Sunday, July 5, 2015

Lancome French Paradise Blush Subtil Crème Review, Swatches and Photos

Lancome recently had a Friends and Family sale, so I picked up a few new things that I thought looked interesting. I was excited to try their new LE Blush Subtil Crème for Summer 2015, as I had read that it had a solid mousse texture similar to Colour Pop products.

I ordered Corail Alizé 01, but due to a packing mistake, I ended up with Rouge Mistral 03. When I unpacked my parcel, I was pretty disappointed considering that Rouge Mistral was the one colour out of the three I was entirely not interested in. To their credit, Lancome's customer service offered me a full refund with no hassle.

Photos in natural light, swatches on NC 40 skin.

Lancome Blush Subtil Crème in Rouge Mistral 03

So I have Rouge Mistral 03 for review. Rouge Mistral is described by Lancome as "a dapper red for the most seductive flush-cheeked look." In the pot it looks like a medium dark warm (orange) toned red with ultra fine, subtle golden shimmer throughout. On my skin, Rouge Mistral's orange tones are emphasized and the result is a deep red coral shade with a luminous satin finish.

Lancome Blush Subtil Crème in Rouge Mistral 03

Before I had purchased this product, I did some research online and found only two reviews, both of which commented on how similar all three colours of Blush Subtil Crème were when swatched (Corail Alizé 01, Brise Rosée 02 and Rouge Mistral 03, swatches of all three on My Darling Clementine and A Beauty Junkie in London.) Having swatched and used Rouge Mistral (but not having seen the other two colours in person) I'm likely to agree. Though Rouge Mistral is definitely red, it pulls orangey on me, so the overall effect is red-coral. Considering that Lancome describes Corail Alizé as " a luminous coral, subtly enhanced by tiny golden pearl pigments," one can see how interchangeable those descriptions could be!

The formula of the product is described as an "oil-free powder formula [that is] is non-greasy and non-sticky for a featherweight effect on skin... the Blush Subtil Crème formula contains no opaque base, to ensure truly vibrant colour and workable, made-to-measure intensity." The texture of the product is very silky, and has a cream-to-powder finish which is neither greasy or dry. The product has very intense pigmentation, so a light handed application is a must unless you want to look sunburnt! Like a cheek stain, this blush is transparent after being blended and fuses completely with the skin's texture. Again like a cheek stain, this product is a little tricky to blend, so it would be best to apply with a lightweight duo fibre brush or proceed sparingly with the fingers blending onto well moisturized skin.

I do believe the product lives up to Lancome's technical claims, and I like that they formulated this with "no opaque base" which gives the colours purity. I do think that the lack of opaque or white pigments in the product is what contributes to all three shades looking very similar though. Wear time is very good with only a little fading after a full day of wear.

Grade: B+

Beauty Squared Round-Up for July 5, 2015

Happy Sunday! Time for some beauty links. Are you ready?

Let's go.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Charlotte Tilbury Vintage Vamp Luxury Colour-Coded Eyeshadow Palette Review, Photos and Swatches

The Charlotte Tilbury collection recently launched at Holt Renfrew in Canada, and after finally getting the chance to see the products in person, took a deep breath and made a purchase. Yes, the Tilbury products are pricey but the quality is exceptional and sometimes it's worth it to treat yourself.

I bought the Vintage Vamp Luxury Eyeshadow Palette and the Barbarella Brown Rock N Kohl Eye Pencil. In this post I'll review the Vintage Vamp Luxury Eyeshadow Palette. It costs $64 CDN and contains four eyeshadow colours.

Charlotte has designated each shade in her palettes as the Prime shade, the Enhance shade, the Smoke shade and the Pop shade. Diagrams are on the back of the box and on the back of the compact to show which shade is which.

The box and the compact are a shiny deep red with rose-gold detailing and type. 

More packaging photos.

Charlotte's whole philosophy is that makeup is a secret weapon, that it can change your life and empower you. She's inspired by beauty icons, and creates looks and products to enhance your sex appeal.

The power to mesmerise is in your eyes. With this make-up, hypnotise.
It sounds even better in french. 

Le pouvoir de fasciner repose dans vos yeux. Grace a ce maquillage, hypnotisez.

Inside the compact are the four eyeshadows, and a good sized mirror etched with a small star in the upper right corner. 

From top left clockwise, the Prime shade, the Enhance shade, the Smoke shade and the Pop shade.

The Prime shade is a soft, shimmery lilac-pink with a hint of gold to it. The Enhance shade is a muted pink-burgundy with a coppery shimmer to it. The Smoke shade is a deeper, richer burgundy with a little bit of shimmer, and the Pop shade is a copper-gold glitter shadow.

