April 15, 2015

Lise Watier Expression Spring 2015 Collection

Press samples.

By the time it actually feels like Spring, it's time to bid the seasonal collections goodbye. (Oh, Canada.)

So here's one last hurrah for the Lise Watier Expression Spring Collection, as summer waits in the wings.

Lise Watier Expression Spring 2015 Collection

The packaging on this collection was a vivid splash of colour, a bit of playing around on an artists palette (and totally connecting with the desire to see some bold, beautiful shades after a grey, dreary, never-ending season).

Doesn't this blush look like something you'd see from a plane, flying over the southwest United States? So pretty and original, but still graphic and unexpected (read: non-floral) for Spring.

Lise Watier Expression Spring 2015 Collection

Lise Watier Expression Spring 2015 Collection

Lise Watier Expression Spring 2015 Collection

The three different shades of the Expression Blush Trio (38$ CAD) are a little tough to separate out, and I tend to either focus my brush on the right side for a more coral-peach look, or more on the left for a warm pink.

The texture is soft and velvety smooth, and actually a bit powdery when picked up with a brush, but it looks very natural and texture-less on the cheeks. It has some sparkle in the pan and a bit swatched, but comes up as gently glowing on the cheeks. Very flattering, and almost more of a summer type colour, at least for me. It can be built up very easily for a punchier look over (faux) tanned skin.

Lise Watier Expression Spring 2015 Collection

Lise Watier Expression Spring 2015 Collection

Lise Watier Expression Spring 2015 Collection

The Expression Eyeshadow Palette (42$ CAD) just delighted me as soon as I opened it. Combine teals and olive greens, and you've made me the happiest camper. That said, I don't think this palette actually works all that well by itself, unless you happen to like pastel eyes. But it's perfect for integrating some much-needed colour and pairs well with the embarrassment of neutral palettes I have in my collection.

The formulation here is the same not-quite-cream-not-quite-powder that has been featured in the last few limited collections. It feels really plush to the touch, and some of the shades swatch especially nice, but I find the application can be a little tricky, at least as far as blending the colours together goes. Sometimes they don't buff out or build up particularly well (the mint green was particularly troublesome in this respect, remaining sheer and almost chalky), but they do look amazing once on the lids, with a glow that's not overly metallic or shimmery.

The teal and the olive are by the far the standouts in the palette, and I would easily buy those as singles. The mint is the weakest, as I said, and the peach is almost a little dry and faded when applied. The gold is oddly chunky, kinda thick to apply, but is works as a highlight.

Lasting power is average/good, maybe 7 hours before I see some fading (over primer).

This is a fairly simple but bright look using the palette, and a barely-there application of the blush. I managed to use all the shades on the eyes, going from yellow on the inner corner, through mint and teal on the lid to the outer corner, with the olive deepening the crease and smudged into the lash lines. I used the peach very lightly as a transition shade.

Lise Watier Expression Spring 2015 Collection

The summer collection is coming out soon, but these guys are still available at Lise Watier counters. (And if not, keep an eye out for the online warehouse sale in the fall, as past collections tend to pop up regularly.)

(Items were provided by the brand. This post is not sponsored or otherwise compensated.)

April 14, 2015

Kat Von D Innerstellar Palette

Purchased item.

So at this point I pretty much auto-buy anything Kat Von D. There have been some misses, certainly (the mediocre Holiday palette, the underwhelming lipstick re-launch), but more often than not, I dig it. And honestly, KVD herself is growing on me, even though she has had some equally unfortunate missteps (see: her gross affair with Jesse James, the "Celebutard" controversy). She just seems so grounded and actually sweet in her tutorials, and genuinely passionate about her brand. Her instagram is also chock-full of interesting bits about art and literature, which is not at all what I had in my head about her.

ANYWAY.

On to the Interstellar palette (55$ CAD at Sephora).

Kat Von D Innerstellar Palette

Kat Von D Innerstellar Palette

Kat Von D Innerstellar Palette

Pretty, right? I love the groovy packaging design, and I was drawn to the cool-toned, neutral-leaning shades, balanced by a glimmery lilac and vibrant eggplant purple.

Kat Von D Innerstellar Palette

Kat Von D Innerstellar Palette

Performance-wise, most of the shades are spot-on with the quality I've come to generally expect: soft, creamy, not overly dense, but well-pigmented and blendable, lasting a work day over primer without fading. But there are a few exceptions.

