October 30, 2012

Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperliners

A moment of respect for Tracy of Beauty Reflections, without whom I would not have know that a) Tarina Tarantino was exiting Sephora and b) the brand was 40% off and selling out like the proverbial hotcakes. Miss Tracy, all haulage is to be blamed on you, should the hubby ask. ;)

I placed an emergency Sephora order within minutes, and dropped by my local store the very next day to see if they had anything left. Thankfully, they still had a fair amount of stock (not the case merely five days later) and I was able to pick up a few things I had been waffling on. To my mind, the eyeshadow palettes are the real superstars of the line, but the eyeliners are nothing to sniff at either.

These are the four Eye Dream Hyperliners that I picked up:

Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperliners Puppeteer, Locket Book, Spark of Envy, Sparkling Ammunition

Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperliners Puppeteer, Locket Book, Spark of Envy, Sparkling Ammunition

Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperliners Puppeteer, Locket Book, Spark of Envy, Sparkling Ammunition
Top to bottom: Puppeteer, Locket Book, Spark of Envy, Sparkling Ammunition

These liners are so very creamy, a dream to apply. (Er, pun not intended.) Due to their ultra-soft texture they can be a bit of a pain to sharpen, and getting a fine point is tricky - but they are so rich and easy to apply that those minor issues are worth overlooking.

One thing I did find odd was how long they remained tacky to the touch. With Urban Decay's 24/7 eyeliners and the Tarte's SmolderEYES liners (reviewed here), I find that the pencil sets very quickly to a silky-dry finish, and I was expecting the same thing with these. Not so - there is a fair amount of play time where the liner is still smudgable. This is great if you want to keep working your eye makeup for a desired effect, less great if you need to be out the door immediately and are otherwise prone to smearing your liner. That said, once it sets, it stays put for most of the day. When tested, these did not smear on me at all, but they did start to fade towards the end of day, about 9-10 hours into wearing them. Not amazing, but quite good considering my oily eyelids.

The colors were all lovely, with Puppeteer being especially nice for an everyday, slightly plum-toned brown. The pigmentation on Spark of Envy was the best, while Sparkling Ammunition and Locket Book both went on a bit less even, possibly due to the glitter content. Compared to these swatches, there was no perceptible difference when applied to the eyelid, however.

Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperliners Puppeteer, Locket Book, Spark of Envy, Sparkling Ammunition swatches
Natural light. Puppeteer, Locket Book, Spark of Envy, Sparkling Ammunition.

Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperliners Puppeteer, Locket Book, Spark of Envy, Sparkling Ammunition swatches
Artificial light. Puppeteer, Locket Book, Spark of Envy, Sparkling Ammunition.

Direct sun. Puppeteer, Locket Book, Spark of Envy, Sparkling Ammunition.

Availability: Largely sold-out at Sephora, online and in stores, but word is that the brand will be releasing their collection under the auspices of their own website. Price was 18$ CAD (11$ on sale).

Pros: Super-creamy, delightfully easy application. Great range of colors, including creams, shimmers and glitters. Did not smudge or smear on me.

Cons: Longer "tackiness" period might increase the risk of initial smearing if you rub your eyes, pigmentation can vary across shades, though not in a noticeable way once applied.

(I purchased these items at Sephora.)

October 19, 2012

Nail Polish Storage - Video

I don't know about you, but I haaaaaate those acrylic nail polish racks. You know, the ones that are wall-mounted, and look like they belong in a nail salon? They're practical, but not exactly the aesthetic I tend to go for.

Up until now I've been storing my polishes in my Alex units, but I really wanted to have some kind of storage that allowed me to see at least part of my collection in a way that was both functional (thus encouraging me to use more things more frequently) and more visually appealing.

When I was in New York this past weekend, A. built it. And it is AWESOME.

A rack holds less than a drawer does, unfortunately, so the majority of my polishes still need to be stored in the Alex unit - but I like that I can see them more easily this way.

October 07, 2012

Ellis Faas Skin Veil Foundation

This post took a long time to write, for two reasons. One, it's a direct follow-up to one of the bigger disappointments I've had since I started blogging, and two, it's about a product I received as a sample  from the brand. I wanted to be really fair and balanced in this review - I thought both you, my readers, and the brand deserved no less.

With that bit of transparency out of the way, allow me to dive right into my thoughts on the Skin Veil Foundation from Ellis Faas.

ellis faas skin veil foundation

First of all, I am delighted by the fact that this foundation comes in a regular pump-bottle rather than the clicker-pen that the rest of line is packaged in. As swanky and sexy as the pens are, and undoubtedly more convenient to tuck into a bag than a full-size bottle like this, I'm just not a fan of the clicker mechanism. (Though for what it's worth, the lovely rep from Ellis Faas told me that they are working on making sure it takes far fewer clicks to get to the goodness inside.)

