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! »

L’Occitane Pivoine Sublime Tinted Lip Balm in Rose Nude review, swatches, photos

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

L'Occitane Pivoine Flora Tinted Lip Balm review swatches

The product: L’Occitane Pivoine Sublime Tinted Lip Balm SPF 25 in Rose Nude

Launching this June at L’Occitane is the Pivoine Sublime skincare range, which features a Perfecting Cream, Skin Perfector Serum, CC Cream, Perfecting Mist, and four peony-scented lip balms: Transparent (housed in a gorgeous silver tube), Rose NudeRose Amber, and Rose Plum.

L'Occitane Pivoine Flora Tinted Lip Balm makeup review

The scent: L’Occitane has actually come out with a number of peony-scented collections over the years, and I’m happy to say that this is my favourite one. It’s much a much softer, fuller floral than the scent used in the Pivoine Délicate makeup collection, and has a rose-touched scent profile.

Pivoine Sublime is also a little fruitier than the bath/body Pivoine Flora, which I find has a soapier feel to it — a differentiation that I think makes the two perfectly suited for makeup & body products, respectfully.

L'Occitane vs Fresh tinted lip balm reviews

The formula (& the elephant in the room): When I saw this lip balm tube for the first time, my mind went to the same place that I’m sure all of yours did: Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatments ($26 CAD).

Well, the packaging is near-identical for these (which is to say: super luxe, metal, and twist-on), but the formulas are very, very different! While the Fresh balms are lemon-scented and smooshy-soft with a beeswax/castor seed oil base, these L’Occitane balms are peony-scented and smooth but solid.

Plus, while the Fresh balms are rather heavily tinted and have an SPF of 15, the L’Occitane balms are sheer, with SPF 25.

L'Occitane Pivoine Flora Rose Nude vs Fresh Cherry, Rose swatches comparison

Swatched L-R: Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Balm in Cherry & Rosé; L’Occitane Pivoine Sublime in Rose Nude

But do they moisturize? Honestly… not really. I can wear Nude Rose for about a day without any problems, but it’s not as hydrating as the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments. If you have normal-dry lips, I don’t think it’ll be an issue, but I do have to pile on the Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15 in the evening if I’ve spent the day wearing a Pivoine Sublime lip balm.
L'Occitane Pivoine Flora Tinted Lip Balm review

The verdict?

While the L’Occitane Pivoine Sublime Lip Balms may fall short of delivering intense hydration, they can’t be beat for a luxury tinted lip balm under $20. They’re gorgeously packaged, smell amazing, and (unlike the cult-followed Fresh lip balms) have the texture of a proper lip balm rather than a soft puddle of butter.

I say skip these if you need a lot of hydration (I do), but definitely indulge if all you’re looking for is something exquisite, hygienic, and pretty!

Availability: $20 CAD online and at L’Occitane boutiques beginning June 2015.

Keep reading! »

Lise Watier Palette Rivages Eyeshadow review, swatches, photos | Nudes you need

Monday, May 4, 2015

Lise Watier Palette Rivages summer 2015 review

The product: Lise Watier Palette Rivages Eyeshadow Palette

You neeeeed this. Need. Need need need.

Lise Watier Palette Rivages eyeshadow palette review

Lise Watier Palette Rivages

The packaging: is so unbelievably spot-on with this one. Rose gold plastic, a slim profile, and just a gorgeous pearly lid — it’s simple, beachy, and so pretty. Something about this palette feels very Make Up For Ever or Senna Cosmetics to me; sort of that artistry-meets-everyday appeal.

Lise Watier Palette Rivages packaging review

Lise Watier Palette Rivages packaging

Lise Watier Palette Rivages summer 2015

Lise Watier Palette Rivages eyeshadows

The shades: This palette houses ten nudes in satin-matte and satin-shimmer finishes.

The top row contains five light to medium earth-toned shades: yellow, khaki, peach/apricot, mauve, and a warm brown, all in a really smooth satin finish and all with medium opacity. The bottom row contains five cooler nudes: matte ivory, light taupe, satin-matte peachy nude, bronze, and a cool brown.

