Tuesday, 23 July 2013

e.l.f. Contouring Blush & Bronzer in St. Lucia - Review and Swatches

I think this is not only the first e.l.f. product that I have reviewed, it is also the first e.l.f. makeup product that I ever bought. This is a recent acquisition. I bought it in the States a couple of months ago. It's very difficult to get e.l.f. products here in Canada. I've only seen them in the likes of Winners or Marshalls and that is hit and miss at best. I am hoping that the Canadian Target will start selling more than just e.l.f. brushes one of these days.

This a blush and bronzer duo in St. Lucia. There are two other colours that e.l.f. makes in this duo if you are interested. This is one of the few e.l.f. products that doesn't have parabens in it. Shocking, I know. That's why I decided to buy it.

I think this duo is kind of pretty. The blush reminds me of a cheap version of Orgasm by NARS. I mean that with no disrespect as this duo is $3.00. Yes, $3.00! You buy a $3.00 blush and bronzer set, you get a $3.00 blush and bronzer set. Okay, now I am getting carried away. This duo is actually worth more than $3.00 but shhhh don't tell e.l.f. that. The blush is very flattering on and is a peachy pink shimmer. The texture isn't the greatest. It feels a bit rough and slightly chalky.

The bronzer looks a bit muddy on. I can't stress enough that you really need to us a light hand applying this. It goes very dark, very fast and it is bit tricky to blend out. This bronzer is super pigmented. The blush, despite the poor swatch I took, is also decently pigmented. I think this duo would look better on someone with a tan or someone with a medium skin tone. It is wearable though for lighter skin tones. Both the blush and the bronzer are long wearing and will last all day long.

Here are the swatches in two different lights.

A word of warning. When I wore the blush for a week straight, I noticed tiny bumps started developing on my cheeks. Now it might have been a hormonal time of the month thing, but I thought should mention this. Once I stopped using it, the bumps disappeared within a couple of days. I have since worn this blush a day here and a day there and have had no further issues. If you do have sensitive skin or plan on wearing this religiously, you might want to bear this in mind.

For $3.00, this is a steal especially if you are on a budget. It's nice to get a reasonably close NARS Orgasm dupe too for the money. I bought this for curiousity's sake. No, this does not compare to higher end blush and bronze duos. It's $3.00 so don't expect miracles, but for $3.00, it is a mighty fine purchase.

Packaging: 7/10 (hello can we say NARS rip off only cheaper packaging)   
Pigmentation: 8/10
Easy to Work With: 8/10 Blush     4/10 Bronzer
Longevity: 9/10
Texture: 2/10
Price: 10/10
Ingredients: 6/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10 (for overnight travel and daily purse travel)
Attractiveness of Product: 9/10 Blush     4/10 Bronzer
Would I buy this again? No 
Overall Rating: 7/10 

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector - Review, Swatch and a Beef

Hello! Sorry for the picture of what is left of my squeezed up tube above. This is Clinique's Even Better Dark Circle Corrector. I had heard that this product was good so I thought I would give it a try. It was not cheap. It was $49 Canadian. I bought it around last Christmas but I didn't bust it out until about 10 weeks ago. The information says that after 12 weeks, users noticed the skin area under their eyes was firmer and dark circles were 30% diminished/improved. I think 12 weeks is a long time to wait to see results, but I realize that these things take time.

I noticed within about two weeks time that the skin under my eyes was noticeably firmer. It was starting to feel very thin and that was freaking me out. I guess I am getting older. After using this for the past 10 or so weeks I can say that the skin under my eyes is distinctly firmer and I am very glad for that improvement alone. It took about 8 weeks for me to notice my under eye area looking a tiny bit lighter. Here at 10 weeks, it is a little lighter than 2 weeks ago. My under eye area has not improved as much as I would like, but considering Clinique is only promising 30% lighter, than I guess maybe I will get near that and that is all I can expect. A few weeks ago I was thinking that I wouldn't bother to repurchase this but since I finally started noticing the dark area lighting a touch, along with the firmer eye area benefit, maybe it is worth repurchasing.

