NYX Transylvania Soft Matte Lip Cream swatches, review, photos

Friday, July 22, 2016

NYX Transylvania review swatch photos

The product: NYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream in 21 Transylvania 

Man, it has been a LONG time since I reviewed any makeup! I feel like I just haven’t had the time or energy to wear any recently – my everyday face consists of tinted moisturizer (Rodial foundation and Clarins Beauty Flash Balm), a light brow (Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner, of course), and like, nothing else.

Lather, rinse, repeat; day in and day out. So, a couple weeks ago, I decided to change things up a little.

NYX TRansylvania soft matte lip cream review

NYX Transylvania review photos swatches

The formula: Alright, so I’m just gonna stick my head out there and say it: I don’t like the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream formula. I can see why other people like it, but I just don’t.

It feels light and airy without too much transfer, which I like. And it smells like cupcake batter, which I also like because I’m not a monster. And it’s way more comfortable than a retro matte, so that’s nice too.

But my lips are DRY, you see. They’re not just dry; they’re Alberta-dry. They have dry patches galore, all of which this lipstick catches on, and after half an hour, my lips get uncomfortable. So I fidget and press them together to compensate, and this lipstick (which never truly sets) heads for my lipline faster than an ex who can’t get away from you fast enough.

NYX Transylvania Soft Matte Lip Cream swatch

NYX Soft Lip Cream in Transylvania swatches – after 15 min

The colour: In the tube, Transylvania is gorgeous. It’s this beautiful “matte deep violet” (description right from the NYX site), and it looks like it’s going to turn you into an instant Bad Grrl, with capitalization totally necessary.

On my lips, though… Transylvania is yet another dark, moody red. And don’t get me wrong; it’s still totally gorgeous! But in everyone else’s swatches, it looks like it’s going to be this mind-blowing eggplant shade, and I just couldn’t get it there without plum or black liner underneath (which is totally cheating.) Even with three layers, it was just red, red, red on me.

A sexy red that’s totally ’90s (Faith would have worn the hell out of this shade), but still. With my naturally red lips, this wasn’t purple on me at all. 

NYX Transylvaia with lipliner

NYX Transylvania overtop of nude lipliner (left) and eggplant liner (right)

NYX dark violet matte lipstick review

The verdict?

I think that Transylvania looks killer on most humans, but my lips aren’t having any of it. The formula seems to only have medium opacity, so unfortunately, the colour of my reddish lips bled right through it.

Would I buy a different Soft Matte Lip Cream, though? Well… Probably not. (Make Up For Ever does a way more comfortable soft matte). But I’d definitely try a shade like this one again; maybe in the NYX Full Throttle or Liquid Suede formula instead!

Availability: $6 USD/$9 CAD at Nyx Cosmetics, Shopper’s Drug Mart, Rexall, and London Drugs.

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Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting reviews: Rust, Brown Black swatches, review, photos

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Make Up For Ever pro sculpting review photos brow lip

The products: Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Brow in 50 Brown Black and Pro Sculpting Lip in 11 Rust

You know what sucks? Suckerfish. And leeches. And probably also being so excited about how many magical ends there are to a 3-in-1 sculpting pen (three! The pen has three ends!!) that you get overwhelmed and can’t find the third end for days.

I mean, I’m guessing. I wouldn’t know firsthand whether or not that sucked.

Make up for ever brown black swatch review pro sculpting brow

Pro Sculpting Brow ($27 USD/$32 CAD)

The Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Brow pencil (I don’t care how many times they call these pens; they’re pencils) features a spoolie, a soft angled brow pencil, and a twist-out brow highlighter. 

I’ve struggled to put this review together over the past few months, and I hate to say it, but the brow pencil is totally to blame. On one hand, three features! How cool is that? But on the other hand, the brow pencil formula is super soft, and the colour (which looks quite grey in the tube) is still too orange for my brows.