Prime, Enhance, Smoke and Pop shades.
All four shadows apply beautifully. The texture of all of them, and particularly the first three is creamy and buttery. The Pop shade is glitter-heavy, so it's not quite as creamy, but it's certainly not dry. They can be applied lightly or more heavily and blend incredibly well. These are easily some of the best eyeshadows I've ever used. 

With four shadows there are a variety of different ways to use this palette. Here's the first look I came up with - a softly smoky look. 

I applied the Prime shade all over my lids, and in the inner corner of my eyes, the Enhance shade in my creases and on the outer corner of my lids, as well as along my lower lash lines. I smudged the Smoke shade along my upper lash lines and then applied the Barbarella Brown Rock N Kohl Eye Pencil on top. I'm wearing a bit of Benefit Rockateur blush on my cheeks and some lip balm on my lips. My base is MAC Face + Body and I've got MAC Pro Longwear Concealer under my eyes and MAC Prep + Prime powder to set everything. I've filled in my brows with Anastasia Dipbrow and I've got Benefit Bad Gal mascara on my curled top and bottom lashes. I'm also wearing some NYX Stick Blush in Pink Poppy on my cheeks.

I also tried Charlotte's own looks for this palette, which she's got on YouTube here. 

The day version of her Vintage Vamp isn't terrifically different from the look above, with the Prime shade used all across the lids, and in the inner corners. The Enhance shade is is applied to the outer corners of the lids, and softly in the crease. The Enhance shade is smudged along the upper lash line and three-quarters of the way along the lower lash lines. Then you apply the Barbarella Brown Rock N Kohl Eye Pencil along the top lashes. Apart from the eye pencil and the eyeshadow palette, I do not have the other products she uses in her video so I improvised with ones I do own. My blush is MAC's Pink Swoon, my lipstick is the Bite Beauty Lip Lab lipstick I had custom-made for myself. I applied it as Charlotte does in the video, making it look like my lips are stained as if I've been eating cherries.

My base, concealer, powder, mascara and eyebrow products are as in the above look.

And here is the night version of Charlotte's Vintage Vamp look. Starting with the look above, I applied the Smoke shade on the outer corner of my lids, and through my crease, bringing it up in a roughly triangular rectangle in the outer corners to mimic the flapper look of the 1920s. The Smoke shade is smudged quite low along my lower lashes for a vampy effect and the Barbarella Brown Rock N Kohl is applied to my waterline. Finally, I used my finger to apply the Pop shade on the inner half of my eyelids, and on the inner corners.

This was my favourite of the three looks, but not one I can wear everyday. I'll save the other two for that. But next time I have the occasion to do such a dramatic, vampy, sexy look, I'll go full Vintage Vamp.

Yes, Charlotte Tilbury's products are high-end but from what I've experienced, they're worth the splurge. I love the philosophy behind them, and the passion and experience Charlotte puts into the collection. There's magic to her make-up.

Charlotte Tilbury's collection is available at Holt Renfrew stores in Canada, and on her website. 

Grade: A

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

KnockOut Cosmetics Hedwig and the Angry Inch Nailpolish in Midnight Review, Photos and Swatches

"I rose from off of the doctor's slab
Like Lazarus from the pit
Now everyone wants to take a stab
And decorate me with blood, graffiti and spit"
- Tear Me Down - Hedwig and the Angry Inch

In February I got to see a performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch in New York City, with the one and only John Cameron Mitchell, Hedwig's creator. 

What's Hedwig and the Angry Inch you say, apart from a Broadway production? Well, it was first staged Off-Broadway in 1998, created by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask. It became a cult hit, winning awards and travelling to other US cities before hitting London's West End in 2000. In 2001 the film version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch came out, and that's when I was introduced to it. 

Here's the film trailer and I HIGHLY recommend tracking down the movie. I've seen it more times than I can remember and will watch it many many many many more times in the future. 

Seeing the man himself as Hedwig was a dream come true. Despite having an injured knee and unable to dance and perform as he normally would have, JCM's Hedwig was as sassy, energetic and wonderful as can be. I expected nothing less.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the lead photo for this post and the Hurt Locker: The Musical playbill - don't worry that's not a real production. It's part of the new reincarnation of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. She and her Angry Inch were using the set and stage of a recently closed (because it's terrible) Hurt Locker: The Musical. The audience got up and left midway through the opening night, leaving playbills on the floor. I was lucky enough to grab one as a souvenir. It's a real playbill, apart from being for an entirely fictional production. 

Among all of the great stuff you could buy as souvenirs at the show (the Shroud of Hedwig, t-shirts, etc) were three nailpolishes. I saw two Broadway shows when I was in New York this trip and both had nailpolish as souvenirs - how perfect! (You can see my post on the Cabaret nailpolish here).

The nailpolishes are by KnockOut Cosmetics which is the line founded by Mike Potter who is the genius behind the iconic hair and makeup of Hedwig. They were created specifically for Hedwig's Broadway run and were available in four shades, one matte and three glittery - a pastel yellow matte called Bombshell, a bright glittery red called Hedwig, a clear base with iridescent glitter called Sugar and a deep blue with teal glitter called Midnight. They were $20 each.