Here is a dollop of the stuff and what it looks like blended out. It is skin tone coloured (a bit on the yellow side) and blends right in. I don't feel that it offers any coverage by the way. It just absorbs into your skin.

Okay, now for my beef. For the past 3 weeks I have been straining the tube trying to get a little out for use. I have succeeded each and every day, but I realize the end of the tube is very near. My beef is that I need to use this product for 12 weeks to see results. So then how come one tube doesn't last for at least the initial trial period???? At $49 a pop, I expect to get enough product which will at least see me through to the end of the supposed results period. Do you agree with me? This is a bit crazy I think.

The applicator tip inside the tube is cold steel and it supposedly helps reduce bags under the eyes. I don't have bags so I can't vouch for how well that works. I can say that it is very cold and stays that way throughout the life of the tube.

Packaging: 8/10 
Pigmentation: 5/10 (not sure if there is supposed to be serious pigmentation in the product) 
Easy to Work With: 6/10 (hard to get product out sometimes and you still need your finger)
Moisturizing: 6/10
Texture: 7/10
Gets Rid of Bags: don't know
Price: 3/10
Ingredients: 7/10
Quantity of Product: 1/10 
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Gets Rid of Dark Circles: 6/10 
Strengthens Under Eye Area: 9/10
Would I buy this again? I think so maybe   
Overall Rating: 6/10 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Sigma Beauty Resort Palette - Review and Swatches

Today's review of the newish Sigma Beauty Resort palette is going to be a bit mixed. Aren't all my reviews of Sigma palettes mixed? I think so. Anyway, I bought this a few weeks ago with a coupon code for 10% off. It is $42 U.S. regular price. The shipping was very steep this time ($14.75!!!) and as a result I nearly didn't make the purchase. Normally, I don't find Sigma's shipping rates to be unreasonable, but this time they were. Here are the ingredients - hopefully, you can read them. Overall, the ingredients are not terrible but not fantastic either.

First of all, I would like to talk about the concept. I think it was very clever of Sigma to do a "resort" themed palette especially during the summer months when people have vacations on their minds. The colours remind me of tropical birds and flowers. The colours together make the palette one of the most attractive palettes that I have seen in a little while.


Sigma, I give you props for originality. I felt inspired by this palette and it has been awhile since I felt that way. In the palette you get 8 eye shadows, one blush, a luminizer and a dual ended eye liner. The eye shadow colours are from left to right, Muse, Fawn, Luna, Topaz, Papaya, Moonbeam, Neela and Midori. The blush which is a warm peach is Heavenly. The luminizer is Luminesce and the eye liner is Daydream and Earth Goddess.

The packaging is big and bulky as usual. Yuck. Not travel friendly at all. There is a large mirror in the palette. I think you can get a number of solid looks out of this palette - both neutral and colourful. You could just leave this on your dresser for weeks and use it, and it alone, for your eye looks.

Okay, so let's get to the not so good stuff. The payoff and pigmentation of the eye shadow colours is abominable. Dreadful. Worst I have seen in months. Scary actually. I am suddenly having bad flashbacks to the Tiffany D Defining Eyes palette. Both were made by Sigma.....hmmm. I cannot believe how well these eye shadows swatch because I can't get squat onto my lids without a whole lot of effort. They are not long lasting unless you layer them on top of coloured cream bases. I tried to wear these with just an eye shadow primer and I could barely see them. I used my MAC Painterly Paint Pot and it helped a little but seriously, these need a bright eye shadow coloured base to really show up and pop. I cannot stress this enough. Eye shadow primer alone is not going to cut it.

From left to right above we have the eye liners in Daydream and Earth Goddess, then the luminizer in Luminesce. Heavenly, the blush, is next followed by Muse, Fawn and Luna.

