July 26, 2013

My Makeup Room

It's taken nearly two years since the initial planning stages, but my ultimate dream boudoir is now complete. YOU GUYS. I am so happy I could fall over! I literally spent half an hour last weekend just sitting on the couch, absorbing how much I love it. :D

Kudos, as always, go to my man. He built the room from scratch, painted it, assembled all the furniture, hung all the fixtures, made the jewelry board and the nail polish racks, and generally bore all my insane demands with tremendous patience and good humour. He is literally the best guy out there. *smooshes*

I'll do some breakdown posts of the actual makeup storage/organization in the coming months, as part of my collection series. (There is also a video linked at the end of this post that goes into more detail.) For now, this is a general overview of how the room itself is set up.

Coming into the room from the office next door...

The door between the rooms is a sliding French door, so when it's closed it still lets a nice amount of light in. The frames above the couch contain some prints from one of my favourite artists, Alphonse Mucha. I really wanted to have a little nook in here, a place to escape the world and rest in a little bubble of pretty.

Immediately to the left of the couch...

This is a little book nook - not my entire book collection, just those on the topics of religions, spirituality and mythology, as well as some fun, trashy mass markets. My lovely vintage sewing machine has a place of honour below the jewelry board (which is a repurposed cover to the electrical panel). The knobs are all from Anthropologie.

And then on the right of the couch...

This is where the makeup area begins. Most of the storage furniture in this room comes from the Besta and Alex collections from Ikea, as they are the least expensive and most customizable systems I've found for storing and organizing a collection like this.

The lamp on the drawer unit by the sofa is a custom-built item that my mother got for me for my birthday a couple of years ago. She knew we were building this room, and wanted to get me something unique, that would fit the theme. The design is a stylized peacock done in a Tiffany-style lampshade, and it is just the most beautiful thing I own. She surprised me completely, and I literally burst into tears when I opened the box. LOVE IT.

And then the rest of the makeup storage...

Drawers full of makeup! Like binders! I'll do posts later on about how I organize those. There would be too many pictures in one post, otherwise.

Also another bookcase, this one for my makeup, fashion and perfumery books. Both sides have these custom nail polish racks attached.

And if you're interested, this is the video:

And so yes. Much happiness. :D

July 25, 2013

Dior Birds of Paradise Summer 2013 - Nude Tan Paradise Coral Glow Blush and Bronzer Duo

Wooosh. Posting this one under the wire, as the Dior Fall collection is almost upon us. The Dior Nude Tan Paradise Coral Glow is so pretty it deserves some ogling, no matter how belated.


Dior Nude Tan Paradise  Coral Glow Blush and Bronzer Duo Birds of Paradise Summer 2013

If you're a sucker for detail like I am, then you'll appreciate all the little touches that make this compact outstanding. Everything from the canage pattern on the exterior of the palette that is repeated in the raised pattern of the lettering, to the little (and perfectly usable!) brush that tags along. 

Dior Nude Tan Paradise  Coral Glow Blush and Bronzer Duo Birds of Paradise Summer 2013

This is a beautiful blush/bronzer duo, and no less so on the skin than it is in the pan. One side is a light, golden-toned bronzer that looks supremely natural on light-to-medium skin like mine. It's not deep enough to work well as a contour, but with something as golden and luminous as this, you'd be doing it (and yourself) a disservice to use it as anything other than bronzer. It's meant to give your skin that lovely burnished glow. The effect is subtle and beautiful - very difficult to overdo.

Because of the very warm undertone, however, I would be wary of using on truly ivory skin, as it will tend to look sallow.

The blush, on the other hand, is easier to overdo. When I was testing this out in the store, the SA applied it and immediately reached for another brush to blend it out. We were NOT expecting the HI I'M CORAL WANT TO BE MY FRIEND levels of pigment. It was...intense. Applied with a soft brush, however, this is a very wearable, vibrant coral pink that is stunning on both lighter and tanned skin. In fact, it looks best when you apply the bronzer across the cheeks, and then add a pop of the coral right at the high point of the cheekbone and blend back. It gives the effect of having spent the day at the beach, without the actual sunburn.

