December 06, 2014

Make Up For Ever Artist Palette and Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes and Cheeks

Purchased items.

I'll be doing a series of quick and dirty swatch-and-mini review posts for the holiday palettes, as there isn't a lot of time left to purchase or put things on wish lists for the holiday gift-giving season. (And I'll be back to both regularly scheduled programming and some new things come January.)

For today, I have two really, REALLY awesome palettes: The Make Up For Ever Artist Palette and the Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes and Cheeks. (And hey, I just realized the name similarity here. They both wanted to be sure you knew they were MUA-friendly brands, I guess?)

First up, the Make Up For Ever Artist palette. Price is 48$ CAD, available at Sephora.

Make Up For Ever Artist Palette

Make Up For Ever Artist Palette

The new MUFE eyeshadow formula is both unique and a vast improvement over their original formula. It's one of those weird gel-powder hybrids, but without that surface dryness that kind of formula can have. These are creamy and a little dense, with a neat texture when you press your finger into the pan, almost like it has a bit of squishy-ness. The gel part of it, I assume? And unlike a lot powders that claim some kind of special privilege of being usable wet, these powders not only can be applied damp, they transform into an almost cream eyeshadow texture when applied wet. They can be painted on, blended, buffed out without losing potency or getting funky.

All the shades I've tried so far have wonderful pigmentation (especially the Metallic and Iridescent finishes), and more notably, are an absolute dream to build up, sheer out and generally blend. They're so incredibly malleable for a powder eyeshadow. I think the ones that might be the weakest in pigmentation are the Diamond shades, but it's a truly minor difference.

I've heard that these eyeshadows can develop a hard pan surface, which hasn't happened to mine, yet. (I think because of that gel-powder, squishy texture they compact down easily, maybe?)

Shades are, left to right:

M536 (Milk Tea - matte), 1524 (Pinky Beige - iridescent), I550 (Olive Grey - iridescent),
D652 (Celestial Earth - diamond), ME728 (Copper Red - metallic), ME230 (Peacock Blue - metallic, D926 (Blueberry - diamond), ME930 (Black Purple - metallic).

I think the Copper Red and Blueberry are perhaps the only ones where the name doesn't quite match the color, but otherwise they're pretty accurate descriptions.

Make Up For Ever Artist Palette

Make Up For Ever Artist Palette

Next up, the Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes and Cheeks. Price was originally 70$ CAD, now 59$ in the sale section at Sephora. Score!

Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes and Cheeks

I have to say that the exterior of the palette is decidedly lacklustre. It's a functional flip top with a magnetic (sort of) closure, and a zebra-like cloth wrap. It's just totally "meh".

Inside, WAY better.

Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes and Cheeks

Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes and Cheeks

Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes and Cheeks

I had a rough patch with the Laura Mercier palette. My first one had a misprint that turned Deep Night into something close enough to a racial slur that I debated with myself for a week before exchanging it. That bump aside, it's a lovely palette! The eyeshadows are up to par with what I expect from LM (compared to, say, the unreliable quality of Bobbi Brown palettes), with silky-smooth mattes, creamy-textured shimmers, and great payoff. I find the rosy tones on the left side especially useful for everyday wear, but the navy also makes a terrific eyeliner shade, and the stone taupe is a go-to contouring shade for both eyelid and cheeks.

The one thing that stands out a bit oddly is the blush/highlighter, as it is distinctly warmer-toned than the rest of the palette. It can be a bit odd pairing them in a cohesive look, but I actually like dusting it a bit over the centre of the lid to add a burnished tone and then applying it as a second, highlighter-y blush over a rosy or taupe blush to tie everything in. It's probably a little less value for the buck if you don't like the blush, since it contains half the amount of eyeshadows compared the palettes from previous years. If you do like it, though, then it's great quality for the price, especially now that it's discounted. (If you want to press your luck, you can also try waiting until the sale section discount thing Sephora usually does later in December/early January.)

Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes and Cheeks

Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes and Cheeks

Back soon with a few more!

(I purchased everything.)

November 16, 2014

Beauty Thoughts #1 - Truthiness in Blogging

I've been at this blogging/vlogging thing for a few years now. I actually started under a different name, several years back, when I was more into green beauty, and I've been an avid consumer of beauty writing and vlogging for even longer before that. And over the past year, I've grown more and more disenchanted with it.

