For the girl who honestly doesn’t need anything else | Sephora x Cinderella Stroke of Midnight Compact Mirror

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cinderella mirror - Sephora x Disney

The product: Disney Cinderella for Sephora Stroke of Midnight Compact Mirror

One of this holiday season’s most beautiful finds is the dual-sided Sephora x Disney Cinderella compact mirror. Weighted and glossy, it’s honestly even more gorgeous in person than it is online — too heavy to be “purse-friendly” for me, but I’m sure others will beg to differ.

Disney Cinderella for Sephora compact mirror

Metal and reflection with a faceted glass top, the Stroke of Midnight mirror certainly sits on the heavy side, both in build and feel. The construction is wonderfully solid (I’d be more worried about my toes if I dropped this than the case), and the push-button closure holds tightly while still being easy on the joints.

Inside are two mirrors (one magnifying, one regular), with the text “time for your moment curved across the latter.

Sephora x Cinderella Compact Mirror

Sephora x Disney Cinderella compact mirror

For size…

It’s always hard to tell what size something will be from photos like these, so I took a few “holding shots,” too. I have fairly small hands (I’m 5’2″; the mirror is about 2.75″/7 cm across.)

Sephora x Disney Cinderella - time for your moment

Sephora x Disney Cinderella - Stroke of Midnight

The verdict?

At $20 USD/$24 CAD, this mirror is a little pricier than most — but absolutely worth it, for the product. Heavy and luxurious, it has a very elegant, “princessy” presentation, while still coming across as a product for fully-formed adults (rather than children wrapped in oversized tulle and chiffon.)

The Stroke of Midnight mirror is sold out online, but certainly still worth checking your local Sephora for! (The inherent “find in store” widget on the Canadian and American Sephora sites should do the trick.)

Keep reading! »

A brush set that’s blowing my mind (and a great Shiseido Perfect Fundation Brush substitute!) | Sephora Luxe Face Brush Set review

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sephora Luxe Face Brush set

The product: SEPHORA COLLECTION Luxe Face Brush Set

I haven’t written a review on a Sunday (to go up on a Monday) in ages, but this week, I just had to. We’re quickly running out of time before Christmas, for starters, but more importantly — I bloody love this brush set, you guys.

Sephora Collection Luxe Face Brush set

This is the third brush set I’ve reviewed since the summer, but the Luxe Face Brush Set is by far my favourite. While the Sephora + Pantone Universe Luminous Brush Set was a great buy for the price, and the Enchanting Brush Set was a definite “nice to have,” this one is an absolute “you need this” — praise that I honestly don’t even give to all of the Chubby Sticks.

(And I love me a Clinique Chubby Stick.)

Sephora Luxe face brush set - flat top foundation brush favourite

At $48 USD/$58 CAD, five brushes and a clutch isn’t a bad deal — particularly when you take into consideration how ridiculously chic each piece is. Unlike a gift with purchase bag, or even a lot of other brush set bags, this one is actually wearable for a night out, which is a really nice deviation from the norm.

(Do you even say “wear” when it comes to bags? Carryable? Holdable? Acceptable?)

Despite having more brushes than I know what to do with, I’ve used the concealer & flat top foundation brushes in this set every single (makeup) day since first trying them out. I have honestly applied concealer just for the sheer joy of using the flat-top brush to buff it in, and I regret absolutely nothing.

Sephora Collection Luxe Brush Set(face)

Oh, and I guess the other brushes are lovely, too. (You probably wanted to hear that, right?)

The powder brush is fine; it’s a little small & loose, and despite not being rough, it’s not particularly soft, either. I could definitely live without it, but at the same time, it doesn’t pain me terribly to use it. The eye brushes more than make up for it, at least — small blending brushes and all-over eye brushes are two of my go-to eye brush staples, and it’s fantastic to see something other than a flimsy placement brush & lash comb in a set.

(The rounded eye brush is actually a “precision crease brush,” but my fellow monolidded lovelies will know how useful they can be for fine-detail blending, too!)

Shiseido perfect foundation brush dupe

The verdict?

I very rarely lose it over makeup tools, but the flat-top brush in this set is so excellent — I’ve been meaning to pick up the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush ($30 USD) for months, but at just $8 ($48 over 6 pieces), this more than suffices. Sephora’s version is densely packed, incredibly soft, and does a phenomenal job of blending in both foundation and concealer to a picture-perfect finish.

Honestly, I’d happily fork over $48 just for the concealer and foundation brushes in this set. The fact that they’re paired with a cute clutch, a decent powder brush, and two great eye brushes makes the Sephora Luxe Face Brush Set a can’t-miss.

Availability: Find it here at Sephora before it sells out!

