Benefit They’re Real & Watt’s Up review, photos, swatches | Sephora + Benefit “Real Birthday Turn-Ons”

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sephora Beauty Insider birthday gift

The products: Benefit They’re Real! Mascara and Watt’s Up! Luminizer

↳  as seen in Real Birthday Turn-Ons!, Sephora’s 2013 Beauty Insider birthday gift

It’s not my birthday, but this year’s Sephora BI birthday gift almost makes it feel like it is. I’ve been playing around with the highlighter and mascara duo, and (while I don’t love it quite as much as last year’s Fresh lip balm duo) it’s pretty great.

Honestly, though: the freebie consists of two best-selling Benefit products, shrunk down into miniature form, with puns in tow. How could it not be?

Sephora x Benefit birthday gift BI

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara, $23 USD/#29 CAD

Described as “a jet-black mascara that lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts, and separates lashes,” They’re Real! has a very cool applicator. Made out of a flexible plastic, it has staggered short-and-long bristles that go all the way around the tip of the wand – perfect for adding length and separation right down to the roots & the hard-to-get outer corners of the eye.

I haven’t tried the much-loved Benefit BADgal Lash, but according to this cool chart on Benefit’s site, They’re Real! is glossy and lengthening (both of which I can hands-down confirm) while BADgal is matte and volumizing.

Benefit They're Real mascara review

The pitfalls: I really wish They’re Real! wore for longer on my eyes. Like with most mascaras, I start seeing some smudging after 4-5 hours, which (at $29 CAD for the full sized version) is pretty disappointing. My lashes could use a little more volume, too, but that’s easily excusable for a mascara made to focus on lengthening!

The high points: The applicator! You wouldn’t think having bristles on the tip would make much of a difference, but it makes getting picture-perfect outer corners a cinch. It does a great job at providing length, too (particularly on the lower lashes), and I really love the soft, glossy finish. 

Benefit They're Real mascara applicator

Benefit They’re Real! ingredients:

Water (Aqua), Paraffin, Polybutene, Styrene/Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, C18-36 Acid Triglyceride, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Triethanolamine, Vp/Eicosene Copolymer, Acacia Senegal Gum, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium Edta, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Laureth-12 Sulfate, Glycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Sericin, Calcium Chloride, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tilia Tomentosa Bud Extract, Citric Acid, Bht, Sorbic Acid. [+/-: Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499), Ultramarines (Ci 77007), Chromium Oxide Greens (Ci 77288), Chromium Hydroxide Green (Ci 77289), Titanium Dioxide

Benefit Watt's Up swatches review

L-R: Benefit They’re Real!, Benefit Watt’s Up! (straight from tube), Benefit Watt’s Up! (blended)

Benefit Watt’s Up! Soft Focus Highlighter, $30 USD/$36 CAD

Watt’s Up! is a cream-to-powder “luminous champagne” highlighter for the cheeks and browbones, which (in the full-size form) comes with a little “soft glow blender” to smooth out the luminizer into an even, diffuse sheen.

Honestly, my favourite part about Watt’s Up! is its adorable pun & packaging, but the product itself definitely has its merits, too!

Benefit Watt's Up highlighter review swatches

The finish of Watt’s Up! is a tiny bit too shimmery for my tastes (I prefer a super-finely-milled sheen), but it does still create a gorgeous, noticeable glow. Unlike highlighters that depend on a mix of base pigment & shimmer to lift the complexion, this one is mainly based on peachy-champagne shimmer, which means that it’ll work well on a really wide range of complexions, right from NW15 through to NC42. 

It’s not too warm (orange-gold) or too cool (silvery-pink), either — I can wear this tone without a hitch, but my warmer, darker mother (around a NC35 in the winter) can pull it off no problem, too.

Keep reading! »

Clarins Palette Eclat Face Blush & Powder review, swatches, photos | Clarins Rouge Eclat, Spring 2013

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Clarins Palette Eclat - Rouge Eclat Spring 2013 face palette

The product: Clarins Palette Eclat Face Blush & Powder

I’m not always the best at reviewing things right when they come out, and the Face & Blush Powder in the Clarins Rouge Eclat collection was no exception.

That said, the tardiness is entirely my own issue — it says nothing (nothing!) about the product itself.

Clarins Rouge Eclat Face & Blush Powder review

Like many of Clarins’ other limited edition face powders, the Palette Eclat is a gorgeously intricate pressed powder marketed as a “Face & Blush Powder” — that is, you can use it sheerly over your entire complexion, or focus the product on the cheeks as a highlighter, bronzer, or blush (depending on your skintone) with a denser brush.

Because I’m quite pale, I tend to use face-and-blush duos just on my cheeks, as warm blushers — you can see it used as a contouring blush in:

(If you have a medium-deep complexion, Karen’s review on this blush at MABB is a can’t-miss!)