From left to right above we have Topaz, Papaya, Moonbeam, Neela and Midori. I would have to say that Muse, Papaya, Moonbeam and Neela are my favourites here. Like I said, you need a coloured eye shadow base under them or forget about it. Papaya is very similar to MAC's Paradisco and could be considered a near dupe. I have to give honourable mention to Topaz too. It is not an exciting colour but it blends really well, is smooth and is a very good warm light brown. I don't have anything like it in my collection and I own a lot of eye shadow my friends!
Overall, the eye shadows are smooth, soft, creamy and blend easily. The pigmentation issue is their #1 downfall which makes the palette...well....kind of crappy.
Neela is gorgeous and looks awesome on top of the Daydream eye liner. The staying power when you wear the two together on the lower waterline or lower lash is very impressive.
Okay, moving on. Heavenly is one of the nicest blushes that I have stumbled upon in a long time. It's smooth, blends well, is long wearing and is perfect for summer. It's the perfect neutral peach (not too warm and not too cool). I seriously think anyone could wear this colour. This blush makes the palette as far as I am concerned.
The luminizer I could take or leave. It's alright but liquid luminizers don't tend to get me very hot and bothered.
The eye liner is very nice. Both colours are. Both are long lasting and totally wearable. Not sure how Sigma pulled this one out of their bums when the eye shadows are so poor quality, but the eye liner is good stuff. When I go on vacation next I will likely take the eye liner pencil but leave the rest of the palette at home.
Packaging: 4/10 (bulky, gross)   
Pigmentation: 2/10 Eye Shadows  10/10 Blush   8/10 Eye Liners
Easy to Work With: 7/10 (would be 10/10 if not for the poor pigmentation)
Longevity: 2/10 Eye Shadows  10/10 Blush   8/10 Eye Liners
Colour Stays True: 5/10
Texture: 9/10 (they are smooth and silky)
Price: 6/10 (would be better value if the shipping wasn't off the wall)
Ingredients: 6/10
Travel Worthy: 3/10 (bulky)
Attractiveness of Product: 7/10 (would be 10/10 if not for the poor pigmentation)
Would I buy this again? No (but I would pick up the blush and maybe the eye liners)
Overall Rating: 6/10

Monday, 15 July 2013

Cover FX Natural Finish Oil Free Foundation N25 - Review and Swatch

I bought this as part of an online Sephora haul that I did 2 or 3 months ago. This is a Canadian product which was developed at a hospital I believe for the purpose of providing therapeutic benefits and environmental protection while being free of all irritants and suitable for even the most sensitive skin. They sell this product at the Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart and Sephora to name a few places. I have always been curious about this foundation. I like the fact that there aren't too many chemicals in it.

So a few months ago Marlena from Makeup Geek did a review on this product and raved about it. Although I love my Estee Lauder Double Wear and Double Wear Light foundations, they have a lot of ingredients. I decided to take the plunge and try this. I am sad to report that it is simply not for me. Even though I bought the oil free formula, I would highly recommend staying far away from this product if you have oily skin. If you have dry skin, you may love this product. I have oily skin as you have probably guessed.

On the plus side, you don't need to use a lot of this product to cover your face. On the down side, I don't find that the coverage is fantastic. Supposedly it is buildable, but I never bothered to try applying layer upon layer to see for sure because this product is sooooo greasy. My skin is so shiny when I wear this, it is crazy. Seriously. I look like a sweaty hot mess after a few hours of wearing this even though I am not sweating. It looks like I rubbed butter all over my face. It's almost as if the product just sits on your skin and glides around and I don't like that.

If I accidentally touch my face throughout the day, the foundation comes off on my fingers and it is greasy and wet! It's greasy....did I say greasy yet??? It's gross and embarrassing. I have tried putting powder over it and it's the same problem - grease lightning.

