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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

IMATS Toronto Haul!

Hi, everyone! If you peeked at my last post, you'll know that I attended IMATS last weekend, which was a killer experience! I got to completely unleash my love of makeup artistry, learn about some amazing products, and geek out with my fellow beauty bloggers. While I wanted to snag all of the liquid latex, fake blood, and grease paints, I had to bite the bullet and realize that a career in special effects makeup artistry just isn't in my immediate future. So, instead, I tried to purchase professional, hard-to-find products that I could easily incorporate into my daily  makeup bag. 


I lugged everything home in my big, glossy IMATS bag and quickly sprawled it out so I could properly ogle. 



The first brand that drew me in was Yaby, a makeup artist-driven, Canadian line. I'd heard fantastic things about the pigmentation and staying powder of their eye shadows. Their rep Ashley (who also did the makeup for my beautiful cousin's wedding- hi, Ashley!) immediately directed me to Yaby's Pearl Paints, tiny, but potent little pans of colour. They offer a creamy powder formula, extreme pigmentation, and are also waterproof and vegan-friendly. 

After a serious swatch-a-thon, I chose five shades, which, I have to say, have some of the best names on the market. I selected Summer Night (a cool, mid-tone shimmery blue), Sea Turtle (a frosty seafoam green), Baby Sapphire (a metallic ice blue), Tamarind (a warm, coppery brown), and Purple Iris (a warm shimmery violet). I also snagged a Stackable Set 5-pan Palette to house them. It's cute and compact, and can also be expanded with additional layers if I want to add more products in the future. Handy! 


I was also thrilled to see Face Atelier at the show, which is another fab Canadian line I'd heard nothing but good things about. As if my excitement weren't enough, Face Atelier was truly offering the deal of the day- a full size foundation plus cheek colour for $45 (which is two dollars less than the foundation alone!). 

The star of the line is their Ultra Foundation and I was colour matched to shade #1 Porcelain. This base promises to be highly pigmented, long-wearing, and buildable, with a natural, satin finish that allows skin to breathe. Because of the sophisticated silicones in the formula, Face Atelier touts that no primer or setting powder are required! The foundation is oil-free, fragrance-free, and non-comodegenic and is designed to be "moisture, heat, and sebum-resistant" (from faceatelier.com). That's quite the tall order! Though I've tried it out already and can truthfully say it's all that and a bag of chips! I also was given a generous sample of their Ultra Foundation in Zero Minus, a white-toned base that can be mixed into other foundations to adjust the hue. Very cool! 

The Face Atelier rep then directed my attention to their Facades. Housed in tiny plastic tubes, I originally though they were lip glosses. But after a quick demo, I realized they were so much  more! The Facades are silicone-based, gel-to powder formula lip and cheek colours that offer translucent, streak and crease-free matte colour. The texture was truly unique! I opted for Chameleon, a vivid cherry pink. 


Next up was a stop by the Kryolan counter. Kryolan is a well-established professional brand that I was so happy to spot in the IMATS lineup. They had a truly impressive selection of neon-hued cream pigments, but I took the more practical route and gravitated towards their ultra versatile eye shadow palettes. As my collection is seriously lacking in matte shadows (I'm a shimmer fiend), I grabbed their Variety Eye Shadow Compact in V3 Natural, a stunning and comprehensive lineup of 18 matte shades. Kryolan touts that these shadows offer a creamy powder, long-wearing formula with a sheer, but buildable, finish. 

Isn't it a thing of beauty? It seriously contains every shade of matte neutral you could ever want. And since Kryolan was offering a 30% discount on the day, I got it for a steal!


My final picks of the day were definitely the most luxurious. I had heard nothing but raves for Hakuhodo brushes, from beauty bloggers and makeup artists alike. Every time I mentioned Hakuhodo to someone at the show, they instantly swooned. The brushes are quite pricey, indeed, but I zoned in some of their smaller face brushes that didn't completely break the bank.

My main mission was to find a high-quality contour brush and my ultimate pick was the J5521 Tapered Highlighting Brush. It's a rounded brush with a pointed, tapered tip for added control. It's designed for both contouring and highlighting, so it's quite the multi-tasker. And it's sooo soft! My second pick was perhaps the cutest little buffing brush I've ever seen! The J528 Highlighter Brush C is a mini flat-topped kabuki style brush that's super densely packed for moderate to full coverage. I think it would be perfect to create a more dramatic contour or to build up ultra sheer cheek colour. The Hakuhodo rep said that it's also ideal for blending out foundation after initial application, which I'm dying to test out!


Overall, I am so, so happy with my IMATS picks! Among a packed hall teaming with colour, tools, and gadgets, I think I really honed in on the brands and products that I've truly been lusting after and that will quickly take center stage in my stash. And I actually (almost) stuck to my budget, which was an accomplishment given that there was temptation everywhere I looked! 