Monika, from Rocaille-Writes, has written an eloquent post about her own unease with the current state of affairs, specifically in relation to the YouTube Celebrity version of the online beauty community. I highly recommend giving that a look, if you haven't already. And for a mini-rant along those lines, check out this video post from Kirsten, of ItsKeerstin. The part I'm referring to is at the beginning, but if you do want legit beauty reviews, I say watch the rest of the video. And then all her other videos. ;)

As a consumer of both beauty products and the online beauty community, everything they've said highlights my own unease. I don't begrudge anyone their success, and I think it's awesome that there are so many avenues of potential career growth that just didn't exist 5-10 years ago. I think the major problem is that something that started out being an organic extension of Makeupalley and chat forums - where people talked about what they liked and didn't like, and offered great personal recommendations - and an avenue for aspiring beauty journalists, has essentially become another form of advertising. And I'm not talking about having ads on the page or before the video. Blogging about beauty takes time and money - I know for a fact - so some funds coming in from passive advertising is appreciated, and I don't think it takes away from anyone's experience. For professional bloggers, I also do understand that the costs become even more of an issue, and I get the need for some sponsored content. As long as it's well-written and explicitly disclosed, all the power to you.

On a personal level, though, the more sponsored content I see, the less I trust the individual's authenticity. The post or video could be fantastic, and I can certainly enjoy it on an aesthetic level for all the production value and thought that went into making it (see all of Hey Claire's sponsored videos) - but I view it the same way I do any other commercial, with the assumption that someone is trying to sell me something. I don't care if the claim is that "I only do sponsored posts/videos for things I genuinely love". At some point, you end up sacrificing your trustworthiness. We all present a certain version of ourselves when we interact publicly - no one is 100% themselves in those kind of situations, not even on reality shows - but if you are presenting yourself as someone who is giving honest, personal opinions about products, then your whole persona has to be as close to the core as possible. If you're bound by a contract to say certain things a certain way, then you're not being authentic. You're advertising.

And again, if your content is advertorial in nature and you're explicit and honest about that, then I'm cool with it - I just won't take it for gospel. And if you're anything less than 100% transparent about it? Well then, good-bye, and thanks for all the fish.

As someone who also blogs and vlogs, I've been doing a lot of thinking about how I go about things myself. I already don't do sponsored content, but I'm pondering things like PR-provided product and events. Lipstick does not pay the mortgage, so free product certainly isn't in the same category as paid sponsorship. That said, it can become hazy territory as well. Some people manage to maintain their credibility perfectly even while getting PR-provided samples constantly. (Temptalia, for example, and Tracey, from Beauty Reflections.) They either have a very strict, mathematical approach to reviewing, or such an upfront personality and complete transparency that you never doubt their opinion is genuine.

I can say from experience that it's actually a lot harder to do that than you'd think. When you start out, the temptation is of course to be softer on reviews because you want to be on good terms with PRs. And sometimes that is a legitimate factor. I've never had a PR say or suggest that I shouldn't post a review with negative content, but I have heard of it happening. (And I know people have lost PR relationships because of a more negative post.) So even if you're committed to total honesty, I have no doubt that does affect the content in some subliminal way.

And then there's something even more basic - most of us are women, and most of us were trained from a young age to be nice. Double that if you were raised to be a polite Canadian girl. If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all, right? (Some bloggers have that as an explicit policy, actually, in that they will only post about things they like.) That is a really hard thing to overcome, and especially so when you get to know and become friendly with the PRs. (I know it's something I've struggled with, trying to find the right word that is both honest and "nice".)

This is why I'm actually debating my policies, and whether I want to continue accepting gratis product. I don't enjoy the mental struggle of finding the "right" way to say something, and I REALLY don't like the idea of having my trustworthiness put in question. And knowing that I already give some blogs and youtubers the side-eye because of this, it feels important to be clear.

(As a side-note, there's another aspect to all this, which is the ever increasing emphasis on consumption. I know I'm the last person that should be speaking about this, considering how much makeup I have...and yet. Companies want to sell things and make money. PR groups want to help companies sell things and make money. Bloggers and vloggers who are PR-friendly - for lack of a better term - also want to make money, so it's in their interest to promote consumption. And I'm not sure I want to be part of that specific cycle. I like makeup, and I like collecting, but doing the Declutter series has put some of this in a different perspective.)

Eeesh. That's long-winded, and I apologize for that, but I had to get it off my chest.