Here is a dollop or swatch I will say and to the right of it is the colour blended into my skin. I bought N25 and it is very yellow. I am not convinced that this is the right colour for me either by the way. The colours are supposed to be based on MAC's foundation system. In MAC products, I am between a NC20 and a NC25. Cover FX's N25 is supposed to be for neutral undertones but it certainly is not a neutral colour in my book.

I am debating whether or not to take this back to Sephora. I have used it at least half a dozen times. I might save it for winter and see if it is wearable then when my skin is drier. I doubt it though. Has anyone had any experience with this product? Tried it in winter perhaps? Please let me know because as it stands right now, I am really disappointed with this.

Packaging: 8/10 
Pigmentation: 5/10 
Easy to Work With: 7/10
Longevity: 1/10
Texture: 1/10 (it's like butter and not in a good way)  
Price: 6/10
Ingredients: 10/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10 
Attractiveness of Product: 1/10
Would I buy this again? Hell NO
Overall Rating: 2/10 (I'm weighing the greasy factor heavily here)

Friday, 12 July 2013

Friday Fun - Essie Nice is Nice Review and Swatch?

Okay, I know I don't do Friday Fun all that often, but I have something today so let's get to it. I changed my toenail polish to Essie's Nice is Nice a week ago and it is still going strong. Nice is Nice is from an Essie French Riviera themed collection that was out a few years ago. I checked though and it is still available. I have a mini size. It is described as a whimsical light lavender. To add some oomph I added OPI's Lights of the Emerald City to my big toe (that sounds so not hot) which is from that Oz collection from a few months back. Kind of cute I think. It was a big change for me after wearing China Glaze's Pink Voltage for a few weeks. Next week I am French Pedicure bound!

The nail polish is holding up really well. No chips, cracks or any other funny business. It went on smooth with no lumps or bump issues. It dried fast. I should wear Essie more often!

Packaging: 10/10
Pigmentation: 7/10 (you need minimum 2 coats)  
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Longevity: 10/10
Texture: 10/10
Price: 8/10
Ingredients: 8.5/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Attractiveness of Product: 8/10
Would I buy this again? Sure, it would look nice for a summer wedding or shower! 
Overall Rating: 9/10

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Wet n Wild Coloricon Bronzer SPF 15 743A Reserve Your Cabana - Review and Swatch

As many of you know, I detest a lot of drug store makeup. Wet n Wild has been getting some seriously good reviews though over the past few years. I took the opportunity when I was in the States a couple of months ago to make good on Kmart's Buy 1 Get One 50 percent off sale. So I bought this bronzer. Um it isn't a bronzer, it's a highlight so Wet n Wild you might want to reconsider your labelling. This was $3.99 and I got another bronzer for half of that. Not too shabby.

I like this. It looks pretty on and it's super easy to use. You get a lot of product - 0.46 oz. or 13g. That is some serious value! It even has SPF. Sheesh! I find that when I use this it lasts all day and I don't need to reapply. The ingredients are not fantastic but they are a lot better than most Wet n Wild products. I was a bit shocked that the ingredient list is short for this product and that there are no parabens. It has a cute sun design on the product.
The packaging is ok - a bit big. Not sure I would want to travel with this and it is not purse friendly. It is very pigmented. The formula is soft and silky. Here are the swatches:

At this price, this is a deal and a half. It's better than a lot of higher end highlighters that I have. What do you think about that?

Packaging: 6/10 (cheap looking and big - for the price/quantity I can only complain so much)  
Pigmentation: 9/10
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Longevity: 9/10
Texture: 8/10
Price: 10/10
Ingredients: 7/10
Travel Worthy: 2/10 (no way)
Attractiveness of Product: 9/10
Would I buy this again? Yes (but it is so big I likely will never have to)
Overall Rating: 8/10 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Korres Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara - Review

Hello! Today I am going to review the new Korres Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara in the colour Obsidian Black. I think this mascara only comes in one colour anyway. I got this free with some of my rewards points from Sephora. I wasn't going to get it, but one of the sales people from Sephora talked me into it. Since Korres keeps a lot of nasty chemicals out of their products and because the sales person told me it was going to increase my lash volume by 600%, I thought what the hell?! Worse case scenario, I could do a review on this for all of you and tell you if it sucked. 