What are your top picks from makeup artist/pro brands? Have you tried anything from Yaby, Face Atelier, Kryolan, or Hakuhodo? Have I tempted you with anything here?

Thanks for reading! :)

Monday, 24 November 2014

Finding Makeup Mecca: My First IMATS Experience!

Hi, everyone! If there's any solace in the fact that I have a hectic Monday ahead, it's that I can look back on this past weekend as one for the (makeup-related) record books. Not only did I meet Sam and Nic from Pixiwoo at a Real Techniques Event on Friday night, Saturday marked my very first attendance at IMATS, the International Makeup Artist Trade Show. 

IMATS is an annual event held in select international cities, with Toronto being a prime stop on the tour. I actually can't tell you why I haven't attended the show in the past, as makeup artistry has been passion of mine for years, but it seems like several factors intersected perfectly this year and I was finally able to make it! I was lucky enough to obtain a bad ass boss blogger press pass for the event, which allowed me to skip the massive line and attend for free. That really did feel like an achievement and made the day extra special! 


I arrived just after the show's opening at 8:30am and the crowds of voracious makeup fanatics were already pouring in. The massive, bustling room was equal parts thrilling and intimidating, but I came armed with a folded, yet geek-worthy map of the vendor layout, so I had a loose game plan from the get-go. 

My first stop was the Blur Makeup Room table, which was presenting a handful of amazing, hard-to-find makeup artist brands. It was Yaby that initially piqued my attention, as I'd heard great things about their tiny, yet potent eye shadows. 


You can see the Yaby shadows below- so many killer colours to choose from! I oped for the shades in the left-hand panel, which were their ultra-saturated Pearl Paint shadows. I snagged five of these bright little babies, as well as a handy little palette in which to house them.

You can see that I went on quite the swatching spree in order to arrive at my choices! 



Blur Makeup Room was also stocking a great selection of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tars and pencils, but luckily I was able to resist. New lipsticks were not on the agenda! They were lovely to look through, though. 



My next stop was certainly my most luxe on the circuit. I'd heard nothing but phenomenal things about Hakuhodo makeup brushes, from makeup artists and beauty bloggers alike. They are otherwise impossible to get here in Toronto, so this was my chance! 

The extensive range was displayed proudly on seemingly vast shelves, which allowed you to hold and feel the brushes for yourselves. Let me tell you, they are the softest brushes you will ever stroke! 



I was thrilled to walk away with two smaller-sized face brushes that didn't set me back too much. Their largest powder brushes are upwards of $100, but luckily I was able to leave those soft, heavenly pieces of art tools on the shelves ;)


Next on the agenda was Face Atelier, which I'd also heard raves about on several occasions. They were offering the best deal of the show, in my opinion, allowing you to pick up one full-sized foundation plus one full-sized cheek product for $45, $2 less than the cost of the foundation itself. Yes, please! 



The makeup artists at the Face Atelier booth were extremely helpful and friendly, taking time to colour match me to their Ultra Foundation and demonstrate the beauty of their unique cream-to-powder Facade cheek and lip colours. I was totally impressed with both and snagged on of each for a steal!


While I stopped at numerous other booths, some too crowded to properly peruse, the final stop of consequence (read: where I bought something) was the Kryolan counter. Kryolan is another ultra popular makeup artist brand that I'd been wanting to check out for years. Was thrilled that they were at the show! 



Their booth boasted countless creams and pigments from flesh-tone to neon, as well as an impressive selection of versatile palettes. I was most drawn to their contour palette (half of which is displayed below, on the left), as well as to their 18-pan shadow palettes. I snagged one of the lovelies shown below; you can check out my upcoming haul post to find out which! 


Despite the focus up this post till now, IMATS certainly is not all about shopping; it also celebrates the art, design, and transformative power of makeup, which remains so inspiring and mesmerizing to me. There were some incredible body art and special effects makeup demonstrations going on throughout the hall, which were truly amazing to watch! 



And as with all of the makeup events I've attended of late, the experience was definitely augmented by the opportunity to spend time with like-minded beauty enthusiasts that I'm lucky enough to call friends. I bumped into at least ten other Toronto-based beauty bloggers at the show (many of whom I was able to enable shop with for a while), which made the event all the more fun and interactive! 

Here's a shot of me with Jenn- her blue lips were totally killer! 


Overall, my first IMATS experience was a raging success! While a lingering cold and related fuzziness dampened me slightly, I was still able to take in the lively atmosphere, hit up all the vendors on my list, discover some new, amazing products, and hang out with my best makeup buds. Couldn't have asked for much more! 


