bendy and spring-like feel and diffusing pointy end designed for a perfect application
  • Made for use with very pigmented powder blushes such as NARS Exhibit A
  • Perfect for cheeks and face blush/bronzer application
  • Made with very soft Pen Super Goat hairs, which are ideal for blending pigments
  • The hand-spun black wisteria handle preserves its unique traditional character
  • Rated 4.6 out of 5 by MakeupAlley.com members
CONS: 
  • Very expensive
  • Hard to find
  • Slight hair fall out
Despite the price tag, I highly recommend investing in this brush. It lasted me many years, and it can do much more than a typical blush brush. Think of it as a 5-in-1 tool!

Value: 5/5
Quality: 4.5/5
Effectiveness: 5/5
Packaging: 5/5
Price: $$$$


Overall: 4/5  You gotta have it.

Would I use it again? Yes.


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Sunday, 15 December 2013

Make Up For Ever / Midnight Glow Gun Metal 15 Glitter Review


I've just discovered Make Up For Ever  glitter, a perfect solution for a hint of sparkle, shimmer, and glam for the Holiday look. Wow! While I have never used much glitter before, this high quality option is versatile for both body and face, and it doesn't look cheap nor tacky.  The new Midnight Glow glitter in Gun Metal 15, at $20, is lightweight, made of fine reflecting particles, and very easy to use. I'm very impressed with it's effect and performance, and can't wait to try the others. Take a look.


How to apply:
Apply using a brush, sponge applicator or the fingers. For optimum hold, wet the brush, sponge or fingers with water or Mist & Fix. Aqua Seal may also be used to create a waterproof hold.

Pros:

  • A little bit goes a long way
  • Adds fun to your look
  • Highly pigmented
  • Blends easily
  • Multi-use
  • Easy to use
  • Shows beautifully in photographs
  • Non-irritating!
  • Affordable & lasts awhile

Cons:
Hard to clean up and can be messy if not used properly

What else you need to know:
"Sprinkle onto lip gloss in the evening to emphasize lip volume. To make glitter adhere to the body or hair, first spray these areas with water, then place a small amount glitter in the palm of your hand and gently blow onto the dampened areas."—Dany Sanz, Make Up For Ever founder

Value: 5/5
Quality: 5/5
Effectiveness: 5/5
Packaging: 4/5
Price: $$


Overall: 4.5/5  Lovely!

Would I use it again? Yes.
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Friday, 13 December 2013

Favourite Looks / Holidays 2013 / Expressive and Festive

Getting ready for the Holiday parties? Don’t despair. Dressing up, looking sexy yet smart and sophisticated feels great. Vain and superficial? In all honesty, why can’t we freely and humbly choose to dress up and look our best, and perhaps be the center of attention just for a day.

Now is the perfect time to glam it up with smokey eyes, glitter, and bold lips! I have searched through Style.com 125,000 runway looks and found inspiring, trendy Holiday looks.

This season, take the centre stage with fierce, smokey eye - opt for gunmetal greys, deep browns, purples, and navy blues. Give it some extra sparkle with glitter. It’s fun, sexy, and festive. Plus, don’t be afraid to add-in the falsies.

The lipstick is in. While the lipstick may scream ‘femininity’ don’t be afraid! It doesn’t necessarily mean that a woman is subservient to a man. Many makeup artists would argue that lipstick illustrates that a woman knows how to show herself as sharp, smart, and sophisticated.

Bold, strong colours are a definite must. Matte lipsticks are excellent - they’re beautiful, soft, velvety, and retro glam. My personal favourite formulas are by Chanel, Dior and M.A.C. Some of the popular colours this season are the wine stained-berry burgundies, the classic bright or deep reds, and metallic golden coppers. The darker colours, while may seem intimidating at first, make a strong, fashionable statement and get people talking.
Here are my favourite looks:







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Monday, 9 December 2013

Get in the Festive Mood with Fruits & Passion / Holiday Gifts

Brr! It's been freezing for weeks, and with the dropped temperatures outside came the flu. So unlucky. I've been sick with for so long, staying warm soaking in a bubble bath while sipping on hot coco is my go to remedy. For my baths, I've been using festive, colourful foaming bath gels and salts from Fruits & Passion. Disguised as Christmas ornaments, these cute stocking stuffers are deliciously scented for a hot winter soak.