November 09, 2014

My Apothecary Website

So I don't normally plug my micro-biz here. I generally feel a little weird doing so, though I'm not really sure why - they're tangentially related after all, being about makeup one one hand, and soap/perfume on the other. I guess maybe because this blog is really more of a personal hobby, whereas Pretty Indulgent is more of a side-job, I feel strange using one to talk about the other?

That being said, I've worked really stinking hard on re-booting the site (and I am NOT tech-savvy), so I feel like I really need to share the result of that blood, sweat and tears with folks who might enjoy it.

Anyway. :)

Here is a peek at the storefront, and if you feel like looking a little further, the link is here. (And if you do feel like getting something, I'm putting up a a 15% off code - blogfriends - for you guys. It'll be good until the 31st of December this year.)

I'm still working on updated some of the product images, but if you happen to spot anything else that's wonky, feel free to poke me about it!

November 03, 2014

Viseart - #05 Sultry Muse and #06 Paris Nude

(Affiliate links.)

If you're a hardcore beauty junkie or makeup artist, you probably already know about the wonder of the Viseart palettes. And if you're Canadian, you've probably cursed the heavens for the relative difficulty in acquiring said palettes, as until very recently they were only available through pro stores in the US, like Alcone, Naimie's, Nigel's and Frends. (All of these ship to Canada, but not without the hassle of extra taxes, fees and duties when passing through customs clearance. Without the benefit of a pro discount, the added costs were especially dissuasive for a lot of non-MUA consumers.)

And then...a miracle. I was browsing the palettes section of the Sephora site, checking for anything exciting and new (fellow addicts, please stand up) - AND THERE WAS VISEART. Four eye palettes (two of which I don't have and ordered as soon as they were in stock), two lip ones, and two concealer ones.

If this brand is new to you, let me give you some context and the broad strokes info:

Viseart is and has always been an artist-oriented brand. Their palettes, and especially their #01 Neutral Matte, are kit staples for many, many artists - and for good reason. Made to exacting standards in France, the eyeshadows are triple-milled for an incredibly refined texture that balances perfectly between softness and adherence. The satin and shimmer shades in particular feel silky smooth to the touch, with a plush, creamy texture. These eyeshadows have brilliant pigmentation, and blend and build so easily that you'd swear they apply themselves.

They are, in my opinion, some of the best eyeshadows currently on the market. They easily compete with any other high-end brand I've tried, including Chanel, Dior, and Charlotte Tilbury. Like most brands geared towards working professionals, the packaging is very practical and simple, with sturdy plastic housing the pans and a clear lid cover. Not sexy or swanky, but in this case it really is the stuff that's inside that makes it worth the eye-blinking price tag. (Yeah, the 80$ took me a while to swallow down, but after spending 60$ or so on high-end quints or quads from other brands - sometimes with disappointing results - I managed to talk myself into trying Viseart out. And I'm really, really glad I did.)

Basically, if I could only pick one brand of eyeshadows to use from now on, I'd be hard-pressed to select anything over Viseart - and at that point it might only come down to either the packaging or the variety, as Viseart generally focuses on more neutral, pro-friendly shade ranges (though they are apparently working on an editorial brights palette).

I'll start with a review of the two palettes that I've owned and used for a few weeks - the #06 Paris Nude and the #05 Sultry Muse.

Viseart - #05 Sultry Muse and #06 Paris Nude swatches review

The Paris Nude is a beautiful range of shimmery and satin neutrals, or quasi-neutrals. They're wonderful to integrate with existing matte shades in your collection (or the #01 Matte Neutrals palette), but also work beautifully used together for a softly shimmery haze. The reflective quality here is relatively low-key - this is not a metallic or glitter-leaning palette, so it would work very well for a work-appropriate look, or for a gentle, blown-out smoky eye. (I feel like you would need something deeper and matte to amp up the drama.) There are two shades with micro glitter that have a somewhat drier texture and sheerer application, and to my mind are best applied wet, otherwise the glitter can fall down. Personally, I could have done without them but they do add the potential for greater drama, should you wish it. They do add a beautiful wet-effect sparkle.

What I find interesting about this palette is how bland it looks at first glance. All the shades look sort of muddy, but when actually applied to the skin they have this incredible dimensionality. All of them have a subtle duochrome or hidden shimmer adding depth and complexity.

