Archive | 2011

5 Must-Haves for Holiday Makeup!

11 Dec

Around this time of year, there are all sorts of opportunities to go big with your makeup looks – and it’s a lot of fun to play with more dramatic eyes and lips for those holiday parties! If you’re going to stand out under the mistletoe this year, here are some products you’ll need!

1. A smoldering black eyeliner

Elizabeth Arden Smoky Black, Lorac, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Zero, 
Smashbox Dream, Lancome Le Crayon Kohl Black Ebony, Nars Black Moon, 
Makeup Forever Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil 0L, MAC Eye Kohl Smolder

This is a no-brainer – any time of year – but if you really want to set off a glittery or intense holiday eye look, you’ll need a really good black liner. A lot of my favourite holiday looks are smoky, and the key to any good night-time smokey eye is a great and easy to work with black liner pencil.

Waterproof liners like Makeup Forever or Urban Decay 24/7 are long-lasting, and great to line the upper lashline. You’ll also need a kohl pencil to line your waterline (I recently discovered Lorac’s black liner, but MAC’s Smolder is a must-have for a reason). The classic cat-eye is another great option, for which you will need an intense, opaque gel liner (like MAC’s Blactrack or Bobbi Brown’s Indigo Black) or liquid liner like MAC Rapidblack to create a cat or winged liner. Really, having a good selection of your favourite black liners is one of the cornerstones of any good makeup collection!

2. A classic red (or other eye-catching colour) lipstick

 For a classic red lip: MAC Diva, Pure 64, M.A.C Red, , Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood

When you’re picking a lipstick that will last through dinner, drinks, and beyond, there are a couple of factors to consider. The first is the lipstick finish. Matte lipsticks will stay put and are less likely to move around, so consider going shine-free if you want a truly long-lasting lipstick. MAC’s Ruby Woo and Diva are two options – but be warned, Ruby Woo is arguably the most drying lipstick of all time (most mattes are at least a bit drying, but this one is particularly so!), so make sure to condition your lips before and after using!

The second factor to consider is application. You want to make sure that the lipstick is worked well into the lips using a layering technique and a good, stiff brush. You can also use a translucent powder to set the first layer before re-applying for extra wear. And don’t forget to blot – though if you’ve done it right, there shouldn’t be much to blot!

You might have noticed a lot of bright fuchsia lips on celebrities lately. This is a great way to modernize a more classic look, and can add the same attention-grabbing element with a bit of a twist and personal touch! I think you can make it work with any bright colour that strikes your fancy, but here are some of my favourites:

 For a modern pop of colour: Sleek Candy Cane, MAC Blood Red (from the DSquared Collection), 
MAC Show Orchid (Pro) and Makeup Forever 36 (mini)

And of course, if you don’t want to go classic red, vamping up your colour can be as much fun as going bright! You can do a deep burgundy, a purple-tinted shade or something more exciting – like my all time favourite berry/pink deep shade – MAC’s Rebel!
 Want to vamp it up a bit? Try: MAC Hang Up (even has a hint of seasonal shimmer!) and MAC Rebel

Depending on the shape of your lips and the finish of the lipstick, a lipliner to match your lipstick is optional – however, if you don’t have matte finish lipstick, you can use liner instead of lipstick if you want long-wearing colour. It also means there’s absolutely no chance of that unfortunate situation where your lipstick wears off faster than your liner and you end up with the dreaded line around the outside of your mouth…. not pretty.

MAC Beet, Nars Funny Face, Bare Escentuals Buxom Lip Tarnish Caught on Tape, 
Smashbox Smashing Editor, MAC Redd, Lancome Le Lipstique Mauvelle

3. Metallic eyeshadow (or even better – something that sparkles!)

 MAC Heritage Rouge pigment, MAC Morning Frost paint pot and MAC Mega Metal Shadow Dalliance 

Holiday looks are all about the drama – and what’s more dramatic than gold- or silver-plated eyes? Of course, it doesn’t have to be so traditional. You can go with any intense, shimmery shade that strikes your fancy, and this is one time of year when even I like sparkles!

