Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo 01 review, swatches, photos + 156 Large Flat Brush

Friday, May 15, 2015

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo review

The product: Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo in 01 Pink Beige & 156 Large Flat Brush (Wavy)

This season, Make Up For Ever joins that insane contouring craze with their Pro Sculpting Duo, which they billet as an “undetectable face contour” and recommend using with their 156 brush (the Large Flat Brush or Flat Round Brush, depending on who you ask).

I think this pillow-topped, gel-powder formula is far from undetectable, but still worth checking out. It works well with both the 156 and the 150 brush that I love so much, and comes in two shades: 01 Pink Beige (“light with cool undertones”) and 02 ??? (tan with warm undertones).

MUFE Pro Sculpting Duo Pink Beige review

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo in 01 Pink Beige review

The sculpting shade: I’m gonna start with the not-so-great stuff, which is to say: like many other contouring products I’ve tried this season, this one totally didn’t work for me. It leans quite orange and looked like an obvious bronzer against my complexion, and I’m not the only one. The best look that I’ve seen with 01 Pink Beige so far has been on Chelle, but even she found the contour shade in this duo to be more of a bronzer than a sculpting shade. (This duo–the highlighter especially–looks totally bangin’ on her, though!)

You can see her look here, but, well… take that into consideration when purchasing, because it’s not just me who was hoping for a much cooler contour out of this one.

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo 01 Light Pink swatches review

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo in 01 Pink Beige swatched heavily/lightly

MUFE Pro Sculpting gel duo review Light Pink

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo in 01 Pink Beige

The highlighter: Okay folks, THIS IS WHERE IT’S AT. I don’t love a really bold highlight most of the time, but this highlighter is gorgeous.

You can see individual sparkles from about 3 ft away under incandescent lighting (that’s so not “unbelievably natural,” MUFE), but it’s one of the (very) few highlighter shades that really pops against my fair complexion. Normally, highlighters look really shimmery on me, but are too dark or yellow to give more than a sheen — but this baby lifts the cheekbone right up. It’s still more shimmer than I want from day to day, but I’m smitten!

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo swatches review

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo in 01 Pink Beige swatches – contour & highlighter heavily/lightly Make Up For Ever contouring duo Flat Roung Brush review

THAT BRUSH, THOUGH: The 156 Large Flat/Flat Round Brush is insanely kitten-butt soft and relatively small, for a blush brush. It’s great for loosely applying a small amount of product and blending it out, and is extremely versatile — it’s great for blush, contour, and setting undereye concealer, plus it can easily handle setting powder and highlighter in a pinch.

And did I mention that it is so soft? I have at last count forcibly petted four people with zero interest in makeup with this brush, and all of them begrudgingly admitted that yes, it’s as soft as a kitten-butt Rae; please stop stroking my face with that. 

Make Up For Ever 156 brush review

Make Up For Ever 156 Flat Round Brush review

Make Up For Ever 156 Large Flat Brush review

Make Up For Ever 156 Large Flat Brush review

The verdict?

At $45 CAD, I think this Sculpting Duo can be skipped — unless you want it as a high-impact highlighter/bronzer duo, in which case, go for it.

For an invisible, high-def contour, this duo isn’t the product that you want. However, the highlighter is just gorgeous, and the brush is a total must-have. (Oh, this brush!) If you only have room in your life for one of these two, definitely invest in the brush instead!

Availability: $39 USD/$45 CAD for the sculpting duo; $37 USD/$43 CAD for the brush. Both permanent products available at Sephora and Make Up For Ever boutiques as of March 2015.

Keep reading! »

Smashbox Photo Session at West Edmonton Mall | A morning makeover with Smashbox Cosmetics

Monday, May 11, 2015

Smashbox Photo Event West Edmonton

Not a lot happens in the beauty world in Edmonton, but this past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a Smashbox Photo Event at West Edmonton Mall. I’ve never actually taken the time to go for a makeover before, so it was a really eye-opening experience for me!

Here’s a little recap of the event.

Smashbox Photo Session Edmonton

I had my makeup done by Toronto-based Smashbox makeup artist Kristi Dukovic, who was a pleasure to work with — she really took the time to try to customize my makeup to my own preferences, and she had a lot of behind-the-scenes knowledge about the brand that she was eager to share.

We started out with the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water ($37 CAD), which is silicone-, oil-, and alcohol-free, and can be used to both prep and set makeup.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

Kristi then primed my lids with some Smashbox 24Hrs Eyeshadow Primer ($23 CAD), which the brand tested in-studio for a full 24 hours, and did my eye makeup using the wet/dry Smashbox Double Exposure Eyeshadow Palette ($60 CAD).

The palette itself was great, but I wasn’t crazy about the way that the pull-out recommends you do makeup for monolids — I couldn’t figure out why at the time, but the idea that Asian women need to fake an eyelid crease in order to look their best really bugs me. It really perpetuates the idea that there is only one kind of beautiful (and that that’s to be Caucasian), and I think that as an industry, we can do better than that.

