Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Auburn Review, Photos and Swatches


This is a product I didn't intend to blog about, since it's one of those basic products, and therefore, not terrible exciting and I was also distracted at the time I bought it and it honestly didn't cross my mind to. And then I used it for awhile and now I realize it's something you should know about, so here's my review of Anastasia Beverly Hill's Dipbrow Pomade (in Auburn). 

Anastasia Beverly Hills is a beauty company that focuses on eyebrows, and bless them for that! They've got pretty much everything you could possibly need for beautiful brows and they're available at Sephora in Canada (and online).



Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomades are a newish product and they've gained near-cult status among beauty bloggers. The Dipbrow Pomades are described as "Creamy, waterproof brow colour ideal for defining and sculpting precise, smudge-free brows." They come in nine shades - Ash Brown, Auburn, Blonde, Caramel, Dark Blonde, Ebony, Granite, Soft Brown and Taupe. The Dipbrows come in 0.14 oz glass pots and cost about $23 CDN. 


The Dipbrow Pomade shades are all matte and ashy, which is exactly what you want in a brow colour. Of course, if you want a statement brow, go for shimmer and sheen and vibrant shades, but for natural brows, stick with matte and ashy shades. By ashy, I mean colours that have grey to them, muting the intensity of the colour. Brow shades should be ashy in order to look natural. That's (probably) the only makeup product you want to look ashy. 

If you've struggled with finding a product to fill in and define your brows that doesn't fade or smudge, this if worth checking out. A little goes a very long way and it requires careful application, but this little pot will last you a long, long time. 

The photographs of my Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Auburn were taken about four months after I bought it, and I've used it almost every day since then, yet I've used not even a 1/8 of it. 

See:

I'll share with you how I use my Dipbrow Pomade, but here are some other people use it.

Eyebrows with Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade (you'll want to turn the subtitles on for this one): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olGW92DiJ0s

All About Brow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYUgnkI7_Vk

How to Fill in Brows http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G18vN1jjS54

The Dipbrow Pomade is a gel/cream hybrid and they are very, very pigmented. You can absolutely make this work for you if you're wanting a softer, more subtle look as well as if you want a dramatic statement brow. 

Here's how I do it.

I dip a small angle brush into the product, at a very shallow angle. One scoop usually does it. 


Here's the product on my brush. The other end of the brush has a spoolie that I use to brush my brows into place before applying the Dipbrow Pomade and also after to work the product through the hairs and to reshape my brows. 


I spread the Dipbrow Pomade on the back of my hand, and work it into the brush, focusing on the sides of the brush, not the tip and alternating from one side to the other. I do need it on the tip of the brush, but this way allows for just a little product at the tip of the brush. 


Using the sides of the brush, I apply the Dipbrow Pomade gently, starting at the bottom of the hairs and sweeping up. My main goal for using brow products is to change the colour so that my brows match my hair colour better and this allows me to paint my brow hairs with the Dipbrow Pomade. Coating the hairs with Dipbrow also gives them a richer and thicker appearance, making my brows look fuller. Even if I was using a Dipbrow Pomade in a shade that matches my natural brow hairs exactly, I'd use this application technique. 

Dipbrow Pomade dries quite quickly so you should work quickly applying it, and start with a little, adding as you go, because it's challenging to remove once it dries. I find that the Dipbrow Pomade acts a bit like a brow gel too since it dries and ends up holding my brow hairs in place. 

In the photo below, my brows have a natural, unruly appearance. I've been embracing a natural look for awhile now. I should note, too, that my camera seems to make brow products I've used look much more orange than they do in real life as well. If you compare the swatch in the photo above with the orangey parts of my brow below, they don't look like the same product. 

Trust me, my brows don't look orange in real life. Silly camera.


Here's another photo of me with the Dipbrow on. Still slightly orangey, but less so than above. You can see how it helps to tie my brows in with my hair colour. 


And another, in natural light. 


On me, the Dipbrow Pomade lasts until I take it off. I've noticed no fading or smudging, which is pretty exceptional as my skin is quite oily and most makeup fades on me after wearing for some time. 

Since I use my hand as a palette when applying it, there's always a stain after I've finished applying my makeup. Even with soap and water, it lingers, and I actually have to use my fingernail to scratch at it in order to remove it if I'm in a hurry. 

I use an oil cleanser to remove my eye makeup at night and that does the trick as well. 

I've been thinking that I might get a Dipbrow Pomade that matches my natural brow colour so I can draw in tiny brow hairs for a more natural, full brow appearance. Then use the Auburn on top to alter the colour.

I highly, highly recommend checking out the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomades if you're looking for a new brow product. 

