Saturday, 31 March 2012

MAC Mineral Mode Semi-Precious Mineralize Eyeshadow - Review and Swatch

Mineralized eyeshadow has a spotty track record. Some people love them, some people think they are a waste of space. I'm on the fence. I think some are really good and some are just there or ok. Once in a while though you find a gem, like one. This is the MAC Mineral Mode Mineralize Eyeshadow from the Semi-Precious collection which was out Summer 2011. You may be able to still get this colour at some MAC stores if they have any older stock kicking around (I think I got mine in the Fall and it was the last one left). Failing that, they might repromote it someday (as MAC tends to do) or there is always what I like to call the beauty black market (eBay, Amazon etc.). This retails for $19.50 U.S. and $24 Cdn.

My pot has a lot less veining than most pots that I have seen of this colour. That is a good and bad thing. Some consistency in mineralize eyeshadows which are supposed to be the same colour would be nice. I like the colour just the way I have it. It's a pinky purple greyed white. Most other pots of this colour lean more towards a pink rose glow. I would be happy with either or, but I really like mine. I am amazed how often I find myself reaching for this eyeshadow. It wears well all day with a primer and looks just as fresh at night as it did when you applied it at 7 p.m. It gives your eyes a nice glow. It reminds me of what theBalm's Work is Overrated would look like if it were a pressed eyeshadow. A little eyeliner (I suggest a navy or purple) and you looked polished and ready to go. It looks great with a lot of different outfits. It is 2g and therefore 0.5g more than a regular MAC eyeshadow. Love this product.

Rating: 9/10

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour 577 Mimosa - Show and Tell

This is a "show and tell" because I just did my nails and I haven't worn this long enough to do a proper review. Heck, I probably shouldn't even be typing. This Chanel nail polish was from the Spring 2011 collection I believe and it is limited edition. I am just using mine now. What was I waiting for??? I collect nail polishes and then I never wear them. Makes no sense, I know. I rarely do my nails because most nail polish lasts me one day tops on my fingernails. So doing my nails is a lot of expense, time and hassle for nothing for me usually. I was feeling "springy" today even though it's freezing outside! Brrrrr. I usually stick to pedicures. Anyway, I thought I would do this for something fresh on the menu for a change. I will let you all know how long this wears for.

I am wearing a Butter London basecoat with 3, yes I said 3, coats of Mimosa and an OPI topcoat. This Chanel polish is thick and goopy and it dries super fast. It still looks streaky though if you only do a coat or two. I say 3 minimum. This is a warm yellow with little flecks of gold glitter. Sorry, my pictures don't do it justice. It looks extra nice in the sunshine. In case anyone is wondering, those are my real nails above, they are not fake. I am lucky that I can grow my own. A bottle of this is around $26 U.S. and I think either $28 or $32 Cdn. Outrageous, I know. This is the only Chanel polish I own. I really wanted this colour and thought about it for a long time before I made the purchase. It is a bit rare to find this colour which is why I finally broke down and bought it. Chanel's website is still selling this if you live in the U.S. Some major department stores that carry Chanel makeup might still have one or two kicking around.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tarte Lifted Natural Eye Primer with Firmatol - Review

So I have noticed in the last few weeks that a lot of the makeup gurus on the internet have recently discovered this product. I have been using it for pushing 5 months. I kept meaning to do a review/blog on it, but I sat on my bum and now here we are. I feel like I discovered this, but everyone else is beating me to punch. My bad.

I got a rather sizable small tube of this product (2.6 ml) with my Tarte True Blood palette. The palette also came with a couple other goodies, but I will review the whole thing soon enough. If anyone is interested, the Tarte True Blood palette is on sale at for an outrageously good price. A lot less than I paid for it :( It is a great palette and overall fantastic deal by the way. I am currently scraping the bottom of my "True Blood" tube and I have already secured a full sized replacement (3.5 ml).

Once again, I digress. For those of you who have no idea what this is, it is essentially and eyeshadow primer and eye firming cream all in one. As I have mentioned before, I don't have any sagginess or lines around my eyes yet (thank heavens) so I can not speak to this product's firming qualities. If it does work though, maybe by using this I am doing preventative maintenance! I use this as an eye shadow primer. It is nice and creamy, glides on smoothly and works all day long. I am talking up to 20 hours and maybe beyond. My eyeshadow stays true looking all day and zero creasing! I have oily lids, so for me to say that is quite something. This product is formulated without parabens, mineral oil, petrolatum, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, synthetic dye and synthetic fragrance. There is not much smell, if any, to this product that I can detect. This product, as you can see, is free of a lot of chemicals that are normally found in a lot of eye primers.

Before I discovered this product, I was using Too Faced Shadow Insurance. That product has a couple of questionable ingredients, but it is a darned sight less scary that what is in Urban Decay's Primer Potion. I find the Too Faced Shadow Insurance is a bit watery sometimes and more goopy to spread on. A tube of that stuff lasts forever. I do find, that sometimes, although my eyeshadow did not crease with this product, that the crease would fade a bit after several hours. I have no issue with that when it comes to the Tarte Lifted product. This product is $20 U.S. and I think around $26 Cdn. Worth every penny and more. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Rating: 10/10

Sunday, 25 March 2012

theBalm Shady Lady Eyeshadow Palette Vol. 2 - Review and Swatches

Today I will be reviewing theBalm Shady Lady eyeshadow palette Vol. 2. It contains 9 eyeshadows which weigh 1.89g a piece. Each eyeshadow is bigger than a MAC eyeshadow pan. This retails for $39.50 in the U.S. and $51 in Canada. Nor cheap, but you do get a lot of product for what you are paying for. You can buy it at Sephora here in Canada and some Shoppers Drug Marts as well as some Pharma Plus or Rexall Drug stores stock theBalm products as well. I really like theBalm products, and as I have said before, they don't get enough love. These eyeshadow are super smooth and many of the colours are really nice. The look great on, and with a primer, last all day and still look fabulous. In addition to this palette, I own three of theBalm's single eyeshadows.