I will most definitely be attending the event again next year and am eager to make it an annual tradition. A yearly pilgrimage to my makeup mecca, if you will!

Have any of you ever attended an IMATS show? What are your must-have makeup artist brands or products?

Thanks for stopping by! 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

That Time I Met Sam and Nic from Pixiwoo!

Hi, everyone! I'll keep this one short and sweet, as I'm off to IMATS momentarily (yay!), but I had to share with you the amazing experience I had last night. I was lucky enough to be invited to a Real Techniques Roadshow event where I got to meet Sam and Nic in the flesh!

I have been watching these lovely, talented ladies on their Pixiwoo Youtube channel for years and have been a serious advocate of their Real Techniques makeup brushes since they launched in Canada earlier last year. As someone who has been ever-passionate about makeup and always looking to expand my makeup artistry skills, these ladies have been a serious inspiration!


A group of fellow bloggers and I were invited to the event by FarleyCo, one of the Canadian distributors of Real Techniques. It was held in the private dining area of the Joey Eaton Centre restaurant, which was quite the chic, sleek, locale! 

There were Real Techniques brushes arranged artfully around the room, as well as a delicious selection of treats and beverages. 





But the first thing that caught my eye upon entering the venue was that Sam and Nic had already begun meeting the crowd, eagerly posing for photos with all of the guests. I might have jumped or did a little dance when I actually spotted them; although I knew they'd be in attendance, it was still quite the surreal, exciting moment!

I had a nice little chat with the ladies before our photo op, and they were as warm and sweet as they seem in their videos. They actually complimented my blush and highlighter, which pretty much made my life! 



After photo ops and hors d'oeurves, the ladies sat down for a Q and A session with the crowd. They shared with us the development of the Real Techniques line, as well as how they built their YouTube channel into the powerhouse it is today.





Not only was it a thrill to meet Sam and Nic, it was a pleasure, as always, to spend the evening with my fellow bloggers. We got to fangirl up a storm and chat about makeup over a glass of wine. Does it get any better than that? :)

The 4 Jen(n)s unite!

Overall, the event was an incredible opportunity to rub elbows with two of my makeup idols as well as my like-minded makeup-obsessed friends. I have to send out a huge thank you to FarleyCo for the invitation!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Veracious Product Review: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Grace

Hi, everyone! If you know one thing about me, it's that I'm a nerdy cat lady who's a bit of a geek at heart. If you know two things about me, it's that I'm a nerdy cat lady who has the biggest soft spot for lipstick. Beyond a soft spot, really. Truly an obsession! Any new lip product release has my heart racing, and the NARS Audacious Lipsticks were no exception. They've been raved about left and right in the blogosphere over the past few months, and I've finally been lucky enough to understand the hype. I picked up one of these beautiful lippies during the recent Sephora VIB Sale, and couldn't be more smitten!


The NARS Audacious Lipstick range flaunts 40 shade choices(!) and promises bold, pigmented colour with a soft texture, a weightless feel with a satin finish, and saturated colour and full coverage with a single stroke. A tall order! 

They are packaged in NARS' typical black cardboard boxes:


Upon opening the box, however, typical is thrown out the window. The Audacious Lipsticks come in lightweight metal rectangular tubes with the NARS logo etched onto the bottom (can you see it?). Not only is the tube incredibly sleek, it also snaps closed with the most satisfying magnetic click. Music to my lipstick-loving ears! 

The bottom of the tubes feature the shade name and product weight:



The lipstick itself is presented in a stylishly molded bullet, with the NARS logo imprinted on the product. What a lovely touch!


The shade I chose was Grace, which NARS describes as a "bright pink coral". I'd label it as a vibrant coral-tinged rose that's just this side of red. Bold, but still quite feminine!

Everything about this shade is so up my alley. If you follow the blog, you'll know that I have a penchant for bright pinks. Give me a vivid pink lipstick, and I'm there! Despite this affinity, I can't say I have anything in my collection quite like it. The closest dupes in my stash are Revlon ColourBurst Matte Balm in Unapologetic (slightly more orange/coral and a less shiny finish) and Chantecaille Lip Chic in Amaryllis (much more sheer and glossy). 

I'd actually tried this shade on in Sephora on a few occasions, knowing from the very first swipe that Grace was certainly for me. Luckily, I was able to hold on until the VIB Sale to pick it up. It would be a stretch to say I had self-control when it came to this purchase, but I can definitely claim a healthy dose of patience! 

Here's a swatch of Grace on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone)...


... and on my lips...


... and in the context of a completed makeup look!

