July 30, 2012

Tarte Friends and Family Promo

Tarte is running a Friends and Family sale!

Receive 30% OFF* your purchase + FREE Shipping on orders $40 and up! Use code FFAUG at checkout. Expires 8/6. *Details at tarte.com.

I need to get some more of the blushes, and I'm debating a Lip Tint.

What are you guys thinking of getting?

July 29, 2012

Melt-Proofing Summer Makeup - Skin Basics - Video

As someone on Twitter recently mentioned the trouble they were having with their makeup sliding off their face (thank you, Montreal heatwave), I thought this might be useful.

And if you like dogs, you'll enjoy the outtake clip at the end of the video. =)

Makeup used:

Dermalogica Clearing Mattifier
Lancome Teint Idole Buff 210 and Teint Miracle foundations Bisque 1N
MAC Mineralize Concealer NC20 (*squinty stare of death*)
MUFE HD Microfinish Blush #6
Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder
Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder
MUFE Matte Loose Powder
MAC Beauty Powder Blush in Joyous
MAC Structural Brown Paint
Lorac Cocoa and Capuccino eyeshadow
Smashbox Waterproof Pencil in Luminous Fig
Buxom Lash Mascara
Fresh Honey Lip Treatment
NYX Pinky Lipliner

July 19, 2012

Clarins Mono Couleur Eyeshadows - #9 Chestnut Freeze, #12 Icy Turquoise, #22 Midnight Blue

As promised, these are the swatches for the other Clarins eyeshadows I currently have. As mentioned in the previous post, these are being discontinued to be replaced by an all new range. While I'm always in for something new and improved, these do have a fantastic formula - smooth, dense, pigmented and long-lasting. I'm stocking up on the shades that attract me the most, and hoping that the others show up at the next warehouse sale.

As I already did a review and these don't differ, I won't go into much detail here but rather invite you to read the previous post for more information. 

#9 Chestnut Freeze

#12 Icy Turquoise

#22 Midnight Blue
Chestnut Freeze is a perfect neutral - warm taupe with a very subtle mauve undertone.

Icy Turquoise has the softest texture and is a beautiful summer shade.

Midnight Blue is a rich, shimmer shot navy. It does have some tendency towards fall-out upon application, but the pay-off is so wonderful that it's worth the more careful technique.

Indirect natural light.

Artificial light.

Directs sunlight.
I am incredibly curious to see what the new formulation has to offer compared to the current one, because the Mono Couleurs that I have are so darn excellent. We'll see soon enough!

(I purchased these from Pharmparix.)

July 18, 2012

Aerin Lauder Makeup Collections

Did you know Aerin Lauder was coming out with her own range of products - decor, lifestyle and cosmetics? Yeah, neither did I, until yesterday. Judging from the preview pictures online, it looks like a beautifully edited, strongly branded line. Classic, elegant, modern. Link to the preview page on the EL website is here, but if you're viewing from Canada you need to change your viewing country to United States or you won't be able to see it properly.

It looks like she is starting out with an Essentials collection that will grow slowly as more products are added to the lineup. The brushes look cute, but I'm more excited by the actual makeup items. There will also be a Fall collection, consisting of three items appropriate for the week, and three for the weekend - roughly cooler vs warmer shades. Honestly, I don't see the point of splitting the kind of makeup colors you wear that way, but they are lovely mini collections.

Fall Color Weekday
(picture from www.esteelauder.com)

Fall Color Weekend
(picture from www.esteelauder.com)

So what do you guys think? Will you be checking these out?

July 15, 2012

Guerlain by Emilio Pucci Terra Azzura Bronzing Powder and Blush

Most beauty products you buy for what they will do for you - that they are in and of themselves attractive is usually a nice bit of synergy.

Then there are those beauty items that you have to get, simply because they are little miniature works of art. The Emilio Pucci Terra Azzura Bronzing Powder and Blush from Guerlain is one those. The price is absolutely astonishing, as is true for everything from Guerlain. However, in a market where increasing prices for diminishing quality has become the norm, Guerlain is a brand that makes consistently sublime products.

Every single aesthetic detail on this bronzer hits the mark.

