The Dark Eyeliner Rises | An Anne Hathaway (as Catwoman) makeup tutorial + look

Monday, August 20, 2012

Because Selina Kyle is a BAMF.

In a few more words, though: here’s a quick look (tutorial + more photos here) to make up for the fact that I’ve been AWOL recently. Soft red lips, matte neutral eyes, and (what else?) smudgy winged black eyeliner.

While editing these photos, I realized that I look rather… displeased with the entire world in them, which — not intentional, I promise. (Okay, maybe a little bit intentional. It has been so hot in Edmonton this season; I am so, so ready for the fall.)

Honestly, though? This look isn’t exactly prototypical DC superhero — you could get away with wearing it in pretty much any scenario (no ass-kicking or taking of names required). Take the edge off a red lip by applying your lipstick quite sparingly, and then blotting it down with a fingertip for a really soft, lived-in edge.

(Alternately, wear the lipstick full-force for a more dramatic, evening look, or grab a classic-red gloss–with shimmer!–for something a bit more fun.)

Alright. I’m sure you’ve had enough of my boring face for the time being, so I’ll add in one last note and then leave you be!

Black liner through my sparse lashes is my #1 makeup tip for looking just… better, without making it obvious at all that I’ve actually got anything on, and this liner does a fantastic job of it. More awake, larger eyes, more expressive, you name it — liner in my actual lashline (not above it, and not below it) is a makeup trick that I rely really heavily on, and this super-creamy, super-black Annabelle Smoothie pencil has been my pick of the month to do it with.

Keep reading! »

New 19/08/12 | New Dior foundation brushes, jewel-toned Clarisonic Mia 2s, and AERIN Beauty

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ahh! There are a ton of interesting launches coming up this fall, and I loved really enjoyed experienced a reasonable amount of happiness while putting together this week’s “New…” widget.

Launching this month are a few Clarisonic Mia 2s that are so cute that I actually kind of want one (jewel tones! greens and teals and cranberries!), and I don’t even believe in daily physical exfoliation. And then there are the new theBalm mascarasso. cute.–, a handful of new brushes, a cream concealer from (!!) Bare Escentuals…

Yeah, it’s a pretty exciting week as far as launches go.

Another very cool thing? AERIN Beauty (as in Aerin Lauder, and oh my god, what I wouldn’t give to have been born into that family — think about it; decades and decades of beauty in your family heritage!) is now online at a handful of shops. The line (see it on the Estee Lauder site here) is broken down into the Essentials and a seasonal Colour Collection, the latter being broken down further into “Weekday” (plummy pinks) and “Weekend” (bronzy peaches).

Honestly, I think the price point is quite high for a new beauty brand affiliated with Estee, but I’m interested to see where it goes! For anyone lamenting the way Estee Lauder Beauty is rebranding under Tom Pecheux, are you insane AERIN is going to be right up your alley.

The ingredient breakdown | Tatcha Radiant Deep Brightening Serum

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Earlier this week, a good friend of mine (aka She of the Glorious Cheekbones, or “Xiao,” for short) asked me to tell her about the ingredients in the Tatcha Radiant Deep Brightening Serum. I’m no skincare expert, but I do end up doing a lot of skincare research just for interest’s sake, so I thought I’d share the breakdown with all of you, too.

To start off, here’s the full ingredients list: 

Water, Glycerine, Propanediol, Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Squalane (Olive Extract), Isocetyl StearateInositol (Rice Bran), Phenoxyethanol, Oryza Stavia Germ Oil (Rice Bran)Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Polyglyceryl-10 Isostearate, Ethylhexylglycerine, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Sericin (Silk), Arginine, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Sodium Hyaluronate, Zizyphus Extract (Jujuba Fruit), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract (Licorice Root), Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract (Baical Skullcap), Ctearyl Alcohol, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sorbitan Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Red Algae ExtractCamellia Sinesis Leaf Extract (Green Tea), Fragrance.

[Italicized ingredients are of natural origin.]