Some of the available scents include:
  • Orange Cantaloup - A scent that combines sparkling orange with fresh cantaloupe surrounded by floral musky notes.
  • Pear Peony - This fragrance starts with sophisticated pear leaf notes and a touch of magnolia, then follows with green tea base notes to form a subtle and utterly original blend.
  • Grapefruit Guava - The scent that combines the tangy aspect of grapefruit with the smooth sweetness of guava.
How to use: Simply add a few pearly crystals to bath water to enjoy a soak deliciously scented.

Now it sure feels like the Holidays are just around the corner! If you're looking for fruity gift sets and stocking stuffers, take a look at the gorgeous 2013 Holiday Catalogue by Fruits & Passion, or read my initial review of some of the products available.


Another great gift idea is a fragrance set. Fruits & Passion carries an array of fruity and delightful sets ideal for any occasion. The sets contain a complete ritual of scented, moisturizing body care products. I have recently received Lily, a delicate, feminine fragrance, and now my new favourite. It's stunning! The packaging is quite lovely and makes it a stylish gift. What does it smell like? The scent is perfect for the office and special occasions. The fragrance opens with notes of light, fresh peony, like a delicate layer of morning dew. As these elements linger, more pronounced floral notes intertwine little by little with the musky, woody base. The feminine, sensual character is slowly unveiled to reveal an unforgettable scent.





Stay tuned for an in-depth review of Lily. I'm planning to wear it to the office for the rest of the week.


Special Thanks to Dustin H. Photography
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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Festive & Stylish: The Holiday Collection by Fruits & Passion / Part 1

It's that time of the year again, Christmas is coming! We're flocking to the malls and into the stores despite of frustration, crowds, traffic, and long line ups. Our holiday gift giving rituals are very complex, and so complicated that we may even opt-out from the gift-giving tradition altogether.

Giving is in our nature. We especially value something practical, meaningful, and at the same time aesthetically pleasing. So, if you're looking for unique Holiday Decor or Welcoming Ambiance gifts there are festive and contemporary, yet not overbearingly Christmassy gift options.

Take a look at the Fruits & Passion Holiday Collection (click here to view catalogue) or their Gift Guide. One of many classy products available is the Kitchen Trio on a slate. This modern, beautifully designed set adds a trendy, decorative touch to any kitchen.








Made from first cold pressed olive oil and an olive derivative with moisturizing properties, Cucina soap and hand cream scent and soften the skin. Practical and chic, the dish detergent completes this indispensable kitchen ritual.

This trio comes with a slate plaque to go under the bottles and add a dash of style to your kitchen.
This trio contains :
  • Hand Soap with olive oil 265 ml
  • Regenerating Hand Cream 150 ml
  • Concentrated dish detergent 265ml
  • Decorative slate
This aromatic fragrance opens with vibrant rosemary notes that give way to a delicately spiced cardamom and pink pepper heart.
Retail: $44.50

Looking for non-drying, high quality hand-soap for the kitchen? Fruits & Passion also carries limited edition hand soaps which come in decorative glass bottles inspired by vintage Italian wine. Specially designed for use in the kitchen, the biodegradable Cucina Hand Soap cleans hands effectively and gently. Available in Rosemary and Cardamom, Coriander and Olive tree, Pinot Grigio, and Lime Zest and Cypress. View it here. Retail Cost: $22.00 CAD





Fruits & Passion Frosted Birch diffuser is another excellent addition to your home for the Holidays. 
This decorative set is the ideal way to create a holiday feel! It diffuses Fruits & Passion fragrance that evokes the woody freshness of birch in winter and the comforting warmth of cotton with a touch of jasmine for a statement of elegance. The scented liquid is absorbed by the diffusing components and, through capillary action, then perfumes the air. A great gift -or keep it for yourself!
This set contains:
  • One vase filled with diffuser liquid 75 ml (2.5 fl oz)
  • 10 reeds
  • A decorative accessory
Extend the life of your Decorative Diffuser Set with our reeds and fragrance refills.

Retail: $28.50




Stay tuned for Part 2 featuring Fine Fragrances & Body Care.
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