Keep reading! »

A Holiday tale in earthy golds | Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palette in Odyssey: review, photos, swatches

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The product: Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palette in Odyssey

Dress your eyes in gold… brown, beige and taupe-bronze eye colours can be blended or layered as desired, instantly creating warm glowing eyes. The pearl highlighter adds a touch of luminosity and a gold leaf effect to any eye look.”

Seen first here.

The shades: The four shades in the Odyssey palette area little odd, to be honest. For a palette that “feels” this warm, visually, it’s surprisingly wearable on cool-toned skin — the warmest shade also happens to be the most sheer. The lean isn’t unbearable, either; rather than being too orange, it’s unexpectedly yellow, with silver microshimmer to balance.

The three non-glitter shades are medium-sheer with finely-milled microshimmer, settling into a range of satin-frosts. The beige actually reflects a bit pink (as Clarins highlighters tend to do) — imperceptible unless you’re actively looking for it, but it gives a very brightening, polished sheen that’s stunning in person.

All of the satin shades contain a small amount of silver microshimmer, giving them the illusion of a neutral colour temperature and allowing the stunning bronze-gold glitter to really pop. Like all Clarins glitters, it sticks well to the skin, mixing chunkier bronze shards with loosely concentrated silver and gold shimmer for a mesmerizing, wet-finish effect. 

Foiled or applied overtop a sticky primer, the gold shade applies much more densely, mimicking a warm (slightly coppery) gold foil… minus the finicky application and wear of actual cosmetic foil.

The textures: I love the texture of Clarins’ eyeshadows, but I know not everyone does. If you’re really into crumbly, super-pigmented shades, their Eye Quartets won’t be for you — but if you prefer a mix of smooth satin finishes and gorgeous, dimensional glitters, then they’ll be perfect.

I love mixing textures to create depth & add versatility to a palette, and Clarins do a particularly great job of creating quads with this in mind. All of the quartets under a certain aesthetic, so if you have one or two that you’re happy with already, I think you’ll really enjoy this one, too.

The verdict?

My love affair with Clarins’ quads is no secret, and the Odyssey palette is no exception. (To be honest, though, I think I’m hitting my upper limit on these! Perhaps one in colour, and that’ll be it. Perhaps.)

For an earthy palette that feels warm and rich without pulling too orange on cool-toned skin, this is a great option. Clarins do a great job of mixing textures in their palettes, and the finely-milled satin finishes and rich gold foil featured here definitely don’t disappoint. At $42 CAD (and in stunning gold packaging), I would certainly recommend this!

PS: If you loved the gold glitter from the shu uemura Prestigious Bordeaux palette, this is a great dupe at less than half the price.

Keep reading! »

COMING UP | Bite Beauty BITE Size Discovery Set

Monday, December 10, 2012

A quick, silly snapshot of the Bite Beauty Bite Size Discovery Set ($25 USD/$29 CAD), because what are the holidays without a few tongue-in-cheek Photoshop brushes?

I’m three-fifths through these little guys, and haven’t found an unflattering shade thus far. The set itself recently sold out online, but the shades themselves are permanent — more photos & swatches when I get a chance. If you can’t find all five in-store, the individual shades are well worth picking up, too!

(The Bite Size Discovery Set includes Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipsticks in Retsina, Musk, Shiraz, Fig, and Pomegranate, from left to right in the photo above.)

The Gift Guide | Boxed up & ready to go

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I have been strangely fond of the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments as of late — there’s something about their heavy, weighted packaging & twist-end closure that just sits really well with me.

At $22.50 USD ($26 CAD), they’re priced higher than I think we’d all prefer, but sometimes the little luxuries make the best gifts, you know? The products that you know someone will really enjoy, but wouldn’t necessarily splurge on if left to their own devices.

Living inside the box (for once) 

But then I started thinking about beauty gifts, and boxed gifts, and the ones that hang on trees (on Christmas trees, not just random backyard pines upon their own volition), and I wanted to throw together a few ready-to-go boxed sets for all of you. They’re quick, easy, and all you have to do is add some wrapping paper and a ribbon.

And, alright, some of this panic stems from the fact that your last ship date for is tomorrow, in order for standard shipping to get a package to your door by the 24th. Our American readers and friends have a bit more time (Dec. 18th), but the 25th is sneaking up on us pretty quickly!

And, finally, a quick preview of a boxed set that’s coming up…

The Best of Burt’s Bees Set ($24.99 CAD), which contains their Coconut Foot Crème, Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Crème, and cult-status Lemon Cuticle Cream, all of which are paraben-, silicone-, and cruelty-free!

