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.

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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.

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Smashbox Photo Session at West Edmonton Mall | A morning makeover with Smashbox Cosmetics

Monday, May 11, 2015

Smashbox Photo Event West Edmonton

Not a lot happens in the beauty world in Edmonton, but this past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a Smashbox Photo Event at West Edmonton Mall. I’ve never actually taken the time to go for a makeover before, so it was a really eye-opening experience for me!

Here’s a little recap of the event.

Smashbox Photo Session Edmonton

I had my makeup done by Toronto-based Smashbox makeup artist Kristi Dukovic, who was a pleasure to work with — she really took the time to try to customize my makeup to my own preferences, and she had a lot of behind-the-scenes knowledge about the brand that she was eager to share.

We started out with the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water ($37 CAD), which is silicone-, oil-, and alcohol-free, and can be used to both prep and set makeup.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

Kristi then primed my lids with some Smashbox 24Hrs Eyeshadow Primer ($23 CAD), which the brand tested in-studio for a full 24 hours, and did my eye makeup using the wet/dry Smashbox Double Exposure Eyeshadow Palette ($60 CAD).

The palette itself was great, but I wasn’t crazy about the way that the pull-out recommends you do makeup for monolids — I couldn’t figure out why at the time, but the idea that Asian women need to fake an eyelid crease in order to look their best really bugs me. It really perpetuates the idea that there is only one kind of beautiful (and that that’s to be Caucasian), and I think that as an industry, we can do better than that.

Smashbox Makeup Artist Kristi Dukovic

Smashbox Makeup Artist Kristi Dukovic

But, I digress. Kristi then followed up with a little bit of the Smashbox + Donald Robertson: Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liners ($29 CAD) in Plum and Lilac, which wore crazy well — Lilac in particular is a total must-have. Then, she brightened up my undereye area with Camera Ready BB Cream Eyes Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($29 CAD), which broke me out (‘cones) but was fantastic while it lasted.

(I’m also wearing some Smashbox mascara on my lashes & a little bit of Brow Tech to Go ($30 CAD) through my brows.)

Smashbox xo contouring technique

The Xs and Os Smashbox contouring technique

Finally, Kristi finished off the look with some “xs and os” contouring (a Smashbox technique that helps keep you from applying too much product) and the Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Stick Trio ($52 CAD), which, I’ll be honest, I didn’t love. The contouring shade in the pencils is for some reason a lot more orange than the contouring shade in the powder Step-By-Step Contour Kit ($52 CAD), but I did really like the highlighter in the pencil trio.

I also got a chance to try out two of the L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Colors ($36 CAD) for this look, which have a really pretty, very Hollywood sheen to them — I’m wearing Silver Lake Sunset on my cheeks and Hollywood & Highlight on the tops of my cheekbones, chin, forehead, and brow bone. (I’m not 100% sure what’s on my lips, but I think it’s Be Legendary Lip Lacquer in Lilac overtop their Always Sharp Lip Liner in Nude Medium.)

Smashbox Photo Op pictures

The Smashbox Photo Event ended with a few snaps by fashion and portrait photographer Kyriakos, who was super friendly and efficient.

All in all, my makeover and photo session were a really interesting experience, and I’m really glad that I got the chance to cover it for you guys — but while I loved the way that the makeup captured on film, it was a little too Instagram for my everyday life. My boyfriend kept cracking up at how much makeup I came home wearing, and I literally had so much gel liner on my left eye that I couldn’t quite open my lid all the way.

Would I go for another Smashbox makeover anytime soon? Probably not for a party or event, but if I wanted portrait-ready makeup, then absolutely.

Smashbox makeover event recap

What are your best and worst makeover stories? Have you ever had professional headshots taken?

BISC Vol.7: How has your makeup style changed over the years?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

bisc-ft-vol7-fte

How has your makeup style changed over the years?

MELISSA | Switzerland | Kiss & Make-up
When I first started wearing make-up as a young teenager I only wore some black eye pencil and a wash of grayish green eyeshadow. I must have worn that same look for like a year! And then I entered my gothic phase. Yep, I’m talking heavy eyeliner and black Avril Lavigne-style panda eyes! I thought I was such a badass, lol. Then when I went to college I got into my colorful phase and started experimenting with face make-up. And then finally after collage I started to develop my current make-up style: smokey eyes with a subtle lip.

KRISTEN | USA | Glambunctious
In a way, it really hasn’t changed that much!  I’ve always focused on the eyes.  In high school, I wore a shimmery lavender eyeshadow and in college, my go-to look was a bare lid with a swipe of metallic black liquid liner (found the exact Physician’s Formula one I used to have here).  It wasn’t until my late ’20s that I started using shadow again daily, and thanks to blogs and YouTube, discovered new application methods like using 3 different shadows on the lid to create dimension. Shadow, liner, and mascara still feel most like makeup “home”!