Dior Nude Tan Paradise  Coral Glow Blush and Bronzer Duo Birds of Paradise Summer 2013

Both sides have a wee bit of shimmer, which reads more like "sheen of good health" than "blinded by the light". The texture - like many Dior powders in my experience - is soft, silky, finely-milled and a dream to blend. The wear time is about average - some fading around hour 6, but not to a degree that needs touching up. (Though you'll take the excuse to whip out the beautiful compact anyway.)

Both shades blended together give a warmer, more apricot-leaning shade that is just made for warm-toned redheads.

Dior Nude Tan Paradise  Coral Glow Blush and Bronzer Duo Birds of Paradise Summer 2013
Bronzer and blush sides separately, swatched more heavily.

Both sides blended and applied with a brush.
Availability: Still available on The Bay website, and possibly some Bay and Sephora locations. Price is 56$ CAD and USD.

Pros: Stunning packaging and luxurious detail. Brush is small, travel-friendly and usuable. Shades are perfect for light to medium complexions, though the bronzer is best on warmer undertones. Texture is fine-milled and very blendable. Great pigmentation.

Cons: Wear time is average, and there is shimmer, if that's a concern. But I'm nitpicking.

(I purchased this item from Pharmaprix/SDM.)

July 24, 2013

L'Oréal Infallible Super Slim 12H Eyeliner (Review and Swatches)

My mom always laughed when I told her long it took me to do a winged eyeliner that I was happy with. Back in her day, apparently, they did it in 2 seconds flat. One perfect, free-handed woosh for that exquisitely done 60s cat eye.

Well her gloating days are over! Ahaha! With the Infallible Super Slim 12H Eyeliner from l'Oréal, I have joined her esteemed ranks.

L'Oréal Infallible Super Slim 12H Eyeliner review swatches

This is a nice, saturated, boot-polish black that doesn't require multiple passes to achieve opacity. It's not glossy or matte, looking like a cross between traditional liquid and gel liner. The tip is not the narrowest I've seen, but the 0.4 mm width gives a great level of control for fine-tuning the flick, and the full saturation along the entire length of the felt means that it's easy to thicken up the line.

The slightly curved and textured portion of the pen rests comfortably and solidly between your fingers, so it makes the lining process that much smoother.

L'Oréal Infallible Super Slim 12H Eyeliner review swatches

Doing a wing with this guy is a snap. All I need to do is figure out where I wanted my end point, align the pen with the angle of my lower lashine at the outer corner of my eye, and then press down and sweep the pen lightly inwards. The fine point and saturated felt-tip do all the heavy lifting. Then it's just a matter of lining the rest of the eye and filling in the shape.

The picture below is from when I was testing it out the first time, and just wanted to do a quick line to see how it applied. (Hence the otherwise bare face and OMGHEATWAVE pigtails.)

L'Oréal Infallible Super Slim 12H Eyeliner review swatches

In terms of wear, it did have a couple of issues. Overall, it wore on my right eye for close to 10 hours with no problems, showing a bit of breakdown at the bend of the flick after that. That's still pretty awesome, however, as my crease shape causes most gel or liquid liners to wear down in that spot.

On my left eye, I noticed smudging on the corners from where my eye watered from a stray lash, and some smudging of the flick where I rubbed it. So all things being equal it is long-wearing, but not water-resistant or smudge-proof. That's something to bear in mind if you have watery or oily eyelids, or wear contacts. I would personally love a waterproof version of this, because the application really is excellent.

Availability: At most drugstores, including Jean Coutu and Pharmaprix/SDM. Prices vary, but 10.99$ CAD is about average. It's 8.99$ USD at Ulta.

Pros: Incredibly easy to use, comfortable grip. Saturated black, with a finish balanced between glossy and matte. Fine tip makes it easy to get a precise point, but the felt-tip makes filling in a thinker line just as simple. Lasts most of the day without breaking down or fading.