The most iffy shades are actually in the first "quad" in the palette. The ice pink being a bit sheer and powdery, so while it's not a shade that I'd apply over a larger area, it works for the tear duct area, and has enough iridescence to add a duochrome flash to a colour layered underneath. The cool taupey/plummy brown is great, an easy satin-finish shade that's perfect for the crease. The shark-grey is maybe a bit sheer as well, but otherwise lovely.

The purple, however, was my biggest disappointment. It has super choppy payoff, and fades out like you wouldn't believe. To get it to show up on the eyelid, I had to use primer AND concealer AND a setting spray to wet the brush, and it still showed up more ashy than it does in this swatch. If you're buying the palette with this shade in mind, don't. There are definitely better options out there.

Kat Von D Innerstellar Palette

But then if you're in it for the cool neutrals, you have some great ones in the middle quad. All of these are beautifully textured. LOOK AT THAT PEWTER. The lilac is gorgeous as well, especially layered over the gray.

Kat Von D Innerstellar Palette

The final quad is good too, with the vanilla satin being the weakest, but for a brow bone shade it's actually just right, as it blends out the transition shade without adding extra frosting. The shimmery taupe is perfect, and the silver is out-of-control pigmented, definitely the richest feeling shade as well. The black is about average, pigmented but a touch choppy, but nothing daunting.

Kat Von D Innerstellar Palette

The purple fail and a couple of quibbles aside, this is a sweet little palette that could fill a hole in your collection if you need cooler tones, especially those mid-toned crease and transition shades (seriously, FOUR taupe/medium brown shades here, albeit all with different textures and finishes).

It's probably not one I'd recommend as a starter palette (not quite enough variation, since everything leans to one side of the spectrum, and heavily favours the medium shade range), nor would I urge the serious makeup aficionado to prioritize it, since they'd probably have these types of colours already. If you're a KVD collector, on the other hand....well, I don't have to convince you, since you probably already do have it.

My personal feeling is that I probably loved it a lot more initially, but that bust up with the purple broke my heart a bit. That said, I do find myself reaching for it quite a bit when I'm looking for that perfect crease colour.

I have a couple of looks here to show you how it applies. The one on the left is a typical cool-toned, work-appropriate, classic eye look, which this palette is perfectly suited to. (I've also rocked out a fantastic grungy, silver smoky eye with it.)

The picture on the right was my attempt to get the purple to show up with some kind of vibrancy (with grey contact lenses for some added contrast). I'm sure someone with more skills could put together a more flattering look, but it doesn't change the fact that's it's a righteous mess to work with, and actually started looking grey and faded within a couple of hours. (No such issues with the rest of the palette.)

Kat Von D Innerstellar Palette

Have you guys tried Interstellar or any of the other KVD palettes? What do you think of her line in general?

(I purchased this item. This post is not sponsored or otherwise compensated.)

March 29, 2015

Makeup Organization: Hygiene Station and Makeup Brushes

Despite appearances to the contrary, I'm actually not a naturally neat person. It's a running joke both at work and at home that I leave a trail of chaos behind me, and I can be found by following the detritus of a dozen or so half-finished projects (and ice cream bowls) scattered about. One of my dogs has wolfed down more than one errant sock I've forgotten to put away (even though somehow its mate managed to find its way to the hamper).

My brain is Pisces-typical: non-linear, unmoored and tangential.

And yet, somehow, I'm also an organization freak. I get a dopamine rush from the sorting process. I get excited about storage boxes the way some people get excited about Disneyland. I'm always looking for a better way to store and display the things I love.

And then that just goes up to eleven when the Spring Cleaning bug hits. Last week that meant tweaking part of my vanity, specifically my hygiene and brush organization and storage.

With the way I've set up my Alex units to form my vanity, I ended up with a blank wall to one side. It looked a little bit awkward, and struck me as a waste of space, but I couldn't figure out what to put there considering the space restraints created by the dimensions of the units and the space taken up by open drawers. I then came across some storage boxes (see?) and a cute little metal rack at Homesense, and inspiration struck. Up until now I had my extra makeup brushes and hygiene supplies in a cabinet on the other side of the room, and I figured having everything set up closer to the actual vanity would be more practical. And now I finally had a way of making that set up aesthetically pleasing as well.

I asked Androo to shimmy the vanity over to the right by a couple of inches to create enough clearance for the drawers, and then he kindly put the rack up for me (god, I love that man). I then stacked the two storage boxes below (again, with enough clearance for the drawers of the Alex unit to open), and also added old tea set and perfume set boxes for extra storage.

(The big glass mason jars on the Alex unit to the left are where I keep q-tips and cotton pads.)


