Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bobbi Brown Telluride Collection Shimmer Brick in Sunset Pink Review, Photos and Swatches

For summer 2015 Bobbi Brown wants to take us on vacation to Telluride, Colorado. I have to admit  when I think of summer vacation I don't necessarily think of heading to the mountains (probably because for the majority of my life they have a mere 45 minute drive away), but sure Bobbi - let's do this alpine thing.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Sunset Pink

Inspired by the warm tawny glow of the late afternoon sun in the mountains, the collection focuses around warm, shimmery neutrals. Today I have the Shimmer Brick in Sunset Pink for review ($54.00 CA, LE.)

Sunset Pink is medium peachy-pink highlighter with red undertones and gold shimmer. It has medium to high pigmentation and like all Shimmer Bricks it has a strong metallic finish. Light application for a natural finish is a must with this product! Photos in natural light on NC40 skin.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Sunset Pink

You can't tell from the swatch photo, but this Shimmer Brick packs a punch of metallic shimmer. It has a very strong luminous finish that can easily become overly frosty if application is even remotely heavy. It gives my golden skin tone a peachy sun kissed look that leans on the flushed side. Due to it's fairly strong pigmentation, I would predict this will work better as a luminizing blush for light skintones.

I have a large Shimmer Brick collection, so I pulled a few old releases to see if anything was a dupe for Sunset Pink. Based on how the Shimmer Bricks looked in the pan alone I chose Bronze, Tawny and Brownie for comparison.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks in Sunset Pink, Bronze, Tawny and Brownie.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks in Sunset Pink, Bronze, Tawny and Brownie.

I was convinced that Bronze would be close dupe because the individual strip colours look very similar. Much to my surprize out of the three this was the least similar! Here are some observations based on my swatches:

1. Bronze (P): Much more golden with no pink or peach undertones.  When compared side-by-side with Sunset Pink, Bronze is cooler and ashier.

2. Tawny (LE): Fairly similar in terms of pigmentation with the same medium dark pink tone but lacks any peachiness.The other major difference is Tawny has a silver shimmer.

3. Brownie (LE): A deep plummy rose-brown which runs darker than Sunset Pink and has silver rather than gold shimmer.

Sunset Pink lasts all day on my combination skin with slight fading by the end of the day. My big tip for using any of the Shimmer Bricks is to finish the face with MAC Fix+ or any other makeup finishing mist. I find this extra step helps the shimmer particles mesh with the skin so they look more luminous and less glittery/frosty.

Overall a nice product which certainly recalls the type of healthy flush you might have at the end of a long sunny day of hiking.

Grade: A


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

BECCA x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop Shimmering Skin Perfector Review, Swatches & Photos

Let's talk about hype - you know the kind where every blogger is ranting and raving about a certain product to the extent that it sells out practically before it hits the shelves and causes websites to crash and burn upon launching. Well there was that type of excitement about the BECCA x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector collaboration Champagne Pop (LE, $46.00 CA). Of course, Jaclyn Hill is a famous YouTube beauty blogger with over 1 million subscribers, who is known for her full face glamorous makeup looks and bubbly personality.

Full admission - I don't follow Jaclyn Hill on YouTube, I actually just stumbled upon her recently and while doing that happened to see one of her videos where she talked about her BECCA collaboration. I'm a huge highlighter aficionado and I love BECCA's Shimmering Skin Perfectors so that predilection alone made me want this product! So let me preface this review by stating that I did not buy Champagne Pop because of Jaclyn Hill's name but bought it because I'm hardcore highlighter junkie and I was curious as to whether it would live up to the hype. 

BECCA x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop

Champagne Pop comes in a bronze-gold bubble embossed box with Jaclyn Hill's signature featured on the front. The packing of the product itself is in standard BECCA packaging. Champagne Pop is described as a "soft white gold with peachy pink undertones" - the only thing I would add to that description is that it is a mid tone highlighter as it is neither very light or dark. Photos in natural light on NC40 skin.

