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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Clinique All About Shadow swatches, review, photos: Jenna’s Essentials

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Clinique Jenna's Essentials All About Shadow review

The product: Clinique All About Shadow quad in 02 Jenna’s Essentials

I had some of Clinique’s old eyeshadows. I loved some of Clinique’s old eyeshadows. But, no matter how good the Colour Surge line was, it was nothing like this.

The new-ish (as of September 2013) All About Shadow formula promises intense colour and long wear — and dude, from what I’ve seen, their pigmentation and texture are so good.

Clinique Jenna's Essentials review

Clinique All About Shadow Quad in 02 Jenna’s Essentials

The shades: Jenna’s Essentials contains four neutral shades handpicked by Jenna Menard, Clinique’s Global Colour Artist — and dude, they’re divine. Medium-opaque and easy to both blend out evenly and layer for intensity, they’re kind of a neutral palette’s dream.

To start off on the left, shade 1 is a frosty, shimmering white that’s perfect for adding light to an eye look. It’s followed by a light, satin-matte brown that both sheers out well and layers easily — it’s a yellow-brown, so it reads pretty neutral.

Clinique Jenna's Essentials swatches

Clinique All About Shadow Quad in 02 Jenna’s Essentials (indirect sunlight)

Next, shade 3 is a shimmering beige with gold sparkle (again, quite neutral, with a hint of pink to give it life), and finally, la pièce de résistance: a gorgeous charcoal-black with a matte base and sparse green-blue microshimmer, like magical stars in the sky.

But, like, who puts bright teal sparkles in a black(ish) shade? Clinique does, apparently — and I kid you not, they transform a boring, standard shade into the most enchanting black eyeshadow you’ll ever own.

Clinique All About Shadow swatches Jenna's Essentials

Clinique All About Shadow Quad in 02 Jenna’s Essentials (direct sunlight)

The packaging: As a minimalist who believes wholeheartedly in function, I appreciate Clinique’s packaging so hard. It’s super-slick, with no weird lumps or bumps (MAC) making it hard to store, and the bottom is–get this–clear. Yeah. You can tell exactly what shades are in this quad from the bottom.

I freakin’ love this packaging, you guys. Let’s let the logical-chic packaging (what are you talking about; that’s totally a thing) movement begin.

Clinique All About Shadow quad packagingClinique All About Shadow packaging — makes so much sense!

The verdict?

If you were to tell me right now that all of my eyeshadows had just been magically converted into Clinique — I would be pretty okay with it. I might not even flinch. Because, you guys, this quad is so good: the textures are beautiful, the pigmentation is great, and the All About Shadow shade range looks to be both gorgeous and gorgeously vast. (I count 57 products and a whopping 100 unique shades in total!)

The singles are a little pricy ($19 CAD), but the duos and quads are pretty reasonable – $25 CAD and $35 CAD respectively. If the rest of the range is even a little bit as sneakily complex and well-formulated as these four, I’m willing to list them as a tentative new favourite.

Availability: $28 USD/$35 CAD at Nordstrom, Sephora, and Clinique counters everywhere. See also: Clinique’s All About Shadow singles ($15 USD/$19 CAD) and duos ($20 USD/$25 CAD).

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Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara review, swatches, photos | For a pretty, pool-ready lash

Monday, July 7, 2014

Clarins waterproof mascara review-

The product: Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara in 01 Intense Black

The formula: Clarins’ Truly Waterproof Mascara is formulated with bitter orange tree wax and olive squalane, and promises 12 hour waterproof wear from not just chlorinated water, but from salt water, too. (Which is great, considering how many mascaras do okay with pure water, but run when you cry!)

Clarins Truly Waterproof  Mascara review

The packaging: Can I just take a moment to say that love this packaging? It’s super sleek, with the little “C” emblem in a handy dip – which I always thought was aesthetic, but it actually makes opening the tube a lot easier.

The brush on this one has a relatively slim profile with traditional bristles (that is, not silicone), and the bottom of the tube has a thin piece of translucent red plastic on the bottom, which is a nice, subtle touch.

Clarins Truly Waterproof  Mascara brush review

Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara & brush

The application: I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed applying mascara before, but this one surprised me. It goes on really easily, no lash comb needed, and delivers a natural-looking lash in just one stroke. It gives really good separation with very little clumping, and it holds a curl beautifully — all while leaving your lashes feeling soft and flexible. 

One last thing to note about this formula is that it smells really nice (for a mascara). Like, weirdly nice. I can’t quite put my finger on what it reminds me of, but this formula has a very distinctive, pretty, Clarins-y fragrance to it.

Clarins Truly Waterproof  Mascara swatches review

Bare lashes / one coat of Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara in 01 Intense Black

The wear: SO GOOD — but not infallible. While this formula is extremely waterproof (I was able to submerge my lashes in water and rub at them multiple times before I even begun to lose a curl), the oils on my face do make it smudge through the day.

That said, this mascara doesn’t drop my curl or flake, and it removes easily with a good cleansing oil – those who use micellar waters may struggle, however. (This is the only product I’ve ever tried that my beloved Marcelle cleansing water couldn’t get off!) But, for those in a really humid country, or a day at the beach, this one’ll hold up like a champ.

