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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Guest Post: Best New Drugstore Makeup of 2014

HI! My name’s Jenna and I’m so happy that Jennifer is letting me guest post today on her blog. It’s nice to meet you all. Big shout out to the Canadian Beauty Bloggers Network for setting up some amazing guest posts this month!

Over at my own blog, Northern Beauty, I’m a big advocate for affordable and simple beauty, so when the theme of “the Best of 2014” was announced, I knew I’d write about the best drugstore products. Instead of the same old list I seem to be seeing anywhere (I swear, just search Pinterest for “best drugstore” and you’ll see a lot of the same items), this is the best drugstore releases of 2014: products that are fairly new from the drugstore that I think are the best of the year.

Urg, it was all I could do not have soooo many runner-ups because there have been some really great cosmetics that I’ve tried this year!! In fact, my first list had a runner-up area. But, in the spirit of being minimalistic, I was cut throat in the end and just went with my number 1 picks:



1) Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation: This is pretty new, and I’ve tried some pretty great foundations this year (yeah drugstore brands!), but this one takes my top prize. The color range is good, it spreads on evenly, and for a matte finish, it makes my skin glow in a natural, non-oily or highlighting way. I LOVE IT!! And it glides on so quickly. Quick application means me happy.

2) Maybelline Dream Wonder Powder: I have to admit: my first impression of this product wasn’t the greatest. The lightest color shade was too dark for me. I did use it as a light contour/bronzing powder and have to admit I really liked it. While there were other powders I liked more (probably because the color was better for everyday), I was overwhelmed with friends telling me how much they loved it and, after some research, the beauty community seemed to agree.

3) Rimmel Stay Blushed Cream Blush: I love, love, love this stuff. I really think I need to get all the colors, I’m that obsessed (and I never do that!). It glides on well with fingers or brush, the colors are varied which means a shade for any occasion or skin tone. And a little bit goes a long way so they will last a long time. I have a post, Don’tForget to Blush: Rimmel Stay Blushed! about my favorite shade, Peach Flush.

4) Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick: These lipsticks are awesome! The main gimmick with them is that they feel like a lip butter, all soft and smooth and moisturizing, yet has the color payoff of a vibrant lipstick. I love it, it feels great on and the lipstick clips in to a lock position when you twist it down. My favorite so far is Poinsettia, a great little holiday red.

5) Maybelline The Nudes Palette: This palette got some mixed reviews, mostly because the consistency and pigment doesn’t quite compare to some high-end brands. However, a lot of people love this and I’m one of them. Because they aren’t quite as potent, it’s great for beginners: easy to blend out but not so potent that one swipe will deposit a bunch of unwanted color. You can do so many looks, I lived off this palette for at least a month straight when I first bought it and it’s still a go to!

6) Maybelline Pumped Up Colossal Mascara: Okay, so if you’re a fan of subtle, natural lashes this might not be the one for you. I personally love a long, full lash look and was blown away by this formula and brush. I’ve tried almost every single mascara from Maybelline and this is the one I went to repurchase out of their many releases in 2014. It doesn’t clump up, it lengthens and it really boosts your lashes!

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A huge thank you to Jenna for sharing her picks! What drugstore products have been your favourites of the year?


Friday, 19 December 2014

Veracious Product Review: Annabelle Stay Sharp Self-Sharpening Waterproof Kohls and Lipliners

Hi, everyone! A couple weeks ago I shared a review of the Annabelle Metal Mix Retractable Lipstick Crayons*, which was my fun and colourful foray into the brand. Today I'm bringing you a different, yet equally lovely type of pencil from Annabelle. Their Stay Sharp Self-Sharpening Waterproof Kohl Eyeliners* and Lipliners* are thin, sleek, and ultra functional. I was lucky enough two receive to shades of each and I've been eager to sing their praises since first twist. 


Let's start with the eyeliners. The Stay Sharp Self-Sharpening Waterproof Kohl Eyeliners* are thin pencils with a plastic twist-up packaging. The outer casing matches the colour inside, which is handy when you're in a rush! These liners promise 14-hour waterproof wear as well as a non-irritating, eye-friendly formula. 

The two shades I received were Cappuccino, a deep neutral brown, and Go Black, a true, balanced black. 



The tips of the liners are tiny and sharp with a visibly soft texture:


And now, the lipliners! The Stay Sharp Self-Sharpening Waterproof Lipliners* come in identical packaging as the kohl liners, coloured in hues to match the shades inside. They promise long-lasting 6-hour wear, a creamy texture, and a gentle hypoallergenic formula.

The shades I received were Glam Red, a classic Hollywood scarlet and Java, a warm, tawny nude. 



