LUSH Halloween 2016 review, photos, swatches | The majesty of Goth Fairy

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

lush-halloween-2016-reviews

The products: LUSH Halloween 2016 Goth Fairy Shimmer Bar, Boo Luxury Bath Melt, Fireside Soap, and Pumpkin Bath Bomb

I’m not really a Halloween-y person, but for some reason, I’ve gotten kind of into it this year. I’m right in the middle of planning a Halloween dinner party (you can watch Mean Girls on Halloween, right? That’s totally situationally-appropriate?), and I’m thinking about making some Halloween-themed cutouts to decorate the apartment with.

Really, I’m just psyched for Halloween candy bars, but these Lush products are up there on the list, too.

lush-boo-luxury-bath-melt-review-photos

Bath time treats

I checked out two bath products this time around, and while I’m honestly tempted to break my no-bath rule to try the creamy, citrusy Boo Luxury Bath Melt ($5.95 CAD), I had to box up the Pumpkin Bath Bomb ($6.95 CAD) immediately. It’s super crumbly and sticky-sweet, which is so not my jam.

Boo smells nice, though! It’s nice and citrusy, with a plant-like ginger base. It’s also full of cocoa butter and essential oils, so there are no synthetic preservatives in it–the formula simply doesn’t need them.

lush-pumpkin-bath-bomb-review-photos

lush-fireside-soap-review-photos

Bars of mystery

I also tried out Fireside, Goth Fairy, and one other Lush product (more on that soon), to much better results. I find Lush soap to be too stripping for my skin, but Lush’s Fireside Soap Bar ($8.95 CAD) is a lovely “guest soap” bar – it’s cute, with its cartoon fire design, and it smells like really good tea. Clove oil gives it a spicy kick, and all in all, it’s a mouthwatering fall soap!

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Lush Goth Fairy Shimmer Bar swatch

The Goth Fairy Shimmer Bar ($7.95 CAD) is even cooler. It’s lightly moisturizing, with illipe and cupuacu butter in the formula, and smells juicy and fruity. The best part of all, though, is HOW MUCH shimmer Lush has managed to pack into this bar–it’s honestly astounding. A single swipe across my chest spread all the way to my shoulders, across my décolletage, and up my neck.

This shimmer bar is a little small, but it’s so dense with shimmer that it’ll get you to Glitter Level: Stripper Boobs in a heartbeat. In other words, it’s #lifegoals, and I love it.

lush-goth-fairy-shimmer-bar-review-photos-swatches

The verdict?

As always, I feel the need to mention that Lush is not a natural company, despite its advertising. Their products contain an assortment of SLS, parabens, and synthetic fragrances and dyes. 

With that in mind, however, they offer wonderful themed products for pretty much every holiday, and a number of them are huge hits. I know countless bath lovers who swear by Lush, and I’m definitely going to be keeping that Goth Fairy Shimmer Bar close at hand! It’s pretty unique and very fun, and no one really does fun like Lush.

Availability: Limited edition right now at LUSH!

Pür Minerals Strobe/Highlight Palette review, swatches | Sun-Kissed Glow, Moonlight Glow, & Glow Together

Thursday, September 29, 2016

pur-cosmetics-strobe-highlight-creme-palette-review

The products: Pür Minerals Sun-Kissed Glow & Moonlight Glow; Glow Together Jumbo Matte-Shimmer Bronzer

It’s tough to find creme cheek products that aren’t full of ‘cones, so when I found not one, but SIX shades of cruelty-free shimmering creme highlighters this summer, I was pretty thrilled.

They’re by one of my favourite brands, of course: Pür Cosmetics. (Or Pür Minerals? I’m never sure what to call them anymore.)

pur-cosmetics-moonlight-glow-strobe-highlight-palette-review-swatches-photos

The Pür Moonlight Glow Strobe & Highlight Palette ($34 USD/$ CAD) is the cooler variation of Pür’s summer strobing palettes, and it’s the one that I’ve gotten the most use out of. I’m pretty sure that it’s meant to be some sort of highlighter/colour/bronzer combination, but I use the yellow Twilight and peachy Lunar the most – the bronze Eclipse never sees any use.

(Why would I want my contour to shimmer??? Or my bronzer, for that matter?)

The Strobe & Highlight Palettes have a fairly dry creme texture with a powder finish, and I like the level of shimmer in them. I think I would have preferred a glossier base, just because I prefer my creme products to have an inherent sheen to them, but I can see why Pür chose to go in a different direction: powder finishes wear much, much better.

