The Lipstick Bandits: Nudes You Need | Have a Lovely Day! with MAC’s Casual Colour collection

Monday, September 24, 2012

The product: MAC Casual Colour Lip & Cheek Colour in Have a Lovely Day! 

This month’s Lipstick Bandit collaboration focuses on the perfect nude lip, and despite its limited edition nature, I had to go with MAC’s Have a Lovely Day! Lip & Cheek Colour.

Though I’ve been really unimpressed with a lot of MAC’s recent launches, the Casual Colour collection is one that I really wouldn’t mind seeing again. I just have the one, but it’s a lovely formula (and a really, really lovely shade.)

The formula: The Lip & Cheek Colour formula was thicker than I had expected, but (thankfully), in a good way! It reminds me of a long-lasting lip balm; creamy and heavy with a satin-matte finish — which is exactly how I like my products, thank you very much.

(Okay, possibly a bit less heavy, but I’ll deal with a bit of weight if it means we can finally, finally have something pretty that isn’t vinyl-shiny or overly-matte.)

With sheer-to-medium buildable coverage, MAC’s classic vanilla scent, and a formula that actually works with dry lips, I’m quite impressed with my Casual Colour pot. It does slide around a bit if you really pile it on (though what doesn’t slide around if you pile a ton of it on?), but unlike a lot of nudes–and even quite a few darker shades, on my lips,–it doesn’t settle into lip creases or catch on dry bits.

The shade: I honestly cannot say enough good things about this shade. It’s so hard to find the right nude for your skintone, especially when your skintone is a weird mix of super pale, strangely pink, and surprisingly green — but this one works beautifully.

Pink with a bit of red, yellow, and grey worked into the shade, Have a Lovely Day! is just as lovely as one could hope. It tones down my lip colour without washing it out; muting it and taking it ever so slightly more pale while still creating a very wearable, natural lip.

I like to think of it as an “invisible pink” for fair skintones — light and desaturated enough that the eye doesn’t catch on it, but just pink enough that it doesn’t attract even more attention, as many milky pinks and chalky nudes may do.

On the cheeks: I wanted to focus on this as a lip product (because, erm, Lipstick Bandits,) but it’s a lovely shade for the cheeks, too. I like to use it as a subtle, mauvey nude blush — think Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed, but for paler, cooler skintones. It’s a bit on the heavy side, but creates an absolutely seamless contoured cheek once blended in, with a cream finish and just enough colour to serve both as blush and contour in a pinch.

Apply with fingers and give it a minute to set, and you should be good to go. I don’t love this on my cheeks, but I do like it. It doesn’t pack quite as much of a punch as my favourite cheek shades, but then, none of them would be even half-passable as nude lipsticks, so I find it hard to count that as any sort of failing on the Casual Colour’s part.

The verdict?

I know it’s a bit cruel to give a shining commendation to a limited edition product, but hark! Not all hope is lost, right? The US MAC site still has Relaxation and Out for Fun, and the Canadian one has Evening Stroll and Keep It Casual.

Seriously, though. $20 USD / $24 CAD, the size of a Tinted Lip Conditioner (12ml/0.43oz), and perfect both in texture and in colour? Count me in. 


Marc Jacobs releases another fragrance (and it’s right on the Dot.) | Marc Jacobs Dot Eau de Parfum review, photos

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The product: Marc Jacobs Dot Eau de Parfum (50 ml/1.7 fl oz spray)

The idea: Described as a lush, effervescent floral, Dot is made for the “eclectic, spontaneous female.” (I’m not making this stuff up, folks.) As part of the Marc Jacobs fragrance family along Daisy and Lola, the scent is as bold and girly as you’d expect from the bottle — which could be very good or very bad; it all depends on what angle you’re coming at this from!

Created by perfumer Annie Buzantian (the nose behind this year’s new Marchesa Parfum d’Extase launch, as well), I see Dot as Daisy’s younger, less-subtle sister; a starter fragrance for someone who knows better than to take things too seriously.

