Sephora Bulls Eye Lash Applicator review, photos | Finally, innovation!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sephora Bulls Eye Lash Applicator review

The product: Sephora Collection Bulls Eye Lash applicator

Today I have a cool little tool to share with you — Sephora’s Bulls Eye Lash Applicator. I’ve had it for ages but have only just gotten around to trying it this month (I very rarely wear false lashes!), but I’m kind of bummed that it took me this long to give it a go…

Because it’s a little bit awesome.

How to apply false lashes trick

The lash applicator is pretty simple: it has a set of soft, silicone-covered grips on one end to grab and place your lashes without pinching them into a new shape, and a flexible point-tip at the other end to allow you to easily re-glue a lash that’s beginning to come off at the corner.

The instruction manual that comes with the applicator (“tweezers”) has directions on how to use the clamps to set and remove your false lashes, as well as how to use the tip (“spatula”) to apply glue. And it promises something that I think hits the nail right on the head: not that these will help you apply lashes more safely or precisely than normal tweezers, but that you’ll feel safer using them.

False Lash glue applicator review

And you know what? I do feel a lot safer with these near my eyeball than my super-sharp Tweezermans. I think it’s easier for me to use traditional tweezers to apply my false lashes, but these hit the great middle ground of “easier than fingers” and “less permanently scarring than tweezers” — which makes them a hit in my books.

False lash applicator review

The verdict?

If you’re new to false lashes, or you’re just scared of stabbing yourself with your tweezers and ending up as That Girl with the Eyepatch, then this is an awesome tool to have on hand — honestly, I don’t know why no one thought of it before now!

Availability: $12 USD/$14 CAD at Sephora.

Keep reading! »

Shu Uemura Brave Beauty Pink, Green, & Orange Palette Swatches, Reviews, Photos | Perfectly curated eyeshadows for Turkey Day and beyond

Monday, October 13, 2014

shu uemura green brave beauty palette

The products: shu uemura Brave Beauty PinkGreen, and Orange Pressed Eyeshadow Palettes

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, and what better a time than turkey day to talk about shades of orange? (And, you know, also green and purple.)

I may not be crazy about yellows and oranges on a day-to-day basis, but even I was pulled toward the Orange Brave Beauty palette, and that’s where we start off today. My favourite thing about the Brave Beauty collection is that the eye palettes are so perfectly composed; coherent, but not at all dupeable, and the Orange palette is no exception to this rule.

Fall colours, all grown up

shu uemura brave beauty orange eyeshadow palette review

shu uemura brave beauty – orange palette review

All of the eyeshadows in the Brave Beauty Eye Palette Orange ($90 CAD) are cohesively warm and a little bit red, but I found that the formulas were quite varied. While the matte orange is beautifully smooth, layerable, and intense, not all of the shimmery shades are formulated as well – and at $90, you really shouldn’t have any letdowns. (The darker beige is chunky and a little dry, and the salmon pink applies very sheerly).

The rest of the shimmery shades, however, have a smooth texture with intense colour payoff, and each has a slightly different frost finish — the light beige is particularly metallic. I found that the dark brown applies a shade more bronze than you’d expect, and the purple-red appears as a cranberry-red with almost no purple tones on the skin.

shu uemura orange eyeshadow palette swatches brave beauty

shu uemura brave beauty – orange palette swatches

Forest-free greens and golds

For those looking for a unique palette that isn’t quite so bold, Shu’s Brave Beauty Eye Palette Green ($90 CAD) is the one you want to be looking toward. Described as “a tribe of forest inspired hues,” this is anything but your typical forest palette.

For starters, there’s only one brown eyeshadow in here, and it’s more of a deep yellow gold, not a… tree-moss brown. But beyond that, there’s a pearly light gold with subtle green undertones, a glowing pale green, and an unexpected lime-chartreuse that’s so unique that even I can’t help but stare. The final dark green shadow in the palette looks like a less-glowy MAC Humid, but does its job of adding depth despite its more boring characteristics.

shu uemura green eyeshadow palette swatches brave beauty

shu uemura brave beauty – green palette swatches

What really takes the Green palette to the next level, however, is that amazing matte green. I don’t even know how to describe it — it’s too saturated and bright to just be called “teal,” but it’s not really blue and not really green, either.

Check out the Brave Beauty Eye Palette Green in this { green-and-gold makeup look } !

imaginary shu palette

I think a proper forest palette would look a little bit like… this. (This is not a real palette.)

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Argentum La Potion Infinie Anti-Age Cream review, photos, results | What makes a $225 moisturizer?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Argentum La Potion Infinie review

The product: Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP Hydrating Restorative Anti-Age (face and eye) Cream

What makes as $200 moisturizer? 

