Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo 01 review, swatches, photos + 156 Large Flat Brush

Friday, May 15, 2015

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo review

The product: Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo in 01 Pink Beige & 156 Large Flat Brush (Wavy)

This season, Make Up For Ever joins that insane contouring craze with their Pro Sculpting Duo, which they billet as an “undetectable face contour” and recommend using with their 156 brush (the Large Flat Brush or Flat Round Brush, depending on who you ask).

I think this pillow-topped, gel-powder formula is far from undetectable, but still worth checking out. It works well with both the 156 and the 150 brush that I love so much, and comes in two shades: 01 Pink Beige (“light with cool undertones”) and 02 ??? (tan with warm undertones).

MUFE Pro Sculpting Duo Pink Beige review

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo in 01 Pink Beige review

The sculpting shade: I’m gonna start with the not-so-great stuff, which is to say: like many other contouring products I’ve tried this season, this one totally didn’t work for me. It leans quite orange and looked like an obvious bronzer against my complexion, and I’m not the only one. The best look that I’ve seen with 01 Pink Beige so far has been on Chelle, but even she found the contour shade in this duo to be more of a bronzer than a sculpting shade. (This duo–the highlighter especially–looks totally bangin’ on her, though!)

You can see her look here, but, well… take that into consideration when purchasing, because it’s not just me who was hoping for a much cooler contour out of this one.

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo 01 Light Pink swatches review

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo in 01 Pink Beige swatched heavily/lightly

MUFE Pro Sculpting gel duo review Light Pink

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo in 01 Pink Beige

The highlighter: Okay folks, THIS IS WHERE IT’S AT. I don’t love a really bold highlight most of the time, but this highlighter is gorgeous.

You can see individual sparkles from about 3 ft away under incandescent lighting (that’s so not “unbelievably natural,” MUFE), but it’s one of the (very) few highlighter shades that really pops against my fair complexion. Normally, highlighters look really shimmery on me, but are too dark or yellow to give more than a sheen — but this baby lifts the cheekbone right up. It’s still more shimmer than I want from day to day, but I’m smitten!

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo swatches review

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo in 01 Pink Beige swatches – contour & highlighter heavily/lightly Make Up For Ever contouring duo Flat Roung Brush review

THAT BRUSH, THOUGH: The 156 Large Flat/Flat Round Brush is insanely kitten-butt soft and relatively small, for a blush brush. It’s great for loosely applying a small amount of product and blending it out, and is extremely versatile — it’s great for blush, contour, and setting undereye concealer, plus it can easily handle setting powder and highlighter in a pinch.

And did I mention that it is so soft? I have at last count forcibly petted four people with zero interest in makeup with this brush, and all of them begrudgingly admitted that yes, it’s as soft as a kitten-butt Rae; please stop stroking my face with that. 

Make Up For Ever 156 brush review

Make Up For Ever 156 Flat Round Brush review

Make Up For Ever 156 Large Flat Brush review

Make Up For Ever 156 Large Flat Brush review

The verdict?

At $45 CAD, I think this Sculpting Duo can be skipped — unless you want it as a high-impact highlighter/bronzer duo, in which case, go for it.

For an invisible, high-def contour, this duo isn’t the product that you want. However, the highlighter is just gorgeous, and the brush is a total must-have. (Oh, this brush!) If you only have room in your life for one of these two, definitely invest in the brush instead!

Availability: $39 USD/$45 CAD for the sculpting duo; $37 USD/$43 CAD for the brush. Both permanent products available at Sephora and Make Up For Ever boutiques as of March 2015.

Keep reading! »

L’Occitane Pivoine Sublime Tinted Lip Balm in Rose Nude review, swatches, photos

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

L'Occitane Pivoine Flora Tinted Lip Balm review swatches

The product: L’Occitane Pivoine Sublime Tinted Lip Balm SPF 25 in Rose Nude

Launching this June at L’Occitane is the Pivoine Sublime skincare range, which features a Perfecting Cream, Skin Perfector Serum, CC Cream, Perfecting Mist, and four peony-scented lip balms: Transparent (housed in a gorgeous silver tube), Rose NudeRose Amber, and Rose Plum.

L'Occitane Pivoine Flora Tinted Lip Balm makeup review

The scent: L’Occitane has actually come out with a number of peony-scented collections over the years, and I’m happy to say that this is my favourite one. It’s much a much softer, fuller floral than the scent used in the Pivoine Délicate makeup collection, and has a rose-touched scent profile.

Pivoine Sublime is also a little fruitier than the bath/body Pivoine Flora, which I find has a soapier feel to it — a differentiation that I think makes the two perfectly suited for makeup & body products, respectfully.

L'Occitane vs Fresh tinted lip balm reviews

The formula (& the elephant in the room): When I saw this lip balm tube for the first time, my mind went to the same place that I’m sure all of yours did: Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatments ($26 CAD).