The bottle: The Marc Jacobs camp is running around calling their enormous lids a “chic play of proportions,” but honestly, I think this one’s a bit too large. Oversized lids seem to be “in” for fragrances targeted at a younger audience, though–perhaps in part due to Marc Jacobs’ own Lola bottle,– but it’s still rather ungainly to have a lid that’s larger even than the bottle itself.

Inspired by Marc’s love for the iconic polka dot and designed by/with Sayuri Shoji, the bottle is designed to be eye-catching and cheerful, conveying an “animated pop of energy, charm, and spirit.” It is, strangely enough, very much a right hand scent — which isn’t a negative, but it’s rather amusing!

(The polka-dot-butterfly-pearl placement means you really can’t fit this one into your left hand, though I’d love to see you try.)

The notes: With top notes of red berries, dragon fruit, and honeysuckle, Dot is initially a sweet burst of fruity berries. From there, heart notes of jasmine, coconut water, and orange blossom have been worked into the formula, and finally, there’s an underlying base of  vanilla, driftwood, and musk.

All in all, it makes for a fairly unadventurous (and very sweet) fragrance, but while it’s not my kind of scent, I can see it selling quite well to the general population. It certainly does smell tasty; I’ll give it that!

The scent: Dot starts off quite fresh; light and almost watery — effervescent indeed. Within a minute, the weightless top notes evaporate away, and the scent becomes more fruity; heavier and sweeter.

As it dries down, Dot becomes warmer and more mellowed-out, sitting closer to the skin with time. Its initial throw (sillage) is quite strong, and tapers off for the first hour or so before hitting a plateau. While it’s a fragrance that’s much too syrupy-sweet for my preferences, I’ll admit that part’s interesting: when I smell it from an arm’s length away, it’s bubblier and lighter than it is if I put my nose right to my skin, where it’s a bit more of a candied floral.

Overall, the scent is what I had expected: fruity with strong synthetic berry notes and no discernable specifics, with more initial sillage than I’d like (but which minimizes with time.) I think this would have been much more interesting with a floral tucked in there somewhere, perhaps magnolia or a more distinctive jasmine, and it definitely could have benefited from a longer wear time — it’s almost completely gone by the four or five hour mark, which is distinctly sub-par.

The bottom line

Inoffensive and fresh, if overly sweet, Dot has a very generic feel to it — good as a starter perfume for your preteen niece, for instance, but too syrupy and cookie-cutter for a more discerning nose. I think it’s exactly what I think it was intended to be, and I’d pick it over the Paris Hiltons and Britney Spearses of the perfume world, but I wouldn’t wear this one out of the house.

(Or inside it, for that matter.)


Find it at Nordstrom, Sephora, Shopper’s Drug Mart, The Bay, & etc.

Keep reading! »

Is LUSH’s Emotional Brilliance Fantasy too good to be true? | LUSH Liquid Eyeliner review, photos, swatches

Friday, September 14, 2012

The product: LUSH Emotional Brilliance Liquid Eyeliner in Fantasy

The shade: Okay, I absolutely have to start out talking about the gold tones in Fantasy. I was in raptures when I saw the promo image, and while the product looks a little too warm in the bottle, it is absolutely gorgeous when applied. 

Not too yellow and not too bronze, Fantasy applies with complete opacity in just one swipe, shines like the light of a thousand suns a seriously brilliant metallic-finish nail varnish, and almost, almost makes me want to give up my much-loved Marcelle Pure Gold Lux Diamond Liquid Eyeliner entirely.

(But I have both, now, and who says you can’t love more than one gold liner? They’re not even the same finish; it’s totally worth owning both!)

LUSH Fantasy Liquid Eyeliner – swatched/applied

LUSH Fantasy Liquid Eyeliner Swatch (both gold swatches on the left)

The formula: Thicker than expected (but not quite too thick), I found Fantasy to be quite comfortable to wear — unlike some liners, it wasn’t heavy or sticky, and I couldn’t feel it on my lids after it had set.

I don’t get all-day wear out of this, but LUSH kept true to their smudge-free promise: when it does begin to wear off, it starts with bits of gold glitter, and (if you leave it on for long enough & accidentally rub your eyes not that I did or anything) it’ll wear away in little gold flakes. Not flawless, but I definitely prefer it over smudging or fading!