Viseart - #05 Sultry Muse and #06 Paris Nude swatches review

Viseart - #05 Sultry Muse and #06 Paris Nude swatches review
Pont des Arts, Champs-Élysées, Beax-Arts, Alexandre Trois, 
Saint-Honoré, Orangerie, Marais, Montaigne, 
Vendome, Jeu de Paume, Grand-Palais, Saint Germain
Pont des Arts is a peachy pink shimmer. Champs-Élysées is a white gold shimmer with very faint pink duochrome and small, flaky gold micro glitter. Beaux-Arts is an almost metallic rose gold with a peachy copper duochrome - completely gorgeous. Alexandre Trois is pale gold beige with gold micro glitter. Saint-Honoré is a slightly plummy mauve with a warm taupe undertone, very lovely. Orangerie is a changeling, looking alternatively light brown, bronze or peach depending on the light.

Viseart - #05 Sultry Muse and #06 Paris Nude swatches review
Pont des Arts, Champs-Élysées, Beaux-Arts, Alexandre Trois, Saint-Honoré, Orangerie
Marais is a rich copper. Montaigne is a pale old gold, with a khaki undertone. Vendome is a dusty lilac, with lighter lavender-pink shimmer. Jeu de Paume is a light, silvery sage. Grand-Palais is a smoky olive with a faint mauve shimmer underlay. Saint Germain is a plummy pewter shimmer.

Viseart - #05 Sultry Muse and #06 Paris Nude swatches review
Marais, Montaigne, Vendome, Jeu de Paume, Grand-Palais, Saint Germain
Sultry Muse is a more dramatic palette, with a higher degree of contrast between the shades and four of those micro glitter flecked shimmers. It also contains a few outright metallics. It suits more deeper, smokier, more outgoing eye looks, though you can definitely create a daytime appropriate looks as well. Of the two, it's probably the more versatile palette because of that range of colour depth and created texture variation.

Viseart - #05 Sultry Muse and #06 Paris Nude swatches review

Viseart - #05 Sultry Muse and #06 Paris Nude swatches review
Yves, Camille, Kifu, Gitte,
Tym, Jori, CIndi, Chantille,
Chloé, Melonié, Diane, Ceska
Yves is an icy white with silver micro glitter. Camille is an almost metallic warm, light brown. Kifu is a pale beige with a slight pink undertone and golden-pink micro glitter. Gitte is a deeper beige with gold micro glitter. Tym is an intense copper metallic with a distinct rose undertone. Jori is a deep, cool, bittersweet chocolate brown. 

Viseart - #05 Sultry Muse and #06 Paris Nude swatches review
Yves, Camille, Kifu, Gitte, Tym, Jori
Cindi is another intensely metallic copper, this one with a strong orange cast. Chantille is a muted burgundy brown. Chloé is a silver-slate metallic, with silver micro glitter. Melonié is a slightly dirty peach with a melon pink undertone. Diane is a deep charcoal shimmer. Ceska is a soft gold shimmer.

Viseart - #05 Sultry Muse and #06 Paris Nude swatches review
Cindi, Chantille, Chloé, Melonié, Diane, Ceska
I also have some quick comparisons with the two brands that I think have the closest match in terms of pigmentation and/or texture. (I wasn't able to get exact colour matches, but something in the general family to give you an idea.)

Below are the three shades from the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita quad (minus the glitter shade) versus three from the Viseart Sultry Muse (Melonié, Chantille, Jori). Among my high end brands, including Chanel and Dior, the CT has the closest similarity when it comes to texture. They feel alike in terms of silkiness, softness, creaminess and refinement of the pigment. I find they also apply and blend very, very similarly on the eye. That said, I do think the Viseart are a bit more pigmented - not a huge difference, but enough to note.

Viseart - #05 Sultry Muse and #06 Paris Nude

Below are three shades from Urban Decay (Derailed, Half-Truth, Chase) versus three from the Viseart Sultry Muse and Paris Nude (Grand-Palais, St-Germain, Ceska). Again, I didn't have a chance for closer colour matches, and Chase is more metallic in finish compared to the gold from the Viseart. But you get the idea. These are some older UD and definitely represent the best of their quality - they are perfect in terms of opacity of pigmentation and creaminess. They have that classic UD richness and are denser and more buttery feeling than the Viseart, which feel finer and silkier in comparison. The Viseart are somewhat easier to blend out and use, due to that refinement, but the pigmentation is similar. I think these are both excellent formulas and it would be a question of preference. (The ease of use with the Viseart is probably why they end up in pro kits with far more regularity.)