The good news is that it doesn't suck. Not at all. I was surprised. Honestly, since I hate most mascaras on the market, I thought I would hate this, but I don't. I kind of love it. Rather than tell you what this mascara is supposed to do for you, I will simply copy the description from Sephora's website. So here it is. 

What it is: The blackest, black mascara derived from volcanic soil that increases lash volume by 600 percent.

What it does:
This Obsidian black is formulated with volcanic minerals for the deepest, darkest color and an explosive increase in lash volume. These rich pigments blend with natural film formers to create a flexible yet strong coating that covers every lash. Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara provides a glossy, luminous finish with a flexible conditioned feel, without any smudging or flakes for optimal, long-wearing benefits. The tapered brush head with unique cross-hatch bristles ensures smooth, clump-free application that grabs even the tiniest microlashes.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Sulfates
- Synthetic Fragrances
- Petrochemicals
- Phthalates
- GMOs
- Triclosan  

Although the claim that this mascara increases lash volume by 600 percent may be a bit of a stretch (no pun intended) it does increase my lash volume and length very noticeably and significantly. I was impressed. This product is unlike any other mascara I have ever tried. It gives you big, fluffy, whispy lashes. It's a soft look but with some serious drama. This stuff is perfect for daytime wear. Whatever is in this mascara (volcanic minerals I guess!) really adheres to your lashes and poofs them up. This mascara for me is both volumizing and lengthening. It leaves your lashes feeling super soft and fluffy. Now when last did your mascara do that???

When I use this, my lashes are super lightweight and fluffy. Touchable. If you hate the heavy feeling of mascara, you will love this product. I feel I look very doll eyed wearing this. You could wear this out clubbing I suppose, but this is not jet black enough and dramatic enough for me if I were to say go clubbing. If you have a little patience, you can really build this mascara up to some serious volume and length with a few coats. It's $26 Canadian and $20 U.S. This will be a repurchase for me. Since I am going to the States again soon, I might just pick some up at the lower price. It isn't supposed to smudge, but I find it does a little bit on me. Just warning you, but nothing major. No flakes though.

The brush is not what I typically go for as it is a traditional bristly brush, but this one gets in there and gets the job done.

Packaging: 10/10
Pigmentation: 8/10
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Longevity: 8/10
Texture: 10/10
Price: 8/10
Ingredients: 10/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Attractiveness of Product: 9/10 (could be blacker) 
Would I buy this again? Absolutely Yes!!!!!!!!!!! 
Overall Rating: 9/10

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Benefit World Famous Neutrals Sexiest Nudes Ever Eyeshadow Kit - Review and Swatches

Happy 4th of July to my American readers and friends!!!!!

I am going to jump into today's blog. I have to say that I was not happy with this purchase. A part of me is questioning why I haven't returned this to Sephora. It costs $36 Canadian and $30 U.S. I bought this primarily because I love the packaging. I am a sucker for anything "world fair" like or turn of century carnival stuff.

Where should I begin.....well there are two "creaseless" cream shadows - one in Bikini-Tini (oyster pink) and Holy Smokes! (smoldering charcoal). These are super tiny at 0.11 oz. or 3.2g each. My first beef is that neither of these cream shadows are creaseless per se on me. The Bikini-Tini, which is more champagne gold to my eyes than oyster pink, has almost zero pigment and completely disappears on my eyelid as soon as I apply it. It does, however, manage to keep my eye shadow creaseless for about 14 hours before it starts to slightly crease.

