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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Vibrant Blush Week #2: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta

Hi, everyone! My latest post rung in Vibrant Blush Week here at Vibrant Beauty Blog and now it's time for the second installment! Back in February, I was ecstatic about the release of Hourglass' Radiant Lighting Blushes and I sang the praises of the incredibly lovely Diffused Heat. During the recent Sephora VIB Sale, I picked up another little beauty from the range, Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta

The Ambient Lighting Blushes come in sleek, square-shaped reflective plastic cases with the shade names printed on the back. 

Though the compact is fun to stare at, it's the product itself that's the true show-stopper. The marbled design is a mix of coloured blush and one of Hourglass' Ambient Lighting Powders. In the case of Radiant Magenta, the mix includes a cheery cool-toned candy pink and the warmer gilded beige Radiant Light powder. 

The blended mix of these contrasting shades lies somewhere between fuchsia and coral and imparts a subtle golden sheen. Equal parts boldness and softness and entirely pretty!

Here is Radiant Magenta swatched on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone) in (first) warmer, natural light and (second) cooler artificial lighting:

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta (L) swatched heavily and (R) blended

And here it is on my face! I applied it to the apples of my cheeks and blended up to the temples:

And here, in the context of a completed makeup look. I paired it with my brand-spakin' new Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette (but that's for another post!):

And now for a full breakdown of the best and worst bits about this pretty blush!


  • Blends effortlessly into skin
  • Can be applied lightly for a sheer effect or layered for a bolder look
  • Imparts a lovely glow to the skin without chunky shimmer or obvious glitter
  • Perfect mix of cool and warm hues; should be suitable for most skin tones
  • Wears evenly without fading all day long!
  • Vegan, animal-friendly, and paraben-free!
  • The plastic packaging is slightly flimsy. I'm a bit worried about the blush shattering if dropped!
  • At $41 CAD, this is quite pricey, as blushes go!

And there you have it! Hourglass rarely gets it wrong and Radiant Magenta is no exception! The formula is soft and blendable, the shade is bold, yet incredibly wearable, and the wear time is tops. A true stunner!

Are you a fan of Hourglass Cosmetics? What bold blushes have you been loving lately?

Thanks for reading! xo

Monday, 14 April 2014

Vibrant Blush Week #1: NARS Matte Multiple in Siam

Happy Monday, everyone! Welcome to the first installment of Vibrant Blush Week, where I bring you reviews of some of my newest, most colourful treasures! It's no secret that I'm a blush fiend through and through, and that going slightly overboard with cheek colour is one makeup sin that I'm happy to commit. I've accrued a few new bold blushes over the past little while, so I'll be showcasing them all week on the blog. Hope you enjoy! 

Today's post features a makeup item that shot to the top of my wishlist the first time I read about it. The brand spankin' new NARS Matte Multiples caught my eye instantly, as the texture, pigmentation, and versatility all seemed to be spot-on. While the entire range of shades was tempting, I fell hard for Siam, a vibrant red. 

As the box describes, the Matte Multiples are a "modern multi-purpose makeup stick for cheeks and lips". They can be used dry for a more opaque, saturated finish or applied wet for a sheerer, more subtle effect. 

And here's a peek at the ingredients, if you're interested:

The Matte Multiples, as with their original incarnation, come in matte, black tubes with the iconic NARS logo. They are fairly weighty, but not so much so that it hinders their portability. This is the perfect product to pop in your purse! And yes, the packaging does get messy quite quickly (a downfall of most NARS products), but if you can come to terms with that, you won't be disappointed! :)

Here's a shot of Siam, twisted up a bit. As you can see, in the tube it's a bold, warm, full-on red that rivals the look of most pigmented red lipsticks out there:

When applied full-force on the skin, it maintains its truly red hue. Incredibly vivid! But when blended out, it takes on a softer tone that resembles more of a warm, rosy coral. It's actually a very wearable shade once blended!

Here are swatches of Siam on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone). On the left, you'll see it applied at full strength. The next two stripes show it at increasingly more blended states. The right-most swatch shoes the effect of the blush applied with slightly dampened fingers:

Siam applied (L-R) heavily, blended slightly, blended thoroughly, with damp fingers

And now to showcase what it looks like on my face! Here it is applied with damp fingers. As you can see, the effect is very soft and glowy!