I picked up only one, the Midnight shade. 

I've never seen or tried KnockOut Cosmetics nail polish before, and the packaging is very notable, with it's extra long cap, and art deco inspired frosted bottle. I like it a lot!

The KO on the bottle isn't frosted and you can see the glittery polish peeking through.

Midnight is a deep royal blue with large teal glitter. You can see the first Broadway Hedwig, Neil Patrick Harris, wearing it here.

I don't wear glitter nailpolish a whole lot for a few reasons - it can look messy and can be a real pain to remove. And unfortunately that was the case with Midnight for me. The brush is longer than I'm used to and that made it tougher to control the product. The glitter can get onto your cuticles, looking raggedy and when you try to clean it up, it can pull some of the product on your nail off with it. 

Other than that, the polish applied fairly well apart from the challenges due to the glitter and the length of the brush. The photos below show two coats and a top coat. 

The glitter is quite chunky so the texture of your nails after applying is not smooth but this may not bother you. I think that with the dark colour of this polish, it's further emphasized. It was distracting for me. 

I do like the effect of the dark blue with the shimmery teal glitter though. I just wish the texture wasn't so emphasized. 

I found too that the texture of my nails got scratchier and scratchier as the days went on and they'd drag on fabric which is a pet peeve of mine. 

Perhaps there are tricks to applying glitter nail polish that I'm not aware of to make it more wearable? Please share if you know of any!

I am sad that I don't love this polish as much as I want to. Of course, Hedwig wouldn't give a shit that her nails were scratchy and raggedy looking so I'll try it again and channel her. Maybe that'll help. 

I'll give this a fair grade with the assumption that it's more my inexperience with glitter polishes than the quality of this polish.

Grade B

Monday, June 29, 2015

Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer for Under Eye Review, Photos and Swatches

My undereye circles are the bane of my existence. OK, that's an exaggeration, but really, I feel like nothing I do or try conceals my undereye circles well enough. My favourite undereye concealer is MAC's Pro Longwear but I don't love the fussiness of the container (not being able to control well the amount you get out and that it's challenging to open), so I've been trying some different ones. Make Up For Ever's Full Coverage Concealer doesn't do it for me in terms of texture and brightening, and now we come to Laura Mercier's High Coverage Concealer for Under Eye.

Laura Mercier's High Coverage Concealer for Under Eye is a unique 3-in-1 concealer that covers, de-puffs and brightens dark under eye circles. The highly pigmented formula builds and blends flawlessly for professional makeup artist results. Formulated with honey, vitamin E and fruit acid to nourish and smooth skin. A little goes a long way and lasts all day. 

0.27 oz $35 CDN

Some packaging photos.


The High Coverage Concealer for Under Eye comes in 12 shades and they're numbered, from 0.5 to 7, and the shades are described with undertones (light skin with pink undertones, dark skin with almond undertones, medium to tan skin with beige to yellow undertones, etc)

My shade is 0.5 - fair skin with beige to yellow undertones. 

It comes in a small squeeze tube, and I have to say that I love this packaging. I'm fond of the lid especially, for purely aesthetic reasons. It's a good size and shiny, and makes the packaging look expensive.

The tube has a very small opening for the product to come out. This is because the concealer is thick and because you need very, very little. It's the complete opposite of the MAC Pro Longwear packaging as it's nearly impossible to get too much product out. This is very smart packaging since there's so little possibility of wasting product.

They say that you need a pin head's worth of product only. Here is about that amount on the back of my hand (NW15 skintone).

Blended out a little so you can see the texture. It's thick and creamy and very pigmented.

And here it is blended out even more. The warmth of your skin helps to soften and blend out the concealer so it's spreadable and blendable.

As for the claims that it depuffs the eyes, I can't really speak to it's success or failure. I don't experience puffy eyes very often and the eye cream I use in the morning tends to get rid of any puffiness effectively, so I don't need an undereye concealer for it. I have read that other people find the High Coverage Concealer for Under Eye effective on their puffiness though, so hopefully that helps.

It does brighten effectively though. I think undereye concealers should always be brightening. Dark circles are almost impossible to successfully cover since the skin under your eyes is so thin and the darkness beneath it is so deep. Brightening elements to a concealer or using a subtle highlighter under the eyes draws light to the area, giving it a lighter quality. It really does make a big difference.

In the photo below, I'm wearing the concealer under my eyes. You can see that it doesn't fully cover my dark circles, but it minimizes them significantly. I'm happy with this undereye concealer, I think that it does what it says it does, what it needs to do, and it's good quality. 