Makeup Organization: Hygiene Station and Makeup Brushes


The top shelf of the rack is where I now keep my "cleaning" supplies: alcohol in a glass spray bottle, various makeup removers, spot brush cleaner, makeup wipes, hand cream (because alcohol is drying).

The bottom shelf contains little bins for makeup brushes and sponges that need to be washed. Instead of putting dirty brushes back into the jars on my vanity (to take up space and fester their bacteria on the clean brushes), they get popped in these bins, and then I can just grab one and go to the sink with it. This way I also don't get overwhelmed with the amount of brushes that need washing, as I can do a bin at a time and rotate them back in.

(The little gold pouch contains my travel set of Shu brushes, simply because it wedges neatly in that little space behind the bin.)

Makeup Organization: Hygiene Station and Makeup Brushes

In one of the new storage boxes I have backups of wipes, sponges, cotton pads, paper towel and makeup remover. (The other box on the bottom contains PR info sheets and such, since it's something I like to keep for archival/reference purposes but don't need constant access to.)

Makeup Organization: Hygiene Station and Makeup Brushes

And then it was on to the brushes. As I was pulling them out of the cabinet, I realized that I really needed to do a sort and purge before organizing them, otherwise I would be doing unnecessary work. (I debated filming a video, but it was honestly too boring and fast of a process to merit it.)

These are the ones I decided to keep, grouped together roughly by function. These passed the test because they are backups of brushes I rotate regularly (eyeliner brushes, powder brushes), or brushes I use less frequently but still like to have on hand (the Smashbox bronzer brush - that red lacquer handle is everything - the Glamcor finish brush). 

Before putting each brush back into my collection, I asked myself whether 1) it was good quality and 2) a truly useful brush and 3) a brush that would rotate to my vanity regularly.

Makeup Organization: Hygiene Station and Makeup Brushes

These are the brushes I parted with. Some where just cracked and otherwise broken (on the floor on the left) and went into the trash. The rest were brushes that didn't pass the criteria. This was especially the case for brushes where I had better quality options.

I found that I almost all of my Sigma brushes failed by that measure. Aside from the paint peeling from some of them, the bristles felt a lot rougher than I remembered, particularly in contrast to the brushes I'd recently invested in. I don't think they're good quality brushes, honestly, and they don't hold up well over the years. Thanks, youtube, for suckering me. *fistshake*

I also passed on the majority of my Coastal Scents and Crown brushes, and some Sonia Kashuk ones from a set that didn't pass muster or where just not ones I see myself using.

All of these have been cleaned and re-homed with the the daughter of a friend.

Makeup Organization: Hygiene Station and Makeup Brushes

I didn't do any major re-organizing of my vanity, but I figured an overview of how I have it set up might be nice?

This is where I keep my skin prep. The cake stand (from Chapters) has some of the moisturizers and toners I currently use (minus the Embryolisse, which I had just used). The little teal bowl (from Anthropologie) has some samples I'm trying out. The two white bird bowls (also Chapters) have my clean beautyblenders and assorted bits.

Makeup Organization: Hygiene Station and Makeup Brushes

These are the same jars I've had for a while, which are technically coffee mugs and flower pots, again from Chapters. I swapped out the dry rice for polyfill from Michael's, because I got paranoid about bugs. :P

I have them sorted by function, best as possible:

Concealer and lip brushes, eyeliner and detail brushes, laydown and buffing brushes, cheek and blending brushes...

Makeup Organization: Hygiene Station and Makeup Brushes

Natural hair powder brushes, synthetic powder brushes, foundation brushes, highlighter/contour and precision powder brushes. And then all the Real Techniques in a mug without polypill, because their chubbier bases kept scattering all the beads when I pulled them out, which was making me INSANE.

Makeup Organization: Hygiene Station and Makeup Brushes

I would say the majority of my brushes in rotation right now are MAC, Zoeva, Glamcor, and Real Techniques, with some scattered in from Sonia Kashuk, Senna, Hakuhodo, Marc Jacobs, Chikuhodo, London Brush Company, Inglot, Wayne Goss and Cover FX.

I did just purchase a few from the Walmart brand synthetic line to try out, but since incorporating a few really high quality brushes recently, I think my future purchases are going to be investments. I hate being a douche-y snob, but there really is no comparison between a higher-end Japanese-made brush and the mid or lower end equivalent in terms of application and the feeling on the skin. Especially with natural hair brushes.

So that's it for now! Let me know if you want me to continue with these kind of posts. :)


March 27, 2015

Pupa Spring 2015 Sporty Chic Collection - Graphic Eyeshadow Palette and Velvet Matt Cream Eyeshadow

Purchased items.

