Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tom Ford Nude Dip Eye Color Quad Review, Swatches and Photos

There's something about hard(er) to get products that make them all the more attractive. Witness Tom Ford's fall 2014 collection which depending on which blog you read or website you visit entirely sold out within days (hours?) of it's release.

On my trip to NYC I was very lucky to stumble across the TF fall collection at Bergdorf Goodman while they were doing pre-sales. It was a good thing I took the plunge and pre-ordered because every US blog I look at lists these items as sold out online and in stores.

The centerpiece of the collection, and the item getting the most attention, is the limited edition Nude Dip Eye Color Quad ($77.00 US/$84.00 CA.) Tom Ford is available in the US at luxury department stores Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom; in Canada the full line is only available at Holt Renfrew in Vancouver and the Bloor Street location in Toronto. Nordstrom in Calgary as yet only carries the lipstick, nail polish and fragrance lines.

All photos taken in natrual light, swatches on NC 35/40 skin.





First let's get the obvious out of the way - Nude Dip is very expensive, very hard to get and the shades are neutrals which means that they are more likely than not fairly dupeable. So what is all the fuss about?

Where Nude Dip distinguishes itself is it's formula and finish, which is exceptional. All the shadows in the quad are unbelievably creamy to the touch, highly pigmented, buttery smooth and highly pigmented. They really are unlike any other shadow formula I have tried.




Tom Ford Nude Dip 1 - 4 clockwise from top left

Nude Dip 1 - is a sparkling, white-gold champagne.with a metallic finish.

Nude Dip 2 - is a beautiful medium rose gold with a metallic finish.

Nude Dip 3 - is a dark neutral brown with a pearl finish that is slightly more shimmery than a satin, but is not a full metallic.

Nude Dip 4 - is a medium, metallic taupe that leans golden at some angles and silvery in others. This shade will look either cooler or warmer depending on what other shadows it is paired with and what skin tone it's applied to.



Tom Ford Nude Dip 1 - 4 (clockwise from top left of palette)

What can I say about this? If you love luxury and are a neutral eye shadow fiend this is the palette for you. Yes, you have to lay down a sizable chunk of change for it, beg-borrow-or-steal to get your hands on it, or pay exorbitant amounts for it on eBay...so it really depends on what lengths you are willing to go to get it and your makeup budget priorities.

All I can say is I personally do not regret buying this. Yes, the shades are probably dupeable but the formula and finish is not. What I think we can all hope for is that the people at Tom Ford Beauty take note of the overwhelmingly positive (rabid) response to this palette and create more like it in the future.

Grade: A+

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Strong Eye Strong Lip FOTD


Typically when doing a makeup look, one feature is played up more than the others. Usually you will play up the eyes OR the lips, keeping the other subtle. Think about a smoky eye look. Usually the lips and cheeks are played down to allow the smoky eye pop. 

http://beautysquared.blogspot.ca/2014/01/navy-smoke-eotd-with-copper-and-rose.html

Same with wearing a bold lip colour, usually the eyes and cheeks are the supporting actors. 



The 1980s were known for excess, and makeup looks were bright, colourful and strong. Wearing a strong eye and strong lip look today can look dated, but you can pull it off if you want to. It just takes some care and attention to make sure that your look is balanced, not competing with itself.

In these photos, I'm wearing very simple makeup, playing up both my eyes and my lips with strong effects. It's a bit goth, but the raspberry sheen of my lip colour help to soften it, and I made sure to keep my eyeliner as crisp and tight to my lashes as possible. 


I am wearing my usual base - concealer and buffed into the areas of my face that need it. A bit of contouring along my jaw and under my cheekbone, groomed brows, and a touch of blush. For my eyes I used a black eye pencil and tightlined my eyes, starting from the inner corner (pulling it down to a tiny point). I smudged it along my top and bottom lashlines with a tiny brush. I wanted to keep it as tight as possible to my lashes. I used a clean brush to clean up any areas where it got too heavy or too thick. I curled my lashes and applied lots of mascara. 

For my lips, I applied MAC Red Dwarf (raspberry) and then dabbed some OCC Tarred Lip Balm on top to darken it. 

That's it! I think that keeping it so simple, it looks softer, undone. The focus is shared between my eyes and lips but it doesn't look heavy, or dated. 

For a softer look, use a brown eyeliner pencil, and a lighter lip colour. 

C.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Introducing Saint Cosmetics: FOTD, swatches, review and photos


Beauty Squared was invited to the launch of a brand new Canadian makeup line recently. Saint Cosmetics is a luxurious, all natural makeup line made in Ontario. That's right, all natural and glamourous and sophisticated, not bohemian or crunchy-granola. No offense to those cosmetic lines or anyone who likes them, but it's just not my style. I like sleek packaging and brands that are fun, edgy, sophisticated and exciting. Why can't a line that uses natural ingredients be those things? It's like my argument for frozen yogurt - it's healthier than ice cream, but why are so many fruit-flavoured? What's wrong with chocolate frozen yogurt and butterscotch frozen yogurt? You can be consider your health and be a little indulgent at the same time, y'know? 

Now I want frozen yogurt. 

OK, back to Saint Cosmetics. From their website:

Our entire range of products is free from dyes, artificial perfumes, and harsh chemicals, leaving you with natural healthy-looking skin. We have spent the last two years developing an antioxidant cosmetic line that produces high-impact results while using a blend of high quality natural and organic ingredients.

All of Saint Cosmetics products are created from naturally occurring and derived ingredients from nature, which are free from parabens, sulfates, silicone, PEGs, phthalate, SLS, mineral oiltriclosan, and petrolatum or anything with suspected potential human health risks. Our natural line of products is produced from the best natural component of plants that do not result in skin irritation unlike other chemical based cosmetics.

