Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Conditioning Cleansers and Pantene Cleansing Conditioner, Colour Preserve Review

If you've had cable TV over the last few years you've probably seen the infomercials for Wen, the conditioning hair cleanser line. Finally, the drugstore brands have started to roll out their own versions, so you'll be seeing them on the shelves soon, if they're not already.

A cleansing conditioner is just what it sounds like - a conditioner that cleanses. With all the talk these days about not washing your hair every day, a cleansing conditioner makes it easy to skip the shampoo. Shampoo can be filled with harsh chemicals, drying and irritating your hair and your scalp, and the natural oils of your hair are actually good for your hair, yet it can be difficult to go without it as when unwashed, hair can look oily, hang limply, and feel heavy. Cleansing conditioners can make your hair look just as clean as shampoo does, but without drying or irritating. They are conditioners, so they are very conditioning. Which is all good for helping to maintain your colour and chemical-treated hair, and encourage your natural curl.

Plus, it's two products in one, so it will likely save you some money. 

Cleansing conditioners are especially good for people with dry hair, those with thick hair, and those with curly hair. But anyone can use cleansing conditioners. Depending on your hair type, you might find that you can't use just a cleansing conditioner all the time. You should still use shampoo to do a reset on your hair. Shampoo will get rid of any product build-up and depending on your hair, you might want to do it every few days, or once a week or perhaps once a month.

I picked up a bottle of Pantene's Cleansing Conditioner (part of their Colour Preserve line) recently. It cost me about $10 and comes in a 500 mL pump bottle. 

The consistency is quite thick, more like a conditioning mask than a conditioner and the directions say to use 3-4 pumps each time. If your hair is thick, you may need more. It doesn't lather like a shampoo, and you really have to work it into your hair, down to your roots. That massaging motion will help to lift the oil and residue from your scalp and work the conditioner into your hair. The directions also say to leave the conditioner on for a few minutes after massaging. It's tingly and refreshing but not like I've experienced with say the Body Shop's Ice Blue shampoo. It's not an intense sensation. 

The aroma is quite nondescript but not unpleasant. Sort of sweet and slightly minty, and not unlike the scent of most drugstore hair products.

I've been using the Cleansing Conditioner for a week now. I've washed my hair with shampoo three times, twice without really feeling the need to, and once to get rid of a lot of styling product that I'd had in my hair the day before. I've tried the trick of washing my hair with conditioner in the past, really massaging it into my scalp, with varying success. Sometimes it works and my roots aren't overly greasy, and other times it doesn't work to clean my hair much at all. But using this Cleansing Conditioner, I don't need to use shampoo everyday. My hair looks and feels clean, with the added bonus of being softer and more manageable. I think that a cleansing conditioner is one of those products that improves your hair over time, so one week isn't going to show much difference. I will continue to use it and see if I like it, but so far so good. I've never been able to really go without washing my hair with shampoo before and this has allowed me to, for the first time. 

My hair is on the fine side of normal and it easily can look flat. I find that the Pantene Cleansing Conditioner, despite being heavy, rinses away and doesn't leave my hair looking weighed down. I'm able to use my regular styling products afterwards without any ill effect as well.

I colour my hair red about every 5-6 weeks, and red hair colour fades very quickly. Shampooing speeds up this process. With longer use, I hope to see that the Cleansing Condition helps to maintain my colour longer. 

One quibble I have is with the size of the bottle. If you're using 3-4 pumps or more for each use, it won't take long at all to get through 500 mL of packaging. I'd happily pay more for a larger size.

In summary, I recommend trying the Pantene Cleansing Conditioner, especially if you have thick hair, dry hair, or chemically-treated hair. Or if you, like me, has wanted to stop shampooing their hair but haven't figured out how to make it work. 

Grade: A

Monday, January 26, 2015

Clarins 3-Dot Liner Review, Swatches and Photos

Considering my extremely large collection of makeup I've accumulated over the years which surveys almost all the major brands (luxury and otherwise), it's extremely rare that I run into a product that is genuinely new to me. Of course, there are always new and better formulations, finishes and countless iterations of established products - but today I have a product that I can honestly say I don't already have a version of.

Clarins' 3-Dot Liner originally launched a few years ago, but it has flown under my radar until recently when I discovered it while perusing the amazing work of professional MUA Robin Black on Beauty is Boring. According to the sales associate that helped me, Clarins has recently updated the formula of the original 3-Dot Liner to be longer lasting.