Cons: Not as infallible as you might like, as it can smudge with moisture or pressure.

(This item was sent to me by the brand to consider for review. This post is not sponsored or compensated.)

July 23, 2013

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation and Powder (Review and Swatches)

You guys know I'm a sucker for package deals right? Like a comedienne once said, it's a particular twist of the female brain that gets us to buy the thing we don't want in order to get the thing we don't need.

In this case, though, I really wanted to try the Revlon Nearly Naked foundation, especially since I love the Revlon Colorstay and I has seen some reviews comparing this one to the YSL Teint Eclat (which I am lemming like cupcakes). When I saw the powder packaged with it in a BOGO deal at my local Jean Coutu, I snatched it right up.

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation 130 Shell and Powder in Light review swatches
Nearly Naked Foundation in 130 Shell.
Nearly Naked Powder in Light.

Revlon Nearly Naked Powder Light review swatches
Nearly Naked Powder in Light
There was a limited selection and I feared that the shade would be a touch too pink or peach for me, but it was in fact a little yellow-toned. Not enough to make a difference once it was blended, but these seem to run more yellow compared to the beige undertones of the Colorstay formulation.

The packaging is clean, fresh and precise, and again a marked counterpoint to the all-black packaging typical of the rest of the Revlon line. Two minor nitpicks - the foundation is screw-cap on a glass bottle, which I don't love for both hygiene and practical reasons, and the powder compact lacks a mirror, yet it made larger due to a largely extraneous puff.

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation 130 Shell review swatches
Nearly Naked Foundation in 130 Shell, drop swatch above and blended in below.
The foundation is quite liquid, and applies lightly and easily. I opted to forgo the beauty blender, which soaked up too much of the lightweight texture, and experimented with using both fingers and buffer brush - both worked well, though I feel like I got the best level of coverage and the most natural look with my hands. I would consider this light coverage, not overly buildable. Maybe to a medium.

It gives natural satin finish and while it doesn't have the powerhouse wear of Colorstay (though few things do!), it will make it 8 hours with only minor breakdown around the nose if you have my typical combination skin. I've only tried the Teint Éclat in the store so I can't compare them in-depth, but Teint Éclat felt and look dewier and "cushier".

If you have slightly oily or slightly dry skin, and prefer a light, softly glowy-finish foundation, this is a very nice option at a decent price.

Nearly Naked Powder in Light, swatched.
I was a little less fond of the powder. The texture is incredibly smooth, finely-milled and silky - it feels like it should blend into the skin seamlessly. Instead it looks noticeably powdery when first applied, and for a while afterwards, even though it has a very faint sheen. As the powderiness fades as the natural oils come through, the powder melds better with the underlying foundation and complements it. I think dry skin might not like the initial powderiness, while oilier skin might have a problem with how little it actually ends up mattifying. However, if you just want something to set your makeup and prefer a natural glow to come through (and can deal with some initial texture issues) then this is fine.

To give you an idea of the coverage and finish, here is a comparison. I am only wearing the Nearly Naked Foundation and Powder as far as skin makeup is concerned.

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation and Powder review swatches

Also wearing: Flower Beauty Smoke and Mirrors Quad on the eyes.

Availability: Most drugstores, including Jean Coutu and Pharmaprix/SDM. Prices vary, though I generally see the foundation for 15-18$ CAD. It is 9.99$ USD at Ulta.

Pros: Lightweight, natural/luminous finish foundation that generally wears well throughout the day. After some settling, the powder is a good complement to the finish of the foundation, and has a lovely texture to the touch. Decent range of colours for light to medium skin, especially if you run to the warmer, more yellow undertones.

Cons: Foundation is not particularly buildable, and packaging is not optimal for hygiene or function. Powder is...well, powdery, and obvious on the skin, though it does settle after a while.

(I purchased both of these items as a BOGO deal from Jean Coutu.)