Monday, September 15, 2014

MAC Vex Eyeshadow Review, Photos and Swatches

I'm sitting here and listening to The Who's Quadrophenia and it's kind of appropriate. This album screams rebellion and so does this eyeshadow from MAC called Vex. Vex has been one of my favourite MAC eyeshadows since I first started shopping at MAC in my early 20s. So about 15 years give or take a few years. There are only a handful of MAC eyeshadows that I first bought back then and still use today - Satin Taupe, Contrast and Vex. Yup, I certainly liked my shimmery eyeshadows back then.

Vex is a very interesting shade. It is sort of a grey, but it's also gold-greenish and it's also pinky. And it's very shimmery so it's wonderfully glowy. 

It's so rebellious, acting all shimmery neutral, but then shifting gold-green and then pink but yet so perfectly glowy and soft. 

I used to wear this on days I was hungover because I couldn't be bothered to put a lot of makeup on, and because I felt it gave my eyes a glow that was subtle. I also used to wear it a lot after I'd dyed my hair since my hair is a dark purple when I first colour it. I liked wearing Vex on my eyes, and just Vex because it gave me this edgy glowy effect. If I was going to look pale with my dark purple hair, I wanted to emphasize it with some mysterious eyes. 

Here's Vex swatched and reading pink.

Swatched on NW15 skintone.
And here is Vex in the same swatch but reading more gold and subtly green. 

Swatched on NW15 skintone. 

Vex looks really good on most skin types, though on darker skin it might read as really frosty and light. I like the way it looks on skin with yellow undertones since the gold in it pops. I also like it on skin with pink undertones, because it reads more pink.

The texture is buttery and smooth and can be applied heavily or blended out to a sheer soft glow. 

Vex is fantastic in a smoky eye or on its own. Because it's a rebel and mysterious and a legend all at once. 

Grade: A

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-up for September 14, 2014

Hello! Hope you're well wherever you are. Are you ready for our weekly round-up of clickable links? Hope you get inspired and learn something!

  • Karen of Make Up and Beauty Blog reviews and demonstrates the Revlon Rose Glow 02 Highlighting Palette
  • The results for Glamour magazine's Glammy awards (naming the best beauty products in America) are in. See which products won!
  • Beauty tricks and tips from New York Fashion Week - how to tone done a bright lip colour, tame unruly brows, using salt spray (properly) in your hair, etc.
  • As we transition from summer into fall, here are some grooming styles to consider incorporating - nails, lips, eyes, beards, hair.
  • Fashion Magazine's Beauty Panel demonstrates how to wear bold coloured eyeshadows.
  • You've probably heard of the no-makeup makeup look. Pssst, it's not actually "no makeup". And this is a great read about how much makeup you wear and how much you feel you should wear or how much society tells us we should wear. 
  • MUA Kandee Johnson shows us in her candy-coloured way some lipstick tips that you'll want to check out. 
  • Nine iconic lipstick moments in film (Pam! Molly! Faye! Marilyn! Audrey! Uma!) and the shades to match. 
  • Makeup should be used to highlight the best of your natural features. Here are some ways to highlight your eyes, bone structure, lips and skin. 
  • Are makeup artists like chefs? Sonia Roselli says yes. 
  • It was bound to happen, you guys. A hairbrush that you can turn into a camera (for taking selfies, obviously). 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Stila All Over Shimmer in Rose Gold Review, Swatches and Photos

I adore skin luminzers and own many. I wear them almost every day. When applied to the skin they bring light to that area and they come in a variety of textures - powder, cream and liquid. On a recent stop at Winners, I found one of Stila's All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminzers in Rose Gold and snapped it up. It's regularly about $26 CDN and I paid about $15 CDN for it. 

Stila's All Over Shimmers are creamy, skin-enhancing luminizers that bring a fresh, radiant glow to the skin. They help to diminish skin imperfections and minimize the appearance of fine lines and sun spots. They contain a potent antioxidant component as well as grape seed oil to nourish the skin. As well as the Rose Gold shade, they are available in Pink, Bronze and Kitten. 

The Rose Gold shade is a soft peachy-pink with a good dose of gold shot through it. The texture is creamy and the applicator is much like a nail polish bottle and brush. 

With the applicator, it's easy to control the amount of luminizer you apply. Simply dab it onto the tops of your cheekbones, or brow bone and blend it. Or dab it on your hand and mix it in with a dab of moisturizer or your foundation for an all over glow.

Here is what it looks like on the back of my hand, unblended. At first it seems like it might be pretty intense but as you can see in the following photo, once blended it is much less intense. There's still a lot of shimmer to it, so it doesn't give a natural glow. Still, it's very pretty and unlike some of the powder luminizers I have, doesn't sit heavily on the skin. Because this is a gold luminzer, it's warm on the skin. That's why most highlighters and luminizers are warm-toned - silver looks artificial and unnatural, even on cool skintones.