Just one thing to note, though; this is the sort of formula that dries into a layer, so clean up any errors you make in application before it sets. If you wait until after, you risk your eyeliner unravelling in a fashion not dissimilar from that of a hand-knitted sweater with a pull.

More lid swatches of LUSH Fantasy’s gorgeous, metallic goldness

Watch out! for: The first time I tried this liner, I wasn’t thrilled with the texture… or the wear time. Upon closer inspection, though, I noticed a thin layer of liquid sitting on top of the product — not curdling, just a bit of separation. With a few inversions, it mixed right back in, and I found the texture to be much more workable (and the wear to be much less flakey!)

It gets quite hot in my makeup room during the summer, and Fantasy was hardly the only product to separate. My Emotional Brilliance cream eyeliner and lipstick were fine, but if you pick up Fantasy or Independent, make sure to invert your products every now and then for the best results.

Seriously, how gorgeous is that gold?!

The packaging: Like a lot of you, I had my worries about this packaging — but I didn’t have any problems at all with it, to be honest.

With a fine-tipped brush applicator (call me crazy, but I prefer it over a sponge or felt tip for a formula like this one), it’s easy to get as thick or thin of a line as you need. The handle is a little awkward, as expected, but (thankfully!) more of an irritant than an impairment. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I’m sure you’ll manage ;)

LUSH Emotional Brilliance Liquid Eyeliner – applicator tip

The verdict?

I was bracing myself for Fantasy to let me down, but… surprisingly enough, it didn’t! Gorgeously opaque and with a great warm-cool balance (especially for a gold, which can be tricky), I loved this as both an eyeliner and an eyeshadow — photos of the latter behind the cut.

At $22.95 for 0.2oz (same as the other Emotional Brilliance colour products), I think LUSH’s new liners are worth checking out if you’re looking for a gorgeous colour selection with good wear time. They’re not perfect, but for shade as gorgeous as this one, I’m definitely willing to allow for a bit of wiggle room.

Additional photos, details, ingredients, & more »

I’ll take a little Milk with my hand cream, please | L’Occitane Bonne Mère Gentle Cream with Milk

Friday, September 7, 2012

The product: L’Occitanne La Bonne Mère Gentle Cream with Milk

L’Occitane’s new La Bonne Mère collection pays homage to “the Good Mother,” the embodiment of kindness, generosity, and softness to the L’Occitane family. In Provence, the phrase «Oh Bonne Mère!» is used to express surprise, relief, and kindness, and remains an important influence on the soapmakers and scentmakers in Marseille.

Available in two scents, milk and honey, the product range covers a few basic face and body products. The collection launched this August, and the packaging is made from at least 95% renewable, plant-based plastic — so not only is the range pH-balanced and gentle enough for the whole family (aged 3 and up), it’s easy on the environment, too.

The scent: The La Bonne Mère Gentle Cream with Milk has a soft, powdery fragrance — less scented than many of L’Occitane’s other products, but still noticeable. With top notes of cotton flower, sweet heart notes, and a milky base enriched with white mallow milk, the products are meant to be calming and soothing.

I haven’t tried the Honey range, but it has top notes of almond blossom, heart notes of golden honey, and a base of linden and orange blossom, which sounds absolutely delicious.

The Gentle Cream: Intended for use on the hands, body, and face, the Gentle Cream is packaged in a portable 75ml tube. With an easy-to-use twist cap (I’m a sucker for products that don’t have finicky, separate lids), it’s brilliant for use as a hand cream — the rich, smooth formula sinks in quickly and leaves a soft, sweet-smelling finish.

My sister’s comment on the packaging? “Oh my god. That’s so smart; why isn’t everything made like that!” My thoughts exactly

The verdict?

I hesitate to recommend this one, but it’s not by any fault of the product — rather, L’Occitane has another hand cream launching this October that I’m even crazier about! (Which is nuts, because I thought I was crazy about this one up ’til a week or two ago.)

