Soft neutrals: a daytime, bridal, or evening eye look ft. Esqido, Clinique, and Annabelle

Monday, July 28, 2014

The moment I swatched Jenna’s Essentials for the first time, I knew I had to create a makeup look using it. Something simple; maybe just an eye, with easy options for making it more or less bold…

So here’s a quick tutorial for a soft, pretty eye makeup look, in bullet form. If you do choose to give it a go, I hope you have fun with it!

Jenna's Essentials natural smokey eye tutorial

Clinique Jenna’s Essentials with Inglot M346 (matte lilac), Annabelle Night Light glitter liner, and Annabelle Expandable mascara

The basic steps

1. To begin, prime your eyelids (I used NARS Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base), then apply the shimmering sandy taupe from Jenna’s Essentials across the entire lid.

2. Next, add the second shade (satin-matte chocolate brown), blending a small amount onto the outer half of the lid.

3. Follow up with the first shade of the palette (shimmery white) to highlight the inner corner, and a matte skin-shade around the outer edges to blend things out (I used MAC Blanc Type).

4. Finish up with Jenna’s Essentials by using the galaxy black as a liner shade, creating a small, subtle flick at the outer corner. Curl the lashes, then add a quick coat of mascara (Annabelle Expandable).

Soft neutral smokey eye - bridal inspired

Clinique Jenna’s Essentials with Annabelle Night Light

The rest of these steps are optional, and each adds an extra bit of interest to the eye look.

  • To add a bit of sparkle to the eye, add a clear, shimmering liquid liner to the centre of your upper lashline– I used Annabelle Glitterama Liquid Eyeliner in Night Light. (This glitter liner is really delicate and pretty, making it appropriate for both a day look and a night out!)
  • If you prefer a cooler neutral eye, blend a small amount of a light, matte lilac through the lid (Inglot M346), concentrating on the centre of the lid.
  • For a really dramatic finished product, add a pair of false lashes — I used Esqido Mink Eyelashes in Unforgettable with Duo lash glue.
  • For nighttime intensity, apply the eyeshadows wet, and use a black liquid liner instead of the soft black shadow from Jenna’s Essentials.

Natural wedding makeup tutorial Unforgettable mink Esqido lashes

Jenna’s Essentials, Inglot M346, and Esqido Unforgettable lashes (inner corner trimmed on right)

Products used »

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! »

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! »

Clinique Chubby Stick swatches, review: Hazelnut, Blush, Tomato, Orange, & more!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Clinique Chubby Stick review swatches

The product: Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm

   ↳ in 09 Heaping Hazelnut, 10 Bountiful Blush, 11 Two Ton Tomato, 12 Oversized Orange, 13 Mighty Mimosa, 14 Curvy Candy, 15 Pudgy Peony, and 16 Voluptuous Violet

I love Clinique’s Chubby Stick range. I talk about them all the time; I carry them around in my bag like they’re the keys to my house, I own all of the lip shades except maybe three or four of them.

I haven’t, however, had the chance to post swatches of many of them yet. So: here are eight more Clinique Chubby Sticks. I hope you enjoy.

Clinique Chubby Stick review

A recap of the formula: The classic Clinique Chubby Stick formula is comfortable and sheer, and wears for about 2-3 hours on my lips. The twist-up pencil packaging and no-mirror opacity makes them easy to throw into your handbag and apply on the go, and the large shade range literally has something for everybody.

All of the Chubby Sticks are taste- and scent-free, and get a lot of flack for being really sheer — but it’s important to remember that they’re marketed as a lip balm, not a lipstick. The Chubby Stick Intense formula offers full opacity, while the original formula varies from almost completely-sheer to medium-opaque depending on the shade.

Clinique Chubby Stick sheer lipsticks

Clinique Chubby Stick swatches Hazelnut Blush Tomato Orange

Swatched L-R: 09 Heaping Hazelnut, 10 Bountiful Blush, 11 Two Ton Tomato, 12 Oversized Orange, 13 Mighty Mimosa, 14 Curvy Candy, 15 Pudgy Peony, and 16 Voluptuous Violet

The shades: Heaping Hazelnut is a sheer, warm nude with a hint of shimmer. Bountiful Blush is a pinky-brown with medium opacity and a subtly frosty finish (I bet it would make a gorgeous nude on a darker skintone). Two Ton Tomato is a sheer, bright strawberry-orange. Oversized Orange is a super-sheer orange with a hint of gold shimmer (pinker, less shimmery, and way more sheer than Mega Melon).