In my opinion, Vol. 1 had the best colours. There is also a Vol. 3 which I am not crazy about in terms of the colour combinations. Vol. 1 is hard to get a hold of. I think theBalm's website may be the only place left. The colours are as per the arm swatch above, from left to right, and on the top pic left to right and top to bottom, Caught in the act Courtney, Feisty Felicia, Insane Jane, Bossy Bobbi, Makeout Mary, Just this once Jamie, Mischievous Marisa, Tempting Tara and Devilish Danielle. All of these eyeshadows can be used as liners and shadows with the exception of Just this once Jamie, Mischievous Marisa, Tempting Tara and Devilish Danielle. My favourite colours are Feisty Felicia, Insane Jane, Just this once Jamie and my ultimate favourite is Devilish Danielle. Believe it or not, I like Bossy Bobbi the least and I normally like blue eyeshadow when worn properly. I don't know why, but of all the blue eyeshadow that I own, I am just not crazy about this one. I also find it flies around when you try to apply it. The pigment is pretty decent with these eyeshadows. I really like this palette overall, but personally I think some of the colours could be nicer in this palette. Also, a lot of them don't work together in combination. The ingredients are exceptionally good since theBalm doesn't believe in using a lot of chemicals in their products. It's not a palette that I reach for very often, but it is always close at hand as I wish I did use it more because these are quality eyeshadows.

Rating: 7/10 (colour combinations could have been better)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

John Masters Organics Sweet Orange & Silk Protein Styling Gel - Review

I have been meaning to do a review on this for weeks. I was looking for styling gel for when my hair is wet and I want to wear it curly. Aveda doesn't have a product that really works for styling my curly hair properly as far as I am concerned. I've heard great things about the John Masters Organics line so I thought I would give this a go. Some of you might have read my blog about the John Masters Blood Orange & Vanilla Body Wash. I love that stuff!

On to this product. Don't mind the picture above. The bottle looks squeezed up. I think my husband dropped the bottle on the floor yesterday but he is pretending nothing happened. lol. It smells nice. You don't need much product to style you hair so that is a bonus. It is $24.60 Cdn. You can buy it at Whole Foods I have heard and maybe the Big Carrot. I believe you can also get it at some select salons. I ordered mine online. This stuff really reminds me of that nasty aloe vera gel that my Mom sometimes drinks for health purposes. I am referring to the consistency of the product being clumpy. I read the back of the bottle just now and guess what? It is full of aloe vera juice. I guess I have a keen eye! It doesn't have alcohol in it and it is pretty much, if not totally, chemical free. I get lots of body in my hair when I use this. My hair stays fairly soft (but it could be softer) and crunch free too which is what I want. The day after I use this, my hair is still soft but as with all gels, my curly hair is a pain to comb out. My main beef with this product is that after it dries and the hours tick by, the product starts to dry out and you are left with dandruff looking clumps! I was shocked when I first noticed it. I haven't had this problem since I used to buy gel at the drug store when I was a teenager. I have used this product several times and it happens every single time regardless of how much or how little I use. For that reason, this will not be a repurchase. I will have to keep looking for something.

Rating: 5/10

Thursday, 22 March 2012

MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencils Prussian and So There Jade - Review and Swatches

I was looking through my eyeliner stash and I was actually shocked to see that I own so few MAC eyeliners. I think I own about 8 or 9 in total. I have the above Powerpoint Eye Pencils, Eye Kohls, Pearlglides, Liquid Liners and a Technakohl Kajal. Today though, I will be showcasing my 2 Powerpoint Eye Pencils. The swatch above is Prussian on the left and So There Jade on the right. Prussian is dark blue with a purple edge. It is one of my all time favourite eyeliners. So There Jade looks a bit blue in the swatch, but in real life it is more green, or should I say more Jade. These are $15 U.S. and $18 Cdn. As you can see in the first picture, I have used up quite a bit of the Prussian liner. So There Jade is a bit wild so it is best used on the waterline with a dark eye liner or eyeshadow underneath it for a smokey, wild eye. This colour looks fantastic with a gold or bronze themed look.

I love my two Powerpoint Eye Pencils. They go on smooth, do not transfer (I hate that), stay pretty true to colour and intensity all day long and go where you want them to go. They don't bleed or smudge. Although I only have the two, I would and will happily purchase other colours in the future. These are some of the best eye pencils on the market. Period.

Rating: 10/10

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

What does she clean her brushes with? MAC Brush Cleanser and Quo Purifying Brush Shampoo - Review

I own a boatload of makeup brushes. I neither have the time nor patience to be washing the same small handful of brushes every 5 seconds so I own a bunch so that if one is dirty, I have some kind of backup brush if I am strapped for time. I am also somewhat of a subscriber to the belief that your makeup is only as good as the brush it is applied with. I own two cleaning products for my brushes: the MAC Brush Cleanser and the Quo Purifying Brush Shampoo. I don't prefer one over the other, although they each have their own purpose. In my mind, I need them both. The MAC Brush Cleaner is $13 U.S. and it is $15.50 Cdn. The Quo Purifying Brush Shampoo I think is around $12 Cdn. I haven't bought it in a while, so my memory is foggy. I am not sure if you can get this brand outside of Canada, so I apologize now to my non-Canadian readers. I am sure there are similar products on the market though in other countries.

As you can see, my MAC Brush Cleanser is getting a bit low. I must run out and buy some soon. This is a liquid product, a hybrid if you will, between watery shampoo and alcohol. I like this product because it is quick and easy and it does a great job. There are two methods with which to use this. You can either apply some on a tissue and then rub/pat your brushes into the wet tissue and then rinse off the brush head. This does work well, but I find you waste a lot of product and tissue this way. You will be amazed how much stuff will come off of your brushes. The second method, my preferred method, is to wet the brush head (the fibres) and then place a couple of drops of this product into your palm with a little water. You then swirl the brush into your palm and a thin lather forms, the makeup on your brush comes off and then you rinse the brush head. Repeat if necessary. I like this product for my small eye brushes. It is extremely time consuming, not to mention using a horrendous amount of product, to use this with large face brushes. It takes too long and it is near impossible to completely clean a large, dirty brush by either method I have described above with the MAC product.