You can find them online at Sephora.com or in Sephora stores. The Anastasia Beverly Hills website is here if you'd like to learn more about the brand and their products. 

Grade: A

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cabaret Nail Polish Review, Photos and Swatches


I don't think people should have to explain anything.
For example, if I should paint my fingernails green, 
And it just so happens I do paint them green, Well, if anyone should ask me why,
I say: I think it's pretty! "I think it's pretty, " I reply.
- Sally Bowles, 'Cabaret'

Cabaret is one of my favourite musicals and when the chance arose to see it while in New York recently, I jumped at the chance. It's currently starring the incredible Alan Cumming as the Emcee and Sienna Miller as Sally Bowles and being performed at the famed Studio 54. As excited as I was to see the production, I was delighted when I realized that I could get a bottle of Sally Bowles-green nail polish as a souvenir. 

I love green nail polish. I have eight bottles of green polish right now, and this makes nine. But it's the official Sally Bowles green nail polish, so that makes it extra special.


It's a tiny, tiny bottle. The Cabaret logo is on one side, and the Roundabout Theatre (the company putting on the production) logo is on the other side. 


This nailpolish has the tiniest brush which makes it a little tricky to apply, at least for me.



The formula of the polish is quite thin, so in combination with the thin brush, it was a bit tough to apply. The colour though, is stunning. It's a deep green with flecks of silver and gold and it's such a sophisticated colour.

Christopher Isherwood described Sally's nails as being painted emerald green: "I noticed that her finger-nails were painted emerald green, a colour unfortunately chosen, for it called attention to her hands, which were much stained by cigarette smoking and as dirty as a little girl's."

The onscreen and onstage Sallys haven't always worn an emerald green. I've seen photos of Liza Minnelli's Sally, Natasha Richardson's Sally, and Sienna Miller's Sally and their green nails varied in shade from more of a kelly green or apple green to a deep, dark green. 

This one is close to what Isherwood described. I'd call this an emerald green, and it's laced through with shimmery metallic.

Here it is on my nails. And here you can also see how tiny the bottle is. 





I did three coats of polish since the formula is very thin and the thin brush made it challenging to apply. Since the formula is so thin, I had to work quickly and the thin brush made it challenging. However, the final effect is very glossy, and it wore well. It's a sophisticated green, so even though it's green, it works for daytime and the office (depending on office dress code). 

While the bottle is tiny, I bet I'll finish the bottle before it dries out, unlike all of my other nail polishes. Maybe all nail polish should come in this size of bottle?

It strikes me that this shade may have been considered edgy back in the 1930s when Sally Bowles was created, but today, it's pretty tame by comparison. When I first saw it I thought "This isn't a Sally Bowles green." Then I saw Isherwood's description and it is indeed a Sally Bowles green. If Sally existed or was created today, I imagine she'd wear an acid green on her nails. 

Still, this green is a wonderful addition to my green nail polish collection and a perfect memento of a great stage production. 

Grade: B

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for March 22, 2015

Helllllooooooo! Haaaaaappy Sunday to yoooooou!

It's rrrrrrrrrrround up time! (Do I sound like I'm trying to sell you something? Or like I'm announcing a truck rally?)

Here are your links this week.


  • Urban Outfitters has been increasing its beauty selection. Here are some of the best picks from what they offer. It is important to note though, that the President and CEO of Urban Outfitters, which is also the parent company of Anthropologie and Free People brands, among others, may not be the type of person you want to support the businesses of.
  • Korean beauty. You've heard of it. We've talked about it here. Into the Gloss features a visit to Gangnam's beauty district (think of it like Fifth Avenue in Manhattan or Yorkville in Toronto). (Oh, and I'm sorry I just probably gave you a Gangnam Style earworm).
  • Eva Mendes has a new makeup line out called Circa and it's not expensive!
  • Speaking of inexpensive, here's a "no makeup" makeup look put together using just (American) drugstore products.
  • Did you know that there are skincare ingredients you shouldn't mix? And that there are some that work really well together? Here are some Dos and Don'ts of mixing and matching your skincare products.
  • There's been a lot of talk in the beauty world about properly cleaning your skin - washing your face twice with two different products, and using cleansing brushes. Here's one woman's routine that gets her a truly clean face every day.
  • Napoleon Perdis shows how to conceal dark undereye circles - using multiple products.
  • If you're not a makeup artist or beauty junkie/blogger, makeup brushes might be a bit intimidating - what do they do?, why do I need this one?, how do I use it? This Refinery 29 post might help you.
  • How frequently do you clean your hair brushes? It's probably not enough. Here's how to.
  • Looking for an on-trend (ie. 90s-esque) makeup look? This one is easy, can be dramatic or subtle, and uses only one product.
  • Eyeliner looks for your eye shape (hooded, mono, downturned, round). Fun, and dramatic. Love this!
  • Speaking of eyeliner for hooded lids, Sam of Pixiwoo did this fantastic tutorial with helpful tips on how to do dramatic liner when your lids don't allow you to draw a straight line. This is a great look for those who have hooded lids, and for those who don't. I highly recommend taking a look. 