Make Up For Ever pro sculpting brow brown black

MUFE Pro Sculpting Brow

The formula: The Pro Sculpting Brow texture is perfect for soft, diffused brow looks, but it’s not without its issues. For starters, the buttery pencil formula makes it hard to get a precise brow even if you try; I have to clean up around my brows with a cotton bud before even thinking about leaving the house, which doesn’t say “sculpted” to me at all.

The wear: It’s also one of the only brow products to have ever worn off on me throughout the day; I texted it a good half-dozen times in disbelief, but the formula just will not stay on my brows for more than eight hours without going patchy.

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Brow swatch brown black review

Bare brows / Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting unblended / Blended

The content: I have personally had zero issues with breakage when it comes to the Pro Sculpting Brow, but reviews on Sephora mention a lot of breaking–and not just a little bit, either. There are numerous comments mentioning packaging that breaks and pencils that crumble and snap, sometimes more than once, which I think are problems that should have been fixed in quality control.

mufe pro sculpting review brow highlighter review swatches

MUFE Pro Sculpting Brow – highlighter

Make Up For Ever pro sculpting review photos

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Lip

Pro Sculpting Lip ($27 USD/$32 CAD)

Phew! Now that that’s out of the way, I get to talk about the Pro Sculpting product that I loooooved. (In case you’re wondering: yes. When asked if I want the bad news or the good news first, I do always say “bad news” and then try to avoid hearing the bad news altogether by covering my ears and screaming the names of my favourite carbs at the top of my lungs.)


Make Up For Ever rosewood lip matte swatch review brow

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting swatches: Rust (highlighter, pencil), Brown Black (matte highlighter, pencil x3)

The formula: While the Pro Sculpting Brow formula didn’t get along with my brows at all, the Pro Sculpting Lip formula got along with my lips like they were two irresponsible young adults with a full tank of gas and a hankering to get married in Vegas.

This lip formula is the best thing to happen to matte lipsticks since they were invented. I never wear matte lips unless I’m testing something for a review, because no matter what, they make my lips feel pinched and parched in no time flat. But this pencil? Well…

Make Up For Ever pro sculpting 10 Rosewood lip swatch review

Make Up For Ever Rust lip swatch

The wear: Not only is this Pro Sculpting pencil insanely easy to apply, it is SO comfortable. Despite having a true matte finish from application to finish, it’s more hydrating than even some of the cream lipsticks in my stash, and it doesn’t settle into fine lines at all.

I’ve been wear testing this for about 3 hours (plus a snack!) before I have to take it off to consume a real meal, and it holds up through all of it. No bleeding, almost no fading (just a very minimal amount in the centre of the lip), and most importantly, no drying out!

Make Up For Ever Rosewood swatch review photos

The shade: I have the Pro Sculpting pencil in Rust, and ugh, it’s gorgeous. It’s a colour that I don’t have a lot of in my stash, but it looks completely at home on my face. I get major Samantha Ravndahl vibes from this one (although I can only dream of one day being as dangerously hot as she is), and weirdly enough, I totally think that Rust makes my lips look fuller. 

I don’t know how. Science or magic; take your pick.

make up for ever pro sculpting brow

The verdict?

While I think the Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Brow pencil is an easy one to skip, the Pro Sculpting Lip formula is really awesome.

It breaks my heart that it’s $32 CAD (that’s more expensive than the new Burberry lipsticks!!) but the pencil is insanely creamy for a matte lipstick. It’s the easiest, most comfortable lipstick matte lipstick I’ve ever tried, and if that’s the price, then (gulp) so be it.

Availability: $32 CAD each at makeupforever.ca and Sephora.