Clarins Palette Eclat review, swatches

Clarins Palette Eclat swatches: more pink vs. just beige.

I’m in love with the scent of this season’s Clarins powder (it’s very noticeable, for a face powder; exquisitely blended powder and violets), but it’s definitely not the only thing to be smitten with. The matte finish blends in seamlessly with the skin, and the strips of colour are insanely pigmented — I thought they’d be an overspray, but they go right down & really influence the tone of the powder.

With a focus on the coloured strips, you’ll get an intense pink cheek, with a little bit of a yellow/orange lean; with only the solid beige, you’ll get a soft, natural peach.

Clarins Palette Eclat hand swatches

Clarins Palette Eclat Face Blush & Powder swatches: just beige / just pink / whole pan

Clarins Palette Eclat individual swatches

Clarins Rouge Eclat collection Face Blush & Powder swatches

Here’s the stunner, though: with a swipe across the whole pan, you’ll see a gorgeous peachy pink. (Imagine what would happen if you took a drop of fluorescent hibiscus pigment and diluted it with 10 drops of neutral-warm skin tones… and then add an extra five points for awesome.)


Clarins face powder review - Palette Eclat

The verdict?

If I could give a verdict as, “eeeee!”, I totally would. I am crazy about this powder — the price is reasonable for what you’re getting; the pigmentation and versatility are gorgeous; the design and scent are perfection. 

I find it hard to write reviews for products wherein I literally cannot find a single bad thing to say about the product (because there’s a dearth of such products, not because they’re hard to write), but… well, this is one of the few. You need this. 

Get it at:Nordstrom; Clarins counters. $35 USD/$40 CAD.

P.S.: See all of our Clarins Palette Eclat features here!

Keep reading! »

Clarins Rouge Eclat (Spring 2013) | Collection Preview, Overview, & Details

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Clarins Rouge Eclat Spring 2013 preview

I’ve been extremely remiss about posting things on time always recently always (let’s be honest), so this preview is rather late! I’ve been playing around with the Clarins Spring 2013 Rouge Eclat collection for a good month or so, but I do actually have reviews & a look coming up for you soon — I promise.

(Actually soon this time, not the ,”in the distant future but I promise to tweet and Instagram about it,” kind of soon!)

Availability: on counters now & online at Nordstrom.

Clarins Rouge Eclat Spring 2013 model

The inspiration

“Like the iris…

The  Clarins woman is natural, elegant, modern. Her make-up embodies the freshness and softness of spring: a delicate velvet-smooth complexion and eyes enhanced with plum and shimmery grey tones.

The focus is on the lips with Rouge Eclat, the first age-defying lipstick by Clarins. Finally, a lipstick that offers more than just colour! Inspired by the multicoloured tones and satin feel of the iris, it veils the lips in youthful, radiant shades…”

Claring SS13 pre-teaser

The collection

Clarins Spring Rouge Eclat complexion

Poudre Multi-Eclat Mineral Loose Powder – new product

With its silky, featherlight feel, Poudre Multi-Eclat veils the skin in softness, enhancing the beauty of the face and décolleté. The translucent texture of this mineral powder even, smoothes and matifies the complexion in one step.

Face & Blush Powder in Palette Eclat - limited edition

Instant Light Brush-On Perfector – permanent

Clarins Rouge Eclat eyes

Wonder Perfect Mascara - permanent

Eye Quartet Mineral Palette in Iris Blossom - limited edition

Clarins Rouge Eclat lipstick launch collection

Joli Rouge Brilliant Perfect Shine Sheer Lipstick in 17 Watermelon and 18 Sweet Plum - new shades

Gloss Prodige in 09 Water Lily and 10 Vibrant Rose - new shade & limited edition, respectively

Clarins Gloss Prodige, Rouge Joli

Rouge Eclat Lipstick - new product

Satin Finish Age-Defying Lipstick: The highly nourishing cream texture glides onto the lips. It’s so smooth and fine, you won’t notice you’re wearing lipstick… but you will notice the subtle fragrance of red fruits with notes of blackcurrant and liquorice, the signature scent of all Clarins lipsticks!

Clarins Rouge Eclat lipstick 1-5

01 Nude Rose, 02 Sweet Rose, 03 Petal Pink, 04 Tropical Pink, 05 Pink Berry

Keep reading for the rest of the Rouge Eclat shades & more photos! »

YSL Crème de Blush in Rose Quartz & Red Agate: review, swatches, photos | Arty Stone, Spring 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

YSL Rose Quartz Creme de Blush 7 - Spring 2013

The product: Yves Saint Laurent Crème de Blush Cream Blush in No. 7 Rose Quartz & No. 8 Red Agate

There are a few YSL products that you hear a lot about: their iconic Touche Éclat, of course, or their brilliant Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stains. I’ve been poking around in more of the line with their Spring 2013 Arty Stone collection recently, though, and I have to say — YSL? Not a one-trick pony.