Mighty Mimosa is a sheer soft pink with very subtle shimmer. Curvy Candy is also sheer with subtle shimmer, but is a cooler-toned pink. Both are a little more pigmented than Whoppin’ Watermelon, which is shimmer-free. Pudgy Peony is a bright blue-pink; it’s also sheer, but appears more pigmented due to how vivid the shade is. Voluptuous Violet is a super-sheer subdued violet — it is the sheerest shade in the entire range, but adds a really pretty, wearable violet veil to the lips.

Clinique Chubby Stick Swatch mimosa candy peony violet

Clinique Chubby Stick swatches, L-R: Heaping Hazelnut, Bountiful Blush, Two Ton Tomato, Oversized Orange, Mighty Mimosa, Curvy Candy, Pudgy Peony, ad Voluptuous Violet

Clinique tinted lip balm lipstick review Chubby Stick

The verdict?

As someone who loves low-maintenance products, I love the comfortable Chubby Stick formula and super-cute packaging. These Chubby Sticks (released initially in 2012) tend to be a little more pigmented than the original eight shades, and more of these shades contain a small amount of natural-looking shimmer.

My must-have Chubby Stick shades are Whoppin’ Watermelon (for everyday), Mega Melon (for the summer), Super Strawberry (for more pigment), and Voluptuous Violet (for a really sheer wash of cool-toned pigment). For those looking for a bright, sheer lip, I would also recommend Pudgy Peony.

Availability: $17 USD/$19 CAD at Nordstrom, Sephora, and Clinique counters.

More Chubby Sticks & individual product shots »

Punk Rock + Sepia Tones | A Marc Jacobs/NARS-inspired makeup look… twelve months late

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

!Sepia toned makeup, eyeshadow tutorial

Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve done a full makeup look and posted it? Months. Seasons. The last two were in April and May of last year.

Despite what the wait may have led you to believe, here’s a makeup look that I actually really loved. I shot it a year ago to the day, so I barely remember applying it, but I do remember being inordinately fond of the entire thing. It’s loosely inspired by the makeup created by François Nars for the Fall 2013 Marc Jacobs show — messy, smokey, a little punk rock.

I hope you like it as much as I do.

!Marc Jacobs, NARS Sepia toned punk rock makeup

I literally don’t remember putting this eye makeup on, but looking back, I do really love the way it turned out — smoked-out black with eye open, and a flash of a toned-down burnt orange with eyes shut. The “sepia” shade is Clinique Fuller Fudge (a Chubby Stick for Eyes), and the black is the soft charcoal-black from Clarins’ Graphites Eye Quartet. 

The other three products listed at the bottom of the page are just your standard window dressing: MAC Blanc Type, still my go-to matte highlight, and Annabelle Licoriche softly through and along the upper lashline (and, okay, with the dregs then pulled through my brows — multi-tasking, man). On my lashes is Armani’s Eyes to Kill mascara, which I’m still reaching for whenever I want a super-pretty, voluminous, clump-free lash with no fuss.

!Marc Jacobs eye tutorial !Soft punk makeup look

For the base, I used theBalm timeBalm Concealer in Lighter Than Light and Marcelle Face Powder in Translucent — always, always, with these two. I really should try something new, but it’s hard, you know? Especially when you feel like the only cool-toned, too-pale, vaguely-olive person out there who can’t come within arm’s reach of anything containing ‘cones. I hear Marcelle’s Monochromatic Pressed Powder is ‘cone-free, so maybe that’ll be my next powder to try — though I did really want to try something glowy.

On the cheeks, I’m wearing MAC Harmony (much warmer than my usual fare), and on my lips is Clinique Curviest Caramel — a Chubby Stick (Intense), of course.

!MJ NYFW F13 look

Products used & an extra super surprise photo »

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