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow, Instant Light Lip Protector reviews, swatches, photos | Summer 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Clarins summer 2016

The products: Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow in Golden Sand & Golden Peach, Instant Light Lip Protector in Pink Shimmer

With my finicky eyelids, I spend a loooot of time waiting for brands to release really great, long-wearing eyeshadows that a) won’t need a primer to not crease and b) aren’t too shimmery. For some reason, they seem to be few and far between, and more often than not they’re limited edition releases (like these two, which I adored and miss every time I put on eyeshadow.)

Clarins’ new summer collection includes one such eyeshadow formula, and I’m absolutely smitten with both it and the collection’s LE-packaged Instant Light lipgloss–which, yes, okay, I hadn’t tried until now.

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow review photos

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow Shimmering Cream Colour ($24 CAD)

The limited edition Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadows come in little tubes (my favourite kind of eyeshadow packaging; it’s hygienic and makes me feel far more artsy than I actually am) and are available in four shades. The formula contains orange blossom wax to help create a protective waterproof film, and it’s so good.

While I know that cream eyeshadow formulas can be a little finicky, this formula is really worth the effort. These eyeshadows wear literally all day on my oily lids with zero creasing, and I don’t need a primer underneath. My longest wear test was a whopping 10 hours long and saw no creasing and only a tiny bit of fading, and I bet I could have made it to a full 15 had I not then needed to go to bed and actually get some sleep for once.

Clarins golden peach golden sand swatches review photos

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow swatches in 02 Golden Sand, 01 Golden Peach

I tested out Golden Sand and Golden Peach, which are both sheer, warm, summery shades. They’re shimmery without being gaudy (something that Clarins excels at), and while I found them to be a little too warm for my skintone, they still looked beautiful on their own.

The formula does dry down fairly quickly, but it blends well both with a fingertip or with a brush. And, once dry, it’s totally set: there’s no stickiness or smudging, and you’ll need to take a makeup remover to your eyelid to get it off.

As a result, I find that these shadows perform best on their own, but they’ll serve as an oil-absorbing base if you’re willing to foil any subsequent powder eyeshadows. The dry finish doesn’t lend itself to acting as a primer, though, so opt for a cream eyeshadow base instead if you’re willing to exchange flawless wear for a sticky base.

Clarins waterproof eyeshadow cream review swatches photos

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow swatches in 02 Golden Sand, 01 Golden Peach

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector ($25 USD/$20 CAD)

Clarins’ Instant Light glosses are one of their most popular products, so I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t tried them until just now! (I was busy being distracted by their other lip products.)

The summer Sunkissed Summer 2016 collection showcases three brand new Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector shades (Pink Shimmer, Orange Shimmer, and Red Shimmer), each with a sheer tint and “soft gel texture” (hella accurate.) The 3D shimmer that’s mentioned all over their product page is negligible; Pink Shimmer is a beautiful, milky coral pink with shimmer that’s literally invisible unless you hold a swatch right up to your eye in direct lighting.

These glosses are vanilla scented and taste sweet, and the summer shades come packaged in a beautiful white & floral box with and white petals adoring the simple coloured tubes.

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector review

I really like this kind of applicator (think the celebrated child borne from an illicit affair between a doe foot applicator and a squeeze tube), and the plush texture of the gloss formula is really nice. It’s not as moisturizing as I had expected, though–everyone always refers to these as a lip gloss crossed with a balm, but my lips just weren’t feeling it.

They contain shea butter, wild mango, and vitamins A & E to repair and soften the lips, but with continued use, my lips were left feeling a little dry. For a lipgloss, they’re pretty moisturizing; if you need a lip balm throughout the day, though, these aren’t a two birds/one stone kind of deal.

Clarins xx Instant Light lip swatches review

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector swatch in Pink Shimmer (artificial lighting)

The verdict?

I really liked the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in Pink Shimmer as an easy, tasty summer gloss, but I looooved the new Waterproof Eyeshadows. They’re perfect for beach days and afternoons at the pool, and will deliver a flawless shimmery eyelid that won’t smudge or crease no matter how hard you run and play and sweat.