As with the eyeliners, the tips of the lipliners are tiny, precise, and suggest a creamy texture:


Now what makes these babies self-sharpening, you might ask? Let's have a little demo. Here is Cappuccino after a few swipes. You can see that the tip has rounded and dulled. 


To sharpen, all you have to do is put the cap on and twist. That's it! As you can (kind of) see from the photo below, there is a sharpening mechanism built into the lid of the liner. Once you place the lid on, just close it tight and you will hear an audible click. 


Then, twist of the cap and- voila! A newly pointed tip! I have to say that this mechanism is truly ingenious and extremely simple to use. 


Now that we've perused the packaging, let's take a peek at these goodies in action! Here are swatches of all 4 shades in my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone). As you can see, the colours apply evenly and are fully pigmented. 

(L-R): Annabelle Stay Sharp Lip Liners in Java and Glam Red and Kohl Eyeliners in Cappuccino and Go Black

And here are a couple of the shades as part of a makeup look. This is Java, applied all over my lips. It really creates a perfect neutral matte pout!


And Cappuccino, used to create a bit of a cat eye. It really creates a sharp, precise line and is a very flattering dark brown.


And both together, as part of an entire look!



And as if this post weren't long enough (whoops), here's a breakdown of the ups and downs of these handy little liners:

Pros:
  • The self-sharpening mechanism is truly genius and works well every time. Perfect for a lazy gal like me!
  • Both the lip liners and kohl eyeliners are wonderfully pigmented and apply smoothly and evenly (no patchiness, tugging, or pulling)
  • Lip liners create a matte effect without drying out the lips
  • Eyeliner tips are tiny enough to create an ultra precise winged liner
  • The wear time is impressive; lip liners last quite well through meals and liners don't fade during the 9 to 5
  • These are a great drugstore value at $9.95 CAD
Cons:
  • The eyeliners do start to fade after about 8 hours (though they never smudge!)

Overall, the Annabelle Stay Sharps* are a huge hit in my books! As you can see, the cons are sparse- the packaging is smart and sleek, the colours are rich and pigmented, and the wear time is impressive. All 4 of these shades have been getting good use since receiving them (using at least one nearly daily), so that's saying a lot!

Does this packaging mesmerize you too? What eyeliners and lip liners are you loving lately?

Thanks for stopping by! xo

*These products were sent to me from Annabelle for review. All opinions, as always, are completely authentic and my own. 


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Veracious Product Review: Too Faced Natural Eyes Neutral Eye Shadow Collection

Hi, everyone! I'm here to bring you a review of the final product from last month's Sephora VIB Haul, and it's a good one! My love affair with Too Faced eye shadows began when I snagged the Chocolate Bar Palette earlier this year. It quickly became an instant favourite, so I knew I'd be adding to my collection. When the Natural Eyes Neutral Eye Shadow Collection was re-released with some new shades soon after, I zoned in immediately! I was completely drawn to the selection of seemingly unique neutral shades and subsequently stalked it for months. Months! I finally pulled the trigger during the recent sale and haven't looked back! 


The Natural Eyes palette comes boxed in a cardboard cover with a pink lacy pattern and gilded details. The back of the packaging describes the aesthetic of the palette, which promises ultra pigmented shades that can be used to create a variety of looks, from smokey to nude. 



The palette's exterior is a metal tin that is both sleek and sturdy. Much more compact than the original. It has raised detailing and the same lacy pink motif as on the box. 


Upon opening the lid, 9 neutral shadows are revealed. Each column of shades features a varied intensity of colour (paler highlight shades to the left and deeper, smokier shades to the right). I absolutely love that the highlight/base shades have larger pans than the others, as I always go through these the quickest! Each row of the palette represents separate "look". 

The top row is the "Day" look, which features a trio of mattes. There's Heaven (a matte cream), Cashmere Bunny (a neutral mid-tone brown), and Sexpresso (a neutral/cool deep brown). 

The middle row is the "Classic" look, which features a trio of neutral champagne-toned shimmers. There's Silk Teddy (a pink-tinged frost), Push-Up (a mid-tone rose gold), and Erotica (a deep complex taupe).

The bottom row is the "Fashion" look, which features a trios of ultra warm shades. There's Nudie (a pale, matte golden brown), Honey Pot (a true, ultra frosty gold), and Chocolate Martini (a warm dark brown with golden shimmer). 

Here's a look at the palette under artificial lighting:


And in natural sunlight:



Here are swatches of all 9 shades against my MAC NC15 skin tone (applied heavily, without primer):


And here are a couple of eye looks I created with the palette!

Look #1 draws heavily on the centre Classic row and includes Silk Teddy, Push-Up, and Erotica. You can see that the effect is quite shimmery and is fairly neutral in tone. 




Look #2 is a bit deeper and drew on shades from the top and bottom Day and Fashion rows. It included Heaven, Cashmere Bunny, Nudie, Honey Pot, and Chocolate Martini. This one definitely has a warmer and deeper look to it. 



