Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Subtle radiance with Maybelline Master Hi-Light Hi-Lighting Blushes in 10 Nude and 30 Coral

Maybelline is one of those drugstore brands that I completely ignored for years, but lately, they've been producing some very interesting products. After giving these Master Hi-Light powders lustful looks for months, I caved during a sale in the summer and picked up 10 Nude and 30 Coral to test out. (Having been exposed recently to a lot of Maybelline -- details to come in my next post -- I figure it's finally time for this post to be published.)



Nude

Coral

Packaging is standard drugstore fare: plastic housing, mirrored undercap and brush in lower compartment. It feels pretty sturdy and weighty in the hand, so I'm going to okay these for travel.


Swatches!

Indoor

Outdoor

I sharpened the images so that you can see the shimmer more clearly, but these powders appear much more soft and refined on the skin, mostly because you will not be packing them on cheeks as I have done for arm swatches. I wasn't sure at first whether some of the deeper shades could double as blushes, which is why I picked up Coral along with Nude. On my NC25-ish skin tone, Nude is a straight-up highlighter while Coral wears as an extremely subtle blush -- not too different from Benefit Coralista, as a matter of fact. I would venture to say that for the fairest of the fairs, yes, the more colourful Maybelline Master Hi-Lights can work as shimmery blush. But for anyone with light-medium skin and darker, check out shades such as Mauve and Deep Bronze instead.

As for their "hi-light" function? I'd say the effect is very subtle compared to something like the uber popular BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfectors and edges closer to the territory of those Hourglass Ambient Light Powders. On my oily/combination skin, Nude and Coral don't highlight so much as add a natural glow. My favourite way of using them is to tap over a matte blush to add dimension or tone down and diffuse too much colour. And because these powders don't leave telltale trail of shimmer or glitter, they really can be used anywhere on the face where you want a touch of radiance.

But again, their effect is subtle and probably indiscernible to anyone who is not a fellow beauty addict. If you want a more high impact highlighter or blush, these aren't it. They sit somewhere in between the two categories, higher up in the makeup hierarchy of needs over your basic go-to face routine. Personally, I like them a lot. They're not a must-have but definitely nice to have. Kind of like blush sidekicks, if you will.

CAD$9.99 at Target, up to $15 at Shoppers Drug Mart, 9g/0.31oz. Made in USA.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What is the big freaking deal about Benefit Gimme Brow?

Well, I'll tell you. Finally.

IT'S A LAZY GIRL'S DREAM COME TRUE.

I was just commenting on Teresa (Brush and Bullet)'s recent post on her brow routine that before Instagram, we didn't seem to care about brows all that much. In fact, aside from random and reluctant pluckings, I pretty much ignored my eye brows for years and years. I admit that it was only possible because I have visible brow hairs in relatively decent shape. That coupled with the fact that all I ever used to wear was the "no makeup makeup" look, it was easy to get away without having to worry about the perfect brows. (You'll have noted by now that I pretty much hate dealing with hair in general. Less fuss the better, in my opinion.)


Well, my friends -- those careless days are over, thanks to the rise of The Selfie and our constant need to document all the slap that we're wearing on a daily basis. Suddenly those bare brows disappear into oblivion in pics and I'm left wondering, 'What did I do wrong? There's a tonne of makeup on my face! Yet I look nekkid.' And if you're like me and can't be bothered to paint on a Kardashian brow on a regular basis, what you need is a decent brow gel that will speed up your routine and make you appear as though you at least gave half an effort. After playing around with countless pencils and brow gels, I declare Benefit Gimme Brow champion.

What it is: Brush-on brow-volumizing fiber gel that adheres to skin and hair. Water-resistant, long-wearing, natural-looking and buildable.

How to apply: Using short pressing motions, stroke brush tip along brow to define shape. Comb through to blend & build brows. (Uh, I just do the first part. That's it, yo.)


As you can see, the brush is tiny and tapered, which makes it the perfect applicator for brows, whether your brows are thin and sparse or wide and plentiful. I never thought that I'd give kudos to Benefit for functional and practical design, but here we are. SALUTE. My first tube, now sitting in the empties bag, used to dispense a bit too much product at the tip of the brush, but this second tube does not, which makes me think that that issue has to do with how old a particular tube might be. This second tube also feels much more fluid and easier to apply. And honest to God, I just swipe on and go. That's all.


Before and after:


TA-DAAAA. This literally takes like five seconds.