BECCA x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop (heavy swatch left, sheer swatch right)

Champagne Pop is silky smooth and buttery to the touch. As it is very highly pigmented, a light touch is necessary unless you are going for a strong metallic look. It applies and blends well and lasts on my combination skin all day. I don't own all the shades of the pressed Shimmering Skin Perfectors, but I would say based on my experience Champagne Pop performs as well as any other in the range.

I think a big pro for this product is that it's medium tone makes it wearable across a large spectrum of skin tones. I know Jaclyn Hill designed this shade with that purpose in mind and I commend her for achieving that. The only con I can think of (besides the price point) is that Champagne Pop's colour is not that unique. Many bloggers have pointed out that it is very similar to the Balm's Mary Loumanizer and BECCA's Opal. And while side-by-side swatches of these products reveal visible differences in colour, I feel that when sheerly applied on the face these differences would be negligible at best.

To address the topic of the price point, all of BECCA's pressed Shimmering Skin Perfectors all retail for $46.00 CA for 8.0 grams of product. Though this is definitely on the expensive side, a little of this product goes a very long way and as such this product will last a very long time.

So does Champagne Pop live up to the hype? In my opinion this is a beautiful, well formulated highlighter that is very nice to have but not absolutely necessary, particularly if you already have a good highlighter collection. If you are looking for an excellent highlighter and this is still available, and you aren't sticker shy, then by all means pick it up! I wager you will not be disappointed. Champagne Pop is exclusive to Sephora, it is currently listed as out of stock online but may be available in-store.

Grade: A

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hello lovelies! We hope you're having a wonderful summer or winter, depending on the hemisphere you're in. We're in the northern hemisphere, of course, where it's deep in the heart of summer. Before heading out into the sunshine, it's time to share some of the beauty stuff we've curated for this week.

Let's do this.
  • Treat this with a healthy dose of skepticism, but here are some makeup looks that allegedly look better when you're sweaty.
  • Another summer and yet another collection of makeup products that are supposed to withstand heat, humidity, oil and sweat.
  • There is nothing wrong with looking "old", but there are some makeup looks and techniques that might make you look older than you are. There's nothing at all wrong with looking older than you are, but you might want to be aware of these anyway.
  • Foundation adaptors: what they are and why you might need them.
  • How to flare your lashes - a mascara application technique that gives you fan-like lashes.
  • Pregnant women have different beauty concerns than non-pregnant women. Here's some advice from an expecting Glamour beauty editor.
  • Beauty products that work while you sleep - very low effort required from you!
  • Tips for thicker lashes.
  • Have you ever thought about lightening your eyebrows? Here's how.
  • Non-toxic nail polish brands you should know about.
  • Beauty tools that look like they belong in an adults-only store.
  • Five wild and quirky new beauty innovations.
  • Take a look through Charlotte Tilbury's handbag.
  • Here are new sunscreen rules that you need to know about.
  • Vogue editors share their sunscreen picks.
  • Have you ever tried a salt spray in your hair? They give your hair that salt-water, air-dried, messy, scrunchy, beachy texture and it's a perfect look for summer. Here are some of the best salt sprays on the market.
  • The best dry shampoos, as voted on by the public.
  • Thinking of switching your hair colour up? Here's how to find the best colour for you. 
  • One woman's experience with hair loss

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Body Shop Vitamin E Eyes Cube Review, Photos and Swatches

I don't typically shop at The Body Shop, but I recently was in a mall and in need of some new skincare, so I popped in to see what was new and happening. Naturally, I left with a new facial moisturizer, an eye cream, and a new facial cleanser, as well as a free tub of body butter. 

This post is about the eye cream that I picked up, the Vitamin E Eyes Cube. It's a new product from The Body Shop, and a stout, pink, twist-up tube emblazoned with the Union Jack. To be honest, that's partly why I bought it. I'm a sucker for the Union Jack. But enough about the packaging, what's inside?

Inside the little tube is a solid, unscented product that twists up like a deodorant or lip balm. It's light pink in colour, creamy to the touch and has a few light sparkles in it. You apply it directly to your under eye area from the tube.