The chances of me owning an actual Pucci dress are pretty slim. Pulling the little Pucci-print bag out of the Pucci-lined box, however, gives me an idea of what it would feel like. Every element here says "luxury", in a sophisticated and refined voice. Even the packaging of the actual bronzer evokes a lifestyle that I have only read about, patterned after the wood-paneled Riva yachts that carried the Jet Set around the Mediterranean.

The choice of a wood compact exterior is unusual, as is the three-point magnetic closure mechanism. Points for creating something functional, chic and original.

How freakin' gorgeous is that??? I almost couldn't bear to use it. When I finally did though, I was a little nonplussed. The application was not at all what I expected.

From the reviews I'd seen online, it seemed like this guy was very pigmented, but when I first swatched it on my arm, the bronzer did not show up. Like, AT ALL. I might have been rubbing paper, for all that came off the compact. The blush part had no problems, but the bronzer....I was convinced I'd somehow gotten a defective item.

I tried swatching it and applying it to my face with several different methods - cotton swabs, sponge, goat-hair contour brush, synthetic contour brush, fluffy powder brush, dense bronzer kabuki. The best pay off came with the dense synthetic brush, but even that resulted in more of a fine golden shimmer than anything resembling bronzer.

I regretfully went to the store to return it. The SA asked if she could try applying it, and lo and behold, she was able to apply it to my skin with no problems. THE HELL?? She explained that it was possible the top layer (which had a bit more shimmer) was hardened for some reason. She used a brush with denser, almost rough bristles to "break through". I was a little bemused by this explanation, but took it home (disinfecting it promptly - blergh!) and wiped off the top layer with a paper towel. And yes, I was able to apply it normally after that.

Very bizarre, but if you've gotten a Terra Azzura that seems underwhelming, try that out before returning it.

So. My actual review. This powder is extremely fine. If it was any finer, it would be microscopic on the skin. It applies very smoothly, with a dry, silky texture that melds into the skin. It reminds me a bit of the Tarte Amazonian Clay blushes, actually. The whitish shade looks a little powdery in the swatches below, but as part of the blended swatch, that is completely imperceptible. There is a fine shimmer throughout, more evident in the coral shade of the blush part. On the skin, it reads as a super-subtle glow.

You can use the bronzer separately, and the blush trio together with a smaller brush, for the classic contour/blush application. I do fine the bronzer a little warm-toned for me to use in this manner however, though not nearly as orange as I had feared.

The powder works best when blended together though - the effect is an absolutely gorgeous, sunny blush that mimics the natural glow you would get from a bit of sunbathing.

Indirect natural light.

Artificial light.

Direct sunlight.

Bronzer side on the left, blush side on the right. Natural light.

Blended swatch, natural light.

Availability: Sephora, Nordstrom, The Bay, Murale and certain Pharmaprix/SDM locations. price is 75-76$ CAD. (I know.)

Pros: Superfine, silky, weightless texture that blend right into the skin. Tiny shimmer that imparts a light glow, and a beautiful summery shade. Can be layered up without adding extra texture. packaging is just incredible - one of the best looking makeup products out there.

Cons: The weirdness I experienced initially with the non-existant pay-off. I don't know if that's just a one-off with me, but it certainly dampened my initial enthusiasm. Not a shade for deeper skin tones. As a luxury item, the price is outrageous.

(I purchased this at Pharmaprix.)

July 14, 2012

Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Powder - Sable Beige

In honor of this absolutely ridiculous heatwave and the grass in my yard that is bearing a distinct resemblance to hay, I present...bronzers. Not just any bronzers - the priciest and most elegant bronzers this summer season had to offer.

We begin today with the epically-named Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Powder, in the shade Sable Beige. This beauty came out with her sister bronzer (which will be featured within the next couple of days).

Sable Rose on the left, Sable Beige on the right.
Like all Chanel items, the presentation here is simple and elegant - the compact is sleek, the brush superfluous but not wholly unusable, and the powder itself lovely to behold. You can barely discern some of the shimmer hidden away inside.

This is a beautiful and very subtle bronzer. The powder is finely-milled, soft, and delicate, to the point that dipping a brush into it kicks up a fair amount. Sable Beige is a gentle creature that should be treated to your finest brushes in order to perform to its full potential.