And here is Siam applied a bit more heavily, with dry fingers. Definitely a bolder effect! It does make my cheeks appear a bit sun burnt, but simply a touch of powder over top tones it down nicely. 

Here is Siam applied generously to my lips (please ignore the chappy bits!). I adore the way this looks a lip colour. It leaves the most beautiful rosy red stain that's neither flat, nor greasy. I almost hate that I love this on my lips, as that makes it a bit of a cheat on my Lipstick No-Buy challenge. Whoops! I did buy it primarily as a blush, though :)

And finally, Siam in the context of a completed makeup look! As I mentioned, I'm wearing it applied wet all the way up my cheekbones, dry on the apples of my cheeks, and dabbed heavily on my lips. 

I find Siam to be such a perfectly summery shade and I love the way it looks in natural sunlight! 

Now for a full breakdown of the ups and downs of this product!


  • Rich, saturated colour. A little goes a long way!
  • Blends effortlessly onto the skin, even over foundation
  • Wet or dry application lets you adjust the level of pigmentation
  • Modern matte finish; perfect for those who are shimmer-shy!
  • Wears beautifully on both cheeks and lips!
  • Should work equally well on both fair and darker complexions
  • Handy, portable packaging
  • Begins to fade after 5-6 hours (luckily this does touch-up nicely)
  • Can be a touch drying on the lips (a dab of lip balm before or after solves this)
  • At about $50 CAD, this is no budget buy!

So, as you can tell, I'm pretty happy with this product! It was at the top of my wishlist and it surely didn't disappoint. The formula is incredibly easy to work with and the shade is so spot-on, especially for Spring and Summer. I really have a soft spot for products that look terrifyingly bright in the packaging but are actually quite pretty and wearable on the skin. This fits that bill perfectly!

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of Vibrant Blush Week- next up, an offering from Hourglass!

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week :)

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Nail of the Day: Essie Smokin' Hot

Happy weekend, everyone! A few weeks ago I shared with you my stash of yet-unused nail polishes. Too many for my liking! So I've dedicated myself to showing love to my nails more often and here we have another Nail of the Day as a result! Today's nail polish pick is one that I saw on More Rebe, one of my favourite Toronto-based beauty blogs, and I instantly knew I needed it! 

Essie Smokin' Hot Nail Lacquer comes in the typical Essie rectangular glass bottle with a white cap:

Smokin' Hot is (appropriately) a smokey purple grey with a slightly shiny finish. In some lighting it looks like a simple deep grey, nearly black, and in others the purple hue is more apparent. None of my photos here capture the true purple tone of this shade, but hopefully you still get the general idea! 

I used two coats of the polish to achieve the opacity and finish seen in these photos. It applied evenly and smoothly and the wear time was impressive! Very minimal chipping after a whole week. Not bad at all!

While Smokin' Hot may not be your typical Spring shade, it's one that I'll be wearing all-year round because of the stunning, smoky colour and the amazing long-wear formula. It's a great alternative to a simple black polish and looks super flattering on the nails. It's a keeper!

Do you have any favourite nearly-black nail polishes? What are your favourite Essie nail polishes?

Have a wonderful weekend! xo

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Cult Beauty Haul + Goody Bag!

I first heard about Cult Beauty, a UK-based online makeup shop, several months ago from some of my favourite British bloggers. I've been stalking the site ever since, compiling a wishlist composed of brands that are ultra difficult to find here in Canada- Jouer, Sunday Riley, Omorovicza, Daniel Sandler, Eve Lom, Kevyn Aucoin- Cult Beauty really has them all! You can check out the site, here! I'd been a bit trigger-shy about placing an order (the items are rather luxe and you never know how international orders will go), but I did a 180 when I opened my email two weekends ago. There in my inbox, an irresistible offer: With any Cult Beauty order of £75 or more, receive a Goody Bag packed with over £90 worth of items. I was caught hook, line, and sinker, and I'm so glad I took the bait!