I admittedly don't know a great deal about natural cosmetics and what to look for and what to avoid. I'm also naturally skeptical so I'm curious to see what other people have to say about Saint Cosmetics. 

Anyway, here are some photos of the launch event, held at Andrew Richmond Designs in Toronto. It was a beautiful space, and the food and cocktails were delicious. 




The makeup station, where a makeup artist was doing touch-ups using the Saint Cosmetics products, and we could do some swatching!





There are 144 products in total, including a primer, foundations, concealers, powders, blushes, bronzers, lipsticks, lip glosses, lip pencils, eyeshadows, eye pencils, a liquid eyeliner, eye brow pencils, a mascara, brushes and a fragrance. A very complete line!

Here are swatches of (from top down) two lipsticks, including the boldest-looking shade (Eternally Yours, Fuchsia) and a lipgloss, as well as that small black line near my thumb, the liquid liner. 



Textures of the products I swatched were impressive (I also tried a lip pencil and eye pencil, concealer and foundation). I didn't swatch any of the blushes, eyeshadows or bronzers because there were no Q-tips provided to do so. 

Colour-wise, there are 41 shades of eyeshadow, which by appearance strike me as mostly easy-to-wear, subtle shades, the majority of the shades being browns in varying tones. 


There are 14 shades of foundation, 14 powders and 12 shades of concealers, with most shades falling in the mid-tone range. 

There are 18 shades of lipstick and 8 lip glosses, mainly in mid-tone shades.

Lip products and eyeshadows tend to be more trendy, of course, so these are areas where lines typically will add new shades per season. 

There are also 15 Saint Cosmetics brushes, all with names like Fury, Lust and Bliss. 

The product names are pretty playful, OTT, sexy and modern. Some of my favourites are: Dirty Lil Secrets, Kiss of Death, Juicy Peaches, Sinsational Silver, and Rock Off. 

Prices are as follows:

Lipsticks $18
Lip glosses $20
Lip pencils $18
Eyeshadows $19
Eyeliner pencil $18
Liquid eyeliner $15
Mascara $21
Eyebrow pencil $18
Liquid Foundation $35
Concealers $23
Primer $34
Powders $30
Bronzers $30
Blushes $25
Brushes $12-$43



Everyone who attended the launch got a smartphone stand (not pictured), a Saint Cosmetics t-shirt and a Saint Cosmetics makeup bag. Mine contained an eyeshadow, a lipstick and a lipgloss.


The Saint Cosmetics packaging is white, and sophisticated. The boxes the products come in have flame streaking across them. 


First up, let's take a look at the lip gloss. The shade I got is Sex Kitten, a medium rose shade with gold shimmer. ($20 for 6 g/0.21 oz)



Ingredients: organic castor oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, heliantus annus (sunflower) seed oil (organic), copernica cefifera (carnauba) wax (organic), ricinus communis (castor seed oil), hydrogenated castor oil, cera alba, euphoria cerifera (candelilla) wax, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), glycerl caprylate, olea europaea (olive fruit oil), hydrgenated olive oil, europaea (olive) oil unsaponifiables, vanillin, tocopherol, gamma decalactone, gamma octalactone, ethyl butyrate, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract. 
* may contain (+/-) iron oxide, red 7 lake, red 27 lake, red 6 lake, blue 1 lake, yellow 5 lake, mica and titanium dioxide.


The lip gloss wands are rectangular and white with gold accents. One minor complaint is that you can't tell what the shade is because the packaging isn't translucent. If you had three or four of these, you'd have to rely on the name on the bottom or open each tube up to see the colour.




Sex Kitten is a soft rosy pink with a bit of gold shimmer. For me this is a MLBB (My Lips But Better) shade.

Swatched on NW15 skintone. 
Here's the lipstick, Paint the Town, a sister shade to Sex Kitten (midtone rose with slight shimmer). ($18 for 3.5 g/0.13 oz)



Ingredients: organic castor oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, heliantus annus (sunflower) seed oil (organic), euphoria cerifera (candelilla) wax, copernica cefifera (carnauba) wax (organic), cera alba (organic), cetyl alcohol, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, hydrogenated castor oil, olea europaea (olive fruit oil), hydrogenated olive oil, eurpaea (olive) oil unsaponifiables, vanillin, tocopherol, gamma decalactone, gamma octalactone, ethyl butyrate. *may contain (+/-) iron oxide CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, red 7 lake CI 15850, red 27 lake CI 45410, red 6 lake CI 15850, blue 1 lake CI 42090, yellow 5 lake CI 19140, mica CI 77019 and titanium dioxide CI 77891.


The lipstick case is also rectangular and white with gold accents and the tube is smaller than a MAC lipstick, though you get slightly more product in a Saint lipstick. 



Swatched on NW15 skintone, next to Saint Cosmetics Sex Kitten Lip Gloss.
The eyeshadow I was given is Hell Have No Fury, which is black. Very, very black. ($18 for 3.5 g/0.13 oz)



Ingredients: talc, caprylic/capric triglyceride, octyldodecyl strearoyl stearate, silica, jojoba esters, glyceryl caprylate, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract. *may contain iron oxides CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499, ultramarines CI 77007, mica CI 77019, titanium dioxide CI 77492, chromium oxide greens CI 772492. 

The eyeshadow packaging is square and white with gold accents.


When you flip open the lid, there is a mirror on the underside of it. I have to mention too, the case closes very satisfyingly. It slows as it connects and slips satisfyingly into place. I believe there's a magnet involved. 



Hell Have No Fury swatches on my finger very black. When I rubbed my finger across the back of my hand, it did not swatch as deeply. Using a brush, it applies somewhere between the two. 


Swatched on NW15 skintone.
The texture is soft and silky, without a lot of powder or fall-out. It's a matte shade, so it