NYX Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette review, swatches, photos (& NYX Pro Fan Brush review)

Friday, April 29, 2016

NYX Strobe of Genius palette review

The products: NYX Cosmetics Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette, NYX Cosmetics Pro Fan Brush

2016, as I’ve said before, is having great spring for illuminators and highlighters. The contouring trend is holding steady with an additional strobing aspect, and the market has been absolutely overpopulated with highlighters.

And hey, I’m no fool. If the beauty industry suddenly gives you 10x the amount of choices for a product category that you love, you snap up that opportunity like nobody’s business.

NYX illuminating palette review

What is strobing? I will say one thing before I get started today: “strobing” is bullshit. It’s not “THE beauty tend that everyone is obsessing about,” and it’s not “fresh” or “new!” (All direct quotes from the NYX website.)

Strobing is highlighting pumped up to the max, plain and simple. Things can be great without being new, oh Great and Powerful Beauty Industry — case in point.

NYX Strobe of Genius illuminating strobing palette review

NYX Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette

NYX Strobe of Genius palette swatches

NYX Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette swatches (no primer; indirect sunlight)

The formula: The NYX Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette features 7 highlighters in two formulas. The lavender, golden pink, bronze, and champagne all feature one formula; the yellow/gold, light pink, and peachy gold all feature a very slightly different one.

In practice, I find that six of the highlighters are all very similar. They’re smooth and blendable but a little bit dry, and are ideal for normal to oily skin. (They emphasize my fine lines slightly.) The exception is the lavender shade; it’s more buttery than the rest, and it has an intense satin-sheen finish rather than a frosty, metallic one.

I totally get that formulas are going to vary based on how their pigments influence them, but man. That lavender highlight is really something else — from a high-end brand, I’d pay $27 CAD (the palette’s SRP) for it alone.

NYX Strobe of Genius palette labels

NYX Strobe of Genius strobing palette review

NYX Strobe of Genius illuminating palette swatches

NYX Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette swatches (no primer; indirect sunlight)

The shades: All seven of the Strobe of Genius shades wear well throughout the day, but most importantly, they’re all visibly different. If I apply more than one shade on my cheek (even if it’s two similar shades!), I can spot where one ends and the other begins from a good foot away.

The sheer, frosty “gold” in the top left corner of the palette is definitely the most unique shade; it’s a pure yellow highlighter, and it’s quite pretty in person! (For everyday use, you could totally use it as a spot highlighter.) The palette also contains a rose gold shade, which you don’t see all the time — I think a lot of warm-toned beauties will really like this one!

The lavender highlighter, however, was by far the best performer. It’s without a doubt the prettiest thing I have ever put on my cheeks, and it made my face G-L-O-W as soon as the brush touched my skin. It’s really high-impact, but it melts right into the skin.

NYX Pro Fan Brush ($17 USD/$17 CAD)

NYX Highlighting brush strobing review

Unlike your prototypical fan brush, NYX’s Pro Fan Brush is dense, velvety, and thick. It is not what you want to use for a light application of powder, which is what fan brushes are usually for. Instead, it makes getting an intense highlight super quick and easy, and it fits perfectly onto the top of my cheekbone to apply the product and blend it in a single stroke (three, at max.)

I can confidently say that there is nothing else in my brush collection that even slightly resembles this synthetic brush, and it’s well worth the $17 it’ll run you!

NYX highlighting fan brush review

The verdict?

I can’t believe how fast I fell for the NYX Strobe of Genius palette or the NYX Pro Fan Brush, but it really was love at first stroke. The second I popped that lavender highlight onto my cheekbone (using the fan brush, which–can I just say–is super luxurious), I was smitten. Later, I found out that the highlighter had held on throughout the entire day, and I had to have a little cry.

(Okay, for real, I didn’t cry. But I did immediately apply all of the other six shades to various parts of my face just so I could get to experience them all at once, and it was a weirdly gratifying experience.)

If you love a good spring/summer glow, then you need this palette. It’s hella expensive for a drugstore product, but seeing as all 7 shades really are different… I think it’s worth it. That’s like, $3.86 per shade, and it’ll take you from spring (lavender) to summer (rose gold) to winter (champagne).*

Availability: $19 USD/$27 CAD at NYX Cosmetics, or at drugstores throughout Canada and the US. (Also available at Ulta and Urban Outfitters.)

The brush is $17 USD/$17 CAD through NYX Cosmetics.

