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! »

Elizabeth Arden Eclipse Sunset Bronze Highlighter review, swatches, photos | The prettiest spring launch! THE PRETTIEST!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze highlighter review

The product: Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze Prismatic Highlighter in Eclipse 01

I’ve really been feeling the whole “glistening golden glow” thing this season, but somehow, I didn’t have a single product in my collection that really fit the bill — until Eclipse came along.

It’s part of the Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze Summer 2016 collection, which is all about sunset hues and the bronzey look that the golden hour gives you.

Elizabeth Arden sunset bronze review prismatic highighter

Elizabeth Arden sunset bronze highlighter swatch review

Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze Prismatic Highlighter swatch (blended / heavy)

The shade: You guys. This is gorgeous.

The Sunset Bronze Prismatic Highlighter only comes in one shade, Eclipse, but it’s a stunning golden bronze colour. Ultra-fine mica and titanium dioxide shimmer gives a sparkly gold finish to a light copper base colour, and the stick texture blends out easily to a translucent shimmer finish that makes my cheekbones GLOW in natural sunlight. 

Patting it into the skin offers a more intense sheen, and it reminds me of the Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop Shimmering Skin Perfector ($38 USD/$46 CAD) when patted — but with more controllable shimmer placement. (Am I the only one who didn’t really like Champagne Pop? Becca highlighters are so pretty, but kind of get everywhere on me.)

Estee Lauder sunset bronze highlighter stick swatch review

Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze Prismatic Highlighter in Eclipse, swatched (blended / heavy)

The formula & packaging: Elizabeth Arden’s Prismatic Highlighter formula contains silicones, but it is gorgeously creamy — and doesn’t seem to breaking me out in this concentration (yet). The texture is melty-smooth without being slippery, and it comes amped up with vitamin E, zinc PCA, and aloe vera leaf extract to nourish your skin.

Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze Prismatic Highlighter review stick

Elizabeth Arden Eclipse Sunset Glow highlighter vs Clinique Chubby highlighter

Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze Prismatic Highlighter swatch (top), Clinique Chubby Stick in Hefty Highlight (bottom)

The only other highlighting stick that I use regularly is the Clinque Chubby Stick highlighter ($21 USD/$24 CAD), but the two are like night and day. The Elizabeth Arden stick is softer, creamier, stouter, and easier to blend, while the Clinique stick is firmer and disappears into the skin.

Both are stunning in their own way, but one is a cool-toned illuminator while the other is warm, intense highlighter. (In other words, you totally need both!)

Elizabeth Arden Spring 2016 highlighter review

The verdict?

Elizabeth Arden is one of those brands that can sometimes feel dated, but they absolutely killed it with their Sunset Bronze 2016 collection. The entire launch is tightly edited and beautifully packaged, and the Sunset Bronze Prismatic Highlighter is honestly the crown jewel of the whole production.

My only reservation about this highlighter is that it won’t be going into the permanent Elizabeth Arden line, so snap it up while you can!

Availability: $28.50 USD/$34.50 CAD. Limited edition at select Hudson’s Bay, London Drugs, and Shopper’s Drug Mart locations as of February 2016.

More pictures! »

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?

Pür Minerals Epic Illusion Palette & Mystic Lip Lure review, swatches | & A cruelty-free Christmas Eve makeup look!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Pur Minerals 4 in 1 porcelain review

It’s taken me a little while to really get into Pür Minerals, but now that I’ve done it… man, I don’t think it would even be possible for me to go back. I’ve worn this look FOUR times over the past week (mostly without the lip), and it has performed like a freaking–uh, like something that performs really well. Every single time.

I am going to be reviewing EVERY product in this makeup look at some point, because I am beyond impressed with every one of them, but for today, I’m focusing on the Lip Lure (what a shade) and Epic Illusion Contour Kit (it’s limited edition)!

Pur Minerals makeup look products used

Products used for my Pür Minerals Christmas Eve makeup look. (Don’t they look so pretty together?)

