My brain thinks it’s about to be Spring and I can’t make it stop (so here’s what’s on my mind)

Monday, January 30, 2012

It’s been unseasonably warm this January, and my brain seems to be convinced that Spring is about to break. It’s too good to be true, of course (and I’d be worried if it was anything otherwise), but I’m still going to be distraught when winter comes back full-force.

This little reprieve has me thinking about getting a haircut (I’m long overdue) or facial from someplace like Rush Hair, and I’m reaching for an entirely different product set than normal – all sheers and springy shades. But, I digress: here are some of the products that have been on my mind.

{click on any of the photos to read the post}

New 29/01/12

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I’m sorry; I know we just did one of these last week (and the one before that, too, if I’m not mistaken), but there’s just so much stuff coming out right now!

Things are picking up out of the post-Christmas slump, and everyone seems to be gearing up for Spring – so here are some of the more exciting just-launched products.

Lashes, lids, lips, and cheeks

Skincare and fragrance

(Those adorable little petites, my heart! I’ve recently discovered a soft spot for purse sprays – more on that in Feb.)

A story of weird textures | FaceFront Tokyo Future Cyber Gel review, part one

Friday, January 27, 2012

The product: Facefront Tokyo Future Cyber Gel Cream Eye Liner + Color Base in Weekend Warrior and White Rice

Oh, FaceFront. Why do you have to do this to me on such a frequent basis? I feel like you’re creating innovative new torture methods, just for beauty bloggers, and I’m your sample size of 1.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, yeah? I’m going to start with the good stuff, then work our way to the bad.

The shades

Weekend Warrior (Pewter Finish) is a gorgeous deep purple, with strong blue undertones but red microshimmer – a violet-lover’s dream. It’s even prettier in real life than it is on camera, and is up and down a “true violet” if I’ve ever seen one. I think it’s due to that perfect blue-and-red mix; it’s hard to make a violet that’s really violet both on film and in person, but FaceFront nailed it with this shade.

White Rice (Pewter Finish, and don’t even get me started on that name) is described by FaceFront as being “a slightly metallic and very bright classic white,” but I have to disagree. It’s definitely bright, but I’d describe it more as “packed with microshimmer” than “metallic”, and it’s more of a light silver than a classic white.

Either way, it’s gorgeous. Whites and off-whites can get boring pretty fast, but this one has me rapt!

Swatches of Weekend Warrior and White Rice. Incandescent lighting + colour correction (sorry.)

Smudged with a light tough, after being given twenty minutes to set (and stubbornly refusing to do so).

The wear

Aaaand here’s where things start going downhill. As pretty as these two shades are, they just don’t cut it when it comes to wear – neither really “sets,” so even if you manage to get them perfectly even (easy to do with White Rice, obscenely difficult with Weekend Warrior), the results won’t last long.

I wanted to talk about wear with some lid swatches, so I’m afraid I’ll have to leave you hanging for a bit. I should have part two of this review ready by tonight or tomorrow, but I’ll keep going and give these a verdict for now! Wear will be discussed extensively in the next part; for now, all you need to know is that it was (very much) not impressive.

The big issue

There are a handful of reasons why I typically go for products that are “mass-produced,” rather than mixing things up at three in the morning to meet my specifications exactly. One of those is time, sure, and another is a lack of a chemist’s lab in my office, but the big one is consistency. When you buy from a brand, you can expect a general level of consistency from shade to shade of a formula… right?

(I’m sorry, I think I need to take a breather to laugh hysterically.)

(But seriously, what beauty blogger hasn’t mixed up a shadow or lip product or blusher or five? God, we’re all just junkies scrambling for our next [colour] fix.)

Right, so back to expecting consistency. Which is to say: not so, in the case of the Cyber Gel line!