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Pür Cosmetics Sun Kissed Glow (first 3), Moonlight Glow (last 3) Strobe/Highlight Palette swatches

pur-minerals-strobe-highlight-palette-review-swatches

Pür Minerals Sun-Kissed Glow

The warm-toned Sun-Kissed Glow Strobe & Highlight Palette ($34 USD/$ CADis equally as pretty, with Aurora, Solar, and Dusk from left to right, but I think it’s better suited to darker, warmer-toned complexions. All three shades are pretty bronzey, Moonlight Glow features more of an ivory, pink pearl, and cool copper palette, Sun-Kissed Glow is more golden, coral, and orange-bronze. 

Both of these palettes feature a light, fruity scent which is kind of fun to use! I know it makes me kind of a monster, but I’m a fan of scented cheek products–when it’s done well.

pur-cosmetics-glow-together-bronzer-review-photos

Finally in Pür Minerals’ summer collection, the Glow Together Jumbo Matte-Shimmer Bronzer ($34 USD) is a warm striped bronzer with both matte (upper) and shimmer (lower) tones. A portion of the proceeds from all Glow Together purchases will be donated to Action Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organization who aim to feed the many!

pur-cosmetics-summer-packaging

The verdict?

If you love creme highlighters but struggle (like I do) to find silicone-free ones, then keep an eye out for these palettes at your local Shopper’s. They deliver a subtle, glowy highlight that looks great both indoors and out, and their powder finish and fruity scent make for a lovely morning pick-me-up.

The one thing that I did notice about these palettes is that, while they wear well, they’re not particularly bold – if you want a really obvious, metallic highlight, you’re better off finding a buttery powder (like the NYX Strobe of Genius palette).

Availability: All $34 USD each at Pur Cosmetics & in-stores at select Shopper’s Drug Mart locations. Limited edition.

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Make Up For Ever Water Blend Foundation review, swatches, photos | R210, Y215, Y225

Friday, September 23, 2016

mufe-water-blend-2

The product: Make Up For Ever Water Blend Face & Body Foundation in R210 Pink Alabaster, Y215 Yellow Alabaster, and Y225 Marble

I’ve reviewed quite a few silicone-free foundations that I’ve loved recently, but each and every one of those reviews has come with some small caveat or another.

Not today, Satan!

make-up-for-ever-water-blend-foundation-review

The promises: The new Make Up For Ever Water Blend foundation is an updated, silicone-free version of their classic Face & Body foundation. (Yes, the one with the fun gel texture that makeup artists are constantly raving about!) Water Blend Face & Body is formulated with 80% purified water, pro-vitamin B5, glycerine, and mango butter.

It promises a buildable application, a dewy glow, and a waterproof, transfer-proof finish, and it could not have delivered better. `

mufe-water-blend-4

The application and wear: This stuff is the bomb dot com (except it’s not digital and it’s very safe. No explosions here, no siree.) It wears for a full 12 hours, applies flawlessly with very little effort, and really does give that “skin” finish!

Its finish is nice and dewy, but not too dewy – I look moisturized with only this on, but not greasy. I do set it with a translucent powder, however, because I typically go over my eyelids with my foundation and this stuff makes my eyeliner track like crazy. I find that it can can feel a little dry around my mouth area by the end of the day unless I really moisturize or prime before applying it, but it’s nothing that a single spritz of facial mist can’t fix.

Just, like, make sure it’s actually facial mist. Don’t accidentally get yourself in the eye with perfume (because that shit hurts.)

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Make Up For Ever Water Blend Face & Body Foundation swatches – R210, Y215, Y225

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Make Up For Ever Water Blend swatches – R210, Y215, Y225 in indirect sunlight

Water Blend’s formula is more liquid and less gel-like than the original Face & Body, but I personally find that it performs better than its predecessor. It looks more like skin, catches on my dry skin less, and layers better – I can get anywhere from very sheer to medium coverage with this; nothing heavy enough to make my freckles or blemishes invisible, but enough coverage to really even out my complexion.

I find that Water Blend applies best when I “dot” it onto a dense buffing brush, speckle it all over my face, and then buff it in.

make-up-for-ever-water-blend-foundation-before-after-y215

Make Up For Ever Water Blend Foundation before (left) and after (right) – click to enlarge. My shade is Y215 and my skin is otherwise unaltered; I am not wearing primer or powder in either of these photos.

mufe-water-blend-1 

The shade range: As usual, Make Up For Ever’s Water Blend Face & Body shade range covers a large range of shades – 20, to be exact. It was remarkably easy to find my shade in this foundation, as it only goes up to a medium coverage. Maybe it’s because I’ve got a bit of a tan right now, but look! A foundation that matches my face!! My poor, sad little ghost face!

