Friday, 30 October 2015

Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in 13 Marvelous Mauve - Review and Swatch

I don't usually give a thought to Sephora brand cosmetics. They aren't particularly cheap and frankly, they as a brand have never proved themselves to me nor do their products interest me much in general. Maybe it's the no frills packaging. Nevertheless, I was intoxicated by the sight of a lip colour that Marlena from Makeup Geek was wearing several months ago in a video. It was none other than the Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 13 Marvelous Mauve as shown above. Had to try this out. It's my kind of colour!

The packaging is a big snore. That isn't a deal breaker for me. This product has a very strong smell and not everyone will like it. To me, it smells like synthetic whipped frosting. Depending on my mood, the smell can be quite appealing. The smell dissipates once applied within a few minutes. The product itself is really thick and clumpy. It applies completely smooth though. You don't need to apply much and it dries within a few minutes. It's super comfortable at first, but it starts to feel dry within an hour. Now it's not mega dry, but it's dry. Some people may not like that. If you have fine lines on your lips, you may not be so keen either. If it's gets to be too much dryness for me, I dab a touch of lip gloss on it and it's perked right up and is more comfortable again.

Here is a swatch. Please note that it dries a lot darker than the tube indicates, but it is a really nice colour. I have received some compliments on it and inquiries as to what it is.

This colour is really "in" right now as it is a brown berry. The staying power of this product is fantastic. It lasts for hours and through multiple drinks, snacks and meals. It has quickly become a favourite in my lipstick rotation. It has a plain doe foot wand. The smell does make me a little nervous as I am wondering what is in there. The ingredients don't look too damning but there is Petrolatum in it. A tube of this is $18 Canadian or $14 U.S. Since it is a Sephora brand product, I think that is a bit steep on the surface, but the product is really good so it's worth the money. I am really happy with this colour so I am not sure if I want to try another shade. Have any of you tried these?

Packaging: 6/10
Pigmentation: 10/10
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Longevity: 10/10
Texture: 7/10
Price: 8/10
Ingredients: 8/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Attractiveness of Product: 10/10
Would I buy this again? YES
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

tarte Energy Noir Clay Palette - Review and Swatches

I have been such a bad blogger for the last week and a half. I meant to have this review up over a week ago. I have been away from home on business a couple of times over the last two weeks so I am behind with everything! My apologies. Okay, Tarte palette talk time!

Those of you who regularly read my blog know that I love me some Tarte. Some of my favourite palettes ever are from Tarte. Sad thing is, they are always limited edition. In addition to loving me some Tarte, I love me some purple eyeshadow! Works well with my brown eyes. So Tarte + purple eyeshadow is simply a winning combination.

I bought this palette at Sephora for $46 Canadian or $38 U.S. Personally, I think that is a good value for this palette. I am going to go ahead and copy what this palette contains straight from Sephora's website:

This palette contains:- 6 x 0.035 oz Amazonian clay eye shadow in Full Moon, Charged Up, Dark Drive, Stone Unturned, Up Too Slate, Misty Mauve
- 2 x 0.045 oz Amazonian clay eye shadow in Power Plum, Lunar Eclipse
- 0.045 oz Amazonian clay highlighter in Crystal Spark
- 1.91 oz Amazonian clay 12-Hour blush in Unearthed
- Step-by-step Guide
A full sized Tarte Amazonian clay blush is 0.2 oz. so the blush "Unearthed" in this palette is as good as full size. The colour is very neutral and I find it quite flattering worn with these eyeshadows or with other non-Tarte eyeshadows. The highlight, Crystal Spark, is very nice. I actually have been using it over these eyeshadows on my lid if I want to brighten the look up. But hey, good ahead and use it as a highlight, it's nice that way too. The bottom two eyeshadows - power plum and lunar eclipse work extremely well as eyeliners or in the outer corner. They are so pigmented! Here is a swatch of the blush and highlight, Unearthed and Crystal Spark:

Both of these colours are gorgeous. The pigmentation of the 8 eyeshadows is superb. Here is a swatch:

From left to right are Full Moon, Charged Up, Dark Drive, Stone Unturned, Up Too Slate and Misty Mauve. Stone Unturned and Misty Mauve didn't swatch so well on my arm but they transfer onto the lid well. All of these colours have fantastic longevity. I cannot recommend this palette enough if you love purple colours. Since it is Tarte, the ingredients are exceptionally good.