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Renee and Uma, Makeup and Plastic Surgery

On February 10th, chatter began amongst the celebrity and fashion mags that actress Uma Thurman had pulled a "Renee Zellweger," and appeared on the red carpet with a different face. Jill and I had talked about Renee Zellweger back in October, and now here we were again, talking about plastic surgery, makeup, and what female celebrities face when it comes to their physical appearance. We thought we'd turn our discussion into a blog post, particularly now that it seems that Uma Thurman's "new face" was due to makeup, not a facelift.

What was your reaction when you first saw the photos of Renee Zellweger and then the photos of Uma Thurman, seemingly looking different than what they used to?
Jill: I honestly didn't recognize Renee Zellweger - I thought she looked more like Daryl Hannah or Robin Wright than herself. I was very surprised her facial structure had changed that much, particularly around her eyes which I think are/were the most unique and characteristic feature of her face. I felt a bit sad that she had traded her unique looks for a more Hollywood, generically attractive face.

My reaction to Uma Thurman's "new face" was similar though much less strong. Uma looked like she had some work done, like maybe a face lift, but much less resculpting than Renee. I too felt a little disappointed that she might have had plastic surgery because I've always thought she was so incredibly beautiful. Her eyes looked tighter, more pulled up and smaller to me, as well her cheekbones looked really emphasized although I could tell she had fairly dramatic contouring.

Cath: When I first saw the photos of Renee Zellweger not looking like herself, I reacted with surprise and confusion. I searched the photos for what I could recognize in her face, her body, the way she carried and held herself, the way she tilted her head or smiled. I wasn't sure if I was able to recognize her when she didn't have Renee Zellweger's face.

With Uma, the headlines screamed "Another Renee?" and again, in these photos, I didn't see the woman I would recognize as Uma Thurman. I reacted not so much surprise and confusion as with Renee, but sadness and frustration.

For both women, I looked at old photos, not sure if I believed their faces had been changed with makeup, with plastic surgery or with age. I had to remind myself of how old they were and compare that with how I would expect a woman of their ages to look. Were eyes looking larger? Smoother? Fuller lips?

After the reaction to Renee, I was very hesitant to assume Uma had a new face, but could it really be just her makeup as some of the speculation was? And can we really tell just from looking at photos? Some of the photos of Renee did look like Renee, others didn't at all.

Renee says that the change in her appearance (while not acknowledging that there has been one) is due to a happy life: "I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows." Thoughts?
Jill: I think it's very understandable that Renee doesn't want to discuss how or what she might have done to change her face. And I do believe she changed her face through medical procedures. There is still a double standard in our society where we demand women to look beautiful and young, but are simultaneously judgmental if women pursue "unnatural" or "artificial" means to achieve that standard. We have unrealistic ideals that can only be achieved through artificial means and we ironically value "natural" beauty.

I completely agree that any person should have the right to alter their appearance and that people also have the right to be judged on their character and not on superficial details. However, I also think it's understandable that many people were taken aback by the change in her appearance, which could be described as significant or drastic. We come to identify people we know by their faces and when that changes significantly it confuses our concept of identity. I think this effect is magnified with celebrities because we don't actually know who they are as people, and their "brand" is so dependent on how they look.

Cath: I definitely think that the changes to Renee's face aren't just due to age, health, happiness or love. And I don't judge her for having plastic surgery or Botox or whatever she has had done. She doesn't need to share it with anyone if she doesn't want to. But whatever has been done to her face has changed her appearance completely. She doesn't look like Renee Zellweger anymore. That is also her choice. I don't question my reaction to it though. If I walked into work and one of my coworkers had a new face, I'd react with surprise and confusion too.

Both Renee and Uma were beautiful women, and they both still are. It does makes me sad that Renee has lost what made her distinctively beautiful.

We don't scrutinize appearances of male celebrities like we do female celebrities nor do we hear male celebrities have to defend themselves about changes in their appearance as much as female celebrities. Men aren't asked to discuss their support garments or "walk" their hands down a runway for the mani-cam on the red carpet. After an event, lists are compiled of the best dresses, the best hair and the best makeup looks on the red carpet. Men get "Best Dressed Men" lists, or possibly on lists of "Best Dressed Couples". Women's appearances are itemized, broken down into parts and men are judged on their overall appearance.

