Annabelle Chai Eyeshadow Quad swatches, review, photos | Beautifully bronzed at the drugstore

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Annabelle Chai eyeshadow swatches review

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Eyeshadow Quad in Chai Chai Chai

This week is kicking my butt, you guys. It’s already Thursday and I’ve barely gotten out of bed because my abdominal muscles hurt so much – they’re so tender that touching them makes my head spin, which: never a good sign.

So, well, let’s talk makeup. I picked out a stellar product from one of my favourite lines today, and hopefully writing about it’ll help cheer me up a bit!

Annabelle eyeshadow quad review Chai

Annabelle Eyeshadow Quad in Chai Chai Chai

The product: Chai Chai Chai includes four gorgeous, super-smooth eyeshadows that are a dream to apply and blend. They’re crazy pigmented for a drugstore product, and apply vividly even without primer, never crumbling or kicking up dust.

The top two shades are a little more frosty than the bottom two, and the chocolate brown (third swatch) is just divine — it’s rich and dense, even more-so over primer, with a beautiful, uninterrupted finish. The darkest brown is a little drier than the rest, but makes up for it with a smattering of silver shimmer that twinkles as you move about.

Annabelle Chai eyeshadow quad swatches

Annabelle Eyeshadow Quad in Chai Chai Chai, swatched dry on unprimed skin

What impressed me most about these shades, I think, was how wearable they are. Yes, the overall feeling of the palette is very bronze, but it’s not so warm that I couldn’t wear it around if I wanted to. (If you love metals or warm colours but can’t always pull them off, this might be a good one to try.)

And, if warm bronze isn’t your thing, these quads come in cooler options, too — stormy grey-blues, cooler taupes, mossy browns, and purple-pinks.

Annablle eyeshadow quad swatches - Chai Chai Chai

Annabelle Chai Chai Chai swatches

The packaging: Where this product flounders (just a little!!) is its packaging. Chai Chai Chai comes with two applicators that are really just too small to be of any use — “crapplicators,” if you will.

It’s also a really hard palette to get open, which is both a positive and a negative: on one hand, it can be frustrating, but on the other, I feel 100% confident just throwing this into my bag, because it’s definitely not going to spring open if jostled the wrong way.


Annabelle Chai Eyeshadow Quad review

The verdict?

Annabelle consistently proves itself to be one of the best budget brands out there, and this quad is no exception. While the particular colour palette of Chai Chai Chai was a little too warm for my preferences (though it worked ok with my colouring), I would absolutely recommend these quads if you’re looking for a great drugstore palette for day-to-day use or travel!

Availability: $10.95 CAD at Annabelle.ca & in most drugstores across Canada.

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Three to try: Body oils from L’Occitane, Clarins, and Osmia Organics

Friday, August 1, 2014

Body oil reviews

For something that sprays: L’Occitane Amande Supple Skin Oil ($ /3.4 oz)

With a formula containing over 50% sweet almond oil (and following up with fractionated coconut oil), the makeup of L’Occitane’s Amande Supple Skin Oil is pretty great. It hydrates well despite its lightweight texture, and comes in a gorgeous glass bottle with a spray dispenser — and while I don’t think it’ll make well-hydrated skin any more firm or supple (as it claims), any good body oil will do that for chronically dry skin!

L'Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil

However, despite the fact that I love the feel and presentation of this oil, I personally hate the scent. It opens with just a second of beautiful, nutty synthetic almond, but turns into something sharp and cloying once misted and rubbed in; something that sits in the back of my throat with painful honey-sweetness.

But, to each her own: I adore the idea of honey scents, but for some reason, I just can’t stand them in practice. If you love scents like Lise Watier’s Something Sweet or Marc Jacobs Dot (or anything with honey in it!), I bet the L’Occitane Amande body oil would work beautifully for you.

L’Occitane Supple Skin Oil ingredients:

Sweet Almond Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Fragrance, Oleyl Alcohol, Camelina Sativa Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Bergamot Fruit Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Dioleyl Tocopheryl Methylsilanol, Limonene, Coumarin, Linalool, Citral.

Clarins Shimmer Oil

For shine and shimmer: Clarins Shimmer Oil for Face & Body ($ /3.3 oz)

Of these three oils, Clarins’ is the only one I haven’t tested — and for good reason. This beautiful bi-phase oil (the shimmer separates out) has wonderful, chunky-chic packaging and a captivating amount of warm shimmer particles, but it’s actually a silicone-oil: the formula contains plenty of glittering minerals, but its liquid phase is based mainly on coconut oil fractions and cyclopentasiloxane.