Clarins Truly Waterproof  Mascara eyelash swatch

Bare lashes / Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara

The verdict?

It’s not quite holy grail material, but Clarins’ Truly Waterproof Mascara is definitely one that I’d recommend. Between easy application, super classy packaging, and a really pretty fragrance, it does a wonderful job of delivering a soft, flexible waterproof lash — and it does it all while holding a curl.

Give it a pass if most mascaras smudge on you, but if not, put this one at the top of your list of waterproof mascaras to try!

(more…)

Beautycounter Rose, Currant Lip Sheer swatches; Lustro Body Oil review

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beautycounter review Lustro, Lip Tint

The products: Beautycounter Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary + Citrus and Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant

I’m not the kind of reviewer that looks at a luxury price tag, goes “well, you’re paying for exclusivity,” and then ignores it. I can see why some people are, and that’s totally cool with me, but, well: I’m not. If a brand is going to charge luxury prices, it better give me a darn good reason as to why someone should make the splurge – and if they’re going to talk about how ingredient-focused they are, they better earn the right.

Beautycounter Lustro body oil review

Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary + Citrus ($68 USD/80 ml)

As a dry-skinned girl who can’t use most moisturizers due to their silicone content, I’m a big, big fan of body oils. Which is why this Beautycounter oil was such a big surprise for me — because I didn’t love it. Like, at all. 

While Rosemary + Citrus‘ jojoba-based formula feels great and hydrates well (without an ounce of oiliness left behind on your now baby-soft skin), the scent just didn’t do it for me – and the smooth glass bottle felt like it was slipping to its death every time I pressed the pump.

Beautycounter Body Oil review Lustro Rosemary Citrus

Beautycounter Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary + Citrus

For $25/oz (Osmia’s gorgeous body oils are only $11/oz), a product shouldn’t be a struggle, you know? And it should smell awesome, not like a kitchen window basket full of roast-appropriate herbs. (My boyfriend described this one as “something you’d pick up at a Canadian Tire” — nice, but not expensive. Sort of like a citronella candle.)

If you love jasmine-scented products, they offer a jasmine-scented alternative; however, it has a jojoba/grapeseed/rosehip base, rather than jojoba/sweet almond/meadowfoam. As pretty and light-feeling as it is, I have to recommend that you pass on this one.

Lustro Rosemary + Citrus Body Oil ingredients

Golden Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil*, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Virgin Grapeseed Oil*, Rosehip Oil, Sea Buckthorn Oil, Marula Oil*, Virgin Argan Nut Oil*, Rose Otto Oil, Apricot Oil, Grapefruit Oil, Sweet Orange Oil, Rosemary Oil.

Beautycounter Lip Sheer review swatches Rose Currant

Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Rose (L) and Currant (R)

Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant ($28 USD/each)

Like the Lustro Body Oil, the first Lip Sheer I tried put my nerves on edge, too. Despite being described as a creme finish, Rose has particles of hidden gold shimmer in it, and while the colour was really pretty, the shimmer is noticeable on my lips — not a deal-breaker, but I’m kind of bummed that the brand describes it as a creme finish.

Beautycounter Rose lip sheer

Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant — see the shimmer that was hiding in there?

Currant, however, is shimmer-free… and it’s awesome. The Beautycounter Lip Sheer formula is really comfortable and hydrating, with a naturally-sourced vanilla scent and a good amount of pigment. If I had to pick one Beautycounter product to recommend, it would definitely be this one – they feel gorgeously heavy and balmy, and the packaging is divine. (According to brand rep Anna Vig, only Rose and Petal have shimmer, and it’s less noticeable in the latter!)

Also nice to note is that the line’s Lip Sheers rate an EWG Skin Deep rating of 1 (aka “super safe”), which is great when it comes to lip products — we end up ingesting a pretty gross amount of them, after all.

Beautycounter Lip Sheer ingredients

Diisotearyl Malate, Jojoba Esters, Octyldodecyl Ricinoleate, Castor Seed Oil, Microcrystalline Wax, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Calcium Sodium Borosilcate, Candelilla Wax, Carnuba Wax, Tin Oxide. +/- Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Yellow 5 Lake, Red 5 Lake, Red 7 Lake, Red 27 Lake, Blue 1 Lake.

Beautycounter Currant Rose swatches

Beautycounter Lip Sheer swatches - Rose (L) and Currant (R)

Beautycounter Rose Currant Lip Sheer swatches

L-R: Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant, swatched

The verdict?

I love the idea of a brand that focuses on its ingredients, but Beautycounter seems to focus more on profit than product. Upon closer inspection, all of their pricy-but-beautiful face oils feature the same formula (differing only in fragrance), and their lazily-fragranced body oil runs at almost double the cost per ounce than beautifully scented oils by brands like L’Occitane, Caudalie, and Clarins. For an all-natural body oil, I would opt instead for one by Osmia Organics – their packaging is easier to use, and each scent is beautifully crafted.