It turns out that Uma's change in appearance was mainly due to makeup. She isn't, in fact, unrecognizable in this Today Show interview. How do you feel about your reaction to what seemed to be another actress changing her face completely?

Jill: I was relieved to find out it was just makeup. I could also tell that her contour was very heavy and that the MUA was definitely going for a more editorial look by eliminating things like mascara.

Cath: Even knowing how transformative makeup can be, I was surprised to learn that she hadn't indeed completely changed her appearance. That fascinates me. I know the transformative properties that makeup can have, but Uma wasn't wearing a lot of makeup and still people thought she'd completely changed her appearance. That's incredible and her MUA Tony Surrat gets a high-five from me. Surrat talks to People Magazine about the makeup he used here, if you're interested. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

MAC Bao Bao Wan Beauty Powder in Summer Opal Review, Swatches and Photos

Even for a makeup junkie and blogger/ avid blog reader like me it's hard to keep up with MAC's onslaught of LE releases. I declined buying anything from the past few big recent collections (Lightness of Being, Viva Glam Miley Cyrus and MAC Cinderella etc.), so when the Bao Bao Wan collection started getting good reviews I caved and bought one item, the Summer Opal Beauty Powder (LE $33.00 CA.) 

Photos and swatches in natural light, on NC 35/40 skin.




No one really knows (MAC included it seems) what specific function a Beauty Powder performs, except that it's meant to enhance the face. Some Beauty Powders I've bought in the past can be used all over to brighten the complexion, others have only been suitable as blushes or highlighter. Bao Bao Wan's Summer Opal definitely falls into the highlighter category. It is a soft peachy beige highlighter with fine flecks of gold shimmer throughout. Although it feels a bit dry/firm in the pan, a soft brush will pick up a good amount of product.



MAC Bao Bao Wan Summer Opal Beauty Powder: 
light application with brush (L) and heavy application with finger (R)

As you can see from the above swatch, the gold shimmers are not highly visible on the skin. The frost of the highlighter is quite soft and fine and I did not find this product emphasized uneven skin texture or pores. Summer Opal buffs and blends into the skin effortlessly and it's softness is a nice change from some of the super metallic highlighters on the market.

I found wear time good with slight fading around the 7 hour mark. MAC is competitive with many high end brands on many products, but I feel in the highlighter category they lag significantly behind other brands such as Cle de Peau, Guerlain and even Estee Lauder. Summer Opal Beauty Powder is a nice indication that they can make a good, solid highlighter...now all they have to do is make it permanent!

Grade: B+

P.S: At the time of writing this post, Summer Opal Beauty Powder was sold out online. It may still be available at your local counter or free standing store. I would suggest calling your local store to confirm, as well as frequently checking back on the website as I have noticed that other LE products from this collection have been restocked after initially selling out. I apologize in advance if this post leads to unfulfilled lemmings! Good luck!





Sunday, March 15, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for March 15, 2015

Good morning!
If you've got a little time to kill, why not check out a couple of beauty links today? Treat yourself.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bite Beauty Lip Lab and Custom Lipsticks!



Bite Beauty is a Toronto company that makes natural lip products. They're available at Sephora and are fantastic - lip care products, lipstick and lipgloss all made with natural ingredients and safe enough to eat. In New York City they have a Lip Lab where you can have custom lip colours made. That's right, custom lip colours. You can have your own custom lipstick made. Why has no one thought of this before?

I got to have a custom lipstick made on a recent trip to New York. The whole process took about 15 minutes, and it was fascinating to see how lipstick is made.


The first step is to create your colour. When I first heard about the Lip Lab and decided to visit, I had two colour options in mind - a coral and a deep burgundy. When I walked in the door of the Lip Lab I had my choice made - I was going to have my own custom dark burgundy vampy colour created. 

The first step was to have the colour created. The first station was this one, where vials of colour were displayed. 


I told the beauty lab tech what shade I was wanting (dark, vampy burgundy) and what finish I'd like. Rather than a matte, which deep vampy colours tend to come in, I chose a cream finish. The lab tech started mixing colours. While she did that, I was given some of Bite Beauty's cherry lip scrub to get rid of any existing colour I was wearing and then some lip balm to hydrate.


I tried on the first shade she mixed for me - a combination of mulberry, scarlet and pomegranate - and I liked it, but it wasn't quite vampy enough, so I asked if it could be darkened. A bit more of the mulberry and scarlet was added and I tried on the new shade. It was perfect! I hadn't worn anything like it before. 