What you need to know about ingredients lists

As I’m sure you all know, the FDA dictates that all ingredients be listed in order of predominance, with the notable exclusion of:

a) Any ingredients that are also drugs (eg. chemical sunscreens), which are listed first;

b) Colour additives, which can be listed at the end in any order;

c) “Trade secrets,” which can be listed as simply “and other ingredients,” and finally;

d) Any ingredient making up less than 1% of the finished product, which can be listed in any order amongst themselves.

Because of this, I’m going to focus on the first handful of ingredients, and touch on the rest only briefly — just in case you were wondering why I haven’t broken down all 32 ingredients for you!

The base


Okay, this one’s obvious. Most skincare products do start out with water (aqua/eau, whatever you care to call it); starting out your product with water doesn’t make it a “cheap dilution.” Dilution? Well, yes, but it’s always nice not to burn your skin off with overly-concentrated ingredients!

Remember, when it comes to skincare, more isn’t always better. It’s all about a balance: you don’t want a product that’s too diluted, but you don’t want one that’s too concentrated, either.


Another common ingredient. My worry with glycerine is always that, while a good, cost-effective humectant (think of humectants as skin conditioning agents for locking in moisture), it can give a suffocating, sticky finish if you use too much — which I definitely find is the case with this serum. (I’d recommend starting off with just two or three small drops for your entire face if you want a soft finish, rather than a sticky one.)

Effective or not, I’m a little disappointed to see so much glycerine in a product that retails for $150 a bottle, to be honest — it’s hard to fork over that much when you know the largest components of a product are dirt-cheap!


Um, this is awkward.  1,2- or 1,3-propanediol? Anyhow; this is probably around as a humectant and/or viscosity-controlling agent; group it in as “supporting character” rather than “story arc.” There have been some concerns raised over this one with regards to skin irritation, so do keep an eye out for any unusual redness or sensitivity, especially in your eye area.

What’s with all the extracts? Keep reading »

Steals & Deals | 20% off at Inglot USA 10/08 to 20/08

Monday, August 13, 2012

Just a quick heads-up, for those of you who haven’t seen it yet! Inglot USA is currently doing 20% off online to celebrate their third birthday, running until the 20th. (Enter the code BIRTHDAY at checkout.)

The sale includes everything but their Single Eye Shadows (all the round shadows on their site), which are being cleared out at 40% off instead; pot format only. (Which kind of sucks, because I was planning on getting a bunch more round pans for my palettes!)

I’ll have to ship to a relative in the US (who’s sending a package up soon anyways — who knew it would be so hard to find polypropylene pellets in Canada?), but the quad above is what I’ve ordered.

Clockwise from the top left, the shades are 420P, 434P, 436M, and 358M. The single pan photos are from, which (take note, anyone who’s thinking of making an order!) is a fabulous Inglot resource — Christine went and swatched their entire single eyeshadow lineup last June.

A few links you might find helpful

  • Christine’s Inglot brand category, & the brilliant Swatch Gallery,
  • Vesna’s Inglot eyeshadow swatches at,
  • xSparkage, for more than just the single eyeshadows (though she has those, too),
  • Elvira’s Inglot swatches at Pink Sith, full of (what else?) taupey goodness,
  • Futilities and More, for some lovely fingertip & skin swatches, and finally,
  • Swatches from three of my favourite people fellow Lipstick Bandits: Jenny (My Funny Valentine), Monika (Rocaille Writes), and Paris (My Women Stuff).

Hope those’ll help you make your Inglot eyeshadow-buying decisions! ;) Oh, and just to note — Inglot eyeshadow singles are paraben-free, and $4.80 each, with the sale.

Keep your paws off my Japoneseque Safari Chic Bronzer Brush (because I’m kind of smitten.) | A quick Japonesque Safari Chic review

Friday, August 10, 2012

The product: Japonesque Safari Chic Bronzer Brush

The brush: Do you have any idea how hard it is to write about a fantastic, adorable, cruelty-free brush and not just babble affectionately about it the whole time? (Hint: it’s hard. Like, extremely hard.)

Japonesque’s Safari Chic collection features a three-piece mini brush set, but it showcases this little guy, too. Densely-packed and oh-so-soft, the Safari Chic Bronzer Brush is basically the bronzer brush that all the other brushes grow up wishing the could be. Plus, the whole collection has been done in animal-friendly synthetic fibers, making them a kind of ridiculously perfect gift for animal lovers.