Pur Minerals Double Ego, Wake Up Brow makeup look review

Pur Minerals Epic Illusion contouring palette review

I’m wearing all Pür Minerals products in this look, from the eyes (Eye Polish in Satin, Double Ego Liquid Eyeliner in Milan, Wake Up Brow in Espresso/Hello Bright Eyes and Volume Vixen Mascara) to the lips (Lip Lure in Mystic and nothing else, not even lip balm).

Even the skin in this look (Epic Illusion Contour Palette and Pür’s 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation SPF 15 in the shade Porcelain, which actually matches my skintone!!!) is Pür Minerals — I didn’t need any concealer or powder after using the 4-in-1, which was awesome (and super fast!)

pur minerals eye polish nude swatch review

Pür Minerals Double Ego Liner in Milan, Eye Polish in Satin, Volume Vixen Mascara, and Wake Up Brow in Espresso. Plus the line’s 4-in-1 Foundation to conceal my undereye area!

Pür Minerals Lip Lure in Mystic ($22 USD/$26 CAD)

Pur Minerals Mystic Lip Lure lacquer review

I personally think that the standout products of this look are the foundation and eyeshadow, but the Pür Minerals Lip Lure Hydrating Lip Lacquer in Mystic is certainly the most eye-grabbing. It’s described as a “ripe blackberry with a hint of raspberry” by Pür Minerals, but on me, it reads more of a berry-red. 

My skin eats cool tones for breakfast, however, so make sure to check out the shade on bloggers with your skintone before buying! It’s gorgeous and glossy on Glamorable, who describes the shade as a plummy burgundy, and it reads very purple against Brigette Ramos‘ warmer colouring. I have liked it on every single blogger (including myself) that I’ve seen it on, though, so it might just be one of those unicorn shades!

pur minerals Lip Lure Mystic swatch review photos

Pür Minerals Lip Lure swatches: Mystic in indirect sunlight (L) / indirect artificial light (R)

As for the formula? I’m in love. It’s insanely pigmented, with a creamy, hydrating texture. I haven’t worn this one for hours and hours–I’ve been eating far too often recently to really test out a colour this opaque–but within the hour or two that I have tested it for, it’s been wonderful.

The liquid lipstick formula looks glossy if applied heavily or satin-matte if applied sparingly (I’ve applied it thinly here, believe it or not), and it hasn’t made my lips feel even the littlest bit dry!

Pur Minerals contour palette review

Pür Minerals Epic Illusion Contour Kit ($28 USD/$32 CAD)

The last Pür Minerals gem that I have to talk to you guys about today is the brand’s limited edition contour kit.

Now, I’m not usually a fan of contour kits (they’re always so warm and harsh), but… I like this one. It contains two rows of products (a yellowier row for lighter skin and a darker row below, as usual), with a highlighter, contour/bronzer, and blush in each row.

Keep reading! »

Pür Minerals Love Your Selfie palette giveaway | Updated and extended!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Pur Minerals Love Your Selfie bestsellers giveaway

A few months ago, I teased a quick snap of the Pür Minerals Love Your Selfie palette ($40 USD/$49 CAD) on Instagram. Then, this Wednesday, I realized that in the face of all of its beauty… I still hadn’t summoned up the courage to swatch it yet.

So, because I am therefore clearly undeserving of this amount of pretty, I am giving away my palette to one of you!! Think of it as a cruelty-free Christmas present from me to you. If Christmas involved multiple days of presents, that is.

(And no I don’t mean Hanukkah; Hanukkah hasn’t been co-opted by atheists everywhere yet. Plus, I have four giveaways planned, not more — but a big congrats to Steph nonetheless for winning the first one!)

Pur Minerals Love Your Selfie palette packaging

Pur Minerals giveaway Love Your Selfie

The Love Your Selfie palette is available at Shopper’s Drug Mart and contains eight limited-edition eyeshadows (five mattes, three shimmers) and five of Pür Minerals’ best-selling products: their Mineral Glow Bronzer, Savvy Chateau Cheeks Blush, Big Look Mascara, and Afterglow Illuminating Powder, as well as a bigger-than-full-sized tube of Exposed, their best-selling plumping lip gloss!