MAC pigment samples in Copper, Gold, Platinum, Reflects Blackened Red and Reflects Antique Gold

4. Head-turning nail polish

Essie Steel-ing the Scene, Essie Wrapped in Rubies, OPI Already Famous, 
Nars Desperado, OPI Le Beau

Though nails are one place you can wear pretty much anything that strikes your fancy anytime you like (in my opinion), there are certain colours and finishes that seem to fit with particular times of year. You’ve got pale and neutral shades in the spring; neon pink, turquoise and orange in the summer; and muted urban neutrals (like cement grey and beige-mauve) and dark shades in fall. But in the holidays, you’ve got bright reds, metallic shades and anything with shimmer or sparkles! It’s a great time to break out bright, orange-toned reds, true slivers and plaster your nails with glitter that can be seen for miles. The trick is to pick any colour you’d imagine working in holiday decorations, and it’s sure to be a hit!

5. A good, long-lasting eye primer and some deep-conditioning lip balm

Nars Pro-Prime, Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow, MAC Paint Pot, 
Too Faced Shadow Insurance, Urban Decay Primer Potion and Smash Box Photo Finish Lid Primer

 Compared to some of the other items in this list, eye primer and lip balm may seem a bit boring. And, truth be told, they are. But so are ingredients before they become a cake. These are two of the products that will make your holiday makeup glamorous rather than gaudy.

You may have read my blog post about eye primer already, so I won’t go over the basics again. I do want to point out, however, that aside from making your shadow last to the end of even the most scandalous of holiday parties, it’s also even more important when you’re working with anything sparkly. Glitter and sparkly shadows tend not to be finely milled like regular shadows – sometimes they can even be chunky. Because of this you may encounter two problems: 1) more fallout; and 2) trouble getting them to stick where you want them. Primer is how you deal with this. It will give glitter a sticky surface to cling to, and it will keep it there.

MAC Lip Conditioner, Smith’s Minted Rose Lip Balm, and Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1

Particularly at this time of year, dry skin becomes a huge problem for many of us. Your lips are no exception to this. Which can be a problem for any lipstick, but if you want to go with a long-lasting matte lipstick or liner, the extra-drying texture can make it a major disaster. Chapped lips make for an uneven surface to apply lipstick, and when it starts to fade, it won’t fade evenly, leading to a patchy appearance. Not pretty. Make sure that you apply the lip conditioning product of your choice before bed every night, and that you exfoliate your lips with some of your lip conditioner on the end of a Q-Tip regularly. Also, apply a layer and let it sit while applying the rest of your makeup, then blot to remove it before you add lipstick. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

That’s it for our top 5, but here are a few bonus things you’ll probably need: A photo-friendly foundation, some great false lashes (it’s your time to get dramatic!), and a light-catching highlighter to help you stand out in those holiday snaps!

Now go forth and party!!


Oops! Just Couldn’t Resist – Lorac Bejewelled Night & Day Jewelry Box

9 Dec

I didn’t intend to buy any holiday palettes this year. But then Sephora’s $20 VIB gift card landed in my inbox, and the next thing you know, I’m at the store falling in love with this beauty. The box itself… meh. Not my style. When I opened the box I was treated to a shower of sparkles, which I hate. Awesome. But once I got the two shadow/blush palettes, two eyeliners, two lipglosses and HUGE bronzer out of it, I quickly forgot the shower of glitter! Here’s a picture of what the entire box looks like opened up. As you can see, the bronzer and lip glosses are nestled in the top with a lifting lid, and there are two drawers which each have a shadow/blush palette and eyeliner.

Everything comes out, including the molded insets for the products, 
so you can actually use it as a jewelry box if you want!