I didn’t know the answer to this question (unicorn pee?) three months ago, but when Argentum asked me if I wanted to give their Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP anti-ageing moisturizer a try, I decided that it was time to find out. And now, months later, here is my answer.

Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie

The science behind Argentum: As you may have guessed from the name, Argentum Apothecary’s thing is silver hydrosol, which they use to promote cell regeneration. It’s paired with hydrating DNA HP (petri dish science?) as well as a few more-recognizable ingredients, like shea butter, sweet almond oil, and caffeine.

This cruelty-free cream comes from 99.5% natural origins, and Argentum says that it targets wrinkles, blemishes, and oxidative stress, with an emphasis on firming and tightening. For the hefty price of $225, they also promise long-lasting hydration with no greasy residue, and (pay attention to this one) plumped skin “without any uncomfortable ‘tightness’.” 

Argentum Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP moisturizer review

The scent: La Potion Infinie is highly fragranced, with a scent that smelled offensively masculine to my nose… at first. After wearing it around for the first day or two, something rather magical happened: I’m not sure what changed, but I am obsessed with this scent now. Formulated by Delphine Thierry, it’s spicy, masculine, and woody, and it smells just as delicious on my boyfriend as it does on me.

The packaging: Packaged in a rather stately glass jar, La Potion is understated but luxe. I was surprised to read that the jar’s base is made from a very dark violet glass (I thought it was black) that helps to prolong the life of the ingredients, but all in all, it’s a pleasure to hold.

[ It kind of makes me feel like a potions master. ]

Argentum La Potion Infinie review, results

Potions Master Rae Chen, reporting for duty

So… how did La Potion Infinie perform?

In short: both very poorly and exceptionally well.

La Potion Infinie is very liquidy and emollient, and it applies comfortably with a soft, velvety finish. For something without silicones, it does an amazing job of feeling luxurious and not at all greasy, and you need only very little for each application – adding more doesn’t seem to make a difference except to leave you massaging it in for longer.

Argentum Hydrating Restorative Anti-Age Cream review

The issue I have with this moisturizer (sorry, “hydrating restorative anti-age cream”) is that it leaves my skin feeling extremely tight and uncomfortable, which it promises not to do — and at this price, I think a moisturizer had better perform to spec. Because I have extremely dry skin to begin with, this left my face feeling so dehydrated that it was actually painful – I couldn’t last more than a few hours before adding another moisturizer on top.

That said, if you have normal skin or oilier, and especially if you live in a country where it’s more humid, I think that this texture would actually be quite lovely.

Argentum anti-ageing cream review

On the anti-ageing front, however… that’s where things do a drastic 180. While I can’t evaluate this for its effect on wrinkles or fine lines, I can tell you that it’s the only anti-ageing product I have ever tried, in seven years of beauty blogging, that has had a noticeable effect on my skin. 

My skin doesn’t look significantly better following application, because quite frankly I’m still practically a baby as far as skin goes, but it is immediately tightened and plumped – literally within 15 minutes. When I gently prod at my face with my fingertips (ever so scientifically), there is more resistance when I use La Potion Infinie, and my face feels fuller to my fingers; more firm and elastic than it’s been in years.

I don’t have noticeable wrinkles in the eye area yet, but La Potion is safe to use there, and it never stings or burns my eyes. Of the handful of eye creams and gels that I already own, this one is my favourite of the bunch, and I plan to continue using it in my eye area until it’s finished.

Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie review

The verdict?

As with any skincare product this expensive, I don’t want to tell you to run out and buy it immediately, because whether or not it’s worth it is such an individual thing. But if you do have the budget for high-end skincare, I would absolutely recommend this one over anything else I’ve tried so far.

My favourite thing about this cream is the beautiful, high-sillage scent, but the thin, velvety texture is a dream as well. I’d hesitate to recommend it to anyone with dry skin, but I’m using mine like a serum (with another moisturizer layered on top), and its impressive firming and tightening effects don’t seem to be lessened.

All in all, yes, I do think this is substantially better than a $50 or even your average $100 anti-ageing moisturizer, but it’s definitely not as effective as a cosmetic treatment. (As a price comparison, Restylane treatments tend to be about $1000). I’m personally happy with my skin, so this price tag is far more than I’d be willing to pay, but I did find it to be surprisingly effective – if uncomfortable.

Availability: $225 USD/£147 from Net-A-Porter, Cult Beauty, or Argentum Apothecary (UK).

Keep reading! »

Brave visions of shu uemura greens: a makeup look

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

shu uemura brave beauty pre-review fall 2014

shu uemura brave beauty, fall 2014

What’s that, you say? What’s that?

Yup. After many long months (I think this Marc Jacobs makeup look was the last proper one I posted, with photos from two summers ago), here’s a new makeup look for you to feast your eyes on. It’s just an eye look–I’m easing myself back into the swing of things–but I hope you like it.