But for argument's sake, if I were to be a perfectionist or have a major event to attend, I would trim the brow hairs, fill in some spotty areas with my trusty Anastasia Brow Wiz in Ebony, then lock the whole thing down with a bit of hair spray spritzed onto a spoolie. Gimme Brow isn't everything. But I'm not a makeup perfectionist nor am I some sort of fancy socialite. Gimme Brow instantly gives me the natural effect that I want for a quick visit to my local cafe or daily walks around the neighbourhood. After I finished the first tube, I tried to live without it for two weeks and found that I could put nothing else to my brows. Pencils? Too. much. effort. Other gels? Too watery and too dark and too brown and too stiff.

I recommend Gimme Brow for anyone with medium amount of hair or more. Unfortunately, if you have a lot of sparse or bald patches, a sharp pencil that can mimic the appearance of individual hairs will be best, but if you have a Benefit counter nearby, go ahead and give Gimme Brow a try. It may be exactly what your brows and daily routine want.

CAD$26/USD$22, 3g/0.1oz. Made in USA. 

Available at Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart and Benefit Cosmetics. (Affiliate links applied.)

Ingredients for Medium/Deep: Water, Mica, Glyceryl Stearate, Polypropylene, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Peg-100 Stearate, Polyacrylamide, Phenethyl Alcohol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Glyceryl Caprylate, Laureth-7, Panthenol, Glycerin, Silica, Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate. [+/-: CI 19140 (Yellow 5, Yellow 5 Lake), CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake), CI 77000 (Aluminum Powder), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride), CI 77288 (Chromium Oxide Greens), CI 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77510 (Ferric Ferrocyanide, Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)]. N 07567/A.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Revlon ColorStay Moisture Stains in 030 Milan Moment and 005 Parisian Passion

Some months ago, I went through an anti-Revlon phase and decided not to get any more drugstore lip stuff. So, when Revlon Canada extended an invitation for the launch of these new ColorStay Moisture Stains, I was all, 'NAW' like a noble idiot. And now here I am with two that I couldn't help but to pick up on a sale, because REGRETS and ADDICTION. Can you believe it's not actually the formula that enticed me but the weirdly angular square packaging? They just stack so neatly and there's none of that silly lolling about on the makeup counter. Compulsive issues, I have a few.


I think you can easily guess which of these is just a mere "moment" and which is the "passion." Shade names often make me snort, especially the alliterative sort. I do like the travel-inspired theme though.

MILAN MOMENT


PARISIAN PASSION


Reductionista-friendly shades here, my friends. An orange-peach and plum-wine. If the formula appears to be on the goopy side, it's because IT IS. But stay with me! Buuuuuut.


Not so goopy on the lips in the end, although that takes a little practice to achieve. And by "practice" I mean that you just stroke the applicator back and forth until desired evenness results. These have a visibly squishy texture that at first alarmed me because I thought that meant they were going to glide around all over the face, but they do sort of "set" on the lips after a while. It's best if you don't press your lips together again after the product has been evened out. They feel like a cool jelly at first, not unlike the Dior Addict Fluid Sticks that everyone has now forgotten about. In real life, colours are much more vibrant than they appear in these pictures, and they wear comfortably for hours between meals and snacks. (I like to remove products from my lips before chowing down and just reapply after the meal. Or at the least, blot down any excess first.) Of the two, Parisian Passion leaves a nice stain while Milan Moment just comes off like any old regular gloss. I can pretend that I've been passionately drinking red wine all day in France and had just hopped over to Milan for a moment, ha!


I was kind of surprised by how much I ended up liking these Moisture Stains. They're a little tricky but interesting, and I like the colour range that's available. I recently received Stockholm Chic, which is nice, and have my eye on India Intrigue next (see it on the lovely Lena of Lenallure). I was also a little obsessed with Cannes Crush for a while after seeing it on Janine of BEAUTYGEEKS, but the entire world also seems obsessed with that particular shade because I can't find one in any of the stores that hasn't been opened and molested. Such is life in the drugstore aisles.


These start at CAD$12.99 at Target, up to $15.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart, with Rexall somewhere in between, I suppose. I think that I picked them up at $9-something on a Target sale. Do you have one? Which is your favourite shade?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More Plum Lip Colours for Fall

Because, you know, I can't help myself. Once I fall in love with a colour, I start to collect variations of it and end up with too much. Readers benefit from this madness.