I’m not even sure where to start. Almost everything from this palette is absolutely gorgeous. The liners are creamy and easy to work with. The bronzer blends like a dream. The blush gives a gorgeous glow, and the shadows…. oh, the shadows. The selection is beautiful, and full of colours I can get a lot of use out of – even in the night palette! The shimmer gives a lovely wet effect and they last all. day. long. The only thing I’m not too excited about is the lip glosses – but that’s because I don’t like any shimmer in my glosses. I like berry stain shades. So the pearl finish in these just doesn’t appeal to me – but that’s not to say you won’t love them!

Here are the two palettes:

Day palette – 16 shadows + peach blush

 Night palette – 16 shadows + pinky coral blush

All in all though, this kit is worth over $500 – and I got it for less than $60 (after my $20 off). Talk about a deal. I highly recommend that you pick one up – for yourself or the makeup lover in your life! I promise, either way, you won’t regret it!

Packaging: 4/5 (I find the jewelry box a bit kitschy, but the individual products and palettes are removable, so it’s just fine!)
Product quality: 5/5 for the ones I’ve tried so far!
Worth the price? DEFINITELY. GET IT NOW!
Would I purchase again? Probably if I needed to – and if it weren’t a seasonal release!
Cruelty-Free? Not sure.
Where to find it: Sephora in store and online. 

Nars – Lip Lacquer in Hot Wired

2 Dec
One of those products where the name says it all! This is a gorgeous, bright pink colour with a hint of iridescent shimmer.  If you’re looking for a way to stand out at holiday parties, other than your classic red lip, here you go.

I think it’s great over a bright pink lip liner if you want it to last all night, or on its own. Even alone, it wears well – partly because of the texture. It’s got a stickier consistency, which is great for making it last, but if you’re like me, the feel of it might not work for you.

I’ve tried a couple of Nars lip lacquers, and one of their glosses, and I’m not a huge fan. While the consistency bugs me, it’s actually the smell that really gets me. I don’t know how to describe it except to say that it smells a little like those intense hand creams that don’t have perfume, but do have lanolin. I have no idea why Nars lip glosses and lacquers smell this way, and it could be my over-sensitivity to smells, but I find it off-putting enough that I rarely reach for them. Sorry, Nars!

Shame, cos this colour is to die for!

Packaging: 5/5
Product quality: 3/5 (-1 each for consistency and scent)
Worth the price? Not for me.
Would I purchase again? No.
Cruelty-Free? Not sure.
Where to find it: Nars online, Sephora in store and online.

Sephora’s $12 Black Friday Sale!

24 Nov
Click on image for more info

Just a quick FYI to all you makeup addicts out there – Sephora is having a Black Friday sale tomorrow, for one day only! Lots of gorgeous looking items on sale for just $12 each! Apparently it’s two per customer, and supplies are limited, so make sure to drop by as early in the day as possible.

Not sure which locations this applies to, so if you might want to call and double check if it’s out of your way.

See you there! 😉

xo M.

Top Ten of the Week

21 Nov

 The other day when I was getting ready for work, I found myself reaching for the same thing as I had the day before, and I got to thinking about how I choose what to use each morning from the ridiculous amount of products that are currently cluttering up my bathroom. There are some things that I use every day for months, like my Smashbox Tinted Moisturizer in Luminous and my Makeup Forever Brown Gel. But then there are things that I will use for a week or even two, but then set aside and all but forget about. I realized that I tend to wear a few looks during the week, then experiment a little on weekends. I’ll often stumble across a daytime look that I try out on Saturday or Sunday and it will become my favourite for the next week. But it’s always changing. So I thought I’d share the things I found myself reaching for the most this week. Possibly I’ll do this every week or few weeks – whenever I notice that I’m using different stuff than last time!

1. MAC Seasonally Spicy Technakohl Liner

I got this recently and am absolutely loving it. It’s greats smudged along the upper and lower lashlines with Remotely Grey shadow on top for a super easy daytime look. Another bonus? You don’t need to sharpen it!