Viseart - #05 Sultry Muse and #06 Paris Nude

Availability: From pro shops like Naimie's, Frends, Nigel's, Musepro, and now at Sephora, as part of their pro-oriented line-up (though available for anyone to buy). The price is 80$ CAD and USD. I would highly recommend giving them a try during the VIB/Rouge sale, coming soon.

Have you guys had a chance to try these yet? I'm kinda obsessed, if you can't tell. :P 

(PS - I'm trying out the wider shots of arm swatches, for a clearer context for the colours. Let me know if you have strong preferences either way!)

(I purchased both palettes. This post is not sponsored or compensated, all opinions are my own. Contains affiliate link.)

October 26, 2014

New Essence Palettes: All About Nude, All About Paradise, All about Sunrise

If you're near an Ulta or Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix location that has a little display of Essence Cosmetics, you neeeeeeeed to check out the new 6-pan palettes in their permanent line-up. For 4.99$, I picked up three on a whim and haven't regretted the purchase.

There are four available currently, and I passed on the pastel-hued one, opting for All About Paradise, All About Nude and All About Sunrise.

New Essence Palettes: All About Nude, All About Paradise, All about Sunrise

The texture, finish and pigmentation varies a fair bit between all the palettes, and even between the individual colours in each palette. There are a few matte looking ones that nevertheless pick up a satin sheen when applied, and the rest are shimmers, metallics and satins with shimmer/micro-glitter. Some feel quite dense and creamy, and pick up easily with a brush, while a few are firmer and drier in feel, with a more powdery kickback. I find that the majority of them swatch really beautifully, but they have the same adherence issue that I think is common with budget eyeshadows that lean on the creamier side - whatever combination of ingredients is used to give that texture and good pigmentation doesn't always translate into good "sticking" quality.

That said, the solution is simple enough that I don't view the less than stellar adherence as a major drawback, especially considering the price and the results that can be achieved. I take the extra step of using either a cream base or some concealer on my eyelid (over the primer).

All About Nudes has the most wearable shades, as expected.

The off-white shimmer and light taupe shimmer in the top row have a bit of micro glitter and a slightly drier texture and sheerer finish. The delicate pale pink satin is smooth and soft, with nice pigmentation. For greater intensity, the shimmers benefit from being applied with a damp brush, but in all honesty I prefer the subtle look that can be created using them as is. Sort of a...Your Eyelids But Better? YEBB?

The bottom row doesn't lack for punch though. The iced pink frost is dense and creamy with very good payoff, and the deep, greyed taupe shimmer, and intense mulberry shimmer are just slightly less velvety.

New Essence Palettes: All About Nude, All About Paradise, All about Sunrise

New Essence Palettes: All About Nude, All About Paradise, All about Sunrise

All About Paradise has the most vivid shade range of the three, obviously. This is a great option if you're looking to add some crazy colours into your eyeshadow wardrobe, but you're not inclined to spend the money on something like the Urban Decay Electric palette. This gives you a taste at less than a tenth the price, but that sticky base is a must.

The white-gold shimmer verges on metallic, with a smooth, creamy texture and excellent pigmentation. The peach shimmer is less smooth, with a sort of flaky shimmer that makes it a shade best applied wet or dabbed on with a finger. The hot pink and canary yellow shimmers are gorgeous, and best over a primer to get the best payoff. The aqua and blue shades are both drier feeling, and definitely need that base to showcase their vibrancy, otherwise they sheer out quite a bit.

New Essence Palettes: All About Nude, All About Paradise, All about Sunrise

New Essence Palettes: All About Nude, All About Paradise, All about Sunrise

All About Sunrise is my absolute favourite out of the three palettes, not only because the pigmentation is the best but also because of how beautiful it looks when applied. This is a metallic heavy palette, with all but one shade being a variation on gold.

The white gold frost is buttery, dense and very pigmented, totally gorgeous. The following two are variations on the rose gold idea, the middle one being more pink and warm-toned, the latter one having a deeper, taupe undertone. They're not quite as smooth or creamy as the white gold, but they do have great payoff.

The rich yellow gold has the same formulation as the white gold, while the peach gold is similar the to the rose-toned ones in terms of feel and performance. The brown at the bottom right is the odd man out, being cooler-tone, having a drier texture and much sheerer application. It is nice, however, for balancing out the richness of the rest of the palette.