For a rich, milky-sweet cream that works brilliantly on the hands (both in formula and packaging), don’t miss the Bonne Mère Gentle Cream. And, hey: if you try it in Honey, let me know what you think of the fragrance!

Keep reading! »

Lise Watier Light Up Cap Nail Lacquer in Dragon Fruit: review, photos, swatches

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The product: Lise Watier Nail Lacquer in Dragon Fruit

I’ve been a bit remiss in posting about the Lise Watier Summer Sunset collection, and (with summer ending,) I thought I ought to finish my reviews as quickly as possible. I didn’t see the collection the last time I was in a Shopper’s, but this polish is still available on the LW site, so you should be able to get your hands on it with relative ease.

The shade: Dragon Fruit is an intense, blue-based bright pink — not for the faint of heart. With a gorgeous cream-finish formula and a medium (rather than light) hue, it’s more of a statement colour than a delicate, girly shade. I’ve never been much for pinks, but for a bright, punchy nail, this one’s not half bad: it certainly has teeth!

Lise Watier Dragon Fruit Nail Varnish swatch – indirect sunlight

Lise Watier Dragon Fruit Nail Varnish swatch – direct sunlight

The formula: I was a bit wary of a shade this intense (and in a cream finish, no less), but the Lise Watier Nail Lacquer formula? Doesn’t disappoint.

Opaque in two coats, I found this formula to be ridiculously easy to apply — just the right consistency, it settles into a smooth finish without any coaxing and dries relatively quickly. I do tend to like a thinner formula, where you don’t have to worry about gloopiness (totally a word) or streaks or waiting between coats (aside from doing your four other fingers or nine, as it were, because… two hands), and this one was just right. 

No streaks, no clumps, no need for more than two coats; even for a mid-range price point ($12.50), this one gets a gold star in my books.

The packaging: Okay, so my one peeve with this product? Light-up caps, ugh. I’m really not a fan of the whole let’s put LEDs on everything! trend, but for the formula, I’ll give it a pass. The light-up lid is perfect if you’re bothered by your polishing hand casting shadows on your being-polished hand, and at just 50 cents more than the non-lit Lise Watier polishes, it’s really not a huge problem for me.

(Plus, despite that I’m anti-LED, lights in nail varnish caps actually makes sense. Unlike some other products.)

The verdict?

I’m not sure about tip wear and chipping over time, but from what I’ve seen of Dragon Fruit so far, I’m impressed. The Lise Watier Nail Varnish formula is a solid one, at least in this shade, and it applies easily and smoothly with good pigmentation.

Plus, Lise Watier should get bonus points for making their polish more attractive than the actual fruit… though it does lack in points for weirdness! ;)

Keep reading! »

DUPE ALERT: Check your stashes for… | Vasanti Mount Rushmore vs. MAC Whims & Fancies Eyeshadow Duos

Friday, August 24, 2012

Remember this Vasanti Eyeshadow Duo review? Back when I first swatched Mount Rushmore for you, I couldn’t find anything else on the market quite like it — a sooty, plummy matte violet paired with a shimmery, silvery taupe, it was a pretty unique duo.

And it still is, of course, but I couldn’t help but think Mount Rushmore! when I saw the new MAC Whims & Fancies Styleseeker Eyeshadow X2.

Whims & Fancies is limited edition with the Styleseeker collection, retails for $33 CAD and contains two separate eyeshadow pans: Performance Art and Shadowy Lady.

Mount Rushmore, on the other hand, is permanent in the Vasanti collection and retails for $20 CAD, albiet presumably for less product overall. Both products are paraben-free.


L: MAC Whims & Fancies Eyeshadow Duo / R: Vasanti Mount Rushmore Silky Eyeshadow Duo

Vasanti Mount Rushmore Eyeshadow Duo swatches

I can’t speak toward an exact shade dupe, but from what I’ve read about the quality of the Shadowy Lady in Whims & Fancies — if you’re in Canada and you don’t have either yet, go for Mount Rushmore. And if you already have it? Feel free to skip this Styleseeker duo!

P.S. If you’re in need of swatches and reviews for Whims & Fancies, check out these posts on Temptalia and Beautezine.

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