2. MAC Remotely Grey Eyeshadow

As mentioned above, this shadow is great to smoke out a dark brown liner along the lashlines. I also love it as a lid colour for a daytime neutral look. Despite the name, it’s more of a taupey-brown than grey, though I suppose it has the tiniest hint of a silvery/grey sheen to it. I really wish this wasn’t LE, because in my opinion this is a must-have shade!

3. MAC Amplified Lipstick in Impassioned

I can’t believe I never noticed this shade before! I went into MAC last week to exchange some of my Back 2 MAC empties, and they didn’t have the lipstick I was looking for in stock. I was just about to give up and leave, when I glanced over and this shade caught my eye. It’s the most gorgeous coral/pink shade that is both bold and tasteful simultaneously. Though it’s not for every day, this is a super fun lipstick to wear for a night out!

4. MAC False Lashes Mascara (Black)

I used to use MAC Plush Lash every day. I decided to give this one a try, and I haven’t even opened my brand new replacement Plush Lash that I bought a few months ago. This adds length and volume and can be worn in the day time, or built up for a night out. New fave.

5. Lancome Luring Eyeshadow (Sheen)

Okay, so I don’t like Lancome because of the whole testing on animals thing, so I went back and forth about whether to include this shadow on the list. In the end I decided to because in all honesty, though I won’t be purchasing from them again in the future, this shadow is one that I find to be unique. It is an iridescent shimmery shadow that has hints of blue, green and purple in it. I like to layer it over another shadow (or paint pot) that will accentuate one of these colours.

6. Bare Escentuals Buxom Lip Tarnish in “Caught on Tape”

You might not have heard of these pencils – I hadn’t. They’re basically lip stain/glaze in a pencil format that has BE’s Buxom line plumping properties. I love the colour of this – it’s between a rich burgundy red and a fuchsia pink – and you can build the colour up or wear it as a subtle hint of colour during the day. Great.

7. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

I’m sure you have all heard of this cream – it’s something of a cult favourite. It’s bright yellow and comes in a clear plastic cubic pump container. It also comes in handy travel-size squeeze tubes for $15 each. I have trouble with dry skin in the winter, so this is a very important part of my winter skin care. It’s thick enough to provide lots of moisture, but it absorbs more quickly than other creams so it doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily. Also it doesn’t have much of a scent – if anything it smells a little like oatmeal – which is another plus in my book. Because I hate using hand cream and then forgetting and touching my face, I have actually been known to use this as a hand cream in the winter time as well, and it works wonders for my hands and if I do touch my face, it doesn’t leave it feeling gross. Bonus.

8. Kiehl’s Lip Balm or MAC Lip Conditioner

I don’t shop at Kiehl’s anymore, because of the whole animal testing fiasco (they are a subsidiary of L’Oreal), but I have a tub and a tube of their lip balm that I’m still working on using up. It really isn’t anything special, in all honesty, so you can substitute Rosebud Salve or MAC Lip Conditioner or even a drug store brand of lip conditioner. But whatever you use, it’s important to moisturized those lips in the winter time, just like you do with the rest of your skin. I use this before bed at night and in the morning when I’m doing the rest of my makeup. If I’m not wearing a coloured lip product I’ll also use it throughout the day.

9. Bobbi Brown Longwear Cream Shadow in Sand Dollar

This is a great base colour or for a daytime neutral eye. It is a muted taupe colour with a hint of shimmer that makes it gorgeous worn alone or with a thin wash of similar eyeshadow over top. I like it with MAC’s Wedge shadow in the crease and Seasonally Spicy smudged into the lashline with Remotely Grey (you can also use any mid-tone brown shadow). So easy!

10. Nars Blush Brush

I love that this is super soft, it picks up just enough product when tapped off lightly and is the perfect size to apply to the cheekbone – I hate brushes that are too large so that blush ends up everywhere, or too small so that it ends up in a thin line. Pricey, but I’m getting daily use out of it!

So there you go, that’s what I’m loving this week! Until next time….

xo M.