So, we're in full swing of the season, trees are starting to lose leaves, scarves and socks become mandatory, that glowy summer tan is pretty much gone and you need to switch up your makeup colours. Plum lips, I tell you. PLUM LIPS. And the lipstick needn't be $30+, although I'm featuring another Hourglass option just because it's also a good one to consider for the season.


Our options here today: (1) MAC Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Zen Rose, (2) Sonia Kashuk Moisture Luxe Tinted Lip Balm in 44 Hint of Berry, (3) MAC Satin Lipstick in Rebel, and (4) Hourglass Opaque Rouge Lipstick in Empress.


1. MAC Zen Rose - Arguably, it's not quite plum (or... at all), but it straddles the line between pink and purple in such an enticing way that it makes a good transition shade if you're reluctant to give up bright pink and fuchsia lips. Sheen Supreme Lipsticks basically wear like comfortable gloss on lips, so not only is the colour brightening and pretty, the formula keeps the lips rather well protected and hydrated as temperatures dip.


2. Sonia Kashuk Hint of Berry - If you're shy about sporting full-on opaque berry lips for whatever reason, picking up this Sonia Kashuk option is a great way to participate in the season without making a full commitment. The bullet looks like a ravishing shade of mulberry but the effect on lips is just a whisper of berry with plenty of shine. Personally, I think it's head and shoulders above that overrated Fresh Plum Sugar Lip Treatment that goes on patchy and visibly settles into cracks. I haven't looked at a Fresh Lip Treatment ever since I finished off Plum and actually eye their bazillion holiday sets with HORROR.


3. MAC Rebel - Classic autumn weapon. You pull this out on the days you don't want anyone to mess with you. Something about the colour just screams, "Get out of my way."


4. Hourglass Empress - Empress makes you feel like the queen of the universe the moment it's applied. If Rebel says, "Get out of my way," Empress says, "BOW, BITCHES." Hourglass Opaque Rouges are super long-lasting and will last through multiple dry meals and cup-sips. Unfortunately it does feel a bit dry on the lips, but that's to be expected from any long-wearing liquid lipstick. Depending on how much you apply and blot off, there is slight transference at the beginning but the formula fully sets and requires micellar water/makeup remover at the end of the day.


And as bonus, here's one that I don't have yet but do want: Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Crushed Plum.

Alyssa Miller by Danny Cardozo for Harper’s Bazaar Spain, September 2014

Won't someone please review it soon? THANKS.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Perfect Everyday Fall Lipstick: Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipstick in Nocturnal

I hate to be predictable and fall in line with standard autumnal favourites like berries, plums and wine, but those shades endure year after year for good reason. They just look so damn appealing against grey skies and complexions divested of summer tans. The best part about this sort of colour is the exaggerated "just bitten" effect and the ability to control how natural or dramatic you want it to look.


Read my review of the shade Raven, and it's clear that I'm a big fan of the formula. After eyeing Nocturnal for a while, I decided to take the plunge and do whatever it takes to make autumn an enjoyable season. If it's cold, I'll wear Nocturnal. If it's raining, I'll wear Nocturnal. If I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, I'll think of Nocturnal and drag my ass out from underneath warm, cozy blankets and go put on the war paints. (And then sometimes I'll crawl back into bed after swiping on Nocturnal, LOL.)


Described as "plum wine" by Sephora and "deep berry" by Hourglass, no matter what deliciousness it's inspired by, I find that Nocturnal is perfect for everyday wear precisely because it isn't fully opaque in one pass. I feel like lately everyone is demanding hyper-pigmented makeup that screams immediate drama, which I like well enough on certain days, but it's also nice to have easy colours that you don't have to work too hard with. Nocturnal fits the bill. I really like its versatility since the colour is easily built up to a deeper wine-stain that adds just the right amount of drama without going overboard.



I guess what Hourglass Nocturnal to me is what MAC Plumful is to a lot of others.

Speaking of MAC, I was a little anxious that it was too similar to MAC Rebel which I've grown to love fiercely. Luckily, the swatch test reveals that Rebel is a deeper reddened purple while Nocturnal maintains that slightly muted dusty rose quality. Both lipsticks are fantastic for the season. Lipsticks in general are just so wonderful.


Do you have a "go-to" plum/berry/wine shade for fall? Aubergine??? What is it?

CAD$35/USD$30. Available at Sephora and Hourglass. [I'm using an affiliate link on the blog for the first time. Don't hate me.]