The formula of the new eyeshadows is really waterproof, too, which is awesome to see. My swatches didn’t budge at all with water or hand soap and furious rubbing, but they came off easily with just a touch of cleansing oil, and when worn, they last all day and still look great at the end of it.

Availability: Available at department stores, pharmacies, and online at Clarins.com. Both formulas are silicone-free!

Smashbox Inspiration lipstick, Insta-Matte, & Mulholland Mauve review, swatches, photos

Monday, June 6, 2016

Smashbox Be Legendary lipstick Inspiration review

The products: Smashbox Cosmetics Be Legendary Cream Lipstick in Inspiration, Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer, and L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color in Mulholland Mauve

Smashbox Spring 2016 review

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick ($21 USD/$36 CAD)

The Be Legendary lipsticks are a staple of the current Smashbox lineup, and with Inspiration, it’s not hard to see why. This new shade is a super-flattering bright fuchsia pink with subtle shimmer (which I think makes it NOT a “true” cream!!) and it’s a total dreamboat.

Smashbox Inspiration review photos Be Legendary Creamm Lipstick

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Inspiration review

Smashbox Inspiration swatch Be Legendary Lipstick review

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Inspiration swatches in indirect sunlight. (Can you tell that I took these photos with my old Canon? Just not as good, man.)

The Smashbox Be Legendary Cream Lipstick formula is comforting, heavy, and smooth – I wouldn’t mind owning another couple (dozen) of these. They remind me of the Clinique Pop Lipsticks, actually, but with a lighter texture.

The Be Legendary “cream” finish (they’re also available in a matte finish) is luscious and looks almost glossy thanks to the shimmer, and Inspiration is well-pigmented with colour that goes exactly where it ought to, no lip brush necessary.

Smashbox Be Legendary Inspiration review photos swatches

(See the glitter?)

Smashbox Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer ($24 USD/$26 CAD)

Smashbox also introduced their Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer this spring, which I think is a pretty nifty product. It’s a silicone-y gel that’s similar to their Photo Finish primer, but thicker, and it’s designed to turn any cream (!!) lipstick into a matte.

 Smashbox Insta-Matte transformer review

I liked the idea behind the Insta-Matte, and it worked well to mattify Inspiration when I tried it on. However, it doesn’t do anything that a sprinkling of loose powder could do (a trick that makeup artists have been using for decades), and the effect is subtle.

Granted, it’s a lot more comfortable to wear than loose powder is, but it can’t be used overtop of glosses, lacquers, or balms, which I think kind of minimizes its appeal. Cream lipsticks are halfway to today’s mattes anyways, you know? Just pat with tissue and you’re 90% of the way there.

Smashbox Inspiration, Mulholland Mauve swatches, Insta-matte

Smashbox swatches L-R: Insta-Matte over Be Legendary Lipstick in Inspiration; Inspiration on its own; L.A. Lights in Mulholland Mauve lightly, then heavily. Swatched in artificial light. 

Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color ($29 USD/$36 CAD)

I love a good stick/pencil product, but the Smashbox L.A. Lights formula just didn’t grab me. It’s workable, but it feels tacky and heavy to me. The formula drags on the skin as you blend it out, so while the finish looks lovely and dewy, I find that I rarely reach for these.

As a lip product, though, I found Mulholland Mauve to be extremely disappointing. A darker colour would fare better, but it looks pasty and thin on my lips–almost like a $2 bargain bin lipstick or an early-2000s party girl lipgloss.

Smashbox L.A. Lights cheek lip review

However, the L.A Lights sticks are one of the few silicone-free stick blushes that I’ve found, and Mulholland Mauve is a rather unique colour. It looks passable on my fair olive skin (the shade choice was my mistake!), but would be gorgeous on a warmer complexion.

As a note, the availability on the L.A. Lights is a little weird. If you’re looking for Mulholland Mauve or Fairfax Fuchsia in Canada, they’re only available at Shopper’s/Murale – you won’t be able to buy them at Sephora. Make sure you shop accordingly!