This is where the Quo Purifying Brush Shampoo comes in. A squirt of this in your palm, mixed with water, creates a huge foamy lather than really gets those large brushes clean. You may have to use a few squirts, and really get in there, but this product will clean your face brushes fully and completely, squeaky clean. I often accidentally squirt too much of this product out as it is a thick shampoo and the nozzle really only squirts one amount. A little goes far. Use more as needed. If you use this on little eye brushes, even a little creates a large foamy, gucky mess. It is a pain in the butt trying to rinse this stuff off of a small brush because the product really gets in there. You also waste a lot of product trying to clean small brushes with this I find. So that is why I use both of these products hand in hand. If I travel for any length of time, I take a squirt of the MAC one only though, as it is more convenient for travel.

Rating: 8/10 (for both - MAC is better for small brushes and the Quo for large ones)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Christian Dior 004 Mystic Smokys 5 Couture Colour Eyeshadow Palette - Review and Swatches

Couture Eyeshadow? Check. Fancy Case? Check. Expensive as Hell? Check. Pretty Looking Colours? Check. Quality of Eyeshadow? Well um......

This review is for the Christian Dior 004 Mystic Smokys (is it me or can't they spell Smokys right?) 5 Couleurs Couture Colour Eyeshadow Palette. The eyeshadows total 6g so that isn't too shabby. The CD on the case cover is a hologram. Very cool. The applicators, useless as usual. This is $59 U.S. I believe and about $60 Cdn. I bought this on a trip to the U.S. last Fall when I was armed with a 20% off Sephora V.I.B. coupon. Thank God. Honestly, this isn't worth the money. MAC eyeshadows are far superior. The colours look prettier in the compact than swatched. Personally, I don't find that they are anything special on the eye either. The pink colour in the middle is nice (probably the nicest of the group). The cream highlight shade is ok, a bit gritty. The purple is pain to work with, but not impossible. I find the purple requires a lot of dipping the brush into the product to get enough on. The grey is the second nicest and second easiest to work with. The brown is not the greatest. I find it flies everywhere when you try to use it. It's a cool brown, so I normally would be all over that, but it isn't the nicest colour in the world, I'm sorry to say.

The colours have a quilt pattern on them. Overall, I like the mix of colours, strictly on the basis of colour and functionality. I think this would be a good palette to travel with. You can get a good mix of looks out of this palette. I would strongly recommend using a cream eyeshadow base under these colours to make them look better. The ingredients are not too scary at all so props to the Dior House for that. For the price, and I really don't care if it is "couture", these eyeshadows are no where up to snuff. I was actually quite disappointed. I won't be buying another Christian Dior eyeshadow palette.

Rating: 6/10

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr Eyeshadow 50 Edgy Emerald - Review and Swatch

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!! Since it is that green holiday, I figured I should do a blog on something green. My husband never understands why I think St. Patrick's Day is cool, but hey, my Great Grandmother was Irish so I can celebrate how I want....even if that only means wearing green eyeshadow on St. Patty's Day.

So today we are going to talk about the new Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr Eyeshadow in 50 Edgy Emerald. By now, some of you might think that I am a brand snob and to some extent I am, and there is a good reason. Because 9 out of 10 cheaper products are cheaper for a reason. Once in a while, you find a gem at the drugstore, but that is a rare treat indeed. Anyway, there was a bunch of hype online about these new Maybelline cream eyeshadows so I thought I might try one. They were on sale at my local drugstore a few weeks back and I ended up buying 4.......ooops. They normally retail for $9.99 or $10.99 in Canada. I got them on sale for $5.99 so I indulged. I think in the U.S. they may be around $8 or $9. Honestly, if I had spent $10 or $11 on these plus tax (which I wouldn't have because then that would be over $40 and I can get 2 MAC Paint Pots for that....) I would not be happy. Maybe to buy one at full price for fun would be ok, but I would not recommend breaking the bank and buying loads of these. I will do blogs on the other 3 soon. There is a wide variety of colours, some unusual, which is refreshing to see.

This particular one is not that green per se. It is more teal or sea foam coloured. Sure as heck not emerald in my book. I took a couple of pictures in different lights for you so that you can see the swatch well. Looks kind of blue to me. The swatch on the left is the Color Tattoo by itself and on the right is the Color Tattoo with MAC's Surreal on top of it which is how I wore it today. I find the formula a bit dry. It goes on smooth enough, but it dries out really fast on your eyelid. It isn't as sticky as a Paint Pot. I found it difficult to blend my crease working around it. It even got a bit flaky while I was blending the edges. As the night wore on, some of my eyeshadow started transferring to my crease. I haven't witnessed that problem in years. My MAC Paint Pots have never done that to me and that doesn't happen to me when I put primer on alone and then eyeshadow. So they aren't very sticky. Eyeshadow patted over the Color Tattoo looks awesome though as you can see from my swatch. It really gets nice and vibrant. That being said, MAC's C.E.O. can rest easy tonight knowing that one of their best customers isn't going to stop buying Paint Pots and covert to this stuff.

I suppose for Maybelline this is progress. Am I being too harsh? One of my favourite eyeliners ever is made by Maybelline so I am not a total heartless bitch. For cream eyeshadow at the drugstore, this is probably as good as it gets. As I said before, if you want something a little fun in your makeup bag, this is an inexpensive purchase. Get it on sale if you can. There is no way I will ever use this whole jar. It's in glass, so that is a bonus. The ingredients are no where to be found on the packaging which makes me nervous. I googled to find out what is in here. There are a couple of scary ingredients, but honestly, I was expecting the ingredient list to be far worse than it really is. Bottom line: this stuff is no where near the calibre of a MAC Paint Pot. I am just saying.