Well, the packaging is near-identical for these (which is to say: super luxe, metal, and twist-on), but the formulas are very, very different! While the Fresh balms are lemon-scented and smooshy-soft with a beeswax/castor seed oil base, these L’Occitane balms are peony-scented and smooth but solid.

Plus, while the Fresh balms are rather heavily tinted and have an SPF of 15, the L’Occitane balms are sheer, with SPF 25.

L'Occitane Pivoine Flora Rose Nude vs Fresh Cherry, Rose swatches comparison

Swatched L-R: Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Balm in Cherry & Rosé; L’Occitane Pivoine Sublime in Rose Nude

But do they moisturize? Honestly… not really. I can wear Nude Rose for about a day without any problems, but it’s not as hydrating as the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments. If you have normal-dry lips, I don’t think it’ll be an issue, but I do have to pile on the Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15 in the evening if I’ve spent the day wearing a Pivoine Sublime lip balm.
L'Occitane Pivoine Flora Tinted Lip Balm review

The verdict?

While the L’Occitane Pivoine Sublime Lip Balms may fall short of delivering intense hydration, they can’t be beat for a luxury tinted lip balm under $20. They’re gorgeously packaged, smell amazing, and (unlike the cult-followed Fresh lip balms) have the texture of a proper lip balm rather than a soft puddle of butter.

I say skip these if you need a lot of hydration (I do), but definitely indulge if all you’re looking for is something exquisite, hygienic, and pretty!

Availability: $20 CAD online and at L’Occitane boutiques beginning June 2015.

Keep reading! »

Lise Watier Palette Rivages Eyeshadow review, swatches, photos | Nudes you need

Monday, May 4, 2015

Lise Watier Palette Rivages summer 2015 review

The product: Lise Watier Palette Rivages Eyeshadow Palette

You neeeeed this. Need. Need need need.

Lise Watier Palette Rivages eyeshadow palette review

Lise Watier Palette Rivages

The packaging: is so unbelievably spot-on with this one. Rose gold plastic, a slim profile, and just a gorgeous pearly lid — it’s simple, beachy, and so pretty. Something about this palette feels very Make Up For Ever or Senna Cosmetics to me; sort of that artistry-meets-everyday appeal.

Lise Watier Palette Rivages packaging review

Lise Watier Palette Rivages packaging

Lise Watier Palette Rivages summer 2015

Lise Watier Palette Rivages eyeshadows

The shades: This palette houses ten nudes in satin-matte and satin-shimmer finishes.

The top row contains five light to medium earth-toned shades: yellow, khaki, peach/apricot, mauve, and a warm brown, all in a really smooth satin finish and all with medium opacity. The bottom row contains five cooler nudes: matte ivory, light taupe, satin-matte peachy nude, bronze, and a cool brown.

Lise Watier Rivages palette swatches top row

Lise Watier Palette Rivages swatches (top row) – primed skin, indirect sunlight

I was really impressed with the top row, but the bottom row is just out of this world. In particular, the medium-sheer peachy shade in the centre just seems to melt right into the skin — it’s hard to describe, but it’s something about the semi-sheer, weightless formula. The copper eyeshadow is insanely pigmented and dense, and the dark accent colour has an almost violet cast to it — it’s a really fascinating shade in person.

But more importantly…

Lise Watier Palette Rivages swatches bottom row

Lise Watier Palette Rivages swatches (bottom row) – primed skin, indirect sunlight

The formula: is a freaking dream. I am always incredibly impressed by the way that Lise Watier’s seasonal eyeshadow formula feels, but these eyeshadows? They’re a step above. Creamy, buttery, and incredibly pigment-dense, these are some of the smoothest eyeshadows that I’ve ever found at a mid-range/drugstore level.

This palette’s eyeshadow formula is described as a “powder-cream” formula, which hits the nail right on the head. Yes, they’re definitely powders (and they’re not those weird moist-powders, either), but they’re so goddamn smooth that they feel like almost like creams.

Lise Watier Palette Rivages review

The verdict?

NEED is definitely the keyword of the day. This is definitely a higher-end buy at $54 CAD (although drugstore palettes are getting pretty pricy; the new L’Oreal La Palette Nude is $30 CAD!), but the Palette Rivages is more than just a smattering of random peaches and browns. It features 10 buttery, pigmented eyeshadows that are super easy to work with, and splits its colour palette into two really accessible rows of earth tones and traditional nudes. 

Unless you have a pathological need to mix your finishes (understandable, if odd), you need to swatch this palette as soon as you can possibly get your hands on it.

Need. ;)

Availability: $54 CAD online and at Shopper’s Drug Mart. Limited edition available mid-April to July 2015.

Keep reading! More swatches lie this way »

Clinique Sculpting Chubby Sticks & Defining Roses review, swatches, photos

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Clinique contouring products review

The products: Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour in 01 Curvy Contour, Sculpting Highlight in 01 Hefty Highlight, and Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette in 03 Defining Roses

⇒ Seriously, Clinique, WHY HEFTY. You had the option to go with Hypnotic Highlight and you went with hefty? Again???!