Excuse my sleepy eyes and wonky brows. I was fighting a cold and not at my best ;)

I've already admitted that I've fallen for this lipstick, but here's a full list of my thoughts on NARS Audacious Lipstick in Grace:

Pros:
  • The claim of full, saturated colour in one stripe is really all that! A little goes a very long way. Lips seem coated with pigment instantly.
  • While is isn't necessarily hydrating, it did smooth over my dry lips effortlessly! My pout was seriously chapped the day I snapped these photos, but you cannot tell one bit. My lips looked plump and dewy!
  • Flattering satin finish that is neither too matte, nor too shiny
  • This colour seriously lasted for hours! Wore quite well, even through a meal, and faded gracefully. No patchiness or dryness in sight!
  • Despite the full-on pigmentation, this really does feel weightless on the lips!
  • Grace is a perfect blend of bold and feminine. Bright, for sure, but also quite ladylike :)
  • Sleek, chic packaging with that always-satisfying magnetic click closure
Cons:
  • The Audacious range is definitely not for those who prefer sheer colour. There is no way to wear these lipsticks except full-on!
  • The price. At $37 CAD, these are most certainly a splurge. 

And there you have it! As a lipstick fiend, it doesn't take much for me to add a new pick to my stash, but it does take an exceptional product to stand out among my collection. NARS Grace is just that- a true standout! The shade is stunning, the formula is divine, and the packaging is ultra sleek. Not a single complaint! 

Have you tried any of the new NARS Audacious Lipsticks? What shades are your favourite? Have you discovered any new lipstick standouts lately?

Thanks for stopping by :)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

A Lip Lover's Dream: NARS Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret

Hi, everyone! If you took a peek at my previous post, you'll know that I was lucky enough to pick up some pretty incredible goodies in the recent Sephora VIB sale. The jewel among them is a lip lover's dream and one of the best value sets released for this holiday. So thrilled to have it! The NARS Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret ($56 CAD) features 5 gorgeous lip colours in a variety of permanent and limited edition shades. Given that NARS' Lip Pencils will normally set you back $31 each, this set is a true steal! Yes, these pencils are a touch smaller than the originals (you'll see a comparison shot below), but are substantial enough to still warrant this an incredible bargain. 


The Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret comes packaged in a textured white box with the NARS logo on the front and descriptions of the products on the back. 



Removed from the box, the inner case is quite the stunner. It's a clear rectangular box made of sturdy plastic decorated with the print from the NARS Laced with Edge 2014 Holiday Collection. It is seriously up there with the most beautiful packaging I've ever seen! After removing the lid, 5 mini lip pencils are revealed, nestled into a cardboard backing (seen in the first photo). 


Here are all five pencils, lined up side-by-side. Aren't they cute?! The three on the left, with the little stripe in the coloured base, are Satin Lip Pencils, while the two on the right are Velvet Matte Lip Pencils. The Satin pencils offer bold, slightly shiny colour, while the Velvet Matte pencils offer true opaque, matte hues. 


Most importantly, the shade selection in this kit is perfectly varied and wonderfully beautiful. The colours included are:

Satin Lip Pencil in Descano, which NARS describes as a "tea rose". I'd call it a neutral pink-tinged nude.
Satin Lip Pencil in Torres del Paine, which NARS describes as a "peach coral". I'd call it a muted, milky coral. 
Satin Lip Pencil in Yu, which NARS describes as a "shocking pink". I'd call it a vibrant, cool-toned fuchsia. 
Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Iberico, which NARS describes as an "intense coral". I'd call it a warm, deep bold orange. 
Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, which NARS describes as a "scarlet red". I'd call it a slightly blue-toned red with subtle hints of burgundy. 

(L-R): Satin Lip Pencils in Descano, Torres del Paine, Yu, Velvet Matte Lip Pencils in Iberico and Cruella


Here are swatches of all five shades on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone):

(L-R): Satin Lip Pencils in Descano, Torres del Paine, Yu, Velvet Matte Lip Pencils in Iberico and Cruella


And here's a comparison in size the original Velvet Matte Lip Pencil with those included in the kit (yes, I already own Cruella, but the set was still totally worth it!). The original pencils are .086oz, while the Digital World pencils are .06oz. 

Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella (L) original size and (R) Digital World size

And here's how each shade looks like on my lips!

Satin Lip Pencil in Descano
Satin Lip Pencil in Torres del Paine
Satin Lip Pencil in Yu
Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Iberico
Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella

In short, I am super jazzed about every aspect of this kit. The value is incredible, the packaging is chic and beautiful, and the colours and textures are as stunning and elegant as you'd expect from NARS. Each of the shades is both unique and wearable and 100% up my alley. With no exaggeration, I have zero complaints!

Although the Sephora sale is now over, the Digital World Lip Coffrets are still alive and kicking. In other words, run- don't walk- to your nearest store and snag this one while you can! 

Thanks for dropping by! xo