It's buildable, though starting with a tiny amount is best. I do find that it likes to crease up on me, so setting it well with powder is a must, and wearing an undereye primer helps as well to keep it lasting longer. 

The Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer for Under Eye is $35 CDN per 0.27 tube and available wherever Laura Mercier products are for sale (IE. Sephora).

Grade: B

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for June 28, 2015

Hello lovelies!

Hope you're having a lovely Sunday. It's Beauty Squared Round-Up time and there's loads to tell you about.

  • Charlotte Tilbury was in Toronto this week for the Canadian launch of her beauty brand. I (Catherine) was in attendance and you can see a few photos I snapped here
    • Here's the official #TilburyTakesCanada photo album.
    • And the official #TilburyTakesCanada video
  • How's your skin this morning? If it's looking a little puffy maybe due to lack of sleep, dehydration, too much salt or too much alcohol (no judgment!), here's a 3-minute massage you can give yourself to reduce that puffiness.
  • Speaking of alcohol, here's a DIY whiskey body scrub recipe (and bonus cocktail recipe).
  • And how about a skin-softening DIY honey cream recipe?
  • Is your hair needing some TLC? Here are some of the best hair masks specifically for colour-treated hair, but if your hair is dry and damaged even though you don't colour it, they'll work for you too.
  • The Body Shop is doing a revamp of their image. The British Beauty Blogger has some packaging photos and info.
  • A beautiful shimmery, youthful makeup look using Maybelline products and demonstrated on model Gigi Hadad. Don't worry, this makeup look would work on anyone. You don't need to be a model, or have perfect skin or be 20 years old!
  • Summery makeup inspiration.
  • More VERY summery (simple bronzy skin and a sexy, smudgey eye) makeup inspiration courtesy of Lisa Eldridge.
  • Another great look from Lisa Eldridge - a no-fuss, modern take on the 60s makeup look.
  • A gorgeous smokey eye with a pop of unexpected colour - perfect for summer, or anytime.
  • Another smokey eye idea - this one focuses the impact on smoking up the lower lid NOT the upper lid. Very coooooool.
  • Cushion make-up - you may have come across this term recently. It's a new trend in western makeup taken from (where else?) Korean beauty brands. Basically, cushioning is in the packaging where pillowy sponges are soaked in product (blush, foundation, etc) allowing for light and smooth application. Kind of how you use a sponge to apply a product but the sponge is built into the makeup in the case of cushion make-up. Read more and see some of the products now available in North America here.
  • Another Korean beauty trend is waterless skincare.
  • The best toners for sensitive skin.
  • Some ideas for taking care of your skin naturally. As in, more about what you put into your body, rather than what you apply on the surface (though that's important too).
  •  This is verging on a "how to attract a man" article, but not quite (we wouldn't share it if that's all it was, promise). Does wearing a strong lip colour actually turn men off as some men claim? An experiment.
  • Speaking of makeup shaming, women have been posting selfies of themselves with faces of half-bare/half-makeup to show they're comfortable both in and out of makeup. (So stop with the hating on women who wear makeup!)
  • To celebrate Pride here's an interview with transgender model (and the face of Make Up For Ever) Andreja Pejic where she talks about beauty.
  • An interview with two of the makeup artists behind the makeup on the TV series Transparent which features Jeffrey Tambor as the transgender patriarch of a dysfunctional family. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for June 14

Hello and happy Sunday! It's been awhile, and for that, our apologies. We've got a lot of beauty links to share with you as a result.

Let's do this.

  • Fashion Magazine's Beauty Panel shares their tips for achieving the dewy skin look.
  • Temptalia has a review of Charlotte Tilbury's new Eyes to Mesmerise cream eyeshadows. See her thoughts on them here.
  • Charlotte does one of her signature smokey eye looks on her mum, Patsy. See it here.
  • Pixiwoo has a review of Benefit's new primer, License to Blot, on their blog. See what they think of it here.
  • A great no-makeup makeup trick.
  • Matte highlighter. Yes, it's real. Read about it here.
  • A preview of OCC's summer collection, featuring Willem Bell from RuPaul's Drag Race fame.
  • How to fix broken lipsticks.
  • Did you know that you can refill your EOS lip balm containers? Here's how, or if you don't want to refill an EOS container, here how you can make your own lip balm in a regular container.
  • Pimples. How to pop them properly and safely, if you must.
  • A DIY rose water facial mist recipe.
  • Can drinking tea improve your appearance?
  • Hair plopping, for incredible curl definition. Here's how to do it.
  • Tis the season for hair removal. Here are some shaving hacks.
  • Here is what to do when razor burn happens.
  • When artist Frida Kahlo died, her husband Diego Rivera had her things locked up in a room where they remained for over 15 years. Among Kahlo's possessions were two half-used bottles of Revlon nail polish. What about some other artists and their links to makeup?
  • Bloglovin' has ten up-and-coming beauty bloggers you should know about.