Yves Saint Laurent cream blush Spring 2013

The Crème de Blush formula

YSL’s cream blush formula is whipped and velvety, more a mousse than a heavy cream or gel. The lightweight texture applies smoothly (“like silk,” as promised!) with fingertips or a foundation brush, and dries down to a radiant powder finish.

YSL Creme de Blush - Spring 2013 Arty Stone

Yves Saint Laurent Creme de Blush packaging

These blushes aren’t super-pigmented when swatched, but they have more than enough colour to them. I find the pigmentation works in perfect harmony with the texture, delivering a sheer or intense cheek with very little fuss. 

These blushes are lightly perfumed, and gorgeously so — easily one of my favourite-smelling blush formulas! (What’s yours?)

Yves Saint Laurent Creme de Blush swatches

YSL Crème de Blush swatches: Rose Quartz, Red Agate

No. 7 Rose Quartz

Yves Saint Laurent Rose Quartz Cream Blush

Rose Quartz is a lively, bright pink with cool undertones and just the slightest hint of yellow in the base. I have a makeup look coming up soon for you featuring this blush, and I have to say — it is the perfect pink for the season.

The velvety finish has a hint of radiance (the super-tiny microshimmer is at times so hard discern that I’m almost convinced it’s fairy dust), and it does a wonderful job of giving the cheek a glowing, “lifted” effect.

Yves Saint Laurent swatches Rose Quartz- Creme de Blush

YSL Crème de Blush swatches in 07 Rose Quartz & 08 Red Agate, heavily/lightly

No. 8 Red Agate

Surprisingly enough, the brick-red warm undertones of Red Agate are wearable on more than just warm complexions — despite my very pale, cool-toned skin, I had no problem adding this to my everyday makeup routine. While Rose Quartz has a strong blue undertone, Red Agate delivers a much more natural-looking flush, which may appeal to the more subdued makeup-wearer.

YSL Red Agate Creme de Blush No. 8 - Arty Stone

I love the gorgeous, shimmer-free (but somehow still startlingly radiant) finish (it must be fairy dust), but be careful with this one! The same pigments that create this lovely warm red turn into a “fevered” cheek if you overdo it, though the colour is well worth the caution if you ask me.

The verdict?

As much as I enjoy these blushes, I find it hard to recommend them at the $52 CAN price tag — even at $38 USD, they’re pretty expensive. That said, if you love a cream-to-powder blush, these are a great product: the packaging makes me think of super-chic ice cubes, and the colours are beautiful!

Find them at: Nordstrom & Sephora online; $38 US/$52 CAN.

Keep reading for ingredients & more photos! »

An easy, luminous makeup look | Korres Santorini, Pale Pink, & Volcanic Minerals Mascara

Monday, January 7, 2013

Korres Goddess Colour Collection makeup look

I took a few quick face of the day shots with Holiday’s Korres Goddess Beauty Colour Collection last month, but I had forgotten to post them in all the Christmas rush.

The set is no longer available online (though all of its component parts are!), but all the same, here are the photos. Despite the fact that it isn’t a particularly wintery look, I’m rather fond of the way these products come together — they do a great job of creating an altogether fictional glow, which I think we could all use this early in the year.

Cherry Full Color Lip Gloss in Pale Pink

Korres Cherry Lip Gloss in Pale Pink lip swatch

Despite being such a light shade, Pale Pink sits well on the lips, if a little sheerly. The shimmer translates well into plushness, particularly on film, and the colour doesn’t settle terribly into lines (as many light pinks will do.) $22.50 and comfortable; you could do worse.

I’m not head over heels for the scent (think Maynard’s Sour Cherry Blasters), but I’m fairly certain that’s just because it gives me a massive craving for sweets.

Magic Light Face Contouring Powder Trio in Santorini

Korres Santorini Magic Light Face Contouring trio FOTD

Slightly too chunky for me in real life; absolutely gorgeous in photographs. Warm without pulling orange, and easy enough to use in strips — more of the bronze to sculpt, for instance, and a blend of the pink and highlighter to lift the cheek. $36.50 CAD and beautifully packaged.

Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara in Obsidian Black

Korres Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara

A great, natural lift with a soft finish. Too much smudging for me (and the $26 CAD price tag could be better), but the lash itself is quite pretty.

I appreciated having this in the set, but perhaps wouldn’t buy it on its own — while I love a natural-looking lash, I want it to last a (ridiculous) 16 hours, because I am lazy and hate having to touch up my undereye area just because my mascara didn’t feel like sticking around.

How was that for three products in under 400 words? I’m a little proud, but mainly just very sleepy.

Have a great Monday, folks. 

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