Keep reading! »

New This Week: Silicone-free colour-correcting & custom foundation palettes!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Custom color correcting foundation palette

It’s always interesting to see which trends are going to rear their heads each season, but I can’t remember the last time something hit quite as hard as colour-correcting. It’s a technique that has been around for decades, of course, but it used to be tough to get your hands on really good colour-correcting products.

Now, though? Now colour correctors seem like they’re a dime a dozen. You can pick up tinted primers (Make Up For Ever and Clinique do some really popular ones, and I hear the NYX dupes aren’t all that shabby); redness neutralizers (everyone still always says green, but I swear yellow is what you really want); even brightening powders (in violet or the classic banana yellow) to even out whatever tones your foundation isn’t quite covering. 

Despite the current trend, however, it is still next to impossible to find a good colour corrector that’s silicone-free. So, I thought I’d share with you guys what I’ve been doing for colour-correcting!

I really love using theatre foundations on skin that’s picky about silicones, because the older formulas (always make sure to check first) tend to be creamy, ‘cone-free, and cheap. The colour palette that I put together for myself features samples of products from Camera Ready Cosmetics to keep the costs even lower; the half-empty pans look a little dingy, but because I rarely actually finish products, it was a good choice for me.

(I’ve had this palette for about a year and I haven’t needed to replenish any of the correctors yet, so I guess I wasn’t wrong!)

Silicone free foundation palette

Silicone-free theatre foundation review palette

For anyone making their own colour correcting palette or bruise kit, this entire palette cost me about $20 USD, and works well for my NC15-ish skin. It includes:

Keep reading! »

2015 favourites: My makeup & fragrance must-haves

Monday, January 11, 2016

2015 makeup favourites

2015 was, for some reason, a major skincare year for me. I didn’t fall in love with any new makeup products until December, and while I do love those with a passion–well, it makes for a favourites list that is much the same as 2014’s.

Which was the same as 2013’s.

You can see where I’m going with this, right?

My favourite everyday products

2015 must-have makeup products

For me, “the basics” begin with a black eyeliner that never smudges (I rely on Annabelle SmudgePaints and Marcelle Double Extension eyeliners for that — I think I’m on my third Marcelle pen) and an eyeshadow base that can keep you totally crease-free (the cheap-as-dirt Wet ‘n Wild Fergie primer or Pür Mineral’s awesome new Eye Polishes, both of which perform, for me, leaps and bounds better than Urban Decay Primer Potion or NARS Pro Prime.)

You’re only as good as the number of people who fear you, after all, and raccoon eyes don’t usually make for terrified weeping.

Best products of 2015

I also couldn’t live without my Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Plum (the perfect medium-coverage MLBB shade), a few matte eyeshadows to contour with, and a basic lip balm.

I’m currently fixated on Burt’s Bees’ Refreshing lip balm, which is only moderately hydrating. It smells like pink grapefruit, though, so I mean… Really.

Add in a ‘cone-free face powder (no one does a satin finish like Marcelle) and a flawless foundation (thank you again, Pür Minerals, you radiant, beautiful unicorn) and I’m all set.

My favourite colour products of 2015

Makeup colour product favourites

I discovered a lot of absolutely stellar brow products last year, but only a few made the cut for my favourites: Stila’s, which is glorious but outrageously overpriced, and Annabelle’s, which is as wonderful as it is budget-friendly.

My eyeshadow favourites haven’t changed at all–always Clarins, and always their flaky-shimmer quads–and neither have my lip and everyday mascara favourites: Imju Fiberwig (all hail the glow cloud magic of tubing technology), Burt’s Bees, and Clinique Chubby Sticks.

Cheek and eye favourites 2015

Brow and lip favourites 2015

I did add two totally new favourites to my repertoire last year, though, and I couldn’t be happier to have found them!

Annabelle’s Blush On range is awesome (for some reason, I always reach for them before my Clinique Cheek Pops), and the new blue and purple Clinique Chubby Lash mascaras wear like a champ. I don’t think the black shade is a must, but the blue? Totally.

My favourite tools of 2015

Makeup Brush favourites

My do-everything powder brush, Senna’s Powder Point Brush #33, is my only new favourite this year — but it lives at my partner’s house, so I’m afraid I couldn’t include it in this photo! I feel like that speaks for itself, though: it’s my only powder brush at his place, and it does a good job of applying foundation, powder, contour, blush, and highlighter. It doesn’t do an amazing job of any of them, but for that kind of versatility, I’ll live.