Rating: 5/10

Friday, 16 March 2012

Fresh Sugar Honey and Passion Lip Treatment - Review and Swatches

I have been meaning to do this post for ages! I don't know what I was waiting for. So I road tested two more of the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments. I got these minis along with the Sugar Plum one (which I already reviewed donkeys ago) near Christmas time from a mini set I got at Sephora. On the left we have Passion and on the right is Honey. Passion is a flaming red, although it looks kind of rosey in the swatch. For me, this colour is a bit too wild and I normally like a little wild in my life. It's what I like to call "hot tamale" red. I think this colour would look better on someone with a tan and possibly a redhead with the right honey colouring could seriously rock this colour. This lip product smells like a million bucks, as do the others, but the Plum one still smells the best to me. They all smell a little different.

On the right we have Honey. It's a nude. It's a nice nude but the colour nude never gets me excited so if you are looking for rave reviews on anything nude coloured, I am not the one to help you. I think the red one, Passion, would also look good if you have been wearing bright red lipstick all day and then you wanted to perk up what colour is left on your lips at the end of the day. The nude too would be good if you had been wearing a nude lipstick all day and then wanted a moisturizing break. I keep thinking these would look great and last longer with a lip liner, but I haven't tried that yet. I will have to get back to you on that one. A full sized tube is $26 Cdn. (whoa is right) but these really are neat and are a hybrid lipstick/balm and gloss. They are $22.50 in the U.S. Personally, Passion and Honey are nice, but I don't think at $26 I will be purchasing them again. The Plum colour (flavour? lol) I will be buying again for sure! I have two other colours from the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment line to try so those will follow soonish.

I have a ton of stuff coming up - palettes and new purchases and MAC oh my! So stay tuned.

Rating: 7/10

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Yves Saint Laurent YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch 8 Radiant Silk - Review

I bought this on a trip to the U.S. a few months back at Sephora with a 20% off V.I.B. coupon. I wouldn't have bought it otherwise as this product is outrageously expensive. It is $40 U.S. and $50 Cdn.! Unspeakable. I don't care if it is YSL. $50 for an under eye concealer is highway robbery. I kept hearing about this product online so I had to try it. I am normally between a NC20 and a NC25 for MAC concealers. I picked #8 Radiant Silk. I wasn't thrilled with the colour selection at the time, but I see that there are new shades now.

It does brighten my under eye area. It also does conceal well, but not fabulously. Personally, I have never found a concealer that I thought was fantastic for the under eye area. This is my current go to, but I would love to find something better. I don't think I will be repurchasing this considering I am not thrilled with it and it is very costly. I have been using this for months and it shows no signs of drying up. There is lots of product in the pen. The colour I have, 8 Radiant Silk, is very yellow, but of course I wanted that to cover up my dark circles. It feels nice on and it does not crease or settle into any fine lines under your eye. So that's a plus.

Rating: 7.5/10

Monday, 12 March 2012

Benefit Beyond Mascara They're Real! Mascara - Review

I am going to cut to the chase with this review. This is currently my favourite mascara. It lengthens, volumizes and curls my lashes. The curl factor is not wow with this mascara though. Use L'Oreal's Voluminous if you want more curl wow. I like this mascara because the wand and the formula are right up my alley. The wand is small so it gets in there and I can use it on my short lashes. The tip of the brush, if you can see it in my photo, has little bristles so you can get those little lashes in the corners which I always have problems getting to with regular mascaras. This mascara lifts, separates and looks glossy all day long. The box says it won't smudge, but sorry folks, it does on me when I wear glasses. It is not major smudge city, but it does a little so be forewarned!

The ingredients are what they are, but there is nothing too scary in this one which is shocking. The real shocker though is the price. It is simply outrageous. It's $29 Cdn. and $24 U.S. I am sorry, but for a product you throw out every 3 months that is sheer insanity! You can purchase this mascara at Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart here in Canada. I don't believe you can get it at the Bay anymore. When I bought this, I used some of my rewards points at Shoppers so I got $10 off. I had full on sticker shock. Come on Benefit! Do you think we are all made of money? I mean Benefit is no Chanel or Dior so where do they get off charging this price???? All that being said, am I going to buy another? Yes....but you can bet your sweet tush I will only buy it when I have enough rewards points to get a discount at Shoppers or have a fat V.I.B coupon for Sephora for 20 percent off or something. I think $29 for mascara is criminally insane. I have tried a lot of high end mascaras over the years, and yes, sometimes I have paid $20 odd dollars and cringed, but when we are talking $30, things go too far for me. The only $30 and up mascaras that I have used have been as part of a gift set or given to me as a complimentary bonus item.

This mascara did not dry out on me at the 3 month mark. Of course, you shouldn't keep mascara much beyond the 3 month mark so that fact was a of little comfort. Benefit did a great job with this one. Very innovative. I want to rate this mascara a 9/10 but I can't. The price is too painful.

Rating: 8.5/10

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Earth to Skin Heel Tastic - Review

If there is one thing I hate, it's dry feet and more so, dry heels. I hate them on me and I sure hate to see them on other people. It's dreadful on a woman and on a man....yikes. Who wants a cheese grater rubbing up next to you in bed? I don't! I swear most men need to keep their shoes on in summer if they refuse not to look after their feet. That is a whole other rant which I will save for another day. As a side note, my husband refuses to be caught barefoot, hardly ever takes his socks off, and wouldn't you know it? He has baby soft feet. Jerk!

I had seen the ads on TV over the years for this product. Sounded like a miracle! I do have two tried and true products (one being Lush Ultrabalm - please see my previous blog post from several weeks ago) which I use on my heels, but I am always looking for a less greasy, longer lasting alternative. Since this is a balm, I thought maybe this was the answer to my prayers.  I was not willing to buy into all of the hype so no, I was not moved to buy it from the TV ad. Then lo and behold I saw this product at my local Bed, Bath and Beyond store a little over a year ago. If memory serves me correctly, I paid $14.99 Cdn. for it. It is in a twist up deodorant type of container. It is 2 oz./57g. It smells like ginger. Not a light, refreshing ginger smell, but a raging, hit me in the nose, ginger on crack smell. My husband complains bitterly every time that I use it. Since I bought this a year ago, and as you see I haven't finished it, I bet you can tell where this blog is going.