My order arrived this Monday, much quicker than expected (in only 9 days from across the pond) and I was thrilled to open up the package. It was as if I'd gotten a visit from Santa! Or Mrs. Claus... she probably likes makeup more :)

Here's everything that was inside!

What was in the Cult Beauty Goody Bag this time around?

Eve Lom Age Defying Smoothing Treatment
Anti-aging serum in tiny little capsules. So luxurious!
Lipstick Queen Makeup Bag
Bright, colourful, plastic, and practical. Love it!
Alpha H Balancing and Pore Refining Mask
Deep cleansing mask from a brand I've been dying to try!
Enro Laszlo Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil
Makeup remover from a classic beauty brand!
d.j.v. Beautenizer Volume Lash Mascara
Have already given this a go and wow- huge, impressive lashes!
Therapie Joie Uplifting Bath Infusion
Spicy and floral. A good reason to have a relaxing bath!
Aestelance Mud Mask
A mud mask for hair?! Excited to try this.
Mio Workout Wonder
Supposed to soothe tired muscles. Looking forward to putting it to the test!
Zelens 3t Complex
Rich anti-aging creme from a luxe brand!
Resultime By Collin Paris Anti-Ageing Smoothing Resurfacing Mask
Have never heard of this brand, but am intrigued!
Le Soft Perfume Le Petit Fou Zazou Solid Fragrance
Pretty, portable, and smells like a bouquet!

I also snagged two free samples with the order, Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre (have heard great things) and Jouer Luminzing Moisture Tint in Glow (ditto!). 

And here's what I ordered to score this amazing selection of complimentary goodies:

Jouer Anti-Blemish Matte Primer
I've been dying to try Jouer for ages and I thought that this new primer would be an excellent choice for my sensitive, oily, acne-prone skin. The formula is oil-free, hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and silicone-free and contains 1% salicylic acid to penetrate pores, clear skin, and mattify. It also has Aloe and Vitamin E to soothe and calm redness, which my finicky skin should love! 

Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder
I've heard nothing but raves for this product and I have nothing but respect for the brand's late, great creator. This matte, neutral, blendable powder is designed to contour the face easily without looking muddy or overdone. "Razor-sharp cheekbones"? Yes, please!

Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher in Trip
If you read this review, you'll know I am absolutely smitten with Daniel Sandler's Watercolour Fluid Blusher in Cherub. The prettiest, most long-wearing natural pink blush out there! So when I heard that he was releasing two ultra-vivid shades of Watercolour for Spring, I knew one would be mine! I opted for Trip, a bright tangerine. 

Jouer Creme Eyeshadow Crayon in Renaissance
Another goody from Jouer, this eye shadow stick promises long-wearing waterproof, crease-proof, pigmented colour that also nourishes the eyes with Vitamin E. It can be used as a shadow or a liner and also has a built-in sharpener. How handy! I chose the shade Renaissance, a smokey bronzed plum.

So there you have it, my first-ever Cult Beauty haul. I think it was a raging success! I'm so impressed with all of the lovely items in the Goody Bag and I'm dying to delve into the full-sized products that I purchased. They all seem top-notch!

Given my increased tendency towards makeup hauling over the past few months, I've decided to go on a makeup no-buy over the coming weeks so that I can focus my attention in using, loving, and blogging about all of the new products I've scored lately. Wish me luck- and look out for lots of reviews soon!

Have you ever purchased anything from Cult Beauty? Have I tempted you with anything?

Thanks for stopping by! xo

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Look of the Day: Spring Budget

Hi, everyone! After a particularly glacial Winter here in Toronto, Spring has finally sprung! Heavy coats are being tossed aside, birds are singing in approval, and there is finally no snow in sight. I, for one, am ecstatic! I thought I'd celebrate this long-awaited change of season with a Spring-inspired Look of the Day! 

Since I tend to focus on a lot of fancy-pants makeup items here on the blog (who doesn't want to revel in luxury once in a while?), I thought this time around I'd create a look featuring some of my favourite budget-friendly products. All of the goodies on my face are $20 or under (except for a few odds and ends, like primers), with many of them coming in at less than $10. A Spring glow doesn't have to be expensive, and I hope this post is proof positive!