Clinique Chubby Stick Contouring review

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour ($21 USD/$24 CAD)

Like most people out there (I assume), I’m crazy about the idea of being able to scribble makeup on your face — and these sculpting/highlighting Chubby Sticks are absolutely perfect for the job.

If you’re familiar with Clinique’s Chubby Cheek Sticks, you’ll recognize the formula of 01 Curvy Contour – it’s the same creamy, emollient, blendable goodness. To contour, you just swipe this one directly onto your face (along the hairline, under the cheekbones, and below the jaw and down the sides of your nose for extra impact), then blend.

Clinique Curvy Contour Chubby Stick review swatches

I like blending the face Chubby Sticks out with my Make Up For Ever 150 Contouring Blush Brush, but they blend really well with fingers, too. (No fancy tools needed!)

My one hangup with 01 Curvy Contour, however, is that it runs so orange. It’s a tone that I’m sure would work a lot better on someone warmer, peachier, and darker than I am, but if you’re AT ALL fair, cool-toned, or (especially) olive, I recommend staying far, far away from this one.

Clinique Sculptionary, Chubby Stick review swatches

Clinique Defining Roses, Hefty Highlight, Curvy Contour swatches

Clinique Hefty Highlight Chubby Stick review swatches

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight ($21 USD/$24 CAD)

The other Clinique sculpting Chubby Stick that’s available right now is 01 Hefty Highlight, a pretty, shimmery highlighter that (again) really shines on light-medium skin tones. It’s a little more emollient than the other Chubby Sticks for the face, and sheers out a little wider, so apply sparingly if you do pick this one up.

While I’m not usually big on shimmery highlighters, I do really like this one. It’s very punchy and shows up even on my fair complexion, and it glows like WHOA. If standard highlighters aren’t too glittery for you, you need this — it’s so pretty and easy to work with.

(Also worth noting is that this one looks awesome on both warm and cool skin tones, which is handy!)

Clinique Chubby Stick Contouring swatches review

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight, Contour swatches: 01 Hefty Highlight & 01 Curvy Contour (both heavily/blended)

Clinique Sculptionary Cheek Palette Defining Roses review

The Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette & more! »

Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Facial Radiance Pads review, photos | One for the adventurers…

Friday, April 3, 2015

Rodial Dragon's Blood review - cleansing pads

The product: Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Facial Radiance Cleansing Pads

DRAGON’S BLOOD, YOU GUYS. Dragon’s blood.

Nip + Fab Dragon's Blood skincare review photos

How it works: Rodial and their budget line, Nip + Fab, currently do these really cool “dragon’s blood” products featuring the bright red resin of the Sangre de Grado (Croton lechleri) tree — which literally translates to the dragon’s blood tree. The latex sap of the Sangre de Grado is used by locals as a liquid bandage, and it has strong antioxidant properties.

These pads contain “dragon’s blood” (to plump, sculpt, and protect the skin), witch hazel (to repair broken skin and reduce swelling), salicylic acid (to open blocked pores and gently exfoliate), and hyaluronic acid (to deliver intense hydration). I mean, they basically have it all.

Rodial Nip Fab Dragon's Blood peel cleansing pads

Nip + Fab Rodial Dragon's Blood Fix Cleansing Pads review photos

How they perform: For a measly $15, you get 60 of these thin, soft, strong cleansing pads. They’re nicely saturated with product, and they remove makeup like a dream.

I’ve never been crazy about makeup wipes (though I’m testing some out right now), but these? These, I love. One thin cotton pad is more than enough to remove the makeup from your entire face, so there’s very little waste involved, and they’re both really effective and super gentle. 

I can get all of my eye and face makeup off with one of these wipes, and they leave my skin feeling super clean and exfoliated. They also (surprisingly enough) don’t sting my eye area, and I can use the bumpy side for a little extra exfoliation or the smooth side if my skin’s feeling a little sensitive.

Nip + Fab Ddragon's Blood Cleansing Pads review

The only caveat(s): I really had to stretch to find these, but the Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Cleansing Pads don’t smell super great. A little astringent, like a peel.

Nip + Fab Hyaluronic Acid pad review

The verdict?

To this day, I still have no idea if you’re supposed to rinse after using these (I do), but I like them. Kind of a lot, honestly.

The Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Cleansing Pads are a fantastic way to up the dragon content of your life, and they perform really, really well. For a gentle exfoliation that won’t leave your skin peeling (or a gentle makeup remover that’ll really clean out your pores while getting everything off super quickly), definitely give these a try.

Availability: $12.99 USD/$14.95 CAD (for 60 pads) at Shopper’s Drug Mart, Ulta, or ASOS.

Keep reading! »

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