PS: Tracy, this one’s for you! I’m wearing greeeeens!

shu uemura brave beauty green eyeshadow makeup look

shu uemura brave beauty green eye palette makeup look

I’ll be reviewing shu’s Brave Beauty collection soon, but for now, this look features the collection’s shu uemura Brave Beauty Eye Palette Green ($90 CAD) — and no other shadows. I used the light green from the palette in the inner corners (shade GR4), the silver-green through the centre of the lid (GR3), and that beautiful matte green (GR1) on the outer corner, both on the lid and below the lower lashline. For this amount of intensity, I did need apply the matte shadow with a damp brush, but the fall-down was very minimal.

Finally, I blended out the look using the yellow-green second from the right (GR5), added a bit of black gel liner along the upper lashline, and applied both mascara (below) and shu’s Mini Yellow Quartz accent lashes (above). The lashes were actually from shu’s summer collection last year, but I thought they fit in perfectly with this look — after all, the little gems are yellow and green, just like these shadows!

green makeup eyeshadow look

the look, sans lashes

The Brave Beauty collection does include an array of gold and silver face studs, but they’re a little big for just an eye look. It’s doable, but I think they fit in far better along the cheekbone or as faux microdermal implants — maybe through the collarbone area, even, if you’re feeling particularly… brave.

Jokes! I’m making jokes! Do you like them.

shu uemura green brave beauty palette

shu uemura brave beauty green eyeshadow palette

Shop this look

Shu Uemura Brave Beauty – Green Palette ($90 CAD)

Shu Uemura False Eyelashes – Mini Yellow Quartz Accent Lashes ($23 CAD) from shu’s Summer 2013 Eye-Conic collection

Essence Cosmetics Gel Eyeliner – 01 Midnight in Paris

theBalm timeBalm – Lighter Than Light ($18 USD)

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara ($30 USD)

So… do you do greens?

Science for bleeders: completing the Stayfree Challenge

Monday, October 6, 2014

It’s been a while since our last Ladystuff instalment, so when I was contacted by Stayfree about their new Stayfree Challenge, I snapped up the opportunity in an instant. Fake-science that has to do with making periods less awful? Count me in.

Stayfree Ultra Thin pads

This nine-step challenge requires bloggers to begin by laying out three pads: Stayfree’s new Ultra Thin pads (about $7 USD/32 pads) plus two unmarked competitors. Funnily enough, the two competitors are the exact two pads I was using before, so I recognized them pretty easily! (The yellow is Always and the white is Kotex’s Natural Balance Ultra Thin Regular with Wings.)

Once lined up, the challenge itself is pretty simple: you pour 5 ml of blue saline onto the centre of each pad, wait 30 seconds, then top each with a blotting sheet and 5 lb weight. (The package all of this arrived in was so heavy, you guys.) Then, five seconds later, all you have to do is remove each weight and blotting sheet.

Stayfree Challenge
When I completed the challenge, I found that the Stayfree blotter was almost completely clean, with the Kotex blotter coming in second. What was really alarming, though, was that the Always pads I’ve been loyal to since forever (I still remember freaking out about how thin their most recent launches were and how well they absorbed) did terribly — the blotting sheet was so soaked that it stuck to the weight!

What you can’t see in the pictures is the texture of each pad, so I wanted to touch on that briefly, too. I found Competitor #1 (Always) to be the stiffest, and Competitor #2 (Kotex) pad the spongiest; sort of like many layers of netting rather than a compressed stack of fibers. The Stayfree pad fell somewhere in-between — they were a little clunky but very soft, and I found them to be the most comfortable to wear out of the three.

Stayfree Ultra Thin pad review

In conclusion…

I don’t do a “verdict” section for sponsored posts, but I did want to wrap things up with a summary. Despite the fact that I did this challenge for fun, I actually got something out of the results — I found out that there’s something better out there than Always Infinity pads, and that something is Stayfree Ultra Thin. The Stayfree pads don’t just absorb better, but they also feel less like a manilla folder that’s been unfortunately positioned between your legs, so that’s a plus.

Will I be making the transition to Stayfree in the future? You bet your buttons I will. Or – I would (I definitely, definitely would), but I found out a week after receiving this challenge in the mail that I don’t really, uh, have a period anymore?

But that’s an IUD tale for another day…

Stayfree Ultra Thin packaging

Stayfree Ultra Thin padsStayfree Ultra Thin absorption

Stayfree Ultra Thin pad + 5 ml blue saline

Disclaimer: this challenge was sponsored by Stayfree, but my opinions (good or bad) cannot be bought. My priority at all times is our readers, and that’s not going to change! 

To clarify, all I was required to do for this post was film or photograph the fake-science part. The rambling review? That was all me, folks. You’re welcome. 

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