Revlon Icy Violet Super Lustrous Lipstick photos, swatches | Revlon Legacy Collection

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Revlon Legacy Collection - Icy Violet Super Lustrous Lipstick

Continuing my accidental trend of embarrassingly delayed posts, here’s a lipstick that I swatched and photographed four years ago, good lord.

Revlon Icy Violet was first launched in 1946, but is back temporarily as part of the brand’s Legacy Collection. It’s a cool-toned plum (red, brown, and violet tones) with medium opacity and a frosty lavender finish.

The Legacy Collection by Revlon

Revlon Legacy Collection: Icy Violet, Snow Peach, 5th Ave Red, Jungle Peach, and Sandstorm

Revlon Icy Violet Super Lustrous Lipstick review

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Icy Violet

I have Icy Violet on as I write this, and I have to admit: against my colouring, this lipstick doesn’t look very violet at all. Instead, like most plums, it reads as a neutral colour on me — a little more purple than my natural lips, but in a very subtle way. I don’t love the frost finish (you can see each and every shimmer particle from a foot and a half away), but at “stranger distance,” the effect is very pretty — almost as if my lips are glowingly moist. Up close and in the sun, you can see the ruddy, red-violet base colour and lavender shimmer more distinctly.

(The shimmer in this is gorgeous: micro-explosions of clear shimmer into bursts of lavender. I wouldn’t be surprised if I spent the next ten years trying to dupe it in an eyeshadow.)

Revlon Icy Violet swatch - Super Lustrous Lipstick

Revlon Icy Violet (Legacy Collection) – swatched on skin, lips in indirect sunlight

Like the rest of the Super Lustrous line, I find Icy Violet to be comfortable but not hydrating, with an average wear time. Its formula and packaging is wonderfully basic while still being rather chic, and I think the range is one that every burgeoning makeup addict should have at least one of. To me, the Super Lustrous line is the quintessential starter lipstick: well-priced and well-made, without any scents or frills. It’s not too much of any one thing, and while I’d love to see a more modern colour selection (more creme finishes, please!), the lipsticks themselves are the perfect place to begin.

I’ve gone anti-shimmer since buying this, but if you’re situated in the sparkly camp, Icy Violet is at least worth a swatch. It’s not a must-have, but it’s kind of mind-blowing to wear a colour that was formulated 68 years ago.

These photos are four years old. Please forgive me. 

Annabelle Expandable Mascara Review, Photos, Swatches | Not a gimmick, but a gold mine

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Annabelle Expandable mascara review

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Expandable Mascara

I mentioned taking sixteen months to review a product a couple of weeks ago (this one!), but I’ve been testing Annabelle Expandable for even longer — yes, really, much to my shame.

I have absolutely no good excuse for why it’s taken me so long to review a product that I’ve had since it was a lab sample in a small, un-labeled black tube, but without further adieu, may I please introduce you to Annabelle Expandable: a drugstore mascara that I’ve loved since the very first time I tried it.

Annabelle Expandable swatches review photos

Annabelle Expandable – short and long wand results, no lash comb

The “gimmick”: What makes the Annabelle Expandable mascara special is that, well, it really is expandable. The wand handle twists at the base, allowing the plastic bristles to expand or contract — not with each bristle getting longer or shorter, but with each bristle getting closer or farther from its neighbour. 

What looks like a gimmick is, in this case, actually really awesome. I love the formula of this mascara, but for those who don’t struggle as much as I do with smudging, this may well be Expandable’s biggest pull. It allows you to have just one mascara that can deliver dramatically different effects: lots of separation and length at the (-) end, or lots of product and volume at the (+) end.