Modern Pin-Up – Lisa Eldridge Tutorial

20 Nov
I originally clicked on this video because of the lipstick colour. I mean, just look at it. Goregous. As you know, I love deep pink lips – and Rebel by MAC is my all-time favourite. I wrote about it here, but all you need to know is that the shade is a plummy purpley fuchsia – and I have never seen a colour that looks more beautiful. If you’re faimiliar with Rebel, you’ll see the similarity when you watch this video (she actually suggests it as a MAC dupe for the colour she uses). Also, I absolutely love pin-up makeup – the dark liner, the long lashes, the clean lines, the bold lip – does it get any more glamorous?

After I started to watch, however, I was blown away by how wonderfully this look captures the pin-up look – yet isn’t the same one you’ve seen over and over. Of course the trick with any classic makeup look (and by “classic” I mean a look that you can see repeatedly when you look back through the history of makeup artistry) is to find a way to update it; to bring it into today. Eldridge does an absolutely amazing job of taking this classic, iconic look and by tweaking it subtly (changing brow shape, updating lipstick colour) making it edgy and new. If you’re a Bettie Page or Marilyn Monroe or Dita Von Teese fanatic, you will want to try this right away, but if you’re looking for an unerringly classy, modern look, this will work perfectly for you, too.
xo M.

MAC – Glitter & Ice Holiday 2011 Collection

16 Nov
 via Temptalia’s review

I have to be honest: I haven’t bought much of MAC’s holiday collection, and I don’t plan to. Don’t get me wrong, there are some beautiful products to choose from, but they’re either too pale, too sparkly, or they’re really similar to products I already have.

That said, I did treat myself – just a little bit ;). As you know, I love MAC’s paint pots. So I gave in and bought the one in the middle… and the one at the top:

 For Effect, Morning Frost and Let’s Skate! Via Temptalia.

The one at the top is called For Effect, and it’s a dark, gunmetal grey with shimmer. Smooth, creamy… gorgeous. I do find it to be more sparkly than metallic. The middle one is Morning Frost and is a taupey shimmer colour that I absolutely love. It’s a pale enough colour to wear as a neutral shade, but if you layer it to build up the shimmer, add a dramatic liner, and pair it with a hollywood glam lip (if you want to stick with this collection, try Such Flare for a traditional red or What a Joy! if you want to vamp it up a bit), it will definitely live up to holiday parties! It’s creamy and easy to work with, which is a good sign that it won’t dry out too quickly in the pot (though, of course, make sure to close your lid tight after you use it!).This one doesn’t have chunky sparkles like For Effect does, it ends up with more of a wet metallic finish.

For those of you who like sparkles, check out Let’s Skate!, which is nearly transparent in terms of background colour, but is a mess of gold and pink duochrome sparkles. If you love frosted glitter looks, this would be a great paint pot for sparkly eye looks, but I could even imagine it working as a light dusting on cheeks – or even your collar bone – for holiday parties! (Just don’t put it EVERYWHERE at once, or you will blind anyone who looks at you!)

The other thing I got was an eyeliner called Seasonally Spicy, which is a Technakohl liner. It’s a warm, rich brown colour that I love. Originally I intended to just get the paint pots, but I was convinced to give it a try after watching Moodeve‘s YouTube video:

I absolutely love the simplicity of this look, and I wanted to give it a try. Works like a charm, and looks particularly beautiful if you blend it out with a cool brown shadow.

 via Temptalia

If you’re more into the pale and sparkly than I am and want to check out the rest of the collection, I’d recommend heading over to Temptalia’s review – she runs through all the products for you. Even better, check out her YouTube video full of helpful observations and swatches!

Packaging: Varies.
Product quality: For the products I tried, 5/5
Worth the price? Yep.
Would I purchase again? Limited Edition! 😦
Cruelty-Free? Yes – appears on PETA’s Cruelty-Free list.

Where to find it: MAC in store and online.