New Essence Palettes: All About Nude, All About Paradise, All about Sunrise

Below is an eye look created with the All About Sunrise palette a little back. I used a mix of the champagne gold and the rose gold all over the lid, with the peach gold as a dimensional layer in the very middle of the lid. The pale beige gold shade was used in the inner corner, and the light brown in the crease and under the eye, mixed with a touch of the rose gold. The look came out with that sunshine-sparkling-on-water effect, which I think was quite pretty.

New Essence Palettes: All About Nude, All About Paradise, All about SunriseNew Essence Palettes: All About Nude, All About Paradise, All about Sunrise

Availability: At Pharmaprix/Shoppers locations that carry Essence, in the regular display case. Also at Ulta. Price is 4.99$ CAD per palette. (Which is a freaking STEAL.)

Have you guys spotted these yet? Tried them? What do you think?

(I purchased these items. This post is not sponsored or compensated, all opinions are my own.)

October 25, 2014

No Fuss Makeup (ft. Clarins Ombre Matte, Bourjois 123 Perfect, YSL TheMats)

(Contains press samples. Affiliate links.)

I really like the concept of the No Makeup Look. I just can't be bothered to spend all that time on my makeup only to appear the same walking out the door as I did rolling out of bed. If it's a no-makeup day, then it's really a NO makeup day. If I'm going to wear it, it's because I want to do something transformative and fun with my face - not to create a more presentable version of myself for others, but because the ritual and the results please me.

But then there are those days when I want to wear makeup, but I just don't have the time or the energy for the process - I need effect with minimal investment.

That's when I pull out the three staples that I know will always work for a No Fuss Look: a shimmery, mid-toned cream eyeshadow in a neutral but dimensional colour, a matte finish, medium cover foundation, and a MLBB lipstick.

The cream eyeshadow is what really makes this work. It needs to be something that picks up on the natural colours of the eyelid, so something in the taupe, greige, mauve, plum families for my skin tone. A bit of shimmer keeps it from looking too flat (or the look starts to lean into the Hungover Troll category).

The one I've been loving lately is the Clarins Ombre Matte in the shade Sparkle Grey (#05), which is that perfect mix of grey and plum - more silvered grey when applied intensely, more plum when buffed out. The texture is softer and than the Maybelline Color Tattoos, a bit more along the lines of the powder/cream texture of the Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill, or the Dior Fusion Monos. (I don't know if that's the case with the other shades in the range, as this is the only shimmer one.) It's ridiculously easy to apply and blend out, which is a big plus for this look, though I generally do need to use a primer as well to keep it from creasing or fading a bit after a few hours.

I usually apply it with a flat synthetic brush all over my eyelid, and run some under my lower lashes (not too thin, the idea is to have a bit of a haze rather than a defined line). Then I take a fluffy brush and buff it out from the crease. Mascara and some black liner to tightline, and done.

No Fuss Makeup Clarins Ombre Matte, Bourjois 123 Perfect, YSL The Mats

No Fuss Makeup Clarins Ombre Matte, Bourjois 123 Perfect, YSL The Mats

Then foundation. Here I do prefer it be matte, because I find the lasting power is generally better, and there's usually minimal need for a concealer or powder on top of it, especially with a medium coverage formula. I always apply with a beauty blender, fas the matte finish is tempered down to a more skin-like satin (which I prefer), without sacrificing longevity.

I've been trying out the new Bourjois 123 Foundation, which is marketed under some dubious claims about having special pigments that counteract the various defects in your skin tone. (Trufact: EVERY foundation has those same pigments. They're what gives foundation the beige/brown colouring. When you were a kid, did you ever mix all your different paints together and get some brown goo at the end of it? Same concept, only with titanium dioxide added to lighten the tone as needed.)

Eye-rolling claims aside, it's actually a very nice foundation. The finish is very comparable to the matte-but-not-flat result you get from the Chanel Perfection Lumiere (not shocking, as Chanel and Bourjois are sister brands), though it shares the latter's similar tendency to emphasize flakiness. (Which is another reason to apply it with a beauty blender.) I don't get the 16 hours of wear promised by the label, but it definitely keeps up during the better part of the day, getting a bit shiny around my nose about 6-7 hours in, but otherwise looking stable. The only touch up I'm likely to do is a quick pat with a kleenex. The coverage is decently medium on its own, and I find that dabbing a little extra on spots is usually all I need to cover those up. (Though I do still need my usual salmon concealer to cover up the epic sleepless zombie purple under my eyes.)

