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.

Keep reading! »

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.

Keep reading! »

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).

Keep reading! »

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!

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