My favourite fragrances of 2015

2015 fragrance favourites

And last but not least… The perfumes that I couldn’t get enough of last year. I looooove Aerin Waterlily Sun (I’m wearing it right now, actually!) and Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur, as I’ve talked about at length on theNotice, but I’ve been using Leila Lou by Rosie Jane a lot, too — it’s great for smelling really, really clean in an instant.

(And–ahem–it’s excellent for directing attention to certain areas at close range.)

What were your favourite products of 2015?

Bio Beaute Flash Perfection review, swatches | A NYE-ready review!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Silicone-free Flash Perfection review

The product: Bio Beauté by Nuxe Flash Perfection Beautifying Serum

OH GOD IT’S THE LAST DAY OF 2015 I CAN’T HANDLE THIS HELP ME

Happy New Year’s Eve, readers! How are your holidays going?

I wasn’t really feeling a NYE makeup look this year, so I have a different New Year’s themed post for you instead: a review of this neat little Flash Perfection serum by Bio Beauté. It sounds pretty New Years Eve party-ish, right? Flawless and instant and, most importantly, luminous?

Bio Beaute Beautifying Serum review.jpg

What’s in it: This new Bio Beauté by Nuxe serum (well, not-so-new if you’re in France; I think it launched in the spring for all of you lucky ducks) is silicone-free and certified organic, and it’s lightly scented with a 100% natural rose, freesia, and raspberry fragrance. (I had to read the press release for that info — it honestly doesn’t really have much of a scent.)

What’s nifty about this serum, though, is that like products such as Deciem’s Photography Foundation and Neutrogena’s Instant Tone Corrector, it’s designed to blur out imperfections with “chameleon nacres” — basically, a light nude/peachy tint and delicate micro shimmer that instantly makes all skin tones look better.

Nuxe Flash Perfection serum swatch

But does it work? Sadly, on my skin… Not so much. It does make my skin look lovely and glowy, but it’s subtle. I was hoping Bio Beauté’s Flash Perfection would be a great pre-party product (perfect for things like New Years) because of, you know, the name, but it’s more of a lightly luminizing long term product for me. It’s still a nice serum, but didn’t really deliver on the flash!

On a dark or medium skin tone, I think you’d see more of an effect, but I don’t find myself reaching for this when I need a quick fix.

Bio Beaute By Nuxe Flash Perfection review.jpg

The verdict?

Sadly, Bio Beauté’s Flash Perfection Radiance Beautifying Serum wasn’t what I wanted it to be. It was a close thing, though — it does instantly make my skin look more luminous and smooth, but no more so than a great facial mist would have. 

However, I do think there’s a small group of people who would LOVE this product. If you really like the idea of those “instant complexion booster”-type products BUT you want something that’s (a) silicone-free or (b) truly invisible under a macro lens, this is going to be your jam. The trade-off will be that it won’t give you major results at a distance, though, so I think this one is best used daily for long-term luminosity instead! 

Availability: $37 CAD at select Shopper’s Drug Mart boutiques in Canada. (Should be available at the Beauty Boutique soon!)

Keep reading!

Pür Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup SPF 15 review, swatches, photos | Porcelain vs Fair

Monday, December 28, 2015

Pur Minerals 4 in 1 fair review swatches

Pür Minerals 4-in-1 in Fair

The product: Pür Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup Borad Spectrum SPF 15 foundation in Porcelain 

Note: These images look a little off in Chrome. To get a really good idea of what these foundation shades look like, please view this post in a different browser!

According to my editorial calendar, I’m supposed to be writing about my 2015 favourites right now. And I am, technically, but my favourites roundup is going to have to wait just one more day, because this stuff? This stuff is too good for me to not blog about for even just one more minute.

The newly-reformulated Pür Minerals 4-in-1 foundation is, to put it simply, my favourite product of the year. 

Pur Minerals 4 in 1 pressed mineral makeup review

Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup SPF 15 in Porcelain

The formula: I’ve never found a powder foundation that has been just right for me before, so Pür Mineral’s 4-in-1 is kind of like my unicorn product. It kicks up a lot of dust when you pick up product, which is my only complaint about the formula, but it’s lovely — it has just the right amount of medium coverage, and its skin-like satin finish both looks and feels like you’re wearing almost nothing at all.

Pür Minerals’ 4-in-1 foundation is the kind of product that’s so good that it seems almost boring, but where it differs from other powder foundations is where it really shines. (Jayne went through a whopping three pans of the original 4-in-1, which I think really says something about how great it is!!)