Smashbox Makeup Artist Kristi Dukovic

Smashbox Makeup Artist Kristi Dukovic

But, I digress. Kristi then followed up with a little bit of the Smashbox + Donald Robertson: Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liners ($29 CAD) in Plum and Lilac, which wore crazy well — Lilac in particular is a total must-have. Then, she brightened up my undereye area with Camera Ready BB Cream Eyes Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($29 CAD), which broke me out (‘cones) but was fantastic while it lasted.

(I’m also wearing some Smashbox mascara on my lashes & a little bit of Brow Tech to Go ($30 CAD) through my brows.)

Smashbox xo contouring technique

The Xs and Os Smashbox contouring technique

Finally, Kristi finished off the look with some “xs and os” contouring (a Smashbox technique that helps keep you from applying too much product) and the Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Stick Trio ($52 CAD), which, I’ll be honest, I didn’t love. The contouring shade in the pencils is for some reason a lot more orange than the contouring shade in the powder Step-By-Step Contour Kit ($52 CAD), but I did really like the highlighter in the pencil trio.

I also got a chance to try out two of the L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Colors ($36 CAD) for this look, which have a really pretty, very Hollywood sheen to them — I’m wearing Silver Lake Sunset on my cheeks and Hollywood & Highlight on the tops of my cheekbones, chin, forehead, and brow bone. (I’m not 100% sure what’s on my lips, but I think it’s Be Legendary Lip Lacquer in Lilac overtop their Always Sharp Lip Liner in Nude Medium.)

Smashbox Photo Op pictures

The Smashbox Photo Event ended with a few snaps by fashion and portrait photographer Kyriakos, who was super friendly and efficient.

All in all, my makeover and photo session were a really interesting experience, and I’m really glad that I got the chance to cover it for you guys — but while I loved the way that the makeup captured on film, it was a little too Instagram for my everyday life. My boyfriend kept cracking up at how much makeup I came home wearing, and I literally had so much gel liner on my left eye that I couldn’t quite open my lid all the way.

Would I go for another Smashbox makeover anytime soon? Probably not for a party or event, but if I wanted portrait-ready makeup, then absolutely.

Smashbox makeover event recap

What are your best and worst makeover stories? Have you ever had professional headshots taken?

Clinique Sculpting Chubby Sticks & Defining Roses review, swatches, photos

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Clinique contouring products review

The products: Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour in 01 Curvy Contour, Sculpting Highlight in 01 Hefty Highlight, and Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette in 03 Defining Roses

⇒ Seriously, Clinique, WHY HEFTY. You had the option to go with Hypnotic Highlight and you went with hefty? Again???!

Clinique Chubby Stick Contouring review

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour ($21 USD/$24 CAD)

Like most people out there (I assume), I’m crazy about the idea of being able to scribble makeup on your face — and these sculpting/highlighting Chubby Sticks are absolutely perfect for the job.

If you’re familiar with Clinique’s Chubby Cheek Sticks, you’ll recognize the formula of 01 Curvy Contour — it’s the same creamy, emollient, blendable goodness. To contour, you just swipe this one directly onto your face (along the hairline, under the cheekbones, and below the jaw and down the sides of your nose for extra impact), then blend.

Clinique Curvy Contour Chubby Stick review swatches

I like blending the face Chubby Sticks out with my Make Up For Ever 150 Contouring Blush Brush, but they blend really well with fingers, too. (No fancy tools needed!)

My one hangup with 01 Curvy Contour, however, is that it runs so orange. It’s a tone that I’m sure would work a lot better on someone warmer, peachier, and darker than I am, but if you’re AT ALL fair, cool-toned, or (especially) olive, I recommend staying far, far away from this one.

Clinique Sculptionary, Chubby Stick review swatches

Clinique Defining Roses, Hefty Highlight, Curvy Contour swatches

Clinique Hefty Highlight Chubby Stick review swatches

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight ($21 USD/$24 CAD)

The other Clinique sculpting Chubby Stick that’s available right now is 01 Hefty Highlight, a pretty, shimmery highlighter that (again) really shines on light-medium skin tones. It’s a little more emollient than the other Chubby Sticks for the face, and sheers out a little wider, so apply sparingly if you do pick this one up.

While I’m not usually big on shimmery highlighters, I do really like this one. It’s very punchy and shows up even on my fair complexion, and it glows like WHOA. If standard highlighters aren’t too glittery for you, you need this — it’s so pretty and easy to work with.

(Also worth noting is that this one looks awesome on both warm and cool skin tones, which is handy!)

Clinique Chubby Stick Contouring swatches review

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight, Contour swatches: 01 Hefty Highlight & 01 Curvy Contour (both heavily/blended)

Clinique Sculptionary Cheek Palette Defining Roses review

The Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette & more! »

Clarins Garden Escape swatches, review, photos (+Sweet Rose, Intense Green) | Spring 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Clarins Garden Escape palette review swatches photos

The products: Clarins Garden Escape 6-Colour Eye Palette, Blush Prodige in 08 Sweet Rose, and Crayon Khôl in 09 Intense Green

This spring, Clarins is thrumming with the mantra of green eyes, pink cheeks, pink lips — and softness, softness, softness.