For the base, I applied my trusty Revlon ColourStay foundation in Buff, mixing in a couple drops of Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector (Combination to Oily formula) in Light for some added glow. I applied a gentle dusting of Revlon ColourStay Pressed Powder in Light to set things and added some warmth to my skin with The Body Shop's Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder in 02 Fair Matte. For an even more affordable bronzer, I'd also recommend Hard Candy's So Baked Bronzers- they're fab and only about $6!

For the cheeks, I opted for one of my all-time favourite blushes, Sleek powder blush in Flamingo. It's a stunning, bold watermelon pink with a subtle sheen that just screams "Spring!". I so wish Sleek was more accessible here in Canada. To highlight the skin, I added some touches of the ivory shade from the Wet N' Wild Colour Icon Trio in Walking on Eggshells to the tops of my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose.  

For the eyes, I went with the ultra-handy, painfully affordable Wet N' Wild Colour Icon Trio in Walking on Eggshells. The shades are wonderfully pigmented, perfectly shimmery, and incredibly wearable! I applied the pinky champagne shade all over my lid, the chocolate brown shade on my crease, and the ivory shade on my brow bones and inner corners of my eyes. I added extra definition with Gosh Velvet Touch Eyeliner in Hypnotic Grey (a soft, wearable, almost-black shade) and plumped up lashes with a few coats of Relvon Lash Potion Mascara in Black. I defined my sparse brows with Maybelline's Define-A-Brow in Dark Blonde, which fills in my arches with precision!

Finally, I chose a lip colour that I thought embodied Spring perfectly, Hard Candy All Glossed Up Lip Crayon in Mauveous. It's subtly glossy, highly pigmented, and wears extremely well. Plus, the cheery pinky plum shade is ultra pretty!

Here's a peek at all of the goodies I used for the look:

And a full list of everything I used:

The Breakdown:
Primer: Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Primer
Foundation: Revlon ColourStay Liquid Foundation (Combination/Oily formula) in Buff mixed with Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector (Combination to Oily Skin) in Light
Concealer: Hard Candy Glamoflauge in Light
Powder: Revlon ColourStay Pressed Powder in Light

Bronzer: The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder in #02
Blush: Sleek Powder Blush in Flamingo

Highlighter: Ivory shade from the Wet N' Wild Colour Icon Walking on Eggshells Trio

Brows: Maybelline Define-A-Brow in Dark Blonde
Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion Original Formula
Eye Shadows: 
(All from the Wet N' Wild Colour Icon Trio in Walking on Eggshells): Pink/champagne shade (all over lid, blended up to the crease), chocolate brown shade (on the crease), ivory shade (as a highlight on brow bones and inner corners of the eye)

Eyeliner: GOSH Velvet Touch Eyeliner in Hypnotic Grey
Mascara: Revlon Lash Potion Waterproof Mascara in Black

Lips: Hard Candy All Glossed Up Lip Crayon in Mauveous

And a few more shots of the look:

Given the Spring theme of this look, I thought it appropriate to showcase my recently acquired floral headband! I found it at Courage, My Love vintage here in Toronto and was instantly smitten. It features pink, peach, and periwinkle petals with just the perfect amount of leafy greens. It makes me feel like a fairy, in the best sort of way!

So there you have it- my budget picks for a cheery Spring look. I'm glad to have given my favourite drugstore goodies a shout-out here, as I don't rave about them nearly enough!

What are some of your go-to Spring makeup items? What drugstore products are you loving at the moment?

Thanks for reading :)

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sephora VIB Sale Haul :)

Hi, everyone! This past Thursday marked the beginning of an exciting, heart-racing time of year- a Sephora VIB Sale! Ok, so maybe not everyone's blood starts pumping like mine in the wake of such an event, but for a makeup weirdo like me, it's quite the occasion!

I'd combed through my wishlist and planned a haul that included some of my most coveted items. From palettes, to blushes, to skin and hair care, I snagged a variety of top-notch goodies! Here's a peek at the spoils: 

But let's start at the beginning, here's everything all packaged up:

And then, with the boxes removed. As you can see, there are tubes, sticks, pumps... and a chocolate bar?