The palette is small enough that you could easily travel with it. It has a handy large mirror inside. The packaging is very nice indeed. I would recommend using a brightening eyeshadow base under some of these colours if you don't want the look to be too smoky or too dark. Those are my only words of wisdom!

Packaging: 10/10   
Pigmentation: 10/10
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Longevity: 10/10
Colour Stays True: 10/10
Texture: 7.5/10 (a little dry but there is clay in it!)
Price: 10/10
Ingredients: 10/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Attractiveness of Product: 10/10
Would I buy this again? HELL YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Overall Rating:  10/10

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Eye Balm - Review

I received a rather large sample of this ages ago in a gift with purchase set as I picked up my foundation at the Estee Lauder counter. I decided to give it a whirl when my Origins Eye Doctor ran out. As mentioned before, and I am still pleased to report, I have been lucky in that I don't have any lines around my eyes nor crow's feet yet. I flinch when I see women 10 plus years younger than me with such issues. I remember years ago I had a boss who told me "wait until you are 28 or 30 and you will have crow's feet galore around your eyes"! I am past that age now and none in sight. Amen. I think it's a bit of luck, using moisturizer early and good genes.

With that said, I always feel like a heel reviewing eye balms that address such issues that I don't yet have. Prevention is key...I will still try to do my best to review it for you though. This eye balm claims the following (as copied from Sephora's website):

What it is: A multiaction eye calm to measurably reduce the look of multiple signs of aging around eyes including lines, wrinkles, and crepiness.

What it is formulated to do:
This high-performance, multiaction eye balm has the power to respond to skin's changing needs. It helps improve multiple visible signs of aging around the delicate eye area including lines, wrinkles, and crepiness. Potent IntuiGen Technology™ helps reactivate skin’s innate ability to look younger. The velvety texture instantly nourishes and revitalizes as it helps create a more youthful look. Eyes appear firmer, brighter, and more beautiful. For an added boost, use it weekly as a refreshing eye mask.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates
- Phthalates

Research results:
Tested and proven:
- 92% of women showed significantly firmer skin in just 4 weeks

Just to keep it real, I can't say I noticed this product targeting lines, wrinkles or crepiness because I don't have any of those things to deal with yet. I can say that it is quite moisturizing and comfortable on the skin. It is not the most moisturizing eye cream ever, but it does a decent job. The product is thick and velvety as it claims to be. I don't have puffy bags under my eyes so I can't tell if it works on that either. As a side note, the product doesn't claim to do that. The product also doesn't claim to do squat for dark circles. I can tell you that it doesn't do anything for mine - since it isn't said to be for that, I can't cry foul.

The product does claim to firm and brighten the eye area. I haven't noticed any brightening, but the skin under my eyes is definitely not as thin feeling, it is much firmer. In fact, this may be the firmest my under eye area has ever felt. I have been using this product consistently for just over a month.

A regular sized jar is 0.5 oz. and the one I have is 0.17 oz. Mine is about two thirds finished. I think a full sized jar would last the average person for several months. The regular jar is $66 Canadian or $60 U.S. The packaging is nice enough.

Packaging: 8/10 
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Moisturizing: 7.5/10
Texture: 7.5/10
Reduces the Look of Dark Circles: NO (but it doesn't claim to)
Price: 6/10
Ingredients: 8/10
Quantity of Product: 8/10 
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Strengthens Under Eye Area: 9/10 (but my dark circles look the same)
Would I buy this again? No, because it doesn't do anything for my dark circles
 Overall Rating: ??? I don't feel I can rate it because it isn't designed to target my needs.  