R210 Pink Alabaster isn’t too much pinker than Y215 Yellow Alabaster, and both are fairly neutral. Y225 Marble is considerably darker than Y215 Yellow Alabaster, and it has a strong yellow undertone.

make-up-for-ever-water-blend-foundation-review-y215

The verdict?

My verdict on Make Up For Ever’s new Water Blend Face & Body foundation is a resounding YES. It’s an extremely pleasant formula to work with, it layers well, and it feels lighter even than some of my moisturizers, much less other waterproof foundations. The shade range is excellent (and stretches slightly further than the brand’s Ultra HD foundation, at least on the lighter end), and I honestly like the way that it smells – lightly powdery, sweet, and almost a little bit fruity.

If you’re looking for a new light to medium coverage lightweight foundation, this one is excellent.

Availability: $43 USD/$54 CAD at Sephora.

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Deciem NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate review, before & after photos

Saturday, September 17, 2016

niod-lip-bio-lipid-concentrate-review

The product: Deciem NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate

When I met with Deciem’s PR genius (and total #ladyboss) last summer, she mentioned offhandedly that she was using NIOD (Non-Invasive Options in Dermal Science)’s Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate. She has one of the best pouts that I’ve seen in the biz, so I knew immediately that I had to get my hands on a bottle!

deciem-niod-lip-bio-lipid-concentrate-review

The science behind the NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate: Deciem’s NIOD line is all about innovative technologies in skincare, and this lip plumper is no exception. It’s a very concentrated dry oil that is designed to “the looks of lip colour, volume, texture, softness and contour,” and it hits the mark on every point.

Just some of the ingredients used in NIOD’s Lip Bio-Lipid include an isolated sugarcane hemisqualane and sea buckthorn oil base, Lipid Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 Complex to mimic dermal elastin and increase firmness, and Nicotinic Acid Methyl Ester, a traditional muscle relief ointment that’s used here to redden the lips.

Deciem recommends that you use just a drop of this oil before bed and in the morning, but I’ve been using about a half-drop only in the mornings. It’s more than enough to plump my lips up, but doesn’t require any extra forethought!

niod-lip-bio-lipid-plumper-before-after

Niod Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate before / after

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Niod Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate before / after

But does it work? Like most lip plumpers, Lip Bio-Lipid burns – a lot. With that cinnamon-y feeling, however, comes a dramatic increase in both lip redness and lip volume. 

I don’t have the most defined lip line, so I find that the area around my lips becomes reddened for a few minutes as well. After the 5-minute initial discomfort, however, the redness around my lips returns to normal, while my lips themselves stay plump and pinked.

I haven’t used this consistently enough to garner long-term results, but I definitely see a difference immediately after using the Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate. My lips look fuller, redder, and smoother for the day, and they even look noticeably bigger with lipstick overtop. (This oil is Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride-based, so it doesn’t make your lipstick slide off the way something like castor seed oil would!)

deciem-lip-bio-lipid-review

The verdict?

I’ve never put a lot of faith into lip plumpers, but this stuff is seriously like a lip augmentation in a bottle. It’s spicy and effective, and you get a LOT for what you pay for. Per ounce, it’s less than half the price of the Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme or comparable products, and it’s paraben- and silicone-free to boot.

NIOD’s Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate own’t give you quite as Instagrammable a pout as Mira’s, but it’ll push enough temporary volume into your lips that it’ll look like a light lip job. Check it out!

Availability: $60 CAD at Deciem online or in-store!

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Lashing up with the new Annabelle #ABMascaras range

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Annabelle Expandable mascara

Are you subscribed to the Annabelle newsletter yet? You should be… ;)

Annabelle (one of my favourite cruelty-free companies) dropped something BIG: an entire new lineup of mascaras. They released not one, not two, but FOUR totally new mascaras in addition to the three favourites in their old permanent collection.

And that new range? It’s nothing short of stellar.

Annabelle lash launcher, supernova review photos swatches

Why would anyone need seven mascaras?!

My first thought, of course, was “why.” Seven mascaras in a single range seems excessive, but strangely enough, once you try out all of them, it makes sense. Each one serves a very different purpose, and none of these mascaras look alike on the lashes. Even of my two favourites from the new Annabelle lash line (Expandable and Supernova), I wouldn’t dream of replacing one with the other.