Smashbox Mulholland Mauve review swatches

The verdict?

Sadly, none of Smashbox’s spring launches were total must-haves for me–but I do really like their Be Legendary lipsticks, so it was nice to see that shade range expanded.

On the whole, I’d say that the Be Legendaries are a nice-to-have, the Insta-Matte is a cool-to-have, and the L.A. Lights are a skip. I’ve heard excellent things about the L.A. Lights from other bloggers, though, so if you love ’em, hit me up in the comments. I want to know what I’m missing here!

Availability: New permanent products (as of January 2016) at Shopper’s Drug Mart Beauty Boutiques, Murale, Nordstrom, and Sephora.


Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquer swatches, review, photos | Currently obsessed with…

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Marcelle lip lacquer review

The product: Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquer in 15 Universal Nude, 25 Bashful Pink, 33 Bubblegum Pink, 68 Uptown Pink, 72 Summer Flame, 82 Ruby Rose, and 95 Scarlette

Fact one: I did not like the Annabelle Big Show Lip Lacquers.

Fact two: I was not prepared to like their sister product, the Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquers.

Fact three: I like the Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquers so much that I kind of want to cry.

Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquer review

The formula & feel: I think that the shade range of the Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquers is literally perfect, so when I say that the formula is even better — well, I really, really mean it.

These lip lacquers feel like the most perfect lipgloss you’ll ever put on. They’re creamy, lightweight, and comfortable, with zero grit and a non-sticky finish. They’re not oily and they don’t slide around on my lips, and they’re nicely hydrating, too.

There’s also no added fragrance or flavour to the formula, which means that, for once (for once!) I can’t find a single thing that I would change about these lip colours.

Marcelle Lux Colour Rush lacquer swatches review

Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquer swatches (entire range)

The shades: Literally every single one of these shades is absolutely beautiful, and somehow, ALL of them look good on me. But if I had to pick favourites, I’d say that I love Bashful Pink (a beautiful, mauvy MLBB-style nude), Ruby Rose (which is almost as hot as Ruby Rose), and the fluorescent Uptown Pink the most.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you guys an adequate breakdown of all of the shades, so here goes nothing!

Marcelle Colour rush lipgloss review swatches

Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquer swatches, L-R: Universal Nude, Bashful Pink, Bubblegum Pink, Uptown Pink, Summer Flame, Ruby Rose, and Scarlette

15 Universal Nude is a warm, peachy nude. (I think Light Nude or Warm Apricot would have been better options for names, though — there’s really no such thing as a lip product that’ll look nude on both an NC15 and an NW55!) 25 Bashful Pink is a beautifully wearable mauvy pink. It’s almost the same colour as my lips, and makes a wonderful MLBB shade for fair skintones! 33 Bubblegum Pink is a little “milky” and streaky, but really is a lovely bubblegum shade. 

68 Uptown Pink is a fluorescent fuchsia that swatches, for some reason, very differently from the rest of these colours; because it is so bright, it’s almost like it has a cooler lipstain base with a slightly warmer cream gloss finish. In the tube, it reminds me of Beauté Cosmetics Flouron, for those who know it–are those stains still a thing anymore, by the way?

Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquer swatches, review

Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquer swatches, L-R: Universal Nude, Bashful Pink, Bubblegum Pink, Uptown Pink, Summer Flame, Ruby Rose, and Scarlette

72 Summer Flame is a beautiful, wearable dark pink with incredibly fine (almost invisible!) microshimmer; it and Ruby Rose are both just wonderful, brightening, easy-to-wear pink lip shades. 82 Ruby Rose is surprisingly similar to Summer Flame when applied to pigmented lips, but it’s cooler, a hair darker, and totally shimmer-free.

Finally, 95 Scarlette is just an absolutely beautiful red. It’s flattering, brightening, and so much more comfortable than most high-maintenance reds!