I could have created 100 more looks with this palette, but hopefully these two demonstrate that the shades are beautifully pigmented and that there is a nice variety of matte and shimmery finishes as well as neutral and warmer tones. 

Finally, here is a full breakdown of the pros and cons of the Too Faced Natural Eyes Neutral Eye Shadow Collection:

Pros:
  • Even though these shadows aren't "buttery soft", they still offer fantastic pigmentation
  • Extremely versatile- can create looks ranging from a nude, matte office look to a festive shimmery smokey eye
  • Perfect mix of matte and shimmer shades
  • Nice selection of both neutral and warmer tones
  • I find several of the shades (especially Push-Up, Erotica, Honey Pot, and Chocolate Martini) to be quite unique!
  • Shades wear well and stay true to colour all day
  • Sleek, sturdy, compact packaging
  • Cruelty-free (as with all Too Faced products!)
  • Although this isn't a bargain ($45 CAD), it remains more affordable than other neutral palettes on the market
Cons:
  • Though a better value than some, this is not a bargain item
  • As this palette leans neutral/warm, those who prefer cooler shades of taupe and grey may not be drawn to this one

It is always satisfying when I stalk a product for ages and it totally lives up to my swooning expectations. This was definitely the case here! I find this palette to be incredibly versatile, the shades to be perfectly varied, unique, and quite flattering on my skin tone, and the packaging to be storage- and travel-friendly. I love that it could take me from the office straight to a holiday party and you gotta smile at those cheeky shade names! I will certainly be taking Natural Eyes home with me for the holidays, where I'm sure it will get tons of use. In sum: it's a keeper! The only thing that would make it better would be if it also smelled like chocolate ;)

Does this palette tempt you? What are your favourite do-it-all neutral palettes?

Thanks for stopping by! xo

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Currently Obsessed: Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo in Violet/Palomino

Hi, everyone! If you're a regular on the blog, you'll know that I'm all about a killer lipstick. I've swiped, slicked, and blotted nearly every formula out there and am loyal to quite a few. I won't say that all of my trials have made me jaded, but it is fair to say that it takes quite an amazing lip product to make its way into my regular rotation. It's a packed roster, so new products have to bring it! Today's post is all about a recent addition to my stash that has instantly risen in the ranks. 


Of course the product I'm talking about is the Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo in Violet/Palomino. I was lucky enough to receive this as part of my CBB Secret Santa Gift and it's been with me non-stop ever since.

For those unfamiliar with the brand, Bite Beauty is a Toronto and New York-based company that focuses on creating top-notch lip products that are made with such healthy ingredients that they are fully food grade. Not that I'd advise eating your lipsticks (much better on the mouth than in it), but it's incredibly reassuring that there are zero nasties in the formulas. Bite also has a bit of an edge, which translates into some super unique, bold colours. Totally up my alley! 


The Luminous Creme Lipstick Duos are the absolute perfect little treat for those who are eager to try the brand (or for those who have way too many lipsticks) and are looking to sample two shades without committing to a full-sized product. I'd been lusting after this combo in particular, as both of the shades are completely my style. 

The lipstick duos have been recently re-packaged for the holidays, housed in festive red boxes with gift tags. Each end of the box displays the shade name and corresponding hue of the lipstick inside:



The tube itself is made of charcoal grey, matte plastic and (as you can see in the first photo) you remove caps from either end to reveal the lipstick bullets. It is perfectly compact and quite tiny for a duo, about the length of my index finger. 


The first shade in the duo is Palomino, a saturated cool-toned fuchsia pink:


The second shade is Violet, a slightly warmer-toned vibrant purple:


Here they are swatched on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone). As you can see, they are incredibly pigmented!

Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipsticks in Palomino (left) and Violet (right)

Of course, Sadie wanted to be closely involved with the swatching process:


And here are both shades on my lips and in the context of entire makeup looks:

Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Violet


Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Palomino

And a full breakdown of the ups and downs of this high impact lip duo:

Pros:
  • Incredibly pigmented- these give bold and even colour in one quick layer!
  • Lightly hydrating formula leaves lips feeling soft and lush
  • Flattering satin finish that makes lips look plump and super luminous!
  • Incredibly long-wearing; these last quite well even through meals and fade gracefully
  • Handy, compact packaging
  • Perfect way to try out two shades without committing to a full-sized lippie
  • Free from any harmful ingredients; these babies are food grade!
  • At only $15 CAD, this is a wonderful value
Cons:
  • This is not the duo for you if you like more muted, neutral lip shades
  • Also not the lipsticks for you if you prefer sheer colour. These babies are full-on from first swipe!