The bottle format also means that you get a legitimate amount of product for something that would be used daily - 30 ml, to be exact. (The pen version is available, should you prefer that packaging, but note that the bottle is priced at 90$, and the pen - which holds 15 ml - is priced at 78$ on the Sephora site and 65$ on the Ellis Faas site. Though the price is gulp-worthy for either version, the bottle is the better value by far.)

I have absolutely no complaints about the packaging otherwise. The bottle is frosted glass, simply styled, with a very efficient pump that allows you to control how much product to dispense. For the price, I would maybe expect something with more bling, but then I don't expect my foundation to do double-duty as an accessory, so I'm satisfied with the simple, elegant, functional packaging.

Onto the stuff inside.

I choose my foundation in shade 103, which is slightly too dark and too pink-toned for me. You can see in the swatches above that when it is applied more thickly to the skin, the shade match is off. In retrospect, 102 would have been the correct choice.

That being said, I have been wearing this foundation for the last few weeks, and not a single person has bolted from me, screaming about my horrid orange-pink face. While it appears too dark when swatched heavily, this foundation blends perfectly when I apply it in a normal layer.

It feels creamy and almost thick when first pumped out, but it melts onto the skin, leaving behind a dewy glow and a light coverage. So light that I would consider it more of a tinted moisturizer than a foundation, but it is a buildable coverage. It won't cover more visible blemishes, but the light-diffusing properties seem to almost distract the eye from noticing little imperfections when viewed in person.

The skin-nourishing ingredients mean that this is a great foundation for mature and dry skin, and very forgiving towards dry patches. On my oilier t-zone it still fares fairly well, neither sliding off nor going patchy. It does, however, need some powdering for my optimum shine-to-matte ratio. I'm also not crazy about is the way the dewier finish can emphasize pores.

This foundation has elicited really positive comments from people I interact with. Invariably, I am told that I look healthy, and have I done something different.

It's also incredibly easy to apply and blend. With a Buffer Brush, I can literally slap this on in 5 seconds and be out the door. When I'm waking up at 4am, that is a life-saver, especially considering it contains sunscreen that I don't have to apply separately. Also nice is that you can actually touch it up hours later - even apply a second coat - without it looking caked on. (I did so one day, when I was appallingly lazy.)

Availability: Sephora and Ellis Faas websites. Price is 90$ CAD.

Pros: Creamy but light texture translates into fool-proof application. Light-diffusing properties blur the imperfections the light coverage does not directly address. Very kind to mature and dry skin.

Cons: The finish can make pores look more obvious. The price is hefty, to say the least.

(This item was provided free-of-charge by the brand's PR for potential review purposes.)

October 06, 2012

Dior Nude Lip Blush - Grège, Charnelle and Esquisse

The Nude Lip Blush collection from Dior sort of snuck up on me last month. I was already looking out for the deep, plummy shades I associate with fall, so this subtle, restrained collection knocked me back a step. I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I do, but I ended up picking up three of the lipstick shades in one shot.

Left to right: Esquisse, Charnelle, Grège.

The color palette is a beautifully edited set of nudes, as the name would obviously imply, but these are no bland, milksop shades or this-side-of-zombie beige-lip neutrals. Ranging from creamy pink to brownish plum, they play up the lips instead of playing them down, the sheer pigment and glossy texture creating a plump, refreshed appearance. A "My Lips But Better" range.

Not all the shades will be universally flattering, of course, but I think you are more likely to find that elusive perfect nude shade in this collection than in any other. There is at least one nude in here to suit every complexion. The three I chose were the ones that worked the best for my colouring - light neutral skin, dark eyes, light-brown hair.

Grège is a light peach with an undertone of beige. 
(Grège is the French term for a gray-beige shade. This is a MUCH prettier color than the name suggests.)

Charnelle is a soft, warm pink.
It is similar to Grège, and you probably don't need both.

Esquisse is a muted berry with a hint of brown.

The finish and feel of these is terrific. They actually remind me a bit of the Revlon Lip Butters, but with a more refined texture - lighter, less balmy. They apply smoothly, as you'd expect, and feel luscious on the lips. My lips didn't feel saturated with moisture, but did feel hydrated throughout the time I was wearing these, and even looked a tad smoother and plumper.

They are not as long-lasting as Dior lipsticks generally are on me, but don't fade as quickly as a gloss. They also sort of "sink in" to the lip, looking less like lipstick and more like a natural tint as they wear away.

Grège, Charnelle, Esquisse. Natural light.

Grège, Charnelle, Esquisse. Artificial light.

Grège, Charnelle, Esquisse. Sunlight.
Availability: At Sephora, Nordstrom, The Bay, certain Pharmaprix/SDM locations. Price is 36$ CAD.

Pros: Very natural, wearable nudes, with the transluscent pigment making them that much easier to wear. Comfortable and hydrating feel.

Cons: Due to sheerer and glossier texture, don't wear quite as long as other lipsticks.

(I purchased these from Pharmaprix.)