Bits and Bites
  • My empties bin for this month is quickly filling up!
  • I should have a review on a great Tarte palette up within the next day or two.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Pop and Opal - Review and Swatches

I own two Becca highlighters in Champagne Pop and Opal. I purchased Opal late last year during the Sephora VIB sale and for some reason I didn't start using it until this past June. I was pretty amazed and happy with this product as soon as I cracked it open. Up until this point, this was hands down the best highlight I owned. There is something about Becca highlighters that no other company has really matched thus far. Opal is so smooth, so creamy and blends onto your cheeks almost effortlessly. The colour is multi-dimensional and lasts all day. I find a lot of other highlighters fade throughout the day or they "sit" on the skin. The Becca ones look like part of your skin, albeit a little disco ballesque. I am good with a disco ball on my face personally. You can amp these up or tone them down which is nice depending on your mood and the occasion.

Opal is on the left and Champagne Pop is on the right. Opal is described as golden opal pearl. It is darker and cooler in the pan than Champagne Pop. However, I find Opal looks lighter and brighter on my skin than Champagne Pop. Odd.

Champagne Pop, Becca and Jaclyn Hill's brainchild, is often described as being a mix between Opal and Becca's Moonstone. I don't own Moonstone so I can't comment. Champagne Pop is described as soft white gold with pinky peach undertones. I would agree with the description for both Opal and Champagne Pop.

Champagne Pop was constantly sold out on Sephora's website when it first came out earlier this year. Eventually it was back in stock so I pounced. I like Jaclyn Hill and the reviews were incredible. Speaking of which, both of these product score 4.7 out of 5 on Sephora's website. That is one of the best ratings I have ever seen on that site. They are $46 Canadian or $38 U.S. With tax, that's over $50 Canadian so these are quite pricey. I hesitated to buy Opal at first because I thought the price point was a bit much for one lousy highlighter!

In the picture above, Opal is on the left and Champagne Pop is on the right. Opal swatches darker than Champagne Pop but I swear it looks lighter on my face than Champagne Pop. Aren't these babies gorgeous? So Champagne Pop. I bought it and I like it better than Opal. If you only buy one highlighter this year, make it Champagne Pop. It's just the perfect colour and almost all skin tones could wear this. It just looks so perfect when I apply it. Somehow, it looks more natural than Opal on me I think and it really reflects light well. Champagne Pop looks like a million dollars on your face. Seriously.

The price tag for these is steep as mentioned but I have to say that either one is well worth the money. They are just so head and shoulders above the other highlighters out there - at any price point. Each pan is 8g or 0.28 oz. which is generous. You need so little of this product on your brush so one pan will last me likely until the end of time.

The ingredients are not the best, but at least there are no parabens. I don't wear highlighter every day so I don't panic about the ingredients that much in these products.

The packaging for these highlighters is really nice. They are attractive, feel solid and are very portable. I wouldn't hesitate to travel with one. The mirror inside is generous and doesn't look cheap. For the price they are charging, the packaging should be bang on and it is.

Packaging: 10/10   
Pigmentation: 10/10
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Longevity: 10/10
Colour Stays True: 10/10
Texture: 10/10
Price: 10/10
Ingredients: 7/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Attractiveness of Product: 10/10
Would I buy this again? HELL YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Overall Rating:  9.5/10

Monday, 12 October 2015

YSL Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils - Review

I was away in the States the past week so my apologies for the lack of posts. I was in Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh and then in upstate New York. A little vacation, a little shopping. Maybe I should do a makeup haul post of what I got. I behaved myself so I don't have a ton to show but I think it is certainly enough for a post! I'll mull it over. Let me know if you are interested.

So my post today is a review for the YSL Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils and it is not to be confused in any way with another post I did 2 years ago on a similar mascara, but YSL's Babydoll one. Here is the link if you are interested:

I raved about that Babydoll mascara. I had thought, silly me, that this mascara, baring almost the same name, would be equally as good. Sadly, it is not. For starters, the brush is not the same. The brush on this mascara is the basic old school mascara brush which tends to do diddly squat for me. The formula too must be different because I cannot get any length with this product, even with multiple coats. The volume ain't so hot either.

I was really disappointed with this mascara overall. I have used some drug store mascaras that were way better. This mascara does not make your lashes crunchy, it keeps them quite soft, which I find odd. The result is that any curl you have falls and it doesn't even look like you are wearing mascara after say an hour after application. I have this mascara in black and it is a very soft black, not a jet black. It can clump, flake and it sure can smudge.