Using just these two as an example, White Rice is has the texture of frozen butter, if that makes any sense –  solid, but it “melts” smoothly onto your fingertip or brush. (Which is a good thing, in case that wasn’t clear. I don’t think that was clear.) And then there’s Weekend Warrior. Completely unlike White Rice, it’s solid and dry, rather than solid and buttery, and it’s a pain in the arse to work with.

The verdict?

Skip on these, if you know what’s good for you. The shades are absolutely gorgeous, but are still very much not worth the hassle – there are a ton of other great (or even just “better”) cream formulas out there, and these just aren’t up to snuff.

I hate to give such a negative review for these, because FaceFront do some of the most unusual, breathtaking colours, but sometimes (read: right now), I feel like they should stick to powder products until they figure out the perfect creme formula.

Which they’ve yet to do.

Ingredients & more »

Marcelle BB Cream comparisons, swatches | ft. MAC, Marcelle, and 100% Pure

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I know some of you will be ordering your Marcelle BB Cream online, so I wanted to provide some swatch comparisons for Light/Medium (my BB shade). It’s not really the sort of thing that calls for ton of text, so I’ll mainly let the photos speak for themselves – but please do feel free to ask for more info in the comments if you need it!

For the Marcelle fans out there, I swatched their BB against three of their foundations – True Radiance in True Beige and Ivory Beige (my usual shade), and their Sheer Tint Fluid Moisturizer in Luminous Beige. I’m curious to see how long the Sheer Tint will stick around for, now that they have their BB and Hydra-C Perfect Fusion Make-Up, but I suppose it just has to do with how well they all sell going forward! (No, I don’t have any inside info about it – Sheer Tint fans need not worry. It’s all just beauty blogger conjecture!)

In addition, I swatched the new Marcelle BB against 100% Pure’s Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer, in Crème – I know some of you picked it up after our review. Truth be told, I ended up getting a lot less wear out of the 100% Pure than I’d expected, more or less just because I don’t typically wear foundation. (As much as I liked it, it just never ended up integrating into my makeup routine.)

As for how the 100% Pure TM and the Marcelle BB stack up? Well, the latter’s not silicone- or scent-free, but it knocks the TM out of the park on all other counts. More portable packaging, more accessible, better finish, better texture, better price tag… the list goes on!

Marcelle vs. Marcelle, 100% Pure swatch comparisons

Above: 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer in Crème, Marcelle BB Cream in Light to Medium, Marcelle Sheer Tint Fluid Moisturizer in Luminous Beige, Marcelle True Radiance Foundation in True Beige, Marcelle BB Cream in Light to Medium, Marcelle True Radiance Foundation in Ivory Beige.

Above: 100% Pure Crème, Marcelle BB Cream, Marcelle Luminous Beige, Marcelle True Beige, Marcelle BB Cream, Marcelle Ivory Beige.

Marcelle vs. MAC swatch comparisons

Above: MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NW20, Marcelle BB Cream in Light to Medium, MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NW25, Marcelle BB Cream in Light to Medium,MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC30.

P.S. I’ve mentioned it before, but I have to say it again: if you’re viewing these photos in Chrome, they may not be very true to colour. I love Chrome, I do, and I use it as my main browser – but it still doesn’t colour-manage! *shakes fist at the Google gods* If you’re really concerned about colour accuracy, check these photos out in another browser, too, okay?

Swatch photos without labels »

Don’t miss this | Get the Look: A Winter Fairy Tale

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Click here or on the photo below for the tutorial, on She Said Beauty.

Worth the wait (and the hype) | Marcelle BB Cream review, photos, swatches

Monday, January 23, 2012

The product: Marcelle BB Cream in Light to Medium

What they say about it: Marcelle is marketing their BB Cream as a hypo-allergenic beauty balm/skin enhancer, calling it an 8 in 1 product. I couldn’t quite suss out what those eight claims were, but I’ve numbered off my guesses – and will try to judge the product accordingly!