Annabelle expandable short wand

Annabelle Expandable mascara – short wand (separation)

Annabelle expandable long wand

Annabelle Expandable mascara – long wand (volume)

The curl and wear: Like most “wet” mascaras (though Expandable isn’t super wet — it’s just not super dry, either), this mascara drops the curl of my lashes only when I apply it. It’s just enough to give them a bit of a droop, so I tend to apply a quick coat or two of mascara, then “push” the lashes toward my face with my fingertip and hold for a few seconds. This helps the lash to set into a nice curl, and once dry, Expandable holds the curl in place for the rest of the day.

Where Annabelle’s Expandable mascara really excels, though, is in its wear. I get maybe 3-4 hours wear without smudging with your average mascara, but Expandable wears like a champ: I can make it 8 hours without any smudging, and over 10 hours with very minimal smudging. This is the longest-wearing non-tubing mascara that I’ve tried so far, and it comes with a mere $10 price tag.

Annabelle Expandable mascara review swatches

Annabelle Expandable mascara – one light coat short wand, second coat short wand, third coat long wand

Annabelle expandable long wand swatch

Annabelle Expandable mascara – one heavy coat, long wand

The verdict?

Annabelle claims that their Expandable mascara is volumizing, lengthening, anti-clumping, and easy to remove — and you know what? I’d agree with all of these claims.

Expandable is my go-to mascara for both natural, everyday lashes and high-impact volume (it’s outclassed very slightly for photos by Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill mascara, which is gorgeous but not $30 USD worth of gorgeous), and I would absolutely recommend it to a friend. It gives me both better wear and more believable volume than Le Big Show, and I’ll be frank with you: the awesome, unique wand certainly isn’t doing it any harm.

5/5 would-buy-again, Annabelle.

Availability: $10.95 CAD at Annabelle.ca (ships to Canada & the US), or in-store at most major drugstores throughout Canada.

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Essie Master Plan swatches, review, photos | Grey nails for grey days

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Essie Master Plan review swatches

The product: Essie Nail Polish in 779 Master Plan 

You guys, I am so bad with Essie polishes. This is my — fourth? fifth? and I keep going back to the brand, because they have the most divine colour range, and everyone speaks so highly of them, and I just–

Good lord, I cannot apply them to save my life.

Essie Master Plan swatches review - grey creme polish

Essie Master Plan swatches — two (thick) coats, no topcoat

The formula and application: Maybe I’m just lacking in skill, but I can never make an Essie polish go flat on my nails. Their smelly but 3-free formula is always too thick, too lumpy, and ends up sort of mottled and streaked.

The only two brands I’ve ever had this problem with are Essie and Clinique, both of which are loved by so many others whose opinions I trust, and I just don’t get it. I think it may actually be a brush problem, not a formula one (I much prefer thin, wide brushes), but either way — I’d prefer almost any ‘ol brand, even a drugstore brand, for a flawless, even nail.

(Sorry, Essie lovers. Want to share your tips & tricks with me?)

Essie Master Plan swatches review

The colour: Described by the brand as a mischievous soft greythere isn’t really anything, uh, mischievous about Master Plan. That said, it is certainly a soft grey (darker and less of a yellow-beige than stock photos would have you believe), and it’s rather understated. It features a cream finish, and there’s something a little bit utilitarian about it — it’s more cement-grey than putty grey, and has just the right balance of blue and green.

Master Plan reminds me of those art erasers that all of the art students had back in high school — the mouldable ones. It grabbed me far less than I had expected it to, but for those who can really pull off greys, this is a wonderfully basic one. It’s hard to create a shade that’s just-so, but Essie do it beautifully with Master Planit’s grey; no more, no less. 

Essie review Master Plan

Essie Master Plan swatched on awkward, dry, stubby fingers

The verdict?

Master Plan was a dud for me, as you can (maybe?) see in these swatches, but I think it could be really great if you know how to work an Essie polish. It’s as basic a grey as you can get – not too warm, not too cool, and not marred by any shimmer.

For those who pull off industrial-chic really well, this one is definitely worth a look. And do me a favour, if that’s you, my dear Essie fan, please hit me up in the comments thread with your tips & tricks for getting their polishes to apply smoothly!