I tried both Porcelain and Fair for this review, and weirdly enough, the formula is different for Porcelain vs. the rest of the line. Both formulas wear very well, in my opinion, but I did find that Fair oxidized a bit on me after about an hour!

Pur Minerals foundation review

Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup SPF 15 in Porcelain Pur Minerals Porcelain vs Fair review swatches

Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup SPF 15 in Porcelain (L) and Fair (R)

What makes the 4-in-1 so special: My #1 pet peeve with foundations of any kind is that they can apply just fine, but then feel almost gritty by midday–sort of like a sunscreen, you know? Where they look fine, but if you touch your face with your hands, it feels dirty.

The Pür powder foundation feels velvety from application to removal, though, and the range runs really light — Porcelain is a perfect match for my skintone (I can even use a dense brush with it to apply as concealer), meaning it runs lighter than even the Make Up For Ever foundation range.

(MAC, unfortunately, don’t offer any silicone-free foundations, and mineral lines like Bare Escentuals would need to add another 1-2 light shades before I could find a match.)

Pur Minerals 4 in 1 powder porcelain, fair swatches review

Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup SPF 15 swatched: Porcelain, Fair

How I apply: I’ve been applying my 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder with the line’s Chisel Foundation Brush, but the brush is a little rough. Application is a breeze, though (I can finish my entire face in under 60 seconds), and if I want a completely invisible finish, all I have to do is spritz my face with one of my MIYU Beauty Essences and let it dry.

Pür Minerals is launching a number of new brushes in March (you heard it here first!) including a really soft-looking powder foundation brush, but I would love to hear your brush recommendations in the meantime!!

Pur Minerals Pressed Mineral Makeup foundation review

Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup SPF 15 in Porcelain, Fair

The verdict?

I’ve never really fallen in love with a foundation before. I’ve liked products (timeBalm and Sensual Skin Enhancer come to mind), but this–this is a whole other level.

The Pür Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup really does make me look like I’ve applied a flawless layer of foundation, concealer, and powder in under a minute (I’ve timed it), and it comes with unnoticeable SPF 15 (thanks to weightless titanium dioxide) and a silicone-, fragrance-, and paraben-free formula. 

I wish that this was a little less than $32, of course, but for the perfect shade, formula, and packaging, I’m willing to pay it!

Availability: $28 USD/$32 CAD at Shopper’s Drug Mart (and online at their Beauty Boutique!), Ulta, Beauty.com, and Pür Minerals.

Keep reading! »

Burberry Beauty at Nordstrom Vancouver, The Bay, & Sephora

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Burberry Beauty launches Canada Vancouver Nordstrom

I remember when Burberry Beauty first stepped onto the scene. It wasn’t too long ago, but the brand was one of the first high fashion lines (other than Chanel, of course) to step outside of fragrance and start producing luxury cosmetics, too.

And, despite making up just a tiny morsel of the brand’s overall sales, the Burberry cosmetics line has done well for itself–well enough that other fashion brands, like Gucci and Michael Kors, have followed suit. Bloggers and consumers alike have been smitten with the products’ smooth formulas and chic packaging for the past half-decade, and the love just doesn’t seem to be waning.

Burberry Ash Brown eyebrow definer review

Burberry Effortless Eyebrow Definer in Ash Brown ($36 CAD)

Burberry Poppy Black nail polish review

Burberry Nail Polish in Poppy Black ($23 CAD)

So, dear reader, it’s been particularly exciting to slowly watch Burberry cosmetics become available in person across Canada this year.

There are quite a few high-end makeup brands that are next to impossible to find in Canada, but you can now find Burberry Beauty at the brand-new Nordstrom in Vancouver. Or, if you’re outside of Vancouver, look for the brand at Nordstrom Ottawa, select Hudson’s Bay locations, and online at thebay.com and sephora.ca.

Happy shopping!

Burberry Khaki Green Nail Polish review

Burberry Nail Polish in Khaki Green ($23 CAD limited edition)

Burberry kip cheek bloom poppy review

Burberry Lip & Cheek Bloom in Poppy ($33 CAD)

Photographed here: Burberry Cashmere Foundation in Porcelain ($60 CAD), Lip Velvet in Honeysuckle ($38 CAD), Lip & Cheek Bloom in Poppy ($33 CAD), Effortless Eyebrow Definer in Ash Brown ($36 CAD).

Additional photos & more »

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