With a mix of lighter and deeper tones, all with a dainty micro shimmer (plus a blingy-er gold strip) this powder walks the line between bronzer, neutral blush and highlighter. It reminds me a lot of the Dior Nude Tan in Sunlight. The strips are not really wide enough for the elements to be used separately, except perhaps the lighter shades applied with a smaller brush as a highlight. Blended together, however, they create an amazingly natural effect. Sable Beige can be applied straight to the lower part of the cheekbones and diffused down and back for a subtle contouring effect, or just throughout the high points of the face for an refined touch of bronze.

The pigmentation on this is perfect for a natural look - it applies just enough product to create the effect without making blending difficult, and it wears all day with no issues. It is a subtle effect, however, and while you can build up to a point, you're not going to get a lot of depth out of this without it starting to look powdery on the skin.

I do wish the gold strip had been omitted, but that's a personal preference. I love the supremely discreet shimmer present in the rest of the pan, and find that the extra shimmer in the gold can make building up problematic, as at some point you start trading depth for glitz. Luckily the pan is large enough that you can dip your brush and avoid that strip entirely if you choose.

That said, this is possibly the most perfect bronzer for going out at night - the soft glow picks up on the evening incandescent lighting beautifully.

Indirect natural light.
Mix of natural and artificial light.

Indirect natural light.

Same light, different angle.

And to give you an idea of how it applies, this is me wearing it. Applied lightly to the lower cheekbone with a MAC 165 and buffed down and back. (I'm just wearing a bit of concealer over red spots, and lip balm, because it was too stinking hot to put anything else on. Apologies for the shine.)

Availability: Nordstrom, The Bay and Murale stores. Price is 60$ USD. I can't find my receipt for it, but I believe it was about that in CAD as well.

Pros: Stunningly natural effect, finely-milled, super soft powder. Micro-shimmer generally subtle enough for day, perfect for night.

Cons: Powder can kick up, especially if you use a more rigid brush. More natural finish means that it can look caked on if you try to build for a deeper look. Avoid the gold strip if you prefer a less shimmery look. Not the right shade as a bronzer for deeper tones, but may work for some as a highlighter.

(I purchased this from Murale.)

July 12, 2012

Makeup Storage and Organization - Video

A quick look at my Girl Cave/Boudoir. Let me know if you want to see something in more detail - I can do a picture post, or more specific videos if you prefer.

July 10, 2012

My first Youtube video! Montreal Sephora Haul

Ok, so I've decided to dip my toes into the wild world of Youtube. It's pretty much terrifying. I am also the least tech-savvy person on the planet, so I have A LOT to learn.

That said, here is my first attempt. It was filmed with my iPhone, and is viewable in HD formats. The sound is a bit low, so you will likely need to adjust the volume (working on that).

Please let me know what you think - I greatly appreciate comments and feedback, especially if you also post on Youtube. (I have a review video uploading now, so hopefully I should be able to get that up later today as well.)

July 09, 2012

Clarins Mono Couleur Eyeshadows - #23 Silver Green, #1 Vibrant Violet, #6 Jungle Green

Clarins regional sales rep recently mentioned to me that they will be discontinuing their current line-up of single eyeshadows by the Fall season, and debuting a whole new range. (Some of the shades already seem to be gone from both the Clarins website and The Bay website, and I've heard some regular counters have already moved them off.)

While I am excited to be getting new things from Clarins (and from the press previews I've seen, I am VERY much looking forward to the Fall 2012 collection), I am sad to see the Mono Couleur eyeshadows going. I discovered them not too long ago, and they are pretty damn stellar. I figured now would be a good time to put up some swatches as well as my thoughts, in case anyone wants to snap these up before they're gone. (I did the same when I found out they were going and I will post swatches of those shortly.)

The packaging is the old-school red and silver that Clarins seems to have largely phased out, replaced by a more modern and minimalist aesthetic. I know Clarins can come across as a little, as we say, Madame, but the packaging has always felt distinctly French to me. 

Either way, what's inside the compacts is anything but staid. Just LOOK at that violet. It is so gorgeous. And really, almost all the shades are beautiful, particularly the ones with a shimmer finish.

