Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sephora Solid Brush Cleaner

There was a time when I used to clean every single makeup brush I used right after I used it. Then I got tired of the hassle and time each morning I spent doing it, not to mention the money spent on brush cleaners (specifically this one).

Through a Michelle Phan video I learned to clean my brushes with extra virgin olive oil and plain dish soap. It was a money saving revelation. My brush cleaning routine changed as well. The only things I continue to clean daily are my eye gel brush (if used) and whatever I applied my foundation with that morning (brush or beauty blender). Everything else gets a deep cleanse once a week on Sunday.

I’ve decided on this approach for two reasons:
1. Once I settle on a colour scheme on Monday, I rarely switch it up during the week. So if it’s the same colour I reach for, I don’t feel the need to wash my brush.
2. My hands are clean during makeup application. My face freshly washed and moisturized. Whatever germs I harbour that day, I count on my immune system to deal with. I also figure without me as a host/food source, any germs on my brushes expire without sustenance throughout the day and night.

This might not be a routine for you, but it’s been working really well for me for quite some time now; and I’m happy and comfortable with my weekly cycle.

EVOO and dish soap served me well. But now I’m on a search for something more compact and even easier to use. Here come solid brush cleaners. I know these work out to be more expensive, but I like ease of use, ease of portability, and well I just want to try something new.

During the VIB Rouge sale in November, I wanted to acquire the Beauty Blender solid brush cleaner. But by the time I got around to it, it was sold out. A Sephora SA suggested this one. It looked promising and it’s also about 3 bucks cheaper than BB, so I bought it.

Included with the puck of soap is a small pink textured silicone disc. It’s nice for cleaning small fluffy brushes, but doesn’t really work for me when it comes to big face brushes. Storing the soap puck on top of it, prevents it from sticking to the bottom of the container (if like me, most days you don’t have time to wait for it to dry before putting it away).

This has a pleasant enough smell, and I like that it is infused with argan oil… but I don’t like the product itself. It takes a lot of brush swirling to get the suds volume I want (I’m using this up quickly); and while my powder brushes come away nice and clean, this doesn’t do a great job at cleaning my eye gel brush or beauty blender. It takes a lot more effort to get the product out than it did with oil and dish soap.

So I’ve tired it, and I’m moving on. I don’t like it, much less love it. Can’t recommend it, although majority of reviewers on Sephora site disagree with me.

I have two more solid brush cleaning products I want to try (one of them BB, which I recently acquired)… then it might be back to the good old oil and dish soap combo again.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Holt Renfrew x Rebecca Minkoff Beauty Bag

Well it's been quite a week; I celebrated getting another year older, and had a crazy busy week at work... early morning late nights... not time to post. But today is Saturday, and I sit here with a glass of wine and The Real Housewives of Atlanta for company :) So let me show you what my husband got me (this isn't my b-day present, that post is coming up).

This is a limited edition holiday beauty bag from Holt Renfrew in collaboration with Rebecca Minkoff. It is a beauty. There is a gold version and this fantastic metallic taupe shade.
 Inside a smorgasbord of goodies, including a mini pencil makeup bag.
 Enclosed in the cellophane packet.
ReVive Glycolic Renewal Peel - a very pricey skin care line. I tried their cream once. Couldn't justify a repurchase. I will enjoy using this but I know I won't be buying.

Bottega Veneta Eau De Parfum - test sprayed it. Already in the trash bin. This might be posh, might be pricey, but it was offensive to my nostrils. No need to hang on to it.

$25 Gift Voucher - on any beauty purchase at HR over $75 (before taxes of course)... easy breezy to do :)

Oribe Shampoo for Beautiful Color - tried it, liked it, but not enough for repurchase. Will enjoy this sample though.
Sisley At Night The Supreme Anti-Aging Eye Serum - never tried this brand, can't really afford to. I hope not to fall in love with this :)

 Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum - nothing that I need to purchase, but I will enjoy it.

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Super Strawberry #07 - always wanted to try one of these. Here is my chance :)

Laura Mercier Longwear Creme Eye Pencil in Violet - love LM makeup. Can't wait to swatch and wear this.
 The bags themselves are beautiful. Well made, roomy, and ready to be taken on vacation... as am I :)
This beauty bag retails for $50CAD and is currently available at Holt Renfrew. A great little treat to spoil yourself with or another beauty junkie in your life :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


I am of course no queen, and therefore putting in my due at the office before being dined and a little wined (can't skip work tomorrow) later tonight :)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sephora... it's as if you read my mind :)

I know this amount is a drop in the product ocean when it comes to Sephora... but at least it was enough to cover the taxes :) ... really that's all the incentive I needed :)
 On it's way to my house :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Callisto