The active ingredient is wheatgerm oil, a source of vitamin E. The full ingredient list is as follows: Aqua/Water/Eau (Solvent), Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane (Skin Conditioning Agent - Humectant), Sodium Stearate (Surfactant), Butylene Glycol (Humectant), Propanediol (Viscosity Modifier), Methoxy PEG-10 (Humectant), PEG-150 (Humectant), Glycerin (Humectant), Synthetic Fluorphlogopite (Viscosity Increasing Agent), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Caprylyl Glycol (Skin Conditioning Agent), Tocopheryl Acetate (Antioxidant), Myristamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate (Skin Conditioning Agent), PEG-12 Dimethicone (Skin Conditioning Agent), Citric Acid (pH Adjuster), Polysorbate 60 (Surfactant), Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Ultraviolet Light Absorber), Triticum Vulgare Germ Oil/Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil (Emollient), Glycine Soja Oil/Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil (Emollient/Skin Conditioner), Mica (Opacifying Agent), CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide (Colorant), CI 77491/Iron Oxides (Colorant).

The Body Shop's instructions for application are to slide the Eyes Cube along your under eye, from the inner corner to the outer corner and then dabbing the product into the skin with your ring finger. The warmth of your skin helps to soften the product so that it adheres. Dabbing it helps it to absorb, which doesn't take long at all, even if you've applied more than one swipe worth. 

I prefer to use this in the morning, as it's not too heavy and works well under makeup. It's a little too light for my tastes for use overnight, even in the summer when I go lighter with my moisturizer. The sparkles visible in the product are hardly noticeable once it's on my skin so even if you don't wear anything on top of it, don't fret about the glitter. I'm not sure why it's even been included though. 

It's easy to apply, and very portable. I like the tiny size.

I can see this working well on other parts of the body, say the cuticles, though you should never use the same product on both your eye area and another body part at the same time. Keep them separate!

The Body Shop Vitamin E Eyes Cube costs $15 CDN, which for an eye treatment is not very expensive at all. 

In summary, it's small, it's easy to use, it's effective and it's not expensive.

You can find it online at or in Body Shop stores.

Grade: A

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for Sunday, July 19

Hello and Happy Sunday to you.

Here are the beauty links in the Beauty Squared Round-up this week:

  • Want to make your lips look bigger with a few little makeup tricks? Here's your step-by-step.
  • Beyonce's makeup artist Sir John talks about which order makeup should be applied (eyes before base!).
  • Seven things you probably didn't know about your eyelashes.
  • From GQ Magazine, food to eat for better skin (men and women can benefit from this list).
  • Nude as a colour for makeup, or clothing, works for oh, 20% of the population, but it's definitely most frustrating if your skintone falls nowhere near the colour spectrum nude products are in. Here's how to get nude lips if your skin is dark.
  • Step-by-step tutorial on concealing a pimple.
  • Beauty habits you should really be invested in (drink water, wash your brushes, exfoliate, etc).
  • Ingrown hairs and how to prevent them.
  • Do you pick your cuticles? Stop. Right now.
  • Here's a beauty idea if you're not interested in a natural look - typography-inspired eyebrows.
  • Jane of Daly Beauty talks about some of the best sunscreens you can currently get for sexy, protected skin. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Makeup Revolution Iconic 2 Palette Review, Photos and Swatches

When I was in Scotland recently, I stopped at Superdrug on Edinburgh's Princes Street and picked up a bunch of makeup. There are brands in the UK that do great dupe products and I wanted to see what I could find. Here's one of the eyeshadow palettes I bought, the Makeup Revolution Iconic 2 Palette. It's a dupe for the Urban Decay Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palette and cost £4. The Urban Decay Naked palettes retail for $64 CDN. 

I do not own the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette, so I can't do a swatch-by-swatch analysis. Here is a video comparing all three Iconic palettes and all three Naked palettes. The comparison of the Iconic 2 and the Naked 2 palettes is at the 4:30 mark

But here are my swatches of the Iconic 2 palette, on NW15 skintone. 