Jungle Green is wonderfully pigmented green with a golden shimmer throughout.

Vibrant Violet is a lovely violet, leaning red in the base color but with a bluer almost-duochrome overlay. It takes two layers to  achieve optimum opacity, but unlike a lot of purples it is very smooth and builds easily.

Silver Green is a stunner to my eye, that HG mix of green and taupe and silver. I don't own the mythical Erika F to compare, but Silver Green looks like it might be a close relation.

All of the shades have a butter-soft, smooth texture that yields good to great pigmentation. They wear well on me, and last well past a regular workday with primer. If you've only tried the Clarins eyeshadow palettes and found them a little dry or faint, you will find these to have a consistently nicer texture.

Indirect natural light.
Jungle Green, Vibrant Violet, Silver Green.

Artificial light.

Direct sunlight.
Availability: Limited, unfortunately. The Clarins site, The Bay, some Pharmaprix/SDM and Murale counters. Price is 20$ USD, 22$ CAD. If you live in Montreal, you may want to chance these being available at the next Clarins warehouse sale in the Fall.

Pros: Wonderfully soft texture, generally good/great pigmentation, beautiful colors.

Cons: The pigmention for Vibrant Violet could be stronger.

I will be posting more swatches soon, thought I won't be review those in depth, only noting any significant differences.

(I purchased these at Pharmaprix/SDM and Murale.)

July 07, 2012

Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Blush - #5 Nip Slip, #6 Quickie, #7 One Too Many

The MUFE HD Microfinish Blushes have been around for a little while now, but I just recently used these for a bridal makeup and fell in love with them again. Now I'm sharing the love.

From the top: #7 One Too Many, #6 Quickie, #5 Nip Slip

From the top: #7 One Too Many, #6 Quickie, #5 Nip Slip

MUFE claims that these have both mattifying and soft-focus properties, with an ultra-fine texture and a long-lasting finish. And I would say they are 100% correct. These babies  deliver on all promises.

Not quite a cream-to-powder product in that they never feel powdery, these are a type of cream blush with quick-evaporating oils. They don't remain dewy, but dry down to a weightless finish.

They apply smoothly and can be worked into the skin for a brief period of time. Once they set, they are good for the day.  Best of all, it looks completely natural, like you have no product on your skin. There is no shimmer, but it's somehow...dynamic.

This stuff is also incredibly pigmented. However much you think you need, start off with a quarter of that amount. You can always add more later. Which is actually another thing I love about these blushes. I used Quickie (#6) recently to give a very pale-skinned bride the most ethereal glow, doing a light application with the Real Techniques Contour Brush. I've also used the Glamcor Finish Brush to layer it more heavily on another person, to achieve a flushed, beachy look. Each way, it still looked natural and gorgeous, no matter the intensity.

The only potential drawback is that the product can settle a little into pores, so in those circumstances it's best applied over primer and foundation. Because the oils do evaporate, they are not emollient and so are probably not the best thing for very dry skin, unless you prep carefully.

They come in a substantial range of shades that should please every skintone, though for this review I'm featuring the more 'natural' looking shades for light-to-medium skin. One Too Many is a perfectly neutral, beige-toned pink, very work-appropriate. Quickie is probably my favorite, but I'm a sucker for coral-tinged pinks. It is supremely flattering. Nip Slip is a just-this-side-of-cool pink, and looks amazing on porcelain skin.

(I have to say I find the names an odd choice for a pro brand like MUFE. I guess sexual innuendo sells, as Nars can vouch for.)

#7 One Too Many
#6 Quickie

#5 Nip Slip

Availability: Sephora, for 30$ CAD, and MUFE freestanding stores.

Pros: Super natural finish, great range of colors, incredibly blendable and layerable. Flattering texture on most skin types, including mature skin. Can be used on their own, or with a powder blush layered overtop. These are and should be a kit staple for any makeup artist.

Cons: If you have large pores over your cheeks, you may need to use a foundation or primer beforehand. You have to squeeze the pump carefully, or you'll get way more than you need for one application. (Also, if they are not used for a while, the first little bit that pumps out can be dried out.)

(I purchased these from the MUFE store in NYC.)