Korres Goddess Beauty Colour Collection review, photos, swatches: for all your Pale Pink & Santorini needs!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The product: Korres Goddess Beauty Colour Collection

Lovingly boxed up at Sephora this Holiday season is the gorgeous Korres Goddess Beauty Colour Collection. While I think the name is a little awkward (is it the Goddess collection? Is it the Goddess Beauty collection?), the products themselves more than make up for it.  

The Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara

Also included is a small tube of Korres’ Volcanic Minerals mascara, in Obsidian Black. I have to say, I love the packaging of this one — even though it isn’t full-sized, the design is great. Slim, easy to handle, and intricately patterned, the rich brown hue just feels very Korres (as it probably should!)

The brush is fairly standard, as is the product itself. I can get a full day’s wear out of this, if you define a full day as 6 hours, but I do have to sweep under my lower lashes with a cotton bud at least twice before hitting the 12 hour mark. It leaves my lashes feeling (and looking) full & a little heavy after just one swipe, dropping the curl a bit but going on clump-free enough to make up for it.

Water, Iron Oxides, Synthetic Beeswax, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate Copolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Synthetic Candelilla Wax, Butylene Glycol, C1836 Acid Triglyceride, Carnauba Wax, PVP, Aminomethyl Propanediol, Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Nylon 12, Glycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Pelvetia Canaliculata Extract, Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, Propylene Glycol, Alcohol, Hexylene Glycol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Parfum, Tocopherol, Cotton Extract, Magnesium Ferment, Sunflower Seed Oil, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder, Grape Seed Extract, Zinc Ferment, Potassium Ferment, Thyme Flower/Leaf Extract, Sodium Ferment, Sulfur Ferment, Agropyron Repens Root Extract. 

The Cherry Lip Gloss in (Pale Pink)

If you thought this looked familiar, you’re not wrong: Pale Pink is numbered as Cherry Lip Gloss #23. If you think back to last Holiday season, though, you might remember seeing a similar product on theNotice — Light Purple, incidentally also #23.

Check out swatches and photos behind the cut, but the two are the same gloss, re-imagined. The new version has less chunky shimmer and more pigment, but while it’s slightly easier to wear than Light Purple, I still find it to be a little too milky & shimmery for my liking.

Polybutene, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Synthetic Wax, Silica, PVP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Octyldodecanol, Hydrogenated Jojoba Seed Oil, Anise Alcohol, Aroma, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Citric Acid, Lauryl PCA, Lecithin, Phenoxyethanol, Sweet Cherry Seed Oil, Bitter Cherry Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite. +/- CI 15985, CI 45410, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, CI 77891.

Korres Goddess Beauty Colour Collection swatches

The Magic Light/Face Contouring Powder Trio (in Santorini)

And, finally, the one you’ve all been waiting for!

The Santorini cheek trio is absolutely gorgeous — easily one of the most beautiful pressed powders in my collection, just based off the way it looks in the pan. The detailed top does wear off, but the shimmer goes right down, so what you see (product-wise) is what you get.

Shimmery and glowy, this trio is optimal for light skintones of any temperature. It’ll fit a much broader range, though; cool to warm skintones from fair to medium should be able to pull this off without a hitch.

The blush and bronzer are warmer and more pigmented than the highlighter, but both build up & sheer out easily. My issue with the palette, though, is that for as luminescent as it applies… it’s pretty glittery, at least for me. The glitter isn’t hugely obvious in indoor lighting, and photographs absolutely beautifully, but it is there if you go looking for it — which I can’t stand.

I can still see this on my cheeks after a good 12 hours of wear (and a nap!), but I like my shimmer a lot more subtle than most bloggers. Every other review I’ve read for this face trio has described the shades as finely-milled and glowy–and have even recommended it for use as an all-over face powder–so do my little neurosis in mind.

Talc, Dimethicone, Corn Starch, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl, Stearate, Zinc Stearate, Silica, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Chlorphenesin, Potassium Sorbate, Soybean Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Tetrasodium Edta, Sunflower Seed Oil. +/- Mica, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Ultramarines, Red 7 Lake, Red 30 Lake. 

The verdict?

This set was originally $42, which made it a good deal — but it’s been marked down to $29 USD/$39 CAD, which absolutely makes it a great one. (In Canada, the price works out to just $9.75 per product. Yep, that $36 cheek trio just got a whole bunch cheaper.)

Paraben-free and just so, so pretty, the Goddess set is a great gift for a natural beauty lover — even if that beauty lover is you. It’s not perfect in my mind (I think the cheek palette is just too glittery for that), but I think my shimmer-sensitive eye is alone on this: most other bloggers describe Santorini as a sheer product with a gorgeous “natural glow,” after all.

One last note: this set includes a mini Quercetin & Oak Antiageing Primer (10 mL), which is a great way to give Korres primers a proper try before committing to a whole tube. Check out a full review here.

Keep reading; I’m not done yet! »

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