I justified this purchase during the Sephora VIB Rouge sale. I wanted it, I wanted it bad.  I couldn't purchase it online... it was sold out. I think that's because this is the shadow featured in the attached video... I know that once I saw the video I wanted this shade even more. So I ventured to a local Sephora and picked one up.
This is my first and only NARS shadow. The packaging is pretty until it's not. Repeated use turns it kind of grimy (if my one and only NARS blush is anything to go by)... but I'll do my best to keep it pristine for as long as possible.
Inside a beautiful icy pink silver shimmer. This can be worn dry or wet (wet definitely amps up the wow)... but I only wear it dry... wet it too intense for me :) It is beautiful, and I'm so happy to have splurged. Wish Sephora would have another sale so I could justify another splurge...
Here are the swatches... and this is one of those shadows that one needs to see in person... pictures just don't seem to capture the true beauty.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hourglass The Indestructible Matte - Icon

I saw this in the temptation aisle as I was waiting to check out at Sephora and couldn't resist. I love Hourglass as a brand, I always dream of being confident with my pucker all rouged up... and I couldn't pass on a mini Icon for $12 CAD (full sized version retails for $33 CAD).
There were other shades. But I didn't want a mini shade of something that I own already, so I popped this into my basket.
I have (had) high hopes of rocking this all through December... and then maybe again on Valentine's Day (a holiday I don't celebrate, but could commemorate with a red pucker).
One swipe and I was smitten. Icon is an incredibly beautiful, deep, blue-based red with a matte finish.  But my hands and lips disagree. One, I realized how unsteady my hand is, resulting in uneven and careless lipstick application. Somehow this ended up on my chin, and boy do I not stay within the lip lines.
I was more successful on my second attempt.... but just barely. I love this color, but this bold shade is so not me. I can't get used to it. Plus the matte finish isn't my favorite. Actually I just don't like it. One phase/trend I'm not on-board with. I like my lips creamy, satiny, or just plain shiny.
Glad I splurged on the mini not the full sized version. I highly recommend it if you're into bold lips and matte finish... which as you gather I am not :) ... not in public anyways. I rock it at home on the weekends with a coat of clear gloss :)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer

My Sephora order arrived yesterday... next post will be my VIB Rouge sale haul :) But today, my thoughts on a primer.   

 When it comes to eyeshadow primers I prefer mine in packaging that doesn't involve a wand. I have come to this conclusion after 4 years of serious makeup loving. Previous to this Smashbox purchase, I used to prime my eyelids with NARS (a favourite among many). I liked it, but I wasn't going to be faithful to it.

I got seduced by Smashbox. Promise of 24hr hold (not that I'm awake 24hrs straight that often anymore), lovely pink formula (who doesn't like pink), and I really liked the tube packaging.
Now first off, the pink formula of course turns translucent once applied. You are not left with pink hued eyelids. And the shadows hold, and wear very well for all my makeup wearing hours. No smudging, fading, or creasing.

But... and I can't believe I'm saying this I don't like the packaging. It just doesn't suit this primer. In my opinion this product is too thick and dense for a tube. This would be better suited in a jar/pot in which I could swipe my finger or brush and apply to lid. I was both surprised and annoyed the first time I tried to get some product out and the amount of force I had to apply to this tiny thing.

Product is great, packaging is not. I'm about halfway through, and I know I'm not repurchasing. Smashbox needs to either a) make the formula more fluid or b) change the packaging.

After I polish this off, my sight is set on the Candlelight and Champagne primers from Too Faced... yes I need/want/will acquire both of them.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch #2

November has been such an incredible beauty month for me. I just die when I think of all the beautiful things I acquired. Can’t wait to swatch, show, play, wear, and report back on them all. I hope my Sephora order arrives this week so I can finally film my VIB Rouge sale video. It has to be separate from my regular monthly haul video, there’s just too much to show and discuss.

But while that is still to come. I have to throw my opinion out there regarding YSL’s Touche Eclat pen. I did not spend my own money to acquire this. While I’ve been curious, $50CAD just seems outrageous. However free always changes my game plan.
There are 12 shades (I looked it up), I have shade number 2-Luminous Ivory -  which is described as “for fair to light complexions with yellow undertones“. It’s ideal for my skin tone. I only use it underneath my eyes to dissipate those shadows and make myself look more perky and awake. I don’t rely on just this to do the concealing job because I find that it’s not quite pigmented enough, I layer it on top of a concealer (currently one by Laura Mercier).
I do love the click pen dispenser. I dab a few times underneath my eyes, and then use a damp Beauty Blender to actually get the job done. Texture is very pleasant, smooth and creamy; and while this doesn’t completely erase the dark shadows, it definitely lightness and brightens.

However it’s fifty large… and I think I’d rather buy the one by Clinique for half the price and basically equivalent quality.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Karl for Shu Smoky Velvet Palette

These are the only Shu Uemura shadows in my collection; and they are from a collaboration between Shu and Karl Lagerfeld... they also didn't cost me a nickel (can't say a penny or cent, since these no longer exist in Canadian currency).