No Fuss Makeup Clarins Ombre Matte, Bourjois 123 Perfect, YSL The Mats

For lips, I like a product that 1) is easy and fast to apply and 2) equally easy to reapply during the day. Usually this translates into a nude-pink shade that just lightly deepens my natural lip colour, and in a finish that's doesn't require precision.

In the past the YSL Volupté Shine in Nude in Private was my go-to, but lately I've been using the YSL The Mats in Nude Acoustic (#210). I have a review here, but the short version: lightweight and comfortable to wear despite the matte finish, superbly flattering colour, and surprisingly easy to apply - no need for lipliner, and can be dabbed on using a window or other shiny surface as a stand-in mirror without getting that lipstick smear that makes me look like a barmy maiden aunt.

No Fuss Makeup Clarins Ombre Matte, Bourjois 123 Perfect, YSL The Mats

If I have more time and/or energy, I'll swipe on a quick blush, but generally I find these three main items are enough for me to feel "done".

Some quick swatches!

No Fuss Makeup Clarins Ombre Matte, Bourjois 123 Perfect, YSL The Mats

And the finished, No Fuss face! :)

No Fuss Makeup Clarins Ombre Matte, Bourjois 123 Perfect, YSL The Mats

The nice thing about this look is that it can be juiced up with minimal effort as well, should I feel like it. The Ombre Matte works well as a base, so I can just dab a lighter shadow in the inner corner, blend a charcoal in the crease and a bit under the eye, and then add more liner if need be. I can add blush or contour or highlight as I wish, maybe powder if the shine is breaking through on my nose, and then retouch the lip, maybe add a dab of gloss. With that extra few minutes, it goes from No Fuss to Casually Sexy Smokey.

Do you guys have a go-to look for those days when you have limited time or resources? What are the staple ingredients for you?

(I purchased the Clarins and the Bourjois items, the YSL was compliments of the brand. This post is not sponsored or compensated, opinions are my own. Contains affiliate links.)

October 20, 2014

YSL Fall 2014 Cuirs Fétiches - Couture Palette Collector Fétiche, RougePur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic, Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat

(Press samples. Affiliate links.)

YSL really hit the ground running with the new Couture Palettes. As I mentioned in my previous review, they are truly a cut above previous iterations from the brand, and stack right up there in my top luxury palette picks for superior pigmentation and performance.

I was really thrilled to see a new version for the Fall, with a colour scheme that's seasonally appropriate but not stereotypical. I love russets and burgundies and golds, but the neutral/teal mix is a nice change of pace, with the deeper tones and smoky richness still evoking autumn. The lip products echoed that twist, with nudes sitting pretty beside the classic wine tones, all in hushed, sophisticated textures of matte and cream.

The entire concept of this collection seems best represented by the limited edition packaging of the palette, black leather embossed with the gold lettering. The "fétiche" in the name indicates that they were going with a sexy and dangerous theme, as does the blown out eye makeup of the promo imagery. (A little Fifty Shades anticipation? Understandable, especially if you've seen the adorably awkward charmer that is Jamie Dornan in action. Because, GOOD GOD MAN.)

For me, though, the colour palette and textures are much more sensual than sexual, more sophisticated than provocative. Either way, I approve.

YSL Fall 2014 - Cuirs Fétiches Couture Palette, Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic, Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat
YSL Fall 2014 Cuirs Fétiches - Couture Palette Collector Fétiche,
Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic, Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat
The Couture Palette Collector Fétiche is a stunner, no doubt. Although it looks warm-toned, with the gold and gold-flecked bronze shades, it does also have a black and a rather cool-toned espresso brown for balance. The dusky teal shade is also somewhere in the middle, tonally.

All five have wonderful pigmentation, with the gold being perhaps the sheerest. The bronze and the espresso both have obvious flecks of shimmer, and the gold has the most metallic, reflective shimmer throughout. The teal and the black are satins. (As I mentioned in my previous review, the texture seems almost dry to the touch, when you might expect very pigmented and smooth eyeshadows to be creamy/buttery/dense. It's a really unique texture.)

All five shades blend very well, which in the case of the teal is something to actually watch out for, as the intense initial payoff can rapidly become murky. These are perfect for creating a hazy, slightly metallic, smoky eye, and the intensity and shimmery finish of each shade can be augmented easily by applying them wet.

Wear time is great, easily over eight hours with a primer.

(Really randomly, the press package calls the teal shade Amazon Green and describes it as a deep green. Which...obviously not. So I do wonder if they had a more "usual" Fall palette in mind? I'm glad they changed it, if that's the case.)