Availability: The Essie range is available at drugstores, beauty supply stores, and online. In Canada, I know for sure that you can find them at Shopper’s Drug Mart, though I believe the selection is often seasonal.

This bottle was submitted for review by Beauty Stop Online, who have been incredibly understanding about how long it’s taken me to get this post up. Master Plan is available on their site here for $5.99.

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Fresh Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Trio review, swatches, photos | A quick, easy, last-minute gift idea

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fresh Sugar lip balm review

The product: Fresh Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Trio

   ↳ Sugar Petal, Sugar Honey, and Sugar Cherry Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

Okay, so: it’s the week before Christmas and you:

a) Get a last-minute invite to a holiday girl’s-night-slash-secret-santa gift exchange,

b) Find out that your distant cousin, twice removed, is going to be at your parents’ this year (and you need a gift for her),

c) Realize that your sister’s gift, while pretty cool, could use an extra dose of awesome.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment review

In any of these scenarios, I’m going to go right ahead and recommend that you snag a Fresh Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Trio from Sephora on your way to… wherever it is you’re headed. I’m a sucker for a Fresh lip balm, so this trio of three minis (which comes in a super-easy-to-wrap box) is a pretty no-fail gift idea, as far as I’m concerned.

The shades: The Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Trio contains Sugar Petal, a neutral-pink with a touch of brown, Sugar Honey, a medium-nude with a hint of red (for warmth), and Sugar Cherry, an absolutely gorgeous sheer red. The first two are nice, but Sugar Cherry gives the lips a really lovely, natural-looking, “just bitten” effect — perfect for the winter.

Fresh Sugar Petal lip balm review swatches

Fresh Sugar Petal Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

Fresh Sugar Honey lip balm review swatches

Fresh Sugar Honey Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

Fresh Sugar Cherry lip balm review swatches

Fresh Sugar Cherry Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

The Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 formula: The first thing to note about the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments is that, while they have a fairly moisturizing formula, they’re very soft and slippery. It makes the balms comfortable, but also prone to sliding around on your lips & smooshing during application.

Despite being formulated with hydrating oils like meadowfoam seed oil, avocado oil, and jojoba, these aren’t the best choice for an actual “lip treatment” (as opposed to a tinted balm). They’re hydrating while worn, but need to be reapplied every two hours or sooner, making them a good choice for daytime wear but not a great one for overnight. The Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment formula has a nice, lemony-sweet scent — sugary without being overpowering and just citrusy enough.

Fresh Sugar Cherry review photos swatches

The tint: Because of the slippery formula, these balms need a minute to sink in. Once they do, however, the colour stops sliding around on my lips, and acts more like a balm with a very light stain. I’ve tried four shades of this balm (Honey, Cherry, and Petal, all featured here, as well as Rose), and all of them deliver exactly the amount of pigment I’d want from a tinted lip balm — more than a Clinique Chubby Stick, less than a lipstick, and definitely enough to give my lips some really natural-looking colour. 

The packaging: Mini sizes of products usually lose out when it comes to packaging, but the great thing about Fresh lip balms is that they don’t. Just as solid, luxe, and well-made as the full-sized versions, mini Fresh Sugar lip balms feature the same coated-metal tube & twist-closure bottom as their full-sized counterparts.

Fresh Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Trio review swatches

The verdict?

I have a no-longer-secret soft spot for Fresh Sugar lip balms, and I think that this set is a worthwhile indulgence. No one needs a 20-something dollar lip balm, but the Sugar lip balms are a really nice treat. The scent is close to lemony biscuits and far from lemon cleaner, and the light tints really do do a great job of adding colour without making it obvious that you’re wearing makeup.

To note, these mini lip balms are 0.08 oz, the same size as last year’s BI birthday gifts. Buying just one full-sized tube is a little cheaper (in listed price, not cost per ounce), but I actually prefer these small(ish) tubes – they’re perfect for throwing into your handbag, and three shades is always more fun than one!