SUNNY | Belgium | Mostly Sunny Blog
I got into makeup with the hype of the original Urban Decay Naked palette. I was introduced to wonderful inventions like eyeshadow primer and gel liner at around the same time, so for quite a while eye makeup was all I wanted to wear. Then at some point, I discovered the joy of bright lipsticks and I haven’t really looked back since! I still do different looks for the blog, but in real life, my signature look would be neutral eyeshadows, winged liner, and a bright lip! It doesn’t have to be a full-on opaque formula, but it’s probably bright!

LILY | Malaysia | Chloe Ash
When I first started, I was all about the sheer nude lip. I was really bad at eye makeup so I learned and practised every day. Now, I’m more experimental. I love my smokey eyes of different shades, but I’ve always been a neutral girl at heart. So all different shades of brown and taupe it is. Recently, I love a clean flawless base, liquid liner for a small cat eye flick and a bold lip – orange, coral, dark reds and berries. I think when I get bored, I’ll change again. That’s why makeup is fun!

bisc-vol7-authors

AGATA | USA | Her and Makeup
My makeup style has changed dramatically over the last years. I used to be a one shadow, one blush, one lipstick kind of girl. I kept my makeup simple and neutral, wearing the same makeup every day. Over the years, my makeup skills have improved and I learnt more about using products and applying them to my advantage. With the improved makeup skills, I also started to be more adventurous in terms of colors. Although neutrals are still my favorites, I have no problem wearing a pink or blue eyeshadow, rocking a red lip or a purple blush.

ALICE | Belgium | Alice Yeh
Looking back at old pictures, I spy a face generously dusted in bronzer and eyes lined with liquid eyeliner from top to bottom. Now I’ve learnt to embrace my features – the good and bad ones. Bronzers are now used light-handed and eyeliners are kept very thin with a flick tailored to the shape of my eyes. Oh, and I ditched the eyeliner on the bottom waterline altogether – I look so much fresher and natural now. Make-up mishaps are part of the journey so never stop experimenting, and embrace foremost the beauty you were born with.

LENA | USA | Lenallure
I’ve enjoyed refined and posh makeup styles for many years. I am not really into difficult techniques or something that requires too much time, etc. To me, a makeup style has to be simple and practical to function for me. For that, mine hasn’t really changed in concept. Color wise though, I used to sport purple/blue smoky eyes with light pink/nude lips almost everyday, but now I prefer light neutral smoky with bright lips. Also, lately I’m keenly interested in natural luminous base.

JAA | Thailand | Hello Jaa
I only started wearing “real” makeup 4 years ago! Before that, it was only a bit of mascara and sheer tinted lip balm. In 2010, I began experimenting with neutral eye makeup, sheer blush, and soft pink lips to create my very own “minimal” makeup look. When I started Hello Jaa in 2013, I became more adventurous with colors. I probably wear neutral eyes as much as I wear smokey eyes nowadays. I also like to experiment with foundation and concealer. Lip color still remains in the nude, pink and coral zones, though! I rarely wear bold lips unless I’m going out to a party!

Leila Lou by Rosie Jane perfume roll-on review | Spring pears & summer loves

Friday, May 8, 2015

by rosie jane natural organic review

The product: by Rosie Jane Leila Lou perfume oil roll on

May has been, eight days in, a crazy month for me. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster of ups and downs and crying jags, but as it settles into itself, I can’t help but think about how lucky I am to have been able to experience as much as I have this year and have still come out whole and happy on the other side.

While my fixation of the day right now is actually Osmia Organics Juniper Fire (it smells literally mind-blowingly sexy on my boyfriend*), it’s Leila Lou that’s gotten me through the month.

by rosie jane Leila Lou perfume oil review

Leila Lou opens with crisp pear on a sun-drenched bed of white flowers, and it sweeps over you like a calming wave of optimism. Blended from essential oils, the roll on is the main feature of the Leila Lou line, and it’s perfect for travelling with you through the day — it looks just as chic on a marble countertop as it does in a hand-cut leather purse.

That said, though, you’re not necessarily going to need this one to travel with you — I applied it around 2 PM to wear-test for time and could still smell it on my skin by 12 AM, ten hours later.

Notes: pear, jasmine, fresh cut grass

by Rosie Jane perfume review Leila Lou

Photographed here is the roll-on perfume oil, but by Rosie Jane also do an eau de parfum, body lotion, shower gel/bubble bath, and soy candle in the Leila Lou fragrance.

And honestly? I’d recommend this one in an ancillary rather than an eau de parfum — there’s just something about the way that the jasmine plays with the pear notes that would make it so divine as a candle or body lotion.

Leila Lou roll on perfume review

The verdict?

For an easy, beachy spring scent that’ll transition nicely into the summer, consider adding Leila Lou into your perfume arsenal. It’s pretty, affordable, and potent, and a total must-have for pear lovers.

(Of which I absolutely am one. When it comes to fragrances and body products, pear is probably my #1 weakness — but it’s almost impossible to find unless you get into silicone-y body products.)

Availability: $29 USD+ at by Rosie Jane, B.Glowing, and Beauty.com.

Keep reading! »

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