If I were to place the Rose Gold All Over Shimmer onto a scale ranking of highlighters/luminzers with one being "barely noticeable natural" and 10 being "holy disco shimmer, Batman!", it would sit at a six or a seven. 

Swatched on NW15 skintone.

Swatched on NW15 skintone (blended out).

I anticipated the Rose Gold Shimmer to be quite pink and possibly used as a blush, or on top of a blush to enhance it. But it sheers once blended in, leaving hardly a hint of pink. I could still use this on top of blush but it would be for luminescence only. 

I've been wearing this on the weekend and occasionally during the week, as my makeup routine involves applying my blush and any contour/highlight underneath my foundation, so everything is muted. 

A note about the formula: liquid products always blend beautifully on most skintypes, and tend to be very sheer. Because of this, they tend to look the most natural, like they're part of your skin, not sitting on top of it. 

The Rose Gold Luminzer looks gorgeous dabbed on my cheekbones, brow bones and if I'm dressing up, on my collarbones.

If you're looking for an easy to use, medium-intensity highlighter/luminizer, you can't go wrong with Stila's All Over Shimmer in Rose Gold. 

Grade: A

Rouge Bunny Rouge Raw Garden Eye Shadow Palette in Chronos Review, Swatches and Photos

Beauty Squared readers, I have something very special for review today, the Rouge Bunny Rouge Raw Garden eye shadow palette in Chronos.

A lesser known luxury brand out of Russia, Rouge Bunny Rouge (RBR) has become a secret cult favorite among bloggers. Particularly known for their exceptionally creamy. highly pigmented eye shadow, RBR delighted everyone this fall by realeasing its first ever eye shadow palette.

The Raw Garden Eye Shadow Palette in Chronos (LE, €55.00) features five brand new eye shadows in a magnetic case. The shadows are housed in a slim black case, adorned with  beautiful white and red floral illustrations.

Inside are five shadows: Champagne Pewter, Metallic Rosy Brown, Aged Bronze, Aubergine Gunmetal and Midnight Blue Gunmetal. All the shades are highly pigmented and have a creamy, almost moist consistency which both adheres to the eye lid and blends beautifully.

All photos in natural sunlight, swatches on NC 35/40 skin.

Champagne Pewter, Metallic Rosy Brown and Aged Bronze

Aged Bronze, Aubergine Gunmetal and Midnight Blue Gunmetal

Champagne Pewter is a metallic cool sand beige highlighter with fine silver shimmer. It's a complex shade in that it's base is a touch golden but it's shimmer is cool giving it an overall greyer tone making it unusual for a highlighter.

Metallic Rosy Brown is a metallic taupe with fine silver shimmer that depending on the angle and lighting can look more brown, silvery or mauve. Any taupe lover will fall head-over-heels for this - it's Shu Uemura's ME 945 sister.

Aged Bronze is a medium dark luminous satin khaki. It could lean more brown or more green depending on what you pair with it. 

Aubergine Gunmetal is the darkest shade in the palette. It's a satin blackened eggplant with fine silver shimmer. On the skin it reads more black than purple, but when the light hits it at an angle it reveals some of it's cool purple tones.

Midnight Blue Gunmetal is a soft satin graphite shade with a teal duo chrome. So pretty. This is softer and lighter than Aubergine Gunmetal.

RBR Raw Garden Eye Shadow Palette in Chronos indirect light.

RBR Raw Garden Eye Shadow Palette in Chronos strong, direct light.

I can't say enough good things about things about this palette. It has an excellent, creamy, highly pigmented formula which is on par with any other high end eye shadow brand like Le Metier de Beaute or Shu Uemura. Although the palette leans on the dark side, the tonal range is broken up with a variety of rich fall inspired hues, plus it has two good neutrals to tie everything together.

If you haven't tried RBR yet but are interested, I would say this is the opportunity you are looking for. True, it's an expensive palette (€55.00 coverts to roughly $78.00 CA not including sales tax or customs) but RBR eye shadow single refills are €17.00 each, and it would cost €85.00 to purchase five shadows without a case. As mentioned previously, the palette case is magnetic which means that you could always swap in/out other RBR shadows or any shadow that has the same sized pan.

RBR is a small, interesting and exclusive brand that delivers on quality. If you are going to splurge on a high end smokey eye palette this fall, make it this one.

It is available on RBR's website and they do ship worldwide. It only took a week after I ordered for this palette to show up at my door!