SPRING IS HERE.

No?

Well, eff it, let's pretend.

I'm diving deep into all the pastels I can find. I ran across the Pupa Spring display at Jean Coutu a few weeks back, and all those beautiful lilacs and apple greens called to my soul. I had to get a few bits from the Sporty Chic Collection - especially an incredible-looking cream shadow in a shade I've actually never seen before (and crossed my fingers it would show up as vibrant on the eye as it does in the jar).

Pupa Sping 2015 Sporty Chic Collection - Graphic Eyeshadow Palette and Velvet Matt Cream Eyeshadow

Pupa Sping 2015 Sporty Chic Collection - Graphic Eyeshadow Palette and Velvet Matt Cream Eyeshadow

The vibe here is giving me a flashback to the 4th grade (mid 80s, to save you the math), which is admittedly not a time period I'm usually inclined to revisit. And yet...I'm having the sweetest wave of nostalgia right now (bolstered by these kind of articles). Preteen me would have given this palette a place of honour on her dresser, right next to her bottles of Exclamation and Electric Youth.

Pupa Sping 2015 Sporty Chic Collection - Graphic Eyeshadow Palette and Velvet Matt Cream Eyeshadow

The actual colour palette reads a little less obviously 80s, though. A little Twiggy, maybe?

Pupa Sping 2015 Sporty Chic Collection - Graphic Eyeshadow Palette and Velvet Matt Cream Eyeshadow

Either way, it's beautiful. All of the eyeshadows have the same ultra-fine, smooth texture, creamy but thin in the way of the Maybelline Color Plush eyeshadows. The pigmentation is semi-sheer, but intentionally so, not due to chalkiness. To me, these are fantastic layering shades, as they all have some degree of opalescent shimmer that sits so well on top of a deeper base, though they can still be used by themselves. Wear-time was surprisingly good for chiffon-light shades like this, about 8 hours without significant wear and tear, though with fading. (Over a primer or cream base.)

I think veils of colour like this feel very modern right now, especially for spring. I'm kind of tired of the very contoured/defined/transition shade/3-point eye looks that are Instagram staples right now.

Pupa Sping 2015 Sporty Chic Collection - Graphic Eyeshadow Palette and Velvet Matt Cream Eyeshadow

If you're going to get something from this collection though, it HAS to be the Velvet Matt cream eyeshadow in #003. This is truly incredible. Purples are notoriously difficult to get right in terms of texture and payoff, but a pastel-hued version in a matte cream formula? That truly is a marvel.

Pupa Sping 2015 Sporty Chic Collection - Graphic Eyeshadow Palette and Velvet Matt Cream Eyeshadow

This applies perfectly true from jar to skin, and can be used fully opaque without creasing or bunching, and can be buffed out without going patchy.

And the colour...LOOKIT.

I really don't think I've seen anything quite like it, especially not in such a top-notch formulation. I didn't need to use a primer under it, and it lasted 8 plus hours without budging, cracking or fading.

Pupa Sping 2015 Sporty Chic Collection - Graphic Eyeshadow Palette and Velvet Matt Cream Eyeshadow

I did a quick look using these guys, drawing from both the Twiggy/60s/Mod side and the current Korean-inspired Spring makeup trends. 

I used the Velvet Matt as a base on the mobile lid and lightly buffed into the crease, and then layered the lilac shadow on the lid, with the pale pink in the centre of the lid. I used the apricot through my crease. I then worked a Sephora Contour Eye Pencil in the shade #37 Caipirinha Dreaming' into the lower lash line, and then buffed the chartreuse shade over that. The pale lemon yellow went into the inner corner. I finished off the eyes with little wing courtesy of the Le Métier de Beauté pen liner, and a couple coats of Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash mascara.

Pupa Sping 2015 Sporty Chic Collection - Graphic Eyeshadow Palette and Velvet Matt Cream Eyeshadow

To keep on-trend with the radiant, "just had a facial" skin, I applied a crapload of moisturizer, used the Make Up For Ever Smoothing Primer, and then applied the Clarins Everlasting Foundation using a buffing brush that was dampened with a glycerin-heavy toner from Nuxe. A bit of bright Delizioso Pink blush from Milani on the cheeks, and then loads of balm and a swipe of Quince from Bite Beauty on the lips, faded out to the lipline for a juicy effect.

I'm digging it.

I know Pupa is hard to get in Canada - I can only find it here in Jean Coutu stores. Have you guys seen it anywhere else?

(I purchased all the items. This post is not sponsored or otherwise compensated.)