Marcelle Colour Rush gloss lipstick review swatches

The verdict?

The Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquers are everything–and I mean everything–that I could possibly want in a lip product. They’re comfortable and unscented, with an absolutely beautiful shade range, and the ways in which they’re different from their Annabelle counterparts make them the perfect fit for my preferences.

The Coles Notes version? If you like your lip products punchy and metallic, go with the Annabelle Big Show Lip Lacquers that I reviewed last month. But if you like them creamy and effortless (and scent-free!), then stock up on these Marcelle Lux Lip Lacquers ASAP.

Availability: $11.95 CAD at Marcelle.com and in drugstores and mass retailers across Canada. Cruelty-free & permanent.

Keep reading for pictures of the entire range »

Elizabeth Arden Prismatic Lip Gloss review, swatches, photos | Sunset Bronze SS16

Monday, April 25, 2016

Elizabeth Arden Prismatic Bronze Lip Gloss review swatches photos

The products: Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze Prismatic Lip Gloss in 01 Moonlight Kiss, 02 Midnight Kiss, and 03 Sunset Kiss

Instead of your standard light pink/sheer coral spring lipstick, this year’s Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze collection (you know, the one that contains this glorious highlighter) features three glorious tubes of glitter. They’re packaged in gold-capped tubes, boxed in a print pretty enough that I’d hang it on my wall, and are totally, completely awesome. 

Elizabeth Arden Moonlight Kiss Prismatic Lip Gloss swatch review photos

Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze review

Elizabeth Arden Moonlight Kiss lip gloss review


The shades: There are three shades of Prismatic Lip Gloss from the Sunset Bronze collection. All three are super, super sheer, and look great on their own or layered over top of other lipsticks. They’re described as having “subtle sparks of glittery color,” which is a total lie — for a trio of basically clear glosses, they have quite a bit of visual impact.

01 Moonlight Kiss is an opalescent gloss with cool pink-violet and white-blue reflects. 02 Midnight Kiss is a fuchsia gloss; a little more pigmented than the other two shades and with slightly larger glitter particles (pink and bronze reflects, this time.) 03 Sunset Kiss is probably the most subtle of all three, and features gold reflects with pink and white microshimmer suspended in a sheer, bronze gloss.

Elizabeth Arden Moonlight Kiss, Prismatic Lip Gloss swatches

Elizabeth Arden Prismatic Bronze Lip Gloss swatches: 01 Moonlight Kiss (white), 02 Midnight Kiss (pink), 03 Sunset Kiss (bronzey)

Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze Prismatic Lip Gloss swatches review

Elizabeth Arden Prismatic Bronze Lip Gloss swatches: 01 Moonlight Kiss, 02 Midnight Kiss, 03 Sunset Kiss

The product: The Sunset Bronze Prismatic Lip Glosses are formulated with aloe vera and vitamins A, C, and E to nourish the lips while you wear them. I find the formula to be only very slightly tacky and a little thick, but I like it — these aren’t drying, and you can’t feel the glitter when you wear them. They’re about as moisturizing as a light lip balm, and they’re not too scented, either. (They smell a little bit sweet and vanilla-ish, but the scent doesn’t hang around.)

Elizabeth Arden Sunset Kiss swatch photos review Prismatic Gloss

The verdict?

I know that none of us really need another translucent lipgloss, but as far as extraneous glosses go, these are some great ones. They’re comfortable and not too scented, and in the tubes, they look the way a chorus of angels sounds. The lovely colour selection is really just the cherry on top!

10/10 would recommend, if only so you can pull Moonlight Kiss out of your purse when you’re feeling down and pretend that you’re a unicorn. Or that you’ve killed a unicorn and bottled its tears, if that’s your jam.

Availability: $19 USD/$25 CAD at Elizabeth Arden counters and online. Limited edition.

Additional photos & more »

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