Your ultimate skin care enhancer for all ages and skin types, this multi-purpose skin care cream is more than a tinted moisturizer or simple make-up base. It perfects the skin to (1) reveal a more even epidermis and (2) well-hydrated, (3) flawless complexion, all in one. Use it (4) alone as a tinted moisturizer;  (5) over your moisturizer to unify your complexion and (6) reduce the appearance of blemishes, (7) apply as a make-up base under foundation for total coverage and (8) improved stay-on power. BB Cream is offered in two shades and is suitable for a wide variety of skintones thanks to its self-adjusting pigments that transform and adapt to skin tone.

Please note that because I am sensitive to silicones, I will be unable to judge the long term or long-wearing effects of this product – that is, claims 1 through 3, and 8. I can, however, speak toward all of the other claims, so keep reading for the review!

Marcelle Light to Medium BB cream review

The shade: Somehow, Marcelle has managed to put just the right amount of pigment into their BB cream – more on par with a sheer foundation than a tinted moisturizer. It’s enough to tone down my awful undereye circles, but not so much that only having two shade choices will be terribly limiting.

Light to Medium is darker than my own skintone, and yet, it’s completely seamless: my face still matches my neck, but I’d feel completely comfortable wearing this and nothing else as a base product – as long as I’m not in the middle of breakout, that is! Check back tomorrow for shade comparison swatches.

Update: check out comparison swatches (MAC, 100% Pure, other Marcelle foundations) here!

Marcelle BB Cream swatches – all Light to Medium, with differing amounts of blending.

The finish: Again, Marcelle has hit the nail right on the head with this one. Similarly to the amount of pigmentation, the finish is absolutely natural – just enough glow to give my skin an extra little boost, but not so much that it’s obvious. (I’ve got a super-close-up flash photo of a swatch below; you can tell that there’s a small amount of super-finely-milled mica that’s literally imperceptible to the naked eye.)

I like to think of this as a natural plus finish – no one would ever guess that you were wearing a base product, and yet, the results are just that tiny bit more flawless.

Super-close-up swatches of Marcelle BB Cream in Light to Medium; indirect sunlight with additional flash.

The ingredients: Marcelle’s BB Cream is paraben-free, perfume-free (though it is not scent-free), and hypoallergenic. For the full ingredient list, 

Aqua/Water/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Octyldodecanol, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cyclohexasiloxane, Isopropyl Myristate, Bis-Peg/Ppg-14/14 Dimethicone, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Xylitylglucoside, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Hexyl Laurate, Silica, Sodium Chloride, Isododecane, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lauroyl Lysine, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower/Leaf Extract, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Trihydroxystearin, Talc, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Iron Oxides

Odds and ends: So, that throwaway comment about this being perfume-free but not scent-free? I’m not sure what to say about it. I can’t stand the slightly-sour scent of this, even after a good half hour of wear. But here’s the thing: my scent-sensitive sister? Can’t smell it at all.

My advice is that if you’re not already convinced that you’re crazy (that is, you’re frequently annoyed by a faint sour scent when everyone else is convinced a product is scent-free), I wouldn’t worry about it in relation to this BB cream, either.

Lastly, I want to give a quick shout-out to the brilliant packaging of this BB cream. Not only is it super-cute (white is underrated, you guys), but it’s blissfully user-friendly. It’s light, easy-to-use, and super sanitary. No trigger-finger pump, no bacterial contamination, and no need to worry about fingerprints or fragility!

The verdict?

Marcelle’s BB Cream retails for $22.95 CAD/45mL and is available in Light to Medium and Medium to Dark shades. I’m hesitant to give a verdict for this one, as I wasn’t able to test it for long-term or all-day wear, but I love what I did get to test it for.

With more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, a completely seamless finish, and just the right amount of “glow,” the Marcelle BB Cream is a fantastic introduction to BB Creams on the whole. I’m no expert, of course, but I’ll say this: if the rest of the trend is anything like this one, I completely understand the craze!

One last photo »

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