As it's name suggests, the 3-Dot Liner delivers liquid liner in a 3 dot formation thanks to it's 3 pronged applicator. The formula of liner is a pigmented jet black, with a slightly glossy finish that dries in  20-30 seconds. Clarins 3-Dot Liner is designed to fill in the gaps between your lashes (tight lining), and application could not be easier - you simply dab the applicator as close as possible to your lash line - no extraordinary hand-eye coordination needed!

Below are some before and after photos for your comparison. All photos are taken in natural light. For reference I'm wearing MUFE Full Cover concealer in 8 mixed with MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter in Bright Forecast under eyes and Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Ebony in brows.

No liner

Clarins 3-Dot Liner between lashes

Clarins 3-Dot Liner and Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express 
waterproof mascara in Very Black

Clarins 3-Dot Liner swatched on arm

It should be noted that the liner is fairly liquid, and as you can see on the above swatch on my arm it can bleed slightly if too much product is applied. However, I didn't find this to be much of a problem on my eyes as the skin on the eyelid is smoother and far less textured than skin on the body. I recommend that when applying this to the lash line you allow a few seconds between dabs to ensure you don't get too much wet product on the skin.

As you can see from the before and after photos, the liner really does make a big difference as to the look of the thickness of my lash line. It's precise application allows for a noticeable, and yet natural looking enhancement. Wear time for this product is excellent - I get at least 8 hours of wear without fading. Although this product is not officially waterproof, it is very water resistant and only budges with persistent rubbing when wet. Yesterday I went for a 40 minute run then took a hot shower, making sure to get my face wet (although not rubbing my eyes) and my liner still looked near perfect post shower!

Another big plus for me is this liner never requires sharpening! If you are concerned about the liner (or any liquid liner) drying out, make sure to always tightly cap the liner and store it upside down to avoid tip dry out.

Overall I really love this product, both in terms of concept and execution. Clarins 3-Dot Liner retails for $28.00 CA and also comes in brown. Highly, highly recommended!

Grade: A+

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for January 25, 2015

Hello lovelies!

Hope your Sunday is going well, whether you're out and running errands, or having a quiet afternoon. Thanks for spending some time with Beauty Squared!

  • Cold weather makeup tips - trust that this is a must-read!
  • Retinoids fight wrinkles and smooth the skin and here are the best you can get for under $30.
  • Ever since the BB cream became such a massive hit for so many Western skincare and makeup brands, the beauty world have been keeping their eyes on South Korean beauty trends. One of the latest to make its way over here are sleep masks, which you layer over your serums and moisturizers at night, allowing them to penetrate your skin better.
  • Tips for saving money on beauty products. I know we call could use this advice.
  • Oh, brown-eyed gals, this post is for you.
  • How to conceal dark undereye circles.
  • Twiggy, the iconic supermodel who defined the 1960s, has been signed as the latest face of L'Oreal Professional.
  • If you're a fan of the series Orange is the New Black, you've seen how the characters adapt their beauty regimes to prison life. Real-life former inmate Annie Burchard talks about how she adapted her distinct look after she was incarcerated using things you probably wouldn't have thought you could use for makeup and hair. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Purple and Red Eye-popping FOTD (for glasses-wearers)

One of my favourite eye make-up looks is to wear one (at least) shade on my eyelid and another along my lower lashline. Here's a version I've worn a few times to work lately. 

I've been wearing glasses to work since last year, and it's still unsettling for me. I still don't recognize myself and I still struggle to come up with eye makeup looks. My eyesight is poor meaning my glasses are a strong prescription so my eyes look smaller when I'm wearing them, and because I can't see well without them, putting eye makeup on can be difficult. Liquid/gel eyeliner, for example, is impossible to do properly on my left eye when I'm not wearing my contact lenses. I try to find looks that are simple, flattering and help make my eyes stand out behind my glasses.

Anyway, enough complaining and more about the point of this post. This is a colourful but wearable, simple look that make my eyes pop from behind glasses or not.

Here are some close-ups of my eyes.

The products I used for my base are Make Up For Ever HD Foundation in N115 all over my face, with MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW20 under my eyes as well as on any areas that needed more coverage. I set it all with a combination of Ben Nye Neutral Set and Pari Mineral Glow. My eyes are primed with Art Deco Eyeshadow Base. Even though this stuff does not work on me, I keep trying just in case it might someday because I hate wasting product. I do find that it does allow whatever eyeshadow you apply on top of it be true, in that it gives it a base to adhere to and in doing so, it's exactly the colour it is in the container. What it fails at is keeping it from creasing. In the photo two above, you can see some fading in my eyeshadow crease. I applied (the amazing) Anastasia Dipbrow in Auburn through my brows to fill them in, give them shape, and to alter the colour to match my hair colour better. 