Sephora says that this mascara is award winning. Huh? Like as in a Razzie?

This mascara is $36 Canadian or $30 U.S. Thank goodness I got this as a free deluxe sample from Sephora. I would be really mad if I had paid good money for this.

Packaging: 7/10
Pigmentation: 7/10
Easy to Work With: 3/10
Longevity: 1/10
Texture: 4/10 (soft, wet celery like lashes)
Price: 1/10 (for what you get)  
Ingredients: 4/10 (tons of parabens)  
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Smudge Proof: 3/10
Flake and Clump Proof: 3/10
Attractiveness of Product: 1/10
Would I buy this again? NO WAY!!!! Glad I didn't buy it the first time.
Overall Rating: 3/10

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Buxom Champagne Buzz, Bold Bling, Star Treatment and Big Spender Eyeshadows - Review and Swatches

There is a lot of buzz lately about the new Buxom eyeshadows. To date, I have purchased two full Customizable Eyeshadow Bar Palettes and I also acquired a small sample from Sephora of one shade. In other words, I have 13 shades. Today, I am going to review 4 of the eyeshadows that I have from this collection - Champagne Buzz, Bold Bling, Star Treatment and Big Spender. They are in the same order from left to right in the picture below.

Champagne Buzz is described by Buxom as being shimmering pearl. It's a beige shimmer with a substantial amount of a pink undertone. At first I didn't like this colour. It can get lost on your eyelid if you are wearing it with a lot of other shadows. Worn on its own, it really stands out and looks like something! It is a good lid colour or overall wash of colour, but you need to touch it up if you are blending it in with other shadows.

Bold Bing. Sigh....lots of people love this eyeshadow, but I am not a big fan of the colour. The quality of the product is good though. I don't think there is anything special about the shade, although I will say that it has great shimmer. Take what I say with a grain of salt though. I am not super crazy about golden caramel shades like this to begin with. It is described as a metallic rose gold. I don't find the "rose" part of it to be that noticeable. Some people will love this shade.

Star Treatment is described as a matte hazelnut. I would say that is accurate. It blends really well and it looks great in the crease. It might be my favourite of the 13 I own, but that is still up for debate. You likely have a shade just like it in your stash so it isn't particularly unique. It leans towards being on the cool side which is right up my alley.

Big Spender is described as being matte sable. Fair enough. It goes so well with Star Treatment you almost can't have one without the other. It looks great in the outer corner or as a liner with Star Treatment in the crease.

Swatches! Left to right are Champagne Buzz, Bold Bling, Star Treatment and Big Spender.

All of the Buxom eyeshadows from this collection are well pigmented and are easy to use from what I have seen so far. The palette case that you buy for them is really sturdy and I would definitely consider travelling with one of these palettes. It is so easy to put the shadows into the palette and switch them out as often as you like. That is a big plus for me. I like options so a customizable palette is a big bonus for me. Perfect idea if you are travelling.

If you pick out six shades plus the palette, the set is $50 Canadian or $40 U.S. Each individual shade is $17 Canadian or $12 U.S. and if you buy the palette alone, it's $16 Canadian. To buy an individual shadow compact to hold 1 shadow is $2 Canadian. Obviously, it is a no brainer to buy the set of six plus the palette as buying 3 eyeshadows alone costs $51 Canadian.

I think these shadows are neat and the whole packaging/marketing thing is brilliant. The colours stay true and I would say they have good longevity. They are also very nice to the touch. You should check them out!

Packaging: 10/10   
Pigmentation: 10/10
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Longevity: 10/10
Colour Stays True: 10/10
Texture: 10/10
Price: 10/10 (if you buy the set of 6 incl. palette)
Ingredients: 10/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Attractiveness of Product: 10/10
Would I buy this again? YES!!!!!
Overall Rating:  10/10*

*I don't know if this is a 10/10 product as I don't feel that in love with them. Yet, I cannot find a damn thing wrong with any of these four shadows per se. They check all of the boxes.