There’s very much a mascara for every preference in this range, and I’m quite impressed with the way that Annabelle has curated the collection to have zero redundancies. 

Annabelle blast off, bigshow, outlash mascara review

ABmascaras review photos

Because the effects of a single mascara can differ so much from lash to lash–and even application to application–I didn’t take mascara swatch photos to share with you today.

Instead, I thought I’d go old school and simply describe the wear and application of each. I tested all of them again and again over the course of the month, and my notes on them definitely give a better depiction of the lash than my photos did (at least in my opinion!)

Unfortunately, I lost the photos that I took of Expandable and Supernova on my lashes in an incredibly frustrating computer blip, so I’ve borrowed my old swatch photos of Expandable and will be featuring Supernova in an eye makeup look soon.

Annabelle Expandable x theNotice

The mascaras

The new mascara range is divided into two halves: BigShow Mascaras, with lots of volume and drama, and Lash Launcher Mascaras, with lots of definition and length.

Best for VOLUME – BigShow

BigShow ($9.95 CAD) – BigShow gives a nice, sooty lash, but I find that it smudges on me within 8 hours. It’s a little clumpier and more “traditional” than the rest of Annabelle’s mascaras, so if you like a lot of volume, it’s a good choice.

BigShow Waterproof ($9.95 CAD) – BigShow Waterproof is very similar to the original. It holds a curl well and is super pretty, but I find that it smudges on me every few hours. If I had to choose, I’d recommend BigShow over BigShow waterproof; the latter still smudged on me, but was a pain in the butt to remove on top of that.

Expandable ($10.95 CAD) – Expandable has been my favourite mascara for years, and I still love it. I use it with the wand scrunched-up for more length than volume, and it produces a full, natural-looking lash.

Outlash ($9.95 CAD) – Outlash’s twisted brush does a great job of packing mascara onto the lashes while also giving great separation. It wears for a full 12 hours on my lashes (quite the feat!), but it’s too heavy for my stick-straight lashes – it really takes the curl right out of them.

Annabelle mascara wands - bigshow, expandable, outlash, lash launcher

Best for LENGTH: Lash Launcher

Lash Launcher ($9.95 CAD) – Lash Launcher is very much a length-based mascara, which isn’t really my cup of tea – I need more curl and volume. It offers a lot of length and separation, but I’d definitely recommend it most for those who have naturally voluminous lashes to begin with.

Supernova ($9.95 CAD) – Okay, this green tube is my new favourite thing ever. It gives serious false lash-like length, with good separation and volume as well. The falsie-like length is really natural-looking, too – more like a small set of extensions than a criss-crossed false lash strip. I get anywhere from 8-12 hours of smudge-free wear from this, and I would highly recommend it!

Blast Off ($9.95 CAD) – Blast Off is a little heavy for my tastes, and it brings my lash curl down quite a bit. The formula smudges wildly on me, but might work better for someone with very curly lashes to begin with.

Annabelle Expandable mascara review

Annabelle Expandable mascara review – old packaging (bottom) vs new (top). The brush is unchanged.

The verdict?

If you’re lucky enough to live in Canada and can pop over to your nearest drugstore for a mascara fix, consider yourself lucky. Annabelle has brought its entire game to their new mascara range, and if literally all other brands stopped making mascaras tomorrow, I think I’d feel just fine about it. 

I’ve loved Expandable for years and still adore it, but the new Supernova mascara may be even better. If you’re looking for something with mega volume that still wears well & looks natural, I’d definitely recommend those two to start with!

Availability: $9.95-$10.95 CAD each; permanent as of July 2016. Available at drugstores and mass market retailers througout Canada and online at Annabelle.ca (US & Can), where the entire #ABMascaras range is currently on sale.

Keep reading! »

KYE for Shu Uemura collection review, swatches, photos

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Kye for shu collection review, photos

The products: KYE for Shu Uemura Summer 2016 collection

The KYE for Shu collection is this summer’s Shu Uemura capsule collection, designed by fashion designer Kathleen Kye. It’s inspired by the “new era fashion culture and hype beauty,” and is chock full of trendy products and things that could basically just be summed as “edgy but also fresh.”

I’m not always taken by celeb-designed makeup collections, not even Shu Uemura’s, but the KYE collection really gets me. It feels very authentic, and I love that it celebrates a youthful energy and gender fluidity. 

Kye for shu uemura eyebrow palette cappuccino, dark rose review photos

kye for shu “cappuccino/dark rose” brow:palette review

The brow products

The KYE for shu brow products are all about graphic, edgy eyebrows – and in this case, that means colour. 