For those of you who missed out last year, this is an exact copy of Clarins’ Splendours Body Oil, from the packaging to the ingredients; the packaging simply lost the “Splendours” label and picked up a “face & body” descriptor.

Clarins Shimmer Oil ingredients: 

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Isononyl Isononate, Hazel Seed Oil, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Bisabolol, Fragrance, Silica, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Tin Oxide, Sunflower Seed Oil, Coumarin, Linalool, Farnesol.

Osmia Organics body oil review

For a sexy scent: Osmia Organics Sunset Body Oil ($30 USD/2 oz)

I seriously need to try out some new Osmia oils, because Sunset still has me smitten – months after the first time I tried it. Their oils are all-natural and beautifully scented, with a luxurious fractionated coconut oil & jojoba base that delivers wonderful, completely lightweight moisture.

I’ve tested quite a few body oils since falling in love with this one, but Sunset is still my favourite by far. The delicate, feminine scent lasts all day long (it’s a super-sexy rendition of vanilla; slightly spicy and just barely floral), and though the price tag is a little high, it’s an easy compromise to make – it may be sold as a body oil, but it can definitely double as your perfume.

Osmia Organics Body Oil ingredients:

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Fractionated Coconut Oil), Jojoba Oil, Kukui Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Cannabis Sativa Hemp Seed Oil, Avocado Oil, Borage Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Sea Buckthorn Berry Co2 Extract, Rosemary Co2 Extract, And A Proprietary Blend Of Organic And Wild-Harvested Essential Oils And Co2 Extracts.

Marie Veronique Everyday Coverage SPF 20 & 30 reviews, swatches, and shade comparisons (& Face Oil)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Marie Veronique review

The products: Marie Veronique Organics Everyday Coverage SPF 30 and Face Oil; True Nature Botanicals Pacific Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20

When it comes to all-natural sunscreens, the name Marie Veronique pops up a lot — and so it should. There aren’t a ton of silicone-free, chemical-free sunscreens out there (not ones without a heavy texture and a white cast, at least), and the Marie Veronique ones are some of the best of the bunch.

That said, it’s hard to pick out what sunscreen to try out of all of the varieties available – so think of this as your guide to Marie Veronique sunscreens, from which shade to pick to what the formulas play best with.

Note: the products photographed in this review are sample sizes! 

Marie Veronique Face Oil review

Marie Veronique Face Oil

Marie Veronique Face Oils

I didn’t get a chance to compare the brand’s Pacific Face Oil with their regular option (the Pacific version broke in transit), but this is what I can tell you: what I did get to try of the Pacific Face Oil ($110/1 oz) felt extremely comforting, and had an herbal scent that reminded me very strongly of shu uemura’s Premium A/O and Ultime8 oils.

The Face Oil ($80/1 oz) felt less intensive, but has a lighter scent to it — it still made my dry skin feel softer immediately, and it layered well with the brand’s sunscreens. The product itself is very orange (due to a high amount of rosehip oil in the formula), but doesn’t tint the skin once it’s worked in!

Both of these products are quite pricy, but it’s important to note that they’ve been carefully formulated by the brand’s chemists – unlike what I’ve seen from other brands (ahem: Josie Maran, Tarte, & co.), who simply offer marked-up pure oils in pretty jars.

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF20 review

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 – Light, Medium Tints

Pacific Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 ($58/2 oz)

As the brand’s more expensive sunscreen (it’s formulated to be anti-ageing, like the rest of the Pacific range), I was expecting great things from their Everyday Sheer Coverage — but, weirdly enough, I was a little disappointed in it.

I applied this one overtop the brand’s Face Oil, as suggested, and it felt okay on its own – not too heavy or sticky. But here’s the catch: this one doesn’t play very well under makeup. The Light shade was tinted enough to darken and warm up my skintone just a hair, but it’s sort of “film forming” — the first time I tried to buff in a cream foundation overtop of it, the whole layer slid in the direction of my brush strokes.

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF20 swatches light medium

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 – Light, Medium Tints swatched

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 swatches shade comparisons

Everyday Sheer Coverage swatched against: left - MAC NC15 (top), NW20 (bottom); right – NC30 (top) and NC25 (bottom)

When I used it after that, I applied a little less and layered it overtop a very thin layer of German Nivea. It went from thereon in, drying satin-matte as promised and staying in place with product overtop, but my makeup looked slightly more obvious than usual. All in all, I would recommend this for normal to oily skin types, or those who wear liquid (but not creme) foundation.

The Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer coverage SPF 20 is formulated with 16.6% non-nano zinc oxide. See the full ingredients list if you

Green & White Tea, 16.6% Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Vegetable Glycerin, Broccoli Seed Oil, Cherry Kernel Seed Oil, Emu Oil, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Yangu Oil, Cosmocil CQ (paraben-free anti-microbial), Xanthan Gum, N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate, Pearl Powder, Rosemary Oleoresin, Beta Glucan, Coffee Fruit Extract, Silk Powder, Rose Essential Oil, Neroli Essential Oil, Helichrysum Essential Oil, Cistus Essential Oil, Iron Oxides.

Marie Veronique Everyday Coverage SPF30 moisturizer review

Marie Veronique Organics Everyday Coverage SPF 30 – Extra Light, Light, and Medium Tints

Keep reading! »

Benefit Coralista Ultra Plush Lip Gloss review, swatches, photos | Benefit blush-inspired lipgloss

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Benefit review - Coralista Ultra Plush Lipgloss

The product: Benefit Cosmetics Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in Coralista

The shade: Coralista imparts just a hint of colour to the lips; a very sheer “medium coral”. (Think orange and red, not fluro-pink and peach.) It acts more as a gloss than anything else, but there is a subtle difference in colour before an after I apply it — enough to make your lips look healthy and glowing, but not like you’re wearing any colour.

Because Coralista is so sheer, it’s very easy to wear no matter your skintone – I personally have a cool-toned complexion with green undertones, which makes wearing most corals difficult, but this one reads mainly pink due to my natural lip colour.

Benefit Coralista review, swatcehs

The formula: Though it doesn’t stick around for very long, Benefit’s Ultra Plush Lip Gloss formula is actually quite a treat to wear. It’s very light and slippery, with zero stickiness and a light, fruity scent. (It’s the scent that really sells me on this line, honestly.) The Ultra Plush glosses smell like the line’s old Ultra Shine formula, actually, but with a less sticky formula and a fuss-free application.

Benefit Coralista lip gloss swatch

Benefit Coralista Ultra Plush Lip Gloss swatch

Benefit Always a Bridesmaid Creaseless swatch - Cream Eyeshadow

L-r: Benefit Always a Bridesmaid, Coralista, Girl Meets Pearl swatches

The packaging: Like with Benefit’s Always a Bridesmaid Creaseless Cream Shadow, I wanted to wait for just the right season for this gloss — and the perfect season just so happens to be the middle of summer.

Coralista’s bright scent and sheer colour pair perfectly with its packaging, which is fun and carefree (like the brand’s boxed blushes). Rather than a finicky doe-foot or pot, these glosses are packaged in a handy squeeze-tube with the cutest applicator — it’s a slanted tip, but it’s a slanted tip with a rounded-off edge.

I don’t know. Something about that is just so on the nose, like it’s reminding you one last time that the Ultra Plush glosses are here to be your friend! Befriend us! 

Benefit Ultra Plush Lipgloss review, swatches

Rounded slant-tip applicator

The verdict?

Up in Canada, these glosses are a little pricy at $19, so I don’t think they’re a must-have — but Coralista is certainly a nice-to-have! The Ultra Plush formula is comfortable, 100% non-sticky, and very sheer, with a fruity fragrance that never comes off as too sweet or sticky (even in 30 degree heat), making it a great “handbag lipgloss” for while you’re out and about.

This formula is also available in Hoola, Sugarbomb, Dandelion, and Rockateur tints ($16 USD/$19 CAD at Sephora), as well as in a few non-blush-inspired shades at Ulta ($16 USD) with super-cute Art Deco packaging.

Availability: $16 USD/$19 CAD at Ulta, Sephora, Murale, and Shopper’s Drug Mart Beauty Boutiques.

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Essence Beach Cruisers ombre blush giveaway | Summer beaches, summer blushes

Monday, July 21, 2014

Essence Beach Cruisers Summer Break ombre blush

So, I found this wonderfully bright ombré blush at the drugstore last week, and I couldn’t just let it sit there. And one thing led to another, and I was like oh man, I love ombre blushes, and, uh, I kind of bought it. Even though I hate peach and red tones against my complexion right now, and I’m already practically drowning in blush.

Anyhow, long story short, I’m giving away this blush. It’s nothing fancy, but I couldn’t just let it waste away, sad and unloved, and I like you guys.

Essence ombre blush giveaway

Win it

Up for grabs: one Essence Cosmetics multicolour blush in Summer Break, from their Beach Cruisers collection. The giveaway’ll run for a week, open worldwide (read the T&C for more details), and for those with allergies, the ingredients list talc and dimethicone, but no parabens.

I don’t have swatches for you, but Tracy (Beauty Reflections) swatched hers on her Instagram feed — see it here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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