The Makeup Revolution eyeshadows do not have names but I'll number them for you (1-12). 

There are mostly shimmery shades in this palette, but there are a few shades that are more matte. It's a good blend of cooler-toned neutral shades, ranging from a light champagne tones to a deep, dark black. 

Here are close-up of the eyeshadow swatches starting from the far left and going two at a time.

Shade #1 is barely noticeable on my skin. It's a matte yellow-beige with a touch of peach to it and similar to MAC's Brule. It has good pigmentation, soft and blendable but is drier than the shimmery shades.

Shade #2 is the Makeup Revolution dupe for Urban Decay's popular shade Half-Baked. The Makeup Revolution shade is a golden copper shade, with lots of shimmer. It's soft and creamy but slightly sheer.

Shade #3 is subtly shimmery shade, a golden-champagne with a touch of peach that would work well as a highlighter shade. This eyeshadow has a beautiful texture, creamy and smooth. 

Shade #4 is shimmery copper-gold shade, with a soft texture and good pigmentation but like Shade #2 it's slightly sheer. 

Shade #5 is a taupe matte shade with a bit of mauve to it that suffers from a dry texture. It's usable, certainly, but may require a bit of effort to build up. 

Shade #6 is a shimmery bronze-gold and it is probably one of the most pigmented shades in the palette. A really beautiful eyeshadow. 

Shade #7 is champagne-bronze shade, with good pigment and a soft texture. Another beautiful shade. 

Shade #8 is a beautiful muted gunmetal silver with a bit of brown to it. Beautifully shimmery and creamy. I think this might be my favourite shade in the palette.

Shade #9 is a lighter shade that would make a good highlighter. It's a shimmery champagne colour but with pink and silver to it. Gorgeous texture.

Shade #10 is a stunning shade that's a cool, muted rose-gold. Creamy and pigmented.

Shade #11 is a softly metallic mauve-brown with only OK pigmentation but a creamy finish and texture. 

Shade #12 is a basic black that is almost matte but it does have a creamy texture and there's a slight sheen to it as a result. 

From the research I've done, the eyeshadows in the Iconic 2 palette do resemble those in the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette quite closely for the most part, so if you're not inclined to spend $64 CDN for a Naked 2 palette, are in the UK or visiting the UK, and would like a decent cool-toned eyeshadow palette, you should definitely check out the Makeup Revolution Iconic 2 palette. 

Here's a look I did using five of the Iconic 2 shades. 

First, I applied shade #1 lightly all over my lid, then shade #5 through my crease for definition. Next I quite heavily applied a combination of shade #9 and shade #3 onto my lid. 

I used the darkest shade, #12 through my crease, and along my top lashline and blended it out using the same brush I'd used on my lid, so it was sheered out and shimmery. I used an angle brush to smudge #12 along my upper lashline and then applied shade #4 along my lower lashline. 

I like this palette and think it's well worth the £4 I paid for it. I find I wear flatter shades much more than shimmery shades, and this palette is mostly shimmery, but I'll get some use out of it, for sure. The combination of neutral shades makes it easy to wear for many skin tones, and will create a variety of looks from subtle to dramatic. 

You can find Makeup Revolution products online on their website here.

Grade: B 

Monday, July 13, 2015

MAC Face + Body Foundation Review, Photos and Swatches

Not a new product alert! MAC's Face + Body Foundation is not a new product, and it doesn't get a lot of attention, but it's well worth knowing about. I am seriously in love with this foundation. Honestly, it may be the only one I wear for the rest of my life!

Face + Body has been around for a long time, but at the beginning it was a Pro product, and only available at MAC Pro stores. As you might be able to guess from the name, it was designed specifically for makeup artists and can be used on the face and the body. But it's now not just a Pro product and available online and in stores to anyone who wants it. 

It was a bit ahead of the times, being one of the very first foundations on the market that actually looked like skin when applied. Now, particularly with the advent of high definition televisions and cameras, there are many to choose from (Make Up For Ever's HD Foundation is one to check out). Face + Body can still be found in many a makeup artist's kit. Can you imagine/remember a time when foundation looked like a layer of product on the face and that was acceptable? Well, it's still not the case in many instances on the internet but for those of us who still want skin to look like skin but better, there are still options out there. For those of us who want (or need) that hyper-artificial skin look, you know what to do! 