Holy Smokes! on the other hand, is a lot more pigmented, however, it starts to crease badly by the 8th hour of wear. The colour is very nice though as a base and it is easy to work with.

On to the eye shadows which are 1.2g or 0.04 oz. each. Milk It! is a shimmery pearly white. The colour is ok. If you have a lot of eye shadows, trust me, you have a better shimmery white in your collection. Raincheck? is actually a very pretty smoky amethyst which I have grown to really like. That being said, the pigmentation is subpar. You really have to build this colour on your lid to get decent payoff.

Pause for Applause. This is an interesting one. It has almost zero payoff and nil pigmentation. It is one of the saddest eye shadows that I have tried in a long time. The kicker is that if you have patience and build it up on your lid, it starts to look more pigmented and look quite attractive as the day goes on. Bizarre I know. So it has staying power but very little colour. Finally, we have Blingo! which is by far the most pigmented of the eye shadows and possibly the most attractive. I own a lot of crappy silver eye shadows, but this one is actually one of the best silvers I have seen in a while.

Here are the swatches - from left to right is Milk It!, Raincheck?, Pause for Applause, Blingo!, Bikini-Tini and Holy Smokes!

Overall, the palette is very bland to me. I was expecting better pigmentation and also for the cream eye shadows to be better quality. I picked this set over the other similar Benefit nude palettes with this same theme because nudes and browns don't excite me. I am now wondering if one of those other two would have been a better choice.

Packaging: 8/10 (cute as heck but unnecessarily bulky)  
Pigmentation: 4/10 (Bikini-Tini and Pause for Applause are particularly tragic)
Easy to Work With: 4/10 (see above comment)
Longevity: 2/10 (cream shadows) and 6/10 (eye shadows)
Colour Stays True: 6/10
Texture: 7.5/10 (they are smooth and silky)
Price: 7/10
Ingredients: 7/10
Travel Worthy: 6/10 (bulky)
Attractiveness of Product: 4/10
Would I buy this again? No 
Overall Rating: 5/10

Monday, 1 July 2013

My New Favourite Foot Cream - L'Occitane en Provence Shea Butter Dry Skin Foot Cream - Review

To my Canadian readers, Happy Canada Day! So what better way to kick off Canada Day but with a review of a foot cream! Okay, that was a bad pun. My picture above is horrible. Who wants to see a squeezed up tube? Let's try this again.

That's a bit better. As some you loyal readers may know, I ranted and raved a year plus ago about how much I love my Lush Ultabalm for my feet. I love that product but it is a bit greasy. That can be a tad annoying. Lo and behold, I discovered this brand a few months ago and decided to try their foot cream a couple of months ago. Wow, is all I can say. This stuff is amazing. I applied it right after the winter months pre-pedicure and I was amazed. This really works well on dry feet. I wish I could hand this stuff out to some crusty heeled people I see in the street! It's not greasy either so it absorbs quickly. This is all I use now on my feet. The tube I got is the big one, 150 ml or 5.2 oz. This is going to last me all summer and beyond. I believe this also comes in a smaller travel size.  
This tube cost me $28 U.S. as I bought it on my recent trip to the U.S. It's around $30 Canadian I think and well worth every cent. The product is supposed to smell of lavender, but to me it smells like a "hippie" scent. It is the one negative feature of the item for me. I think some people may like the scent though, I just am not crazy about it. The good news is that the smell dissipates rather quickly - usually within 30 minutes. My husband is not fond of the smell but it forgets I applied it soon enough. I think the product may also have some deodorizing qualities.  Bottom line though is that I LOVE this.
Packaging: 8/10
Longevity: 9.5/10
Texture: 9/10
Price: 7/10
Ingredients: 7.5/10
Travel Worthy: 4/10 (get the smaller one for travel as this sucker is mammoth)
Attractiveness of Product: 9/10
Would I buy this again? Absolutely!!!!!!!!!!!
Overall Rating: 8.5/10