Lise Watier Rivages palette swatches top row

Lise Watier Palette Rivages swatches (top row) – primed skin, indirect sunlight

I was really impressed with the top row, but the bottom row is just out of this world. In particular, the medium-sheer peachy shade in the centre just seems to melt right into the skin — it’s hard to describe, but it’s something about the semi-sheer, weightless formula. The copper eyeshadow is insanely pigmented and dense, and the dark accent colour has an almost violet cast to it — it’s a really fascinating shade in person.

But more importantly…

Lise Watier Palette Rivages swatches bottom row

Lise Watier Palette Rivages swatches (bottom row) – primed skin, indirect sunlight

The formula: is a freaking dream. I am always incredibly impressed by the way that Lise Watier’s seasonal eyeshadow formula feels, but these eyeshadows? They’re a step above. Creamy, buttery, and incredibly pigment-dense, these are some of the smoothest eyeshadows that I’ve ever found at a mid-range/drugstore level.

This palette’s eyeshadow formula is described as a “powder-cream” formula, which hits the nail right on the head. Yes, they’re definitely powders (and they’re not those weird moist-powders, either), but they’re so goddamn smooth that they feel like almost like creams.

Lise Watier Palette Rivages review

The verdict?

NEED is definitely the keyword of the day. This is definitely a higher-end buy at $54 CAD (although drugstore palettes are getting pretty pricy; the new L’Oreal La Palette Nude is $30 CAD!), but the Palette Rivages is more than just a smattering of random peaches and browns. It features 10 buttery, pigmented eyeshadows that are super easy to work with, and splits its colour palette into two really accessible rows of earth tones and traditional nudes. 

Unless you have a pathological need to mix your finishes (understandable, if odd), you need to swatch this palette as soon as you can possibly get your hands on it.

Need. ;)

Availability: $54 CAD online and at Shopper’s Drug Mart. Limited edition available mid-April to July 2015.

Keep reading! More swatches lie this way »

L’Occitane Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc EdT review, photos | A gorgeous spring veil of iris

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

L'Occitane Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc Mother's Day review

The product: L’Occitane Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc Eau de Toilette

I was supposed to write about L’Occitane Roses et Reines for Mother’s Day this year. I was supposed to. That was the plan, and if I may say so myself, it was a good plan.

But then I was introduced to the newest member of La Collection de Grasse family, and all of my plans went out the window.

L'Occitane Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc Collection de Grasse review

The story: This season, L’Occitane has brought irises back onto the fields of Grasse, using sustainable farming methods to grow this Tuscan flower in the heart of perfume country. Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc pairs two different variations of irises to create a wonderfully light veil of spring freshness, bottled into lovely gold and blue-violet packaging.

“White iris from the Mediterranean contrast its evanescent sweetness with the intensity of the blue Iris pallida from Grasse.”   -L’Occitane

L'Occitane Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc

The scent: I know I’ve said that L’Occitane Fleur d’Or & Acacia is my favourite from the line, but… I mean, this is gorgeous. It’s light and clean and really, really easy to wear, and it’s hard to overdo.

The brand says that this scent is “EVOCATIVE OF A halo of iridescent powder on a cheek flushed by the chill of morning,” and I have to say: they’re not that far off. Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc isn’t really floral at all, and it feels very iridescent indeed; it opens with a crisp, sweet freshness and fades into something tart and woody that wears very close to the skin.

L'Occitane Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc review

My only complaint is that, as a really fresh-smelling Eau de Toilette, this one does fade quite quickly. But for something this fleetingly effervescent, I’m willing to make the trade.

TOP NOTES: Blackcurrant and citrus (orange blossom)

HEART NOTES: Iris, ylang-ylang, and peach

BASE NOTES: Iris, cedar, and white musk

L'Occitane Iris Bleu et Iris Blanc shower gel

Also new this season: Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc ancillaries (Body Milk, Shower Gel, and Perfumed Soap), which start at $8 CAD.

Additionally, look for new La Collection de Grasse hand creams; Jasmin & Bergamot, Néroli & Orchidée, and Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc will all be available for $12 CAD in lovely plastic packaging. (This is the L’Occitane formula with silicones, I’m afraid, but the new Roses et Reines hand cream is silicone-free, for those interested!)

L'Occitane La Collection de Grasse hand cream

The verdict?

Whether you’re looking for the perfect spring scent, you’re on the hunt for a happy, delicate fragrance to wear to the office, or you’re picking up a few treats for your mom this Mother’s Day, Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc is one that you need to check out.