There is an annoying plastic cover inside of the cap which seems like an extra useless piece. Maybe it helps lock moisture in??? Search me. I just see it as two lids to remove. The ads show women just rubbing their heels with this "stick" all quick and simple with this "balm", and then sliding into their sandals and going on their merry way. The product is thick, clumpy and messy as hell. If you rub this on your heels, it comes off in bits and chunks. You have to rub the chunks into you skin with your fingers or something. It's kind of like clumpy frosting for a cake. Does it work? Yeah, sort of. It does moisturize, but I find the product doesn't penetrate the skin that well. Sometimes, part of your heel looks dry and white after the application has dried. It will soften the skin, get rid of any superficial heel cracks initially, but by the next morning, the effects don't last. You need repeated applications a few times a day. I don't have the time nor patience for that. There are far worse products on the market, but there are also a few that are far better. I would rather use this than just plain old hand cream because it does work a bit. Personally, I won't be buying another one. I heard that the shipping charges are outrageous if you buy the product from their website.

Rating: 5.5/10

Saturday, 10 March 2012

If I Could Only Own 3 Makeup Brushes - MAC 239, 217 and 224

Today, I am going to review my 3 favourite makeup brushes which happen to all be eyeshadow brushes and surprise! are all by MAC. Behold, from left to right, the MAC 217, MAC 224 and the MAC 239. Sorry the pictures have shadows on them, I really need to improve my photography. If you read my last blog, you would know that the MAC 239 is my favourite brush. My second favourite is the MAC 217 and my third favourite is the MAC 224. As I explained in my previous blog, I lost all of my makeup brushes in a series of unfortunate events nearly 2 years ago. After I lost these brushes, I ran right out and repurchased these. The MAC 239 retails for $24.50 U.S. and $29.50 Cdn. As I previously mentioned, this is hands down the best eyeshadow brush on the market for sweeping a base colour onto your lids or packing on colour. You can also turn the brush sideways and use it to put colour in the crease or blend the crease out a bit. It offers smooth application and makes eyeshadow look fabulous on your lids.

The MAC 217, my second favourite, is a multipurpose brush. It is good for applying colour to the crease, blending out the crease and even for applying paint pots or cream shadows. This too, is the best brush of its type on the market. No contest. I have a few versions of the Sigma would be MAC 217 dupe, their E35, and there is no comparison in my mind. The Sigma version is fluffier, not as precise and is scratchy. I will save my Sigma vs. MAC brush review for another day. The MAC 217 is great for me because I do not have large eyes and I can not really use a huge crease brush. This brush retails for $22.50 U.S. and $27.00 Cdn. This is always the brush I reach for if I am doing any crease work.

The MAC 224, was the second MAC brush I ever bought after the MAC 239 which was my first love. Some people use the MAC 224 for their crease, but I find it is a bit too big for me. This brush is supposed to give you a "natural crease" look, so more blended out and not so precise. Personally, I like this brush to blend out the edges of my crease and I also like it for blending out colour anywhere on my eye where I have made a mistake or have gone in too heavy handed with colour. It blends colours together well too. So if you have a lot going on colour-wise on your eye and the look is not coming together easily, use this brush to blend. This brush is $30 U.S. and $36.50 Cdn.

I will get around to reviewing my other MAC brushes and some other brushes by other brands soon. I always found it useful to know what brush did what and if they were any good before I invested in them. At these prices, it is an investment and you don't want to make a foolish purchase, or at least I don't.

Rating: 10/10 (all 3 brushes)

Thursday, 8 March 2012

If I Could Only Own One Makeup Brush - MAC 239

So I was thinking quite a bit about MAC today (man, I have issues) and that put me in a MAC kind of mood. I have a million eyeshadow palettes that I need to review for all of you, but instead I am going to talk about my favourite makeup brush instead. Basically, if a genie came along, took all of my makeup brushes away and told me I could only have one back, I know which one I would ask for - my MAC 239. I would also likely be very upset and distraught over losing the rest of my brushes and weep helplessly for days. I honestly have no clue what I did before I discovered makeup brushes and namely, MAC brushes. I guess I used those useless little sponge applicators that come with some eyeshadows and those nasty, scratchy, stubby blush blushes that sometimes come with blushes. Yuck! I have no idea how I managed.

If any of you are starting out with a budding makeup addiction and you have no brushes, or crappy ones and wish to upgrade, I would start with the MAC 239. By the same token, if you are on a tight budget, want to start your MAC collection, look no further - buy this brush. It is $24.50 U.S. and $29.50 here in Canada. What a rip on the exchange rate! This really annoys me. I realize that $24-$30 isn't cheap. Some of you might think that is outrageous for this little brush. When it comes to plopping down this kind of money on a makeup brush you have to look at it as an investment. I have been told by MAC reps that one of their brushes, used pretty much daily, should last you about 10 years. This assumes that you do clean the brush at least occasionally and take decent care of it.

My MAC 239 brush above is my second MAC 239 brush that I have ever owned. I had my first one for about 6 years and it was in fantastic shape at the 6 year mark. I used it a lot. Then I had a series of unfortunate events, as I have mentioned in previous posts, whereby I lost every single makeup brush I owed save one, almost 2 years ago. Cut a long story short, I had a fire in my home and my brushes were ruined. The couple of brushes that I had left which were wrapped up and tucked away, which were saved from the disaster, ended up getting stolen from me by the company my insurance company hired to save, clean and store my belongings which were salvageable. If it hadn't been for this series of events, I would still have my original MAC 239 brush and would continue to have it for many more years I am sure.