Grade: A+

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up for September 7, 2014

Hello lovelies! We've been delinquent with our Round-Up, missing last week's. That means there's a tonne to share with you this week. Are you ready?

Let's go!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Philosophy The Great Mystery One-Minute Daily Facial Review and Photos

I love Winners. I rarely look through their clothes anymore, instead heading straight for their beauty section. I've found lots and lots of goodies from Benefit to Bumble & Bumble to Dior to Butter London. I often find Philosophy products - haircare, their 3-in-1s and skincare. 

I used to work at a store that sold Philosophy products before any Sephora stores opened in Toronto, so we were the only ones who carried the line. Philosophy products were definitely our top sellers. I was able to try quite a few of the products. I was always impressed by their skincare products.

I picked up this tube of Philosophy's The Great Mystery on a recent trip to Winners. It's a one-minute daily facial. 

So basically it gives you a mild facial after only one minute and it's mild enough to use on a daily basis. What you do is apply a dollop to your fingers and massage it into your skin, after cleansing, avoiding the eyes, nostrils and lips. The instructions say to massage until it turns white, but the product starts turning white without any massaging. It's definitely safe to have on your skin for more than a minute or two (you leave it on for 60 seconds after it goes all white). It warms up a bit on your skin and though it says it is exfoliating, it's not gritty. It's a smooth, thick gel and easy to massage into your skin. Rinsing takes a bit of effort since it's so thick and you need to use your hands to massage it off your skin. 

Afterwards, my skin feels warm, smooth, clean and hydrated. It's bright pink, but in a healthy way, not in an irritated way. Moisturizer applied after is absorbed readily. My skin feels fantastic.

One thing of note about Philosophy is that they're rather proudly un-natural. Where many or even most brand these days tout the latest natural skin benefitting ingredients, Philosophy does not. They're more about how the product works then what the ingredients are and kudos to them for that. 

The Great Escape is unscented and retails for about $30 CDN (I paid about $20 at Winners). It's 5 oz.

Grade: A

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancers #11 Pastel and #13 Sand Beige Review, Swatches and Photos

One of my favorite places to shop, window or otherwise, in NYC is Bergdorf Goodman. There's something about the intimate and highly ornate store that transports me to the Beaux-Arts era and makes me dream of old money...not to mention it's a great place to people watch!

On a recent trip there I picked up two of the new but permanent Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancers. These powder highlighters are available in compacts and separately as refills. The compact, which you can see here is a stunning faceted reflective compact which retails for $95.00 US. the refill itself is $55.00 US. There are four shades of which I purchased two, the white iridescent #11 Pastel and the beige-gold #13 Sand Beige.

Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancers #11 Pastel and #13 Sand Beige

As you can see I opted for buying just the refills as they can easily be popped into a Z Palette or any magnetized palette system. The refills boast an impressive 10 grams of product, which in comparison to other brands highlighters is equivalent in weight to a MAC Mineralize Skin Finish ($37.00 CA) and two grams more than a Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector ($46.00 CA) which comes in at 8 grams. 

The texture of the Luminizing Face Enhancers is super finely milled, light and not powdery. Where these differ from most highlighters is that they give a very luminous glow without any hint of frostiness. These are so refined that they would be impossible to overdo as the pigments and particles are so fine they do not emphasize pores or unevenness. These would be an excellent choice for people with older skin with fine lines, large pores, or people who generally find powder highlighters too metallic or frosty. 

Photos take on NC 40 skin, direct natural light.

Sheer application of #11 Pastel and #13 Sand Beige.

Heavy application of #11 Pastel and #13 Sand Beige.

#11 Pastel - A mix of white, lilac, pale blue and yellow powders with super fine white pearl. The mix of shades in this highlighter and it's superfine, sheer texture keeps this highlighter from looking too stark, ashy or metallic on my medium dark skin.

#13 Sand Beige - Although this mix of peach beige, gold beige and bronze powders looks quite dark in the pan, it goes on the skin sheerly, giving the skin a warm glow. This is a natural shade for anyone with yellow toned skin, but because the beige-gold pearl is so fine and not excessively yellow, this shade could work for anyone. I actually think this would be a beautiful substitute for bronzer for super pale skinned beauties.

As you can see from the swatches, even a heavy application of this product does not look heavy, frosty or emphasizes pores or skin texture. Yes it's expensive, but you do get what you pay for - this is a high quality product that is going to look flawless, sophisticated and be fool proof in application. I own highlighters from almost all the major brands out there and I can't think of one that is a dupe for these in terms of texture, formula and finish. Highly recommended.

Clé de Peau Beauté is available at select Holt Renfrew locations in Canada. If your local Holt's does not carry the brand, you can purchase items and have them transferred to your local branch at no extra charge.

Grade: A+