That said, I did really like how hydrating, comfortable, and safe the Beautycounter Lip Sheers are. I found swatches of all six shades on Our Wanderlust (Petal, Twig, and Coral caught my eye!), and I think they’d make a wonderful “splurge” lip product — they’re gorgeously packaged, have a great formula, and come in a beautiful range of shades.

Availability: These items were sent in for review by superstar brand rep Anna Vig, who has been unbelievably helpful and friendly. If you’re going to indulge in a Lip Sheer, I would definitely encourage you to shop her storefront here!

Keep reading! »

Clinique A Different Nail Enamel swatches, review, photos

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Clinique A Different Nail Enamel review swatches

L-R: Clinique Base & Top Coat, Call My Bluff, Sweet Tooth, Really Rio, Red Red Red, and Concrete Jungle

The product: Clinique A Different Nail Enamel for Sensitive Skins

   ↳ Base and Top Coat, 01 Call My Bluff, 02 Sweet Tooth, 05 Really Rio, 07 Red Red Red, and 11 Concrete Jungle

I can’t remember how I came by these particular shades. I think (it’s been a while) that my press contact at Clinique picked out some of her favourites and sent them over, maybe? Because they’re not the same set of shades that went out in the wide release, but they’re perfect.

So, if I’m right — thank you. I can’t take the credit for this selection of shades, but you guys, I kid you not, they embody summer! so strongly to me that I just can’t look away.

Clinique Red Red Red review swatch

Clinique A Different Nail Enamel in Red Red Red

The formula: Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), how well these nail polishes go on seems to be dependent on the shade. The first two I tried were Really Rio and Concrete Jungle, an entire year ago, and I was so unimpressed and confused by them that I back-burnered this post altogether.

Then, a week ago, I decided to swatch Sweet Tooth out of the blue. And it was awesome. And I kept going, from Call My Bluff to Red Red Red, and just kept being blown away.

(And then I tried Concrete Jungle again and whoops, nope, not going there.)

Clinique Sweet Tooth Concrete Jungle swatches

Clinique Sweet Tooth (1, 3 coats), Clinique Concrete Jungle (1, 3 coats)

Sweet Tooth, Call My Bluff, and the AWESOME Red Red Red

To start off, here are three great nail shades from Clinique: starting with the super-sheer Sweet Tooth and Call My Bluff, which I’m going to come right out and say would be great Dior Nail Glow alternatives. They apply really easily (and evenly), and coat the nail with just a hint of colour – the perfect amount to whiten the white part of your nail & brighten the nail bed.

Clinique Call My Bluff swatch review

Clinique Call My Bluff swatch

Unlike Dior’s Nail Glow, however, Clinique makes two shades to suit a wider range of skintones — and both give a more natural look than Dior’s. For skintones with yellow or olive undertones, try Call My Bluff; for skintones with a lot of pink or peach, try Sweet Tooth. Alternately, choose the whiter Call My Bluff for more of a whitening effect on the free edge of the nail (think a subtle French manicure), and Sweet Tooth to focus on brightening the nail bed.

Dior Nail Glow dupe Clinique Sweet Tooth

Clinique Sweet Tooth swatch (1 coat on index finger, 3 coats on middle finger)

Clinique Sweet Tooth, Red swatch

Bare nail, Clinique Sweet Tooth, Clinique Red Red Red (3 coats, 1 coat)

And to finish up this category of super awesome Clinique nail shades? Clinique Red Red Red, the very best of the bunch. Summer-bright and deliciously vivid, it is hands-down the best red nail polish I’ve tried so far, applying evenly and with the perfect red-yellow-blue balance.

Red Red Red is just shy of opaque at three coats, but I’d actually call it a two-coater. While I’d normally have a problem with anything short of full opacity, it actually works in this particular shade’s favour, creating a really lighthearted almost-jelly finish rather than a super-serious red.

Clinique Red Red Red swatch A Different Nail Enamel

Clinique Red Red Red swatched (3 coats, 1 coat)

Really Rio and Concrete Jungle

These shades are gorgeous, but application-wise, I just couldn’t figure them out. They applied a lot like Essie polishes, if you have any experience with those: some people seem to be able to work magic with them, but for the rest of us, each gorgeous shade after the next applies kind of lumpily. Not even just in streaks, but… lumps.

No one wants lumpy space princess nails, so give these two a pass unless you can pull off Essie-style formulas and brushes with grace!

(Seriously, though. Really Rio would have been such a great, beachy summer shade in a smoother formula.)

Clinique Really Rio Nail Varnish swatch

Clinique A Different Nail Enamel in Really Rio, swatched

The verdict?

If you love bright nails or reds, you need Red Red Red in your life. I don’t know how Clinique did it, but they absolutely killed it with the shade — it’s not super opaque, but it’s one of the most fun, bright shades I’ve ever laid eyes on — without coming off as childish at all.

Aside from Red Red Red, I’d also totally recommend either Sweet Tooth or Call My Bluff for that perfect natural-but-better nail. You don’t need both, but I’d definitely pick up one of them for when you need a super fast, super easy natural nail!

Availability: $12.50 USD/$16 CAD at Clinique (US), Sephora, and Nordstrom, as well as Clinique counters.

Keep reading! »

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