I have had my current MAC brush for a little over a year and half. This is hands down the best eyeshadow brush on the market for sweeping a base colour onto your lids or packing on colour. You can also turn the brush sideways and use it to put colour in the crease or blend the crease out a bit. It offers smooth application and makes eyeshadow look fabulous on your lids. I have owned brushes by Lise Watier, Lancome, Clinique, Louise Young, Real Techniques, Sigma, Victoria's Secret, Benefit, Sonia Kashuk, Essence of Beauty, Quo, Urban Decay, bareMinerals, Bobbi Brown and the list goes on. No brush on the market, in my opinion, comes even close to replicating this one, much less exceeding it. I have never even heard in all of my online travels, of a brush that is as good as or is better than this one for the purpose it is used for. No brush can hold a candle to it. Period. I will review my top 3 favourite MAC brushes soon so you find out which ones should be your first buys if you are interested in MAC brushes. I think I am also overdue for a review on Sigma vs. MAC brushes. I will try to get to that soon.

Rating: 10/10

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

MAC Soon to be Discontinued Eyeshadows from the Permanent Line

Hello! I just thought I would share with all of you who are hard core MAC eyeshadow addicts like myself, that MAC is discontinuing some of their tried and true eyeshadows from their permanent line (I guess they were not so permanent). The shades are: Hepcat, Romp, Shimmermoss, Hush, Bisque, Juxt and Goldenrod. I personally stocked up on Hush and Bisque. I can not believe they are discontinuing Bisque! Are they mad??? That is a great crease blend out colour for us cool undertone gals. I was tempted to stock up on Romp, Hepcat and Juxt but I didn't. I think Romp is easily duped and although I never had Juxt but wanted to, I know that is not a unique colour and it is one I would not likely wear too often. I am still wavering on picking up Hepcat. What do you think? These colours in both the eyeshadow pro palette refill and in the regular container are under "Goodbyes" on MAC's website. Some of them are already sold out. I got mine from a local MAC store as they still had lots left....for now.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Stila Coconut Crush Lip & Cheek Stain - Swatches and Review

Now for something completely hideous! I sound like an intro to Monty Python. So I got this sample awhile back from Sephora as part of some freebie V.I.B. thing. This is a lip and cheek stain. I have never used one of these before. The idea of a "stain" doesn't sit well with me. To me, a stain is something that sticks and doesn't blend well. One application or kick at the can and then you are done if you mess it up. That was my assumption anyway. When I got this sample, I tossed it aside. Besides the fact that I don't like the idea of a stain, this colour is pearlized (I hate that as some of you know by now) and I thought the shade was, well, ugly.

I saw someone online sporting off one of these and I remembered that I had one of these kicking around my stash somewhere. So I tried it last week for a bit and again today. The swatch of my arm above shows the colour swatched and also blended into my arm (below the main swatch). Looks like a bruise when blended in, no? I think so. This is a kind of beige brown berry colour. The colour reminds me a bit of a nasty lip gloss I had by L'Oreal many years ago. I have applied it to my lips a couple of times. Since it is a stain, it dries fast and it accentuates every line in your lips. It also dries the hell out of them. After an hour of feeling like my lips were being suffocated and strangled, I applied some gloss. Ahhh relief. The stain actually lasted for about 5 hours before it wore off and I ate during that period of time. So I guess that is a plus.

When I first applied the colour to my lips, I thought "ewww what a nasty colour". It then dried darker than it applied and it became a somewhat flattering shade. Apparently, this product is supposed to react to your body ph level and chemistry and change colour to suit your colouring. I found that the "pearl" in it dried and spread out unevenly. I have read this complaint on other blogs too. I apologize for the pics below as they are my cheek and lips showing off the colour. These pictures may be scary for some viewers as I have no makeup on except for the stain to show the effect. Heck, these pictures scared me. In the first photo, I applied it to a bare cheek and it looked like a bruise. It is more reddish brown in real life. My skin went hot in the area and my skin started to puff up a bit and look rashy. It feels heavy and sticky. See below. In some areas, you may notice my skin looks pale pink and pearlized (that's the stain) and in other areas closer to the hairline, it looks blotchy, made me rashy and accentuates every flaw on my skin. There is no way I would ever wear this again. When I wore it over moisturizer and my foundation to work today, you could barely notice I even had anything on. I guess my skin was too far beneath the stain to react with my skin's ph level properly. Good thing too, otherwise I would have rashed.........

Excuse my baby pouty mouth above. It's a life long curse. This is a much better product as a lip stain than a cheek stain in my mind. The picture of my lips does not show the inconsistencies in the way the stain dried unevenly. At least maybe you can see the colour and see how it shows every line on your lips pre-lip gloss. The other colours that Stila has for this product look far nicer than this one. In my opinion, the shade I have is the ugliest. I don't think I would buy another shade of this even as a lip product. I would love to hear though if anyone has another colour in the product and if it looks better on their lips than this one does. This is $24 U.S. in the States and a whopping $32 Cdn. The dollar is almost at Par! That is insane. Do not get me started on the price discrepancy. Also, my tube (which twists up to work by the way) says it is only good for 3 months. 3 months????? What is this, mascara? $32 is a lot of clams for a beauty product that you only have for 3 months and only gives you a hint of colour. You would have to wear this 24/7 to even begin to get your money's worth.

As a cheek stain, I wouldn't touch this again with a 10 foot pole. Also, if it made my cheek hot and rashy, what is it doing to my lips that I don't know about?????

Rating: 0/10 as a cheek stain
Rating: 3/10 as a lip stain

Monday, 5 March 2012

Softsoap Naturals Milk & Honey Ultra Moisturizing Body Wash - Review

I used this product this morning and I felt compelled to do a review asap. I had a fair sized sample of this kicking around my bathroom for a while. I was missing my John Masters body wash (see my blog on this from February) and I wanted something soothing for my winter weary skin.