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eye Palette
I've heard wonderful things about Too Faced products and am constantly tempted by them, but actually have very few in my stash. I decided to remedy this by picking up this incredible, versatile palette that smells- amazingly- like chocolate! It's an perfect mix of mattes and shimmers, neutrals and plums, and was a key ingredient in Pixiwoo's Kat Dennings makeup tutorial. Can't wait to take a bite! ;)

Bumble and Bumble Grooming Creme

I'm a big fan of Bumble and Bumble hair products. Pricey, but potent! I am a girl who likes an easy hairdo that looks polished with minimal effort. This styling cream is actually advertised as "the dream creme for those that love to look polished, elegant, and smooth, but hate to work at it". Sign me up!

NARS Matte Multiple in Siam
I am a huge NARS fan and was instantly excited when I heard about their new Matte Multiples. I actually don't own any of the original Multiples, but something about these newer offerings had me  hooked! I'd heard excellent things about the texture and pigmentation, and when I swatched them in-store, I wasn't disappointed. I opted for Siam, a vivid poppy red. Can't wait to sport this on my cheeks!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta

The Ambient Lighting Blushes were another release that had me jazzed, and readers of the blog will know that I already scored one of these beautiful blushes in Diffused Heat. But like any good beauty addict blogger, I couldn't stop at just one! This time, I snagged Radiant Magenta, a cooler golden pink. It's a stunner!

Even my cat, Sadie, was excited about this one. Can you spot her? :)

Shu Uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil
I am a huge fan of Shu Uemura Cleaning Oils and I've been curious to try their brightening version for some time. Due to my fair, sensitive, acne-prone skin, post-blemish marks are a persistent issue.  I'm always on the lookout for products to add radiance and even my skin tone. Here's hoping this will help!

I also got a cute little striped makeup bag as a free gift with purchase. A nice little addition! I'm a sucker for anything with stripes and it's perfectly purse-sized, so I'm sure it will get put to good use :)

So there you have it, my Sephora VIB sale haul! Am really excited about everything I picked up. Look out for some more thorough reviews of these goodies soon!

Have you used and loved any of the products here? Did I tempt you with anything? Did you score anything from the recent VIB sale?

Thanks for reading- hope you're all having a wonderful weekend! 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Nail of the Day: Anna Sui Nail Colour N #402

Hi, everyone! In a recent post, I laid out all of my yet-unused nail polishes and promised to get on the task of using and loving them soon. Here's some proof that I've been up to that challenge! Today's Nail of the Day features a beautifully-packaged offering from Anna Sui Cosmetics, Nail Colour N #402. I was lucky enough to score this at Winners for a great price and was eager to give it a go!

Anna Sui's Nail Colour Ns come in the most lovely rose-shaped bottles, which is admittedly what drew me to this in the first place. I mean, how pretty is this packaging?! Luckily it was the beauty of the shade that spurned me to purchase this, rather than simple gaze at it lovingly in-store awhile longer :) 

#402 is a rich, cool cranberry-red with both gold and red sparkle. As you can see, the glitter is much more apparent in the bottle than it is on the nails. While I was quick to call "false advertising!", I soon realized that I quite liked the subtle effect of the glitter. Much more wearable!

From a distance, the glitter is barely visible, but up-close it is noticeable and quite pretty. In some light the red-toned sparkles are more apparent and in others, the flashes of gold stand out more. I applied two coats to create the finish seen in these photos. It applied quite easily and had a pleasant scent (slightly rosy?), at least as nail polishes go!

Overall, the wear-time of this polish was quite impressive, flaunting a chip-free finish for several days. And, even more notably, it was muuuch easier to remove than any other glitter polish I've worn, likely due to the micro size of the sparkle. A breeze, really, and a huge plus in my books! 

I really am a lover of all things Anna Sui and I'm so happy that this pretty little polish didn't disappoint! It's not necessarily the perfect Spring or Summer shade, but I'll definitely be reaching for this again in the Fall! (But let's not get ahead of ourselves here ;)).

Is this a shade that you'd wear? What have you been sporting on your nails lately?

Thanks for reading! xo