Face + Body is a light to medium foundation with a very fluid consistency that thickens as you apply it. It has a very dewy finish, is waterproof and lasts very well on normal to dry skin (less so on oilier skin types). It comes in 13 shades, but they're not shades that most of the other MAC foundations (and concealers) fall under (NC - neutral cool and NW - neutral warm, 15-55 - light to dark). The C and W codes relate to the undertones - cool = yellow and warm = pink. But for Face + Body the shades are coded as N (neutral) and C (cool) shades and the undertones (yellow and pink) are stronger. The 13 shades it comes in are N1, N2, N3, N5, N7 and N9, C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6 and C7.

In most of MAC's foundations and concealers I wear a NW15, the second lightest neutral warm shade, but in Face + Body I wear C1, the lightest cool (yellow) shade. Each time I try a new base product (foundation or concealer) at MAC, I test it on my skin, and yes, these are accurate shades. The NW15 works on me, and the C1 works on me, despite it being cooler and more yellow than the NW15 products. Go figure, and goes to show you how you should try shades on before buying if possible. Have a MAC makeup artist help you.

Face + Body comes in two sizes, the 50 mL bottle (1.7 US fl. oz.) and the 120 mL bottle (4 US fl. oz.). The 50 mL bottle costs $32 CDN and the 120 ML bottle is $42 CDN. 

Face + Body ingredients are photographed above. 

The bottle is squeezable, and comes with a built-in nozzle that allows for easy distribution and control. As mentioned earlier, this is a very fluid product, more fluid than most liquid foundations I've tried (L'Oreal Paris Magic Nude Liquid Powder and Hourglass Cosmetics Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation are similar in texture). It's slightly thicker than water. What's also notable about the texture of Face + Body is that if you use your fingers to work it into your skin, you'll notice that the consistency thickens and gets less slippery. You can actually feel it settling into your skin. You can use a brush or a sponge to apply Face + Body but this texture change is most noticeable if you use your fingers. This is when I know to start to stop my blending. It's still blendable after this texture change and you can still apply more if you need to, it's just less slippery and you're tugging at your skin more than is necessary if you continue to blend it.

At about the 4:48 mark in this Lisa Eldridge video featuring MUA Mary Greenwell, you can see how she applies Face + Body Foundation, by massaging it into the skin of the model. 

Here it is on me. I apply a thin layer all over my face, focusing on the center and blending outward, and then going over any areas that need a bit more coverage. 

I like the dewy finish so I only powder areas of my face that tend to get excessively shiny and those where I've applied concealer to help set it. So mainly, I powder the centre of my face - forehead, sides of my nose and chin, and under my eyes. 

Face + Body applies beautifully, and even better on top of a primer. This is a foundation that needs and appreciates a bit of time and attention. It applies best for me when I use my fingers or a sponge, or a combination of the two. The dewy finish dries but not entirely, making it easy to apply cream products like blush, bronzer and highlighter on top of it.

The yellow in the C1 Face + Body helps to counter the redder areas of my skin and it's not overly yellow, as you can see. Since my skin is combination, I like wearing foundations that give me a dewy finish since my skin is going to be shiny eventually anyway. And as I get older, glowing skin makes me look younger. Face + Body fades a bit on me, but lasts about 12 hours. 

I have yet to try a foundation that I love more than Face + Body. I love how it looks on my skin (like skin!), the glow it gives my appearance, how it wears (all day!), and how it feels on my skin (almost as if I've got nothing on). 

I have not tried Face + Body on any body parts apart from my face (and neck). It doesn't set so it will transfer onto clothing without a good setting powder, though I can see this being useful if I was wearing an open neckline for a special occasion. Definitely not for everyday though.

If you're in the market for a new foundation and have not tried Face + Body, don't overlook this tried and trusted one.

Grade: A