To enter, use the giveaway widget below. This giveaway will be open until midnight MST next Friday and is open worldwide, so everyone is welcome to enter! ;)

EDIT: I’m getting reeeeally into the holidays this season, so I’m extending this giveaway until SUNDAY, December 13th! Plus, for a whopping FIVE entires, tell me in the comments what makes you feel beautiful. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pur Minerals Love Your Selfie palette giveaway

One final shot of the Love Your Selfie palette…

Shu Uemura Haute Street review, swatches, photos | Vision of Beauty Vol. 02

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Shu Uemura Haute Street Vision of Beauty collection reviews photos swatches

The products: Shu Uemura Vision of Beauty Collection – Vol. 02 Haute Street

Haute Street is shu uemura’s interpretation of street art for the face. However, the brand’s artistic director, Uchiide, is adamant that this collection (which is the second in a series; see Vol. 01 Brave Beauty hereis not “graffiti for the face.”

Instead, it’s meant to bring the “essence” of street art into everyday makeup looks, but here’s the thing: street art, and especially graffiti (which the visuals of this collection centre around) isn’t about beautifying streets or letting overprivileged youth express themselves. It’s a form of protest and a way to claim spaces; a way to disrupt, interrupt, and change the discourse when your voices aren’t being heard.

So, while I think the bright hues and mixed-media textures of the Haute Street collection are wonderful, I also think it’s kind of uncool that shu uemura is re-appropriating graffiti culture to sell $90 luxury eyeshadow palettes.

Shu Uemura eye color pencil cool chic review swatches

Shu Uemura Dual-Ended Eye Color Pencil in Cool x Chic

Cool x Chic

The Haute Street collection is a really big one, so it’s separated into “cool x chic” colours and “warm x vibrant” colours. I started, of course, with the cool tones!

First up: the Shu Uemura Dual-Ended Eye Color Pencil in Cool x Chic ($30 CAD), which is a double-ended matte neon green and neon blue shadow/liner. I loved the bright matte colours of these liners, and the colour payoff is so good, but I couldn’t get behind the “traditional” dry pencil texture.

I find that I have to make multiple stiff passes to get an opaque line with these, and they perform best as an eyeshadow base.

Shu Uemura Haute Street reviews swatches cool x chic

Swatched L-R: Shu Uemura Dual-Ended Eye Color Pencil in Cool x Chic, Rouge Unlimited Lipstick in City Neon, Tint in Gelato in Street Rose (heavily/lightly)

Shu Uemura City Neon swatches review

Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Lipstick in City Neon

Next, we have the Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Lipstick in City Neon ($36 CAD), which is sheer, juicy, and so, so pretty, and the gorgeous Shu Uemura Haute Street Eye Shadow Palette in Cool x Chic ($90 CAD), which is full of beautiful plums, blues, and greens.

Shu Uemura Haute Street Cool x Chic swatches review

Shu Uemura Haute Street Eyeshadow Palette in Cool x Chic

Shu Uemura Cool x Chic eyeshadow palette swatches review

Swatched over primer in indirect sunlight: Shu Uemura Haute Street Eyeshadow Palette in Cool x Chic

Shu Uemura Street Rose swatches review

Shu Uemura Tint in Gelato Lip and Cheek Color in Street Rose

The Tint in Gelato lip/cheek colours (repackaged without a doe-foot in the Haute Street collection) have always fascinated me, but they’ve never worked for me. Something in the formula makes my lips tingle (in a bad way), and on the cheeks, the silicone content always breaks me out — but oh, they are an artist’s dream!

Each Tint in Gelato is wildly pigmented and features a mousse texture with a velvety matte finish, and the Shu Uemura Tint in Gelato Lip Color in Street Rose ($28 CAD) is no exception.

Shu Uemura Tint in Gelato swatches review comparison

Shu Uemura Haute Street Tint in Gelato packaging vs. original/regular packaging

Warm x Vibrant »

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