Availability: $28 USD/$32 CAD for the Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Trio (3 x 0.08 oz), or $22.50 USD/$26 CAD for a full-sized tube (0.15 oz).

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Clarins Forest Eye Quartet Mineral Palette review, swatches, photos | Clarins Graphic Expression, Fall 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Clarins Forest Eye Quartet Mineral Palette review

The products: Clarins Ombre Minérale 4 Couleurs (Eye Quartet Mineral Palette Long-Lasting) in 11 Forest

Like the Clarins Graphic Expression Face & Blush Palette reviewed earlier this week, the Forest eyeshadow quad launched in Clarins’ Graphic Expression Fall 2013 colour collection. A new addition to the permanent range, it’s a little less gift-able than the powder, but no less lovely.

Clarins Forest Eye Quartet swatches review

Clarins Forest Eye Quartet

The formula, texture, and pigmentation: Introduced this August into Clarins’ permanent range, Forest is a beautifully earthy quad. As a sheer eyeshadow/mixed textures lover, I’ve always been a big fan of the Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palettes, though they’re not for everyone.

Like the other products in the Eye Quartet range, Forest features three hard-but-smooth eyeshadows that lend very well to seamless blending and medium-intensity looks, while layering well over primer or foiling works well to add colour density. I find the shades to be a little butterier and more pigmented than some of the other Clarins quads (the darkest shade in particular), and love that they all have a different finish.

Clarins Forest Eye Quartet review

Clarins Forest, Graphic Expression swatches review

Swatched L-R: Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palette in Forest (4), Clarins Face & Blush Powder in Graphic Expression (wide)

The shades: In the top row Forest features a really interesting, almost dirty khaki with a bit of very fine microshimmer and a very sheer, white-and-gold shimmer (tiny yellow-gold microshimmer and slightly larger white reflects suspended in a transparent base). On the bottom, it features a green-based charcoal with noticeable gold shimmer (it looks black in the pan, but swatches on dry skin as a medium-sheer matte with a greenish cast and gold shimmer interspersed throughout) and a very pretty neutral-brown taupe (frost).

The finishes of this quad, like all Clarins quads, are what really sell me on it: a satin, a glitter, a matte-with-microshimmer, and a frost. Worn together, the textures of the Eye Quartet Mineral Palettes give any natural, demure eye look a really intriguing edge.

Clarins Forest swatches Eye Quartet Mineral Palette review

Swatched L-R: Clarins Eye Quartet in Forest, Clarins Face & Blush Powder in Graphic Expression

Overall, this quad has a warm green vibe to it — something you don’t see a lot of. I think it would be especially lovely on warm olive tones, but it would work really well on beige and neutral skintones, too. It looks a little bit “off” on me (which eyeshadows very rarely do), so I’d say that the only colouring this quad wouldn’t shine on would be cool olive ones (cool pink overtones and light olive undertones).

Clarins Forest eye quartet swatches

Swatched L-R: Clarins Eye Quartet in Forest, Clarins Face & Blush Powder in Graphic Expression

Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palette review swatches Forest

The Face & Blush Palette and Eye Quartet Mineral Palette (Ombre Minérale 4 Couleurs) packaging

The verdict?

The Forest quad doesn’t get quite as much of a gold star from me as the Graphic Expression blush/powder, but it’s a very pretty product, too: the same beautiful-but-lightweight gold Clarins packaging, with four wonderful mix-and-match eyeshadow finishes inside.

Forest is a little more pigmented than other Clarins quads, and is a must-have for anyone who wears khakis really well. Unfortunately, that’s one of the few colours that doesn’t work very well at all on my skintone (I photographed a look with it but had to scrap it), but I think it would look like a dream on my sister’s warmer, more olive-toned skin — to each her own, really.

Availability: $42 USD/$42 CAD, and is a new addition to the permanent range.

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