Really, I cannot find fault with these lipsticks! The formula is wonderfully rich, smooth, and pigmented, gives a flattering sheen to the lips, and wears incredibly well all day long. There are no nefarious ingredients and the packaging is beyond handy. Plus both of the shades are utterly gorgeous! 

Have you tried anything from Bite Beauty? What lipsticks have made it into your regular rotation lately?

Thanks for reading! xo

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Nail of the Day: Barry M. Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Watermelon

Hi, everyone! It's been ages since I posted a Nail of the Day- have been so lazy with keeping my nails looking pretty! But I've got quite the lovely shade for you today, fresh from my recent FTB Beauty Haul. I'd been lusting after Barry M. polishes for ages and this summer was thrilled to find that FTB stocked the brand. For this order, I snagged one of their richest, deepest colours, Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Watermelon


Barry M. Gelly Nail Paints come in rectangular glass bottles with shiny silver caps. The variety of fonts on the front is ultra cute! The formula promises a gel-like effect with a high-shine finish. They (as with all Barry M. products) are also cruelty-free!




Watermelon is quite the unique hue! First off, I enjoy that it's inspired by the outside of a watermelon, as opposed to the inside. A different take on a yummy fruit! I'd describe the shade as a deep cool-toned teal green with blue undertones. It applies smoothly and evenly and reaches full opacity with two coats. 


The finish is undoubtedly shiny, especially in the direct sunlight. It is quite a flattering effect!


Overall, I'm a huge fan of this polish. The shade is rich and unique, while still being quite wearable and sophisticated. The glossy finish is quite gorgeous and the formula applies like a dream. My only complaint? This does start to chip noticeably after only 2 days. So, I wish it were a bit more durable, but it's still among my faves!

Have you tried any Barry M. Gelly polishes? What nail shades are you loving at the moment?

Thanks for stopping by! xo

Monday, 15 December 2014

My Canadian Beauty Blogger Group Secret Santa Gift!

Hi, everyone! It seems Christmas came a bit early this year, and it's all thanks to the Canadian Beauty Bloggers Secret Santa game! This lovely group of local bloggers arranged a beauty-based gift swap this year and I was so eager to take part. We agreed upon a $30 budget, which would allow us to snag some fun little treats without totally damaging the budget. My gift actually arrived at the end of last month, but I'm finally able to shine a light on the contents (and my amazing Secret Santa gifter!). 


The package arrived with hints of festivity even on the outside- a true giveaway that a holiday gift was inside!



It included an adorable card, which revealed that my Secret Santa was...



...Jodi from Up The Rollercoaster! Jodi is a Halifax-based beauty blogger and fellow cat lover. Was so fun to receive her package all the way from the East coast! 

Upon opening the box, each little trinket inside was individually wrapped in the most adorable penguin paper. How cute!



And here are the goodies revealed! I believe there was some squealing and dancing as I unwrapped each. I really love everything!

I received:

Milani Baked Blush in Rose d'Oro- I've heard nothing but great things about these blushes, so I was thrilled to receive one! Rose d'Oro is a gorgeous tawny rose with gold shimmer. It is perfectly pigmented and makes the cheeks look so luminous! 

Epic Blend Tinted Lip Balm in Garnet Star and Lip Balm in More Moisture Cherry- I had never heard of this brand, but was so happy to be introduced! These balms are packed with good for you ingredients and are ultra hydrating. Am especially loving the tinted version, as it's a perfect berry shade for this time of year! 

Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo in Palomino/Violet- I've been lusting after this lipstick duo for ages! These are my first-ever Bite products and I haven't been let down. They are intensely pigmented and ultra creamy, plus both shades are so up my alley! Love the dual-ended mini packaging too. 

NYX Butter Gloss in Vanilla Cream Pie- I'm usually not a gloss girl, but I'd heard that these were a must-have. So glad I listened to the hype! This feels super hydrating on the lips and is not at all sticky. Vanilla Cream Pie is a lovely slightly mauve-toned baby pink that I can wear with just about any makeup look. 

Lila Grace Passionfruit Orchid Body Lotion- Got to love a rich, hydrating lotion at this time of year! It has a very nice texture and a deep. fruity floral fragrance that I just adore. 


And here are some swatches of my Secret Santa goodies:

Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo in Palomino (L) and Violet (R)

(L-R): Milani Baked Blush in Rose d'Oro, NYX Butter Gloss in Vanilla Cream Pie, Epic Blend Tinted Lip Balm in Garnet Star

I really couldn't have been happier with these Secret Santa treats! So many lovely items were included on the $30 budget and I got to receive a few wishlist items while testing some new brands. Couldn't have asked for anything more! A huge thank you again to Jodi for being such a thoughtful Secret Santa!

Did you take part in any Secret Santa gifting this year? Did you get to give/receive any gifts of beauty?

Thanks for stopping by! xo