Anywho anytime I see SUKL (Shu Uemura Karl Lagerfeld)... I think either "skull" or "school" that is spelled funny. My brains just does it automatically.
I think "school" is more appropriate going by the girl on the palette in Karl's classic white shirt and black tie. Her red eyes do freak me out a bit... so I think "skull" fits too :)
Moving on. Pop the palette open and you are greeted with 5 shadows, 1 blush, 2 applicators (one stuck to the mirror), and the mirror in the shape of the SUKL girl.
Working our way top to bottom. Starting on the left we have a gorgeously smooth and silky black with very fine sliver glitter (which I gouged with my nail). It's really a charcoal, a favorite of mine. Other than mascara, and occasional smudged out pencil, I don't do much black on my eyes. Looks great as a liner; I at least think so :)

Then silver and a gold chunky glitter. These two feel coarse and I apply them by pressing my finger into the pan then pressing it to my eyelid to avoid major fallout. Love the sparkle.
On the right we have two very pretty greens. On top a lovely shimmery olive and below it a pretty mint. Just like the black these are silky and creamy to the touch. Absolutely winning texture.

Lastly we have a rose/cranberry blush. At first I thought "oh a red shadow" but then I realized no... it's a blush with very, very fine gold shimmer. I wish this was bigger. Strong even color payoff, easy to blend, and easy to wear. I think I want to check out other Shu blushes.
Lastly some swatches.
I've been reaching for this palette regularly sine I got it. I feel it's becoming my Holiday palette of choice. It's just so easy to wear. Good job Karl :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

YSL - Flower Crush Palette - Rosy Blush

Freebie posts continue. In this case I'm so glad I did not buy this myself. While my eyes greedily covet everything and my heart flutters whenever I'm near a YSL counter, I know that some of those things would disappoint me. Case in point this blush... is it really a blush?... When I think of blush, I think flushed cheeks... I don't think pale powdery highlight. Which is what came to mind once I swatched this.
I have to say that I do love the packaging. It is gorgeous. But packaging alone does not make a product.
When I first popped this open, I gasped... so, so beautiful, I was ecstatic to have it in my possession.
Then I swirled my finger in it and dragged it across my arm and though "what the hell.... why is it so pretty to look at and so disappointing to wear".  I cannot wear this alone as a blush, it does nothing for me, cheeks look even paler. This is a highlight,  the words "rosy" and "blush" should never been used to describe or name this.
I'm not writing this off as a total loss. I mean one it was free, two it is YSL, and three it is a pretty pale pale pink. I think I will reach for this as an eye shadow or a highlight... or to lighten another blush, but never as a blush on it's own.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Shu Uemura Lip & Cheek Fun-Tasy in Magical Red (Princess by Takashi Murakami)

I love this, totally love this. Another Shu Uemura product from the Holiday 2013 release that made its way into my hands at no cost to me... I'm having the best November ever.
Called "magical red" I tried not to get my hopes up too much.
I did not know what to expect from this lip and cheek tint. It looks like a lip gloss tube, but it does not have a lip gloss type applicator.
Actually I'd find this packaging to be a bit awkward if trying to apply to lip straight from the tube... when I do I reach for a lip brush.
I love the texture: soft, creamy, unscented. But more importantly I love, adore, swoon over this colour. A perfect, dare I say "magical" :) matte red. Looks great on lips, fabulous on my cheeks (gives you Sleeping Beauty kind of flush).
See for yourself below.
Not sure what this retailed for, not sure if it's still available, but I had to share this new fave in my collection.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Shu Uemura Eyeliner in Black Star & Miraculous Purple (Princess by Takashi Murakami)

First things first... I did not purchase these... these came to me gratis via my husband. As well these were released as part of 2013 Holiday collection, so not on the shelves anymore... although I did check Shu Uemura website, and they were available there at a discount.
 I like the packaging of these, slim and sleek. Easily twist up to dispense product.
But I do think the names which sort of imply the colour one expects to find inside area a bit deceiving.
Black Start is not black, it's dark grey. It also doesn't have that "star" aspect that I was hoping it would. I expected more pronounced silver shimmer, but nope, once you apply it, it looks like a one dimensional grey creme. It's pretty, and I do prefer grey to black, but it's not Black Star.

Same thing when it comes to Miraculous Purple... I don't know what your idea of purple is, but this isn't mine. I would describe this as wine. It's pretty, but it's not purple.

Swatches below. The two thin lines in the middle are single swipes after popping the cap. As they are described as "soft gel" I wanted to see how soft. Well first swatch is a fail, but a couple more and you get the idea.
Lastly these do wear very well. Stay put all day long, do not fade, do not smudge. If the prices on the Shu Uemura are correct these are quite pricey. I wouldn't shell out the dough, but love the free :)