Normally, I don't go in for these drug store chemical cocktail body washes. There is a reason, and this product is prime example of why I don't. The smell of this product isn't terrible, but it isn't great. It smells unnaturally sickly sweet. Good thing I couldn't even smell it on myself anymore as I was stepping out of the shower! Instant smell evaporation. It lathered well, but the lather was neither creamy nor luxurious. It is pearlized city and I hate that. I didn't even feel clean after I used it. "Naturals" it says. The ingredient list is not horribly long but it certainly has it's fair share of chemicals in it. Personally, I don't like the idea of rubbing a plethora of chemicals all over my body. A little bit of eyeliner or eyeshadow for a day maybe, but a body wash? I would rather not.

I didn't apply much lotion to my skin because I wanted to see how well this moisturized as I usually do on Day 1 of using a new shower gel, especially one that claims to be moisturizing. Hahahahahahaha. By 9:30 a.m. I was scratching the hell out of my skin. I looked at my arms. Scaly and dry. Eww. My legs....let's not even go there. I was feverishly rubbing lotion in as many places as are socially acceptable at one's desk in a office. I guess I should be glad I didn't break out in a rash. Never again.

Rating: 0/10 (Brutal, brutal, pumpkin strudel)

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sigma Beauty Dry'n Shape - Review and Pictures

Today I am going to review Sigma Beauty's Dry'n Shape. This is quite unique. It is a makeup brush drying and reshaping system an/or tool. It can be purchased from and it is $29 U.S. but I bought mine with an online coupon before Christmas time for $24 U.S. plus tax and shipping. I don't remember what the tax and shipping were, but I remember that it was a reasonable amount.

I have a few of my brushes drying in the picture above. When using this product, your brushes are supposed to be dry in 4-6 hours guaranteed. To be honest, I have waited more than 6 hours and sometimes my brushes are not fully dry. Most of the time they are dry in 4-6 hours, but not every brush and not every time. One thing you can do and I haven't tried it, is to take the case, button it together backwards and dry the brushes upside down (as shown on Sigma's website). Maybe that is the trick? I will have to try that and get back to you. Have any of you tried it? Does it work better that way?

When I used to wash my brushes, before I had this contraption, I would lay them out on a towel to dry overnight. They were not always dry even 8, 10 or 12 hours later. If you forgot to wash your brushes on a Friday night (who does that?) you didn't always have clean brushes for Saturday night's makeup application even if you washed them in the morning or early afternoon. At least with the Dry'n Shape, odds are, if you wash them early afternoon, that at least most of them will be dry for Saturday night. Also, whenever I am travelling, I leave washing my brushes until the night before or the morning of. With the Dry n' Shape, you now have a chance to get them washed and dried in time to be packed.

My main beef with this product is the lack of space for small brushes. I use way more small brushes than large ones and I wash the smaller ones much more often as a result. There is, at best, room for two small brushes. When I say small, I am talking a Sigma E35 or MAC 217 brush. There are no spots in this roll for a MAC 239 or 219 or smaller. I sometimes wonder if I should dry two brushes together so they will fit in one of the slots. I think that is kind of silly though and they may not reshape properly that way. As you can see from the picture above, my MAC 239 and 217 could easily fit in the second to smallest slot and there would be room left! What I like best about the Dry'n Shape is the fact that it reshapes your brushes back to their original shape. Especially with large brushes, this is essential. When you dry them on their own on a towel say, they don't always look so great the next day. The reshaping feature alone makes this product worth buying in my mind. The price is pretty good too I think.

Rating: 7.5/10 (more space for smaller brushes would be nice and I wish they all did dry in 4-6 hrs.)

Saturday, 3 March 2012

My Favourite Eye Cream Origins Eye Doctor - Review

I naturally have nasty dark circles under my eyes. In my case there are 3 causes: genetics, occasional iron deficiency and insomnia. I can't win. I have tried a ton of eye creams over the years. Some are better than others. This one is my favourite - Origins Eye Doctor. I am currently on my second jar. Some of you might have read my previous blog about the Origins Starting Over eye cream, which I didn't think much of. I was persuaded by the lady at the Origins counter to try it since I loved the Eye Doctor one so much. No comparison in my mind. This one smells like cucumber and is very moisturizing. My eyes feel so comfortable and happy after using this product. They feel great the next morning too after I have worn it to bed. The best part? This lightens my dark under eye circles. It actually works!

In addition to the Eye Doctor and Starting Over eye creams by Origins that I have tried, I have two other Origins eye creams in my cupboard. One I will be reviewing shortly. That one is not bad but no where as good as this stuff. I have another large sample of a fourth one which I have not tried yet. I don't want to because I really never want to leave the Eye Doctor eye cream ever again. I guess for educational purposes I will have to at some point.

To give you an idea how how good this stuff is, I had an eye's worst nightmare last night. I watched a tear jerker movie and sobbed like a fool. My eyes puffed up as a result. All evening and night, we had a nasty hail and wind storm. Since my husband was travelling a great distance on the highway last night, coupled with the storm, I waited up for my husband to come home whom was out with the boys. I had barely slept more than 4 or 5 hours a night all week (insomnia curse). So my husband gets home at 2:30 a.m. and at the same time my next door neighbour's booty call arrived. They kept us up until 4 a.m. It was kind of funny. The storm raged on all night and I, like many of the people I know, kept waking up every hour all night long. I then had to roll out of bed early because I had a hair appointment. My eyes should have looked like hell warmed over. They didn't. Much of the puffiness from crying was gone and my dark under eye circles never looked lighter. All because of this eye cream. I am a believer! This retails for $32.50 U.S. and I think around $36 Cdn. It is one of Origins' cheaper eye creams too! May they never discontinue this.