Here are three ways to get it.

UPDATE 01/04/15: Today only, is offering free shipping on all orders plus 3 free samples of your choice with code APRIL1ST! (And no, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke.)

Clarins Garden Escape review spring 2015

Clarins Garden Escape 6-Colour Eye Palette ($45 USD/$44 CAD)

First off: the limited-edition Clarins Garden Escape 6-Colour Eye Palette Long Lasting. As you all know, I’m a sucker for Clarins’ Wet & Dry eyeshadows, and these are no exception!

With a mix of sheer/buildable satin and shimmery finishes, this palette crafts easy spring lids like a dream. My favourite shade (of course) is the taupe, but I was pretty impressed with all six of these shadows. The salmon pink in particular seems very contemporary, to me–it’s subtle, but more interesting than beige–and the dark green adds lovely depth without being too in-your-face green.

Clarins’ Wet/Dry shadows also wear pretty well on me, so these are good for the gal on the go, too. I can get 1-2 hours out of this palette without primer, which is really impressive for my lids! (Most shadows only make it to the 45 minute mark before they start to migrate.)

Clarins Garden Escape eyeshadow palette review photos

Clarins Garden Escape Wet & Dry 6-Colour Eye Palette swatches

Blush Prodige in Sweet Rose ($32 USD/$32 CAD)

Clarins Sweet Rose vs Miami Pink blush comparison

Clarins Blush Prodige in Miami Pink (L), Sweet Rose (R)

Clarins Blush Prodige review Sweet Rose

There’s also a new Clarins Blush Prodige Illuminating Cheek Colour in Sweet Rose, a pretty apricot-pink with just the faintest touch of shimmer. (Just barely any; Sweet Rose is definitely more matte than Miami Pink.) It’s a little warm for my tastes, but if you like peachy blushes, this is a good one!

(Also… I mean, the Clarins blushes pretty much get bonus points in my books just for being pretty. Those right angles! That acrylic and gold brush!)

Clarins Sweet Rose, Intense Green swatches review photos

Clarins Blush Prodige in Sweet Rose, Crayon Khôl in Intense Green swatches

Keep reading! »

Rodial review, swatches: Instaglam Bronzer, Illuminator, and Powder Brush (plus a makeup look!)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

So, here’s something that I’m excited about: the launch of the new Rodial makeup line, which you can find exclusively at Murale (in Canada).

And here’s what I’m doing about that: two makeup looks. Two image-heavy sets of reviews. Two days of pure, unbridled awesoooome.

Today is day one, and it’s going to cover everything cheek-related.

Rodial makeup review

The lust object: Rodial Instaglam Compact Deluxe Illuminating Powder ($75 CAD)

I love a good highlighter, so I thought I’d start off this post with Rodial’s new Instaglam Deluxe Illuminating Powder. This one is weird, but good. Like, really good. 

The shimmer that Rodial uses is very finely milled, so this powder reads as a sheen instead of a glitterbomb, and it feels like butter. It melts seamlessly into the skin (even if you apply with fingers!!!), and sits in a slightly darker base colour than it glows — so it reads as a really natural sheen on my fair skintone, but looks absolutely lucent against deeper complexions.

Rodial Instaglam Compact Deluxe Illuminating Powder review swatches photos

The base sheen in this powder tends to wear away more quickly than the shimmer, which creates a sort of mid-day transformation: it starts off as a subtle sheen in the morning, then slowly wears down to a fairytale shimmer by the evening.

See? Both weird and good. If you like your illuminators creamy, then you definitely have to check this one out.

Rodial Instaglam Illuminating powder swatch review

Rodial Instaglam Compact Deluxe Illuminating Powder swatches

Rodial Instaglam Illuminating Powder review swatches photos

Rodial Instaglam Compact Deluxe Illuminating Powder

The you-could-skip-it: Rodial Instaglam Compact Deluxe Bronzing Powder ($75 CAD)

The Rodial makeup line is all about sculpting, so they do a contouring powder, a bronzer, and an illuminator. (Surprisingly, each one only comes in one shade!) I tested out the Illuminator with the line’s Bronzing Powder, which is really finely-milled and touts a light yellow undertone.

Rodial Instaglam Compact Deluxe Bronzing Powder review swatches photos

My favourite thing about the Instagram Deluxe Bronzing Powder is how easily it blend into the skin, but I find that it tends to kick up powder when I tap a brush to its surface — not even brush against; just tap.

This particular shade made me look a little sallow and gaunt, but to its credit, I do look very sculpted while wearing this. I say go for the Contouring Powder instead, or head straight for the Illuminating Powder.

Keep reading! »

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