Getting the correct shade was so easy, I was surprised and even contemplated getting a second one made, but then remembered my budget. 


The next step was choosing the scent/fragrance. There were six options to choose from - citrus, mint, violet, mango, superfruit and cherry - and you could also choose a combination of these. All smelled incredible, but I opted for a combination of cherry and mint. Sweet and fresh.


These are all of the colours used to make the lipsticks. They kind of look like candy or colourful chocolates. 


The portions of mulberry, scarlet and pomegranate that were going to be made into my lipstick were melted down and then put into a centrifuge to be mixed. That's the white machine in the above photo. 


While my lipstick was being mixed, I was given the choice of four lipstick case lids. They're designed to look like four of the common shapes lipsticks are worn down to. I chose the one closest to how my lipsticks end up looking, the one on the right. 


After mixing, the liquid lipstick is poured into these gadgets to be shaped into that lipstick bullet shape. Then these gadgets are placed on a cooling unit to set. This gadget is so cold that you can't touch it with your bare skin. My lipstick is in the front gadget and two custom lipsticks were setting for a called-in order behind it. 

That's the thing, with my custom lipstick, I got a card with the recipe on it so I could get another made when I run out or lose it. 



The whole process took about 30 minutes and it cost $45 US. It's pricey, but it's custom!

I was warned not to apply the lipstick for 25 minutes after I left the Lib Lab since it would still take more time to set. 

So let's take a look at it. 

My lipstick was packaged in a sturdy grey box, just like the regular Bite lipsticks. It got a little bit smudged in the packaging, but I don't care. It's a messy process creating a lipstick from scratch and I'm impressed with how tidy the Lip Lab was, considering. 



Ingredients

And here's the sturdy, grey Bite lipstick tube with that playfully shaped lid. 


And here it is! I've been toying with some names for it and think I have one, though it's more related to this blog post and my camera than the lipstick itself. I'll reveal it later. 


In addition to the tube of lipstick, I was given a glass jar of product as well, containing almost the same amount as in the tube. So basically, I got two lipsticks for the price of one!


So what is the name I came up with for my custom lipstick? Furious. I am calling it Furious because trying to capture the colour of it accurately made me furious. I took over 300 photos of it, with a variety of camera settings and a variety of lighting and it kept reading as a bright red, which it is not. The last thing I need is another red lipstick, and what was made for me is not red, it's burgundy. But my camera would not capture it accurately. I got so frustrated and yes, at some points, furious. 

But I've included photos taken on my iPhone as these show the lipstick fairly true to reality. The photos just aren't as good quality as those I can capture on my camera, so I apologize.

iPhone photo, no flash, indoor light.
iPhone photo, no flash, indoor light.
iPhone photo, no flash, natural light
Furious is a burgundy but it's got more warmth than cool tones to it. When it reads more red in some light (and in many photos), it has almost a brick tone to it. 

So now that you've seen the true colour, here are some photos that will give you a sense of the sheen and texture. And you can also see the trouble I had capturing the true colour.

Here you can see how glossy the lipstick is and also, how opaque it is.

Swatched on the back of my hand. NW15 skintone. Flash.
 Another view.


Swatched on the back of my hand. NW15 skintone. Flash.
Here it is actually on my face, but looking like a glossy red lipstick, not a glossy burgundy.

NW15 skintone, with flash. 
NW15 skintone, with flash. 
This is the best photo I took with my camera that captures some of the burgundy colour, but it's lighter than in reality. 

NW15 skintone, natural light.
Furious applies beautifully, with a creamy texture. A colour like this requires precision, and really, a lipliner. I do not currently own a lipliner in a burgundy shade, so I did not use one in these photos. I did use a lip brush to carefully, carefully apply it. Since it is so creamy, it can be a little messy, so I'll be picking up a lipliner to use with it.

I can wear it like I do in the photos above, or I can tap a little on my lips with a fingertip for more of a stained effect.

The cherry-mint scent and flavour tingles a little on the lips and it smells and tastes delicious. It did not feel drying and it did not settle into the lines on my lips as nearly every lipstick I've tried wearing for the last few months has. 


This is a special occasion lipstick but I plan to make occasions to wear it. It's too exciting and awesome not to.


I highly recommend checking out the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in New York City. It's in Soho, at 174 Prince Street. And next time you're in a Sephora, make a point of checking out the Bite Beauty line. They're Canadian, they're food grade quality products and they're beautiful.


So what colour would you get if you could have a custom colour made?


C.