I love it for: Not bronzing, actually! I’m not huge into bronzers, and when I do wear them, I do so quite sparingly. This is too big for me to use as a bronzing brush (but only because I’m a werido; check out Dovey’s review at Cute & Mundane for size comparisons), but I love it as a synthetic kabuki. 

The size and dense, luxuriously soft bristles make this one perfect for buffing in liquid and creme products, and I think it would do a pretty okay job with powders, too.

The brand: As a beauty blogger, I definitely recognize the name — but as a consumer? I live in Canada (and try my very best not to leave the house unless absolutely necessary), so I’ve never actually seen the line in stores.

So, as a quick primer: you might recognize this tools-and-accessories-only brand from their precision lash curlers, tweezers (did you know that they have a tweezer reconditioning program, like Tweezerman do?) or cult-favourite lipstick palettes — honestly; I think every makeup artist owns at least one of those by now. (And so they should; the palettes are brilliant!)


The verdict?

Yes. Absolutely. I honestly can’t think of a bad thing to say about this brush — it’s gorgeously soft, luxuriously dense, and animal-friendly. I’ve been reaching for it a lot recently to buff in base products, and (even though it wasn’t the intended purpose), this bronzing brush does a wonderful job with it.

But perhaps most importantly… this is so cute! I’m of the firm belief that animal print is usually a bad idea, but even still, I’m ridiculously fond of this one.

Availability: $22 USD; Ulta is probably your best bet. (Japonesque has a store locater here, though, if that helps!)

Keep reading! »

Annabelle Biggy Bronzer in Caribbean Sun review, photos, swatches

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The product: Annabelle Biggy Bronzer in Caribbean Sun 

The packaging: Okay, okay, so I kind of do like the “Biggy” packaging of Caribbean Sun. What can I say; it’s kind of cute! The large size (just shy of 10cm) makes it easy to pick up the individual shades, but it’s not so big that you can’t fit it in your handbag. (Don’t look at me like that; it happens! Lise Waiter, Clarins: we’re looking at you.)

Plus, at just $12.95 CAD for 18.7g of bronzer (almost double the size of MAC’s), it’s a pretty darn good buy for the size.

The shades: So, here’s the catch. While I like the tones of this Biggy Bronzer, I’m less crazy about the amount shimmer in it. Which is to say: a lot of shimmer. It’s a really nice glow if you like a shimmer bronzer, but–while I know I’m in the minority here–I don’t. I think it would have been nice to see a mix of mattes and shimmers from Annabelle in this one (maybe the darker shades in matte, and the lighter ones in shimmer?) but I guess I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed for next summer.

Annabelle Caribbean Sun swatches – individual

Annabelle Biggy Bronzing Powder swatches, blended / really heavily

vs. Annabelle Zebra Bronzer: I don’t have swatch photos for you, but I just wanted to cover this briefly. I know some of you picked this one up when I first raved about it two (eep!) years ago, so: if you already have Zebra, you don’t need this. If you have this, though, I still totally think you need the Zebra bronzer!

These are both warm, shimmery bronzers, but I really do prefer Zebra. It has less shimmer overall (Caribbean Sun has additional frosty yellow-gold microshimmer to Zebra’s finely-milled gold), significantly more pigmentation, and more of a warm, rich glow. Which isn’t to say that Annabelle’s Zebra bronzer isn’t any of these things at all, though; it’s still definitely shimmery and can be sheered out!

The verdict?

It’s not a must have, but if you do like the look of it, snap it up soon. While I wasn’t crazy about the shimmer-to-pigment ratio of this one, it does give a glow that photographs quite well from a distance (i.e. not macro shots).

Easy to blend and completely unscented, give this one a try if you like your summer glow to come from a sheer, super-shimmery bronzer. (I prefer spot-highlighting, but then, I guess I’ve always been a bit of an oddball!)

Availability: LE in Canadian drugstores this summer. $12.95 CAD, 18.7g. (I spied this in-store last week, so you should still be able to find it!)

See it: Photographed with the Hawaiian Hues eyeshadow palette in this Aqua Queen collection teaser, or in last month’s festival makeup look here and here.

Additional photos, ingredients, & more »

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