On my eyes I applied MAC's Heritage Rouge (dirty brown plum) pigment to my eyelids, starting in the inner corner, working across the lid and up into my crease blending it out towards my browbone. I also carried it out into a winged shape on the outside of my eyes.

I kept applying it until I got the effect I wanted. Along my lower lashline, I smudged L'Oreal Paris Infallible in Purple Obsession. The more I blended, the less purple it looked, so I kept adding and blending until I got both a soft, smudged effect and the colour I wanted. 

For some more definition along my lashline, I smudged MAC's Embark eyeshadow, a warm matte reddish-brown colour that adds a touch of definition but doesn't compete with either the Heritage Rouge or the Purple Obsession.

I curled my lashes and applied lots of Givenchy Noir Couture Volume Mascara in Black Taffeta.

On my cheeks I applied a combination of MAC's Stunner and Warmth of Coral blushes to give my skin some colour and to keep it soft so it didn't compete with my eyes.

And for a final touch, I dusted my skin all over with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light, which gives the skin a light glow, and blurs imperfections. 

On my lips, I'm wearing just a sheer lip balm. It's not that I wouldn't and don't wear a lip colour with this look, though I do (usually a MLBB shade). My lips have been chapped and dry lately and lip balm is about the only thing I can wear on them. 

And there you have it - my colourful, my-eyes-are-still-here-behind-these-glasses, fun and simple.

- C.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for January 18, 2015

Hello and a very happy Sunday to you, wherever you are in the world!

Let's dig in.

  • Starting with a bang: XOVain's Alle tries three lipstick looks popular on Instagram. See her results here.
  • Can you change your skintone? A dermatologist weighs in.
  • Do you have chapped lips? The chapped lip undo is for you.
  • You've got to love a DIY blemish treatment that will only cost you about $10.
  • If you have fair eyelashes, here's a mascara tip for you: how to apply mascara to the tops of your eyelashes.
  • Something for everyone here: low-maintenance haircuts for every hair texture.
  • Here are some beauty hacks from last weekend's Golden Globes red carpet.
  • Remember the 100 Years of Beauty video from a few weeks ago? Here's another, featuring looks from the 1910s to the 2010s, but this time with a black model.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for January 11, 2015

Hey there lovelies,

Second Sunday of the New Year and how are we all fairing so far? Did you make resolutions? If so, how are they going?

Here's the Beauty Squared Round-Up for Sunday, January 11. There's a lot to share with you so, let's goooooooo!

  • Rae of The Beauty Notice shares her favourites from 2014. If you've got dry and dehydrated skin, you'll find some product recommendations in there.
  • It's the new year, so why not try something new with your makeup look? Fashion Magazine's Beauty Panel share their change-up tips here.
  • Here's another argument for trying something new makeup-wise and tips from Alle of XOVain.
  • And if you typically wear quite a bit of makeup, for the new year why not try a fresh-faced look like Nic of Pixiwoo which she demonstrates here?
  • If you're experiencing cold, dry weather where you are right now, you're likely noticing changes to your skin and hair. Here are some helpful links.
    • Paste Magazine's round-up of natural beauty products for winter.
    • Your grandma probably used to use them (maybe still does!), and here's why you should take a look at cold creams if you're skin is dry and dehydrated.
    • You might need to rethink your makeup to suit the weather too. Here are some tips on winterizing your look.
  • Some more natural beauty treatments:
  • MUA and beauty blogger Lelo shares part one of her journey to clear up her acne.
  • Gray eyeliner: why you should wear it.
  • Tips for becoming blonde and maintaining it.
  • How to keep your undereye concealer from creasing.
  • A look at a new mascara coming from L'Oreal - Miss Manga Punky Mascara. It allows you to sculpt your lashes into shapes!
  • Fashion designer Victoria Beckham has collaborated with Nails Inc. on two nail polish shades to coincide with her Spring/Summer 2015 collection.
  • Red lipstick - Growing Up Meant Learning How To Wear Red Lipstick.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for January 4, 2015

Hello and a Happy New Year to you! How has 2015 been treating you so far?

Here's this week's round-up of beauty-ful links.