YSL Fall 2014 - Cuirs Fétiches Couture Palette, Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic, Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat
Couture Palette Collector Fétiche
YSL Fall 2014 - Cuirs Fétiches Couture Palette, Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic, Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat
Couture Palette Collector Fétiche
YSL Fall 2014 - Cuirs Fétiches Couture Palette, Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic, Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat
Couture Palette Collector Fétiche swatched clockwise
For the look below, I started with the bronze applied to the lid, and the teal in the outer corner in a rough triangle shape. I blended the bronze through the crease, and added the espresso to deepen through the outer crease and corner. I dabbed the gold in the inner corner, and lightly swept a bit over the bronze on the inner half of the lid. I also took a mix of the bronze and the gold under the eye. I wet the black to do a soft, fuzzy liner on the top lid only, mostly as a base for the half-lashes (Prima Donna from Liberty Rebublic) at the the outer corners. (Full face picture further down.)

YSL Fall 2014 - Cuirs Fétiches Couture Palette, Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic, Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat
Couture Palette Collector Fétiche - applied
The Rouge Pur Couture The Mats in shade #210 Nude Acoustic is the lone nude shade in an otherwise classically wine-coloured array of lip offerings. It's a warmish pink with a strong beige undertone that falls on the MLBB end of the nude spectrum (or at least it does with my colouring).

This was my first experience with The Mats formula, and I have to say that while it was really nice, it din't blow my mind as I was expecting. The lipstick is light and very pleasant feeling on the lips, matte without feeling dry. I can't say that my lips felt particularly loved after the application, but they weren't parched, and the formula didn't make a muck out of fine lines or dry bits. It applies smoothly, and this shade in particular is a great one for touch-ups, as it's so forgiving. I don't think this lasted as well as the darker ones in the collection probably do, as the staining effect is limited by the mild colour, but it wasn't out of line with what I would expect from a matte (a few hours, but not past a meal).

While I can't say it's a formula that wows me when it comes to matte lipstick, it is lovely. (That being said, the colour is a hands down winner.)

The Gloss Volupté formula is a stronger contender for my heart. Creamy, cushy, non-sticky, moderately thick, it's a formula that is lovely to apply and feels even better on. It's a great winter lip gloss, if that makes any sense. The shade here is #106 Cuir Grenat, a wine berry that looks way more warm and red-toned in the tube than it does swatched or on my lips. It also appears to have some faint shimmer in the tube, which doesn't translate at all on the lips. It has a moderately pigmented, creamy finish that doesn't look overly glossy or goopy. As it wears down it leaves a faint stain, but the lasting power is otherwise average for a gloss.

I have to note that both of these have a very strong floral-fruity scent. I'm not usually bothered much by scented lip products, but these were quite noticeable, so take that for what it's worth.

YSL Fall 2014 - Cuirs Fétiches Couture Palette, Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic, Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat
 Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat and Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic
YSL Fall 2014 - Cuirs Fétiches Couture Palette, Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic, Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat
Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat and Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic
YSL Fall 2014 - Cuirs Fétiches Couture Palette, Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic, Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat
Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat and Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic
YSL Fall 2014 - Cuirs Fétiches Couture Palette, Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic, Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat
Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic
YSL Fall 2014 - Cuirs Fétiches Couture Palette, Rouge Pur Couture The Mats #210 Nude Acoustic, Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat
Gloss Volupté #106 Cuir Grenat
So this is the whole look with the items that I received from this collection. I'm wearing the Mats #210 here, with just a bit of lip balm underneath to temper the matte finish. (I also used the YSL Fusion Ink Foundation, review coming sooooon.)

Availability: At YSL counters at Hudson's Bay, Holt Renfrew. Possibly at certain Murale locations? Also at Price is 39$ CAD for The Mats, 35$ CAD for the Gloss Volupté, and 64$ CAD for the Couture Palette.

Have you guys already checked out this collection? Anything ring your bell? I'm pretty much addicted to the palettes, and will be going all Pokemon on them as soon as I can swing the dough. I had a peak at the Holiday ones thanks to a lovely YSL SA at Hudson's Bay, and I need to have the limited edition version of the Tuxedo palette. SO MUCH.

(The YSL items mentioned were provided by the brand/PR to be considered for review. The Liberty Rebublic lashes were purchased by me. This post is not sponsored or compensated, all opinions are my own.)