Rating: 10/10

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Makeup Geek MUG Eyeshadow Starter Kit and Z Palette - Review and Swatches

I have been meaning to do this review/blog for ages! Finally, I am getting around to it. I got this starter kit around Christmas time from For those of you who are not up on your makeup gurus, this site is run by Marlena and her team who do makeup tutorials, product reviews and the like. I personally love her website and her tutorials. At the end of last year, Marlena launched her own line of eyeshadows. She has over 50 colours at the moment and they are gorgeous! They are $5.99 U.S. each and shipping to Canada is very minimal. Whenever I have purchased something from them, the cost is only a few dollars to Canada and the products arrive pretty fast. I have made a number of purchases from that site over the last couple of years and plan to do some more for sure.

The cost of the starter kit was $45 U.S. You get 8 eyeshadows which Marlena has pre-selected for the set. Each eyeshadow is 1.8g. MAC's eyeshadows are 1.5g to put that in perspective for you. The Z palette which my eyeshadows are in above does not come with the starter kit. The price of this size of Z palette was $13.99 from the Makeup Geek store. There are other colours if you are not into zebra. You can also get larger Z palettes from the site for $18.99 and $27.99. I personally like the small palette, but the larger ones are a better overall deal. When I first saw the Z palettes online, I thought that they looked cheap and lame compared to the MAC palettes. I own a couple of the 15 eyeshadow MAC palettes and a few MAC eyeshadow quad palettes. I don't feel safe travelling with the MAC 15 eyeshadow palettes. I feel pretty safe travelling with the MAC quads. The Z palette is actually a lot more sturdy than I expected. I would feel safe travelling with the 9 spot Z palette. The clear plastic top is very hard and the rest of it is really solid and tough. You can also mix and match eyeshadows to put in it from MAC and Makeup Geek or whatever brand too if you like. The bottom of the Z palette is magnetic so that the eyeshadow pans stay put.

Back to the eyeshadows. The swatch colours are left to right and row by row for the palette above is as follows: Shimma Shimma, Purely Naked, Glamorous, Unexpected, Cocoa Bear, Mocha, Purple Rain and Corrupt. My favourite is Unexpected hands down. This is a great crease colour when you don't want brown and is great for us cooler skinned gals. I keep staring at it in the mirror when I wear it. I like to wear it with MAC's Shroom. I have not tried these eyeshadows without a primer, so I can not speak to whether they crease or not. I would imagine they do since they are not marketed as creaseless. My least favourite is Shimma Shimma. I am sure someone will tell me that I mad for saying that. It looks terrible on the lid, or at least it does on my lid, because it looks too thick and cakey on the lid for some reason and in the inner corner/tear duct area. It looks great as a brow highlight though! I wish there had been a neutral lid colour in this starter set to pull it all together. I think the idea was for Purely Naked to be that lid colour, but on me its too dark for that purpose. I like Purely Naked to warm up the brow bone and blend out the crease colour. It's kind of like a quasi dupe of MAC's Soft Brown or Tete a Tint.

The colour that shocked me the most in a bizarre way was Glamorous. It looks gold in the pan and on the Makeup Geek website. On me, it is orange! Flaming Fall Leaf orange. I don't wear a lot of that type of colour, but I found it interesting on and I will certainly be experimenting with it in the future. It is surprisingly flattering and I think a lot of different skin colours could pull it off. Cocoa Bear reminds me of a bit of a dupe for MAC's Folie. It works well in the crease with Glamorous on the lid. Mocha and Purple Rain are the least pigmented of these colours in my opinion. That being said, all of these colours are highly pigmented. When I say Mocha and Purple Rain are the least pigmented, it just means that they are still decently pigmented, just not as much so as the others. I have never seen a black like Corrupt before. This is hit me in the eye BLACK. If you are looking for a black eyeshadow with crazy payoff, look no further. I did have minor fall out with Corrupt but nothing major.

These are all high quality eyeshadows that could seriously pass for high end eyeshadows. The list of ingredients is very short and there is nothing scary on the list. For $5.99 each, there is nothing on the market in my mind that can compare. These eyeshadows are a steal for what you get. You could only buy 3 MAC eyeshadows for the price of this starter kit. I still love my MAC eyeshadows, don't get me wrong, I will still be purchasing those with gusto. It looks like there is a new kid in town though. I checked out the online reviews of these eyeshadows before I made the purchase and I only heard positive reviews. I think it would have been more beneficial for me to have been able to pick the 8 colours in the starter set for my own purposes, but I can see why Marlena chose the ones that she did. I have my eye on Country Girl, Mermaid, Duchess, Poolside, Sea Mist and Razzleberry myself. You should check them out.

Rating: 9/10

EcoTools Loofah Facial Sponges - Review

I bought these EcoTools Loofah 6 facial sponges late last Fall at an Ulta store in the U.S.  Why, oh why, are there no Ulta stores in Canada? I think I have a long overdue rant about Ulta coming very soon and it will be its own blog entry. Anyway, back to the goods. So I bought this for $1.79 U.S. if memory serves me correctly. That's a bargain and a half. I am not sure if they sell these in Canada. I know Wal-Mart sells EcoTools here so I will have to have a look. As you can see, these are little round sponges which swell when wet. You basically apply your cleanser or soap to your face and then buff the cleanser into your face with this sponge. You can apply your cleanser directly to the sponge but I find that doesn't work so well as you get less lather (if your cleanser even lathers ever of course).This is a great product for buffing off dead skin cells and waking up your skin. Personally, I like a good scrub, otherwise I don't always feel my face is clean. Also, when I don't scrub, my makeup doesn't glide on as well. I'm just saying.

I am on my second sponge. I confess I do not use these daily so I am not going through them like mad. I just place one I have used in a place where it can dry so it is ready for the next use. I believe you shouldn't use these when your skin is inflamed and/or in the midst of a breakout. It may be too harsh for your skin during those times. I have used it over patches of inflamed skin and I don't recommend it. It just irritates the area more and makes it angry. Stick to the areas that are calm and in good shape and then this helps the area stay that way or improve. The package says that these sponges gently cleanse, exfoliate and are made of natural material. For a $1.79, hey, this product can not be beat.

Rating: 9/10 (would be 10/10 if you could use it on your skin all of the time regardless of its condition)