It’s very easy to wear and definitely not a “sexy” or edgy scent, but I think it’ll turn heads with its sheer, fruity-but-classy simplicity. You need this.

Availability: $75 CAD at L’Occitane boutiques and online beginning this May.

Keep reading! »

Neutrogena Naturals vs Bioderma Sensibio H2O Make-up Wipes review, comparison | The Make-Up Removing Wipe Showdown

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bioderma vs Neutrogena makeup removing wipes review

The products: Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Make-Up Removing Wipes vs Bioderma Sensibio H2O (Créaline H2O) Dermatological Wipes

I’m not a makeup remover wipe kind of girl. But I will admit that they do have their appeal, and when these two packages of wipes landed on my desk at around the same time… I mean, I’d have to be a monster to not want to see how they measure up!

(Here’s how.)

!Neutrogena Naturals makeup wipes review

Neutrogena Naturals ($9.99 CAD/25 wipes)

Today’s first contender is a flashy new package of makeup wipes from Neutrogena. These are the brand’s first silicone-free wipes (finally!!!) and launched nationwide this March/April.

!Neutrogena makeup wipes review

They come generously soaked in green-apple-scented makeup remover, aren’t tested on animals, and are both bio-degradable and are made from fibres from sustainably-managed forests. They’re designed as a no-rinse way to remove face and eye makeup, and are formulated with Peruvian Tara Seed bionutrient to gently cleanse without any residue.

I have no idea what Peruvian Tara Seed is, but it sounds cool and I approve of anything that smells this crisp and uplifting.

Bioderma vs Neutrogena Naturals makeup remover wipes review comparison

Bioderma (left) vs Neutrogena Naturals (right) — wipes rubbed 5x over three different eyeliner formulas.

(Shu Uemura Drawing Pencil, Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense, and Annabelle Retractable Eyeliner)

!Neutrogena Naturals vs Bioderma makeup remover wipes review comparison

Bioderma (L) vs Neutrogena (R), scrubbed over the liners until nothing else would come off

The fast facts: 

  • $0.40/wipe
  • Paraben- and silicone-free
  • Smell AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS
  • 97% naturally derived
  • Double-sided smooth/bumpy texture

How they compare to the Bioderma wipes:

  • Not as soft and velvety
  • Remove makeup more quickly and effectively (I was really surprised about this, and actually ran three different tests to double check. The Neutrogena wipes won every single time!)

Bioderma Sensibio H20 makeup wipes review

Bioderma Sensibio ($14.95 CAD/25 wipes)

Today’s second contender launched last fall from Bioderma (yes, that Bioderma). The Sensibio H2O wipes–which go by Créaline H2O overseas–are soaked in Bioderma micellar water and are made to cleanse and remove makeup on both the eyes and face.

(Note that these aren’t just saturated with the bottled Bioderma Sensibio water, though; this is a micellar water formulated specifically for these wipes.)

Bioderma Crealine H20 makeup wipes review

These are very gently fragranced (I think they smell kind of clinical and plasticky, honestly) and are very thick and soft.

Weirdly, my very favourite thing about these wipes is that they come in a really luxe, matte cherry package. It’s thicker and smoother than most wipes’ packaging, and it doesn’t crinkle as badly over time — so even 10 wipes in, the package still looks respectable and seals tightly.

The fast facts:

  • $0.59/wipe
  • Silicone-free
  • Great packaging
  • Thick, soft, velvety sheet texture

How they compare to the Neutrogena Naturals wipes:

  • Much more gentle (especially noticeable in the eye area, though both were a little prickly)
  • Leave skin feeling softer

!Neutrogena Naturals makeup removing wipes review texture

Neutrogena vs. Biodrma texture

The verdict?

I’m not a fan of using makeup removing/cleansing wipes everyday, but sometimes, the situation calls for them.

Both of these are great options, but honestly, I’d re-buy the Neutrogena wipes first. They’re a little bit rougher, but they do a better job of removing stubborn makeup… and they smell insanely (INSANELY) good!

Availability: The Neutrogena wipes are $7.49 USD/$9.99 CAD at drugstores across North America; the Bioderma wipes can be found at Murale and select drugstores across Canada for $14.95.

Keep reading! »

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