I tried out the Shu Uemura Eyebrow Manicure in Dark Violet ($26 CAD) and brow:palette in cappuccino/dark rose ($55 CAD), and you know what? I really liked both of them. Shu does brows well, and these tinted versions of their regular products really hit the spot for me – although I wouldn’t give you $55 for the brow powder.

shu uemura violet brows swatches review photos

kye for shu swatches – ME pink 12 and M white 91 on eyes, eyebrow manicure in dark violet (left) and brow:palette in cappuccino/dark rose (right)

The Eyebrow Manicure is really where it’s at. The formula is easy to apply and doesn’t leave too much product on your skin, giving you definition and shape without really adding visual weight. And Dark Violet? It’s gorgeous. It brushes up gently against the skin, leaving a muted lilac brow that glistens in its wake... it’s a really lovely way to do colourful eyebrows while still looking totally daytime-appropriate.

(Yes, really!)

KYE for shu uemura eyebrow manicure dark violet review photos swatches

kye for shu “dark violet” eyebrow manicure review

Kye for Shu xxxxx

kye for shu “glow in pink” sheer colour balm review

The cheek & lip products

Okay, so full disclosure: these two product formats happen to be ones that I’m predisposed towards, so I’m maybe being a little lenient here.

I love alternative blush formats, so the KYE for Shu Fresh Cushion Blush ($39 CAD) caught my eye immediately. Hibiscus Orange is full of silicones and the sold-out Hisibscus Pink one would almost certainly look better on me, but the formula is just so cool watery, sheer, shimmer-free, and dewy. It’s a very Korean-inspired blush, right down to the names, but I hope we see more cushion blushes from Shu in the future.

For the lips, I also really liked the Shu Uemura Sheer Colour Lip Balm in Glow in Pink ($36 CAD), but I think they’re overpriced. The KYE Sheer Colour Balms are all translucent, pH-adjusting neons, and they’re really comfortable… but at the price, they’re not a must.

Shu Uemura kye collection swatches review

kye for shu swatches in indirect sunlight: hibiscus orange cushion blush, glow in pink sheer colour balm, cappuccino/dark rose brow:palette, dark violet eyebrow manicure, M white 91 drawing pencil, ME pink 12 drawing pencil.

Kye for shu hibiscus orange blush review swatches

kye for shu hibiscus orange fresh cushion blush review

The eye products

I tried out two of the KYE Drawing Pencils ($28 CAD each), which are eyeliners from Shu’s regular collection done up in adorable KYE packaging.

I’ve never been a fan of the Shu Drawing Pencil formula, and these are consistent with my past experiences. The matte M white 91 is a gorgeously opaque white eyeliner, but it snapped off on me the second I tried to swatch it. (And then again, and again, and again.)

The intense, metallic ME pink 12 fared better, but it too is very soft – the metallics are so buttery that you have to re-shape them as you line your eyes. However, they’re also a total pain in the butt to smudge or remove, so if you have any upcoming end-of-summer pool parties planned, ME pink 12 is pretty much mandatory. It’s like glittery indelible ink for your eyes!

Kye for shu eyeliners M white 91, ME pink 12 swatches review

kye for shu drawing pencils in M white 91, ME pink 12

kye for shu collection swatches

kye for shu swatches: hibiscus orange blush, glow in pink lip balm, cappuccino/dark rose brow:palette, dark violet eyebrow manicure, M white 91, and ME pink 12 eyeliners

Everything else

The KYE for Shu collection also includes a few cleansing oils and conditioners, but as they’re just re-packaged classics, I won’t be reviewing them here. I will note, however, that the pink Porefinist Fresh Cleansing Oil ($38-82 CAD) is my favorite Shu cleansing oil, though, and that the KYE packaging is even cuter in person!

Kye for shu uemura absolute conditioners review

kye for shu art of hair conditioners

The verdict?

Shu Uemura releases a lot of really big makeup collections, but the KYE collection is my favourite Shu release in recent history. There isn’t a single product that disappoints (well, the eyeliners are a pain, but they wear like a champ as long as you pretend they’re gel pots), and the prices are very reasonable for Shu.

My top recommendations are the Dark Violet Eyebrow Manicure and Fresh Cushion Blush, but you really can’t go wrong with anything here!

Availability: Limited edition summer 2016 at shuuemura.ca, shuuemura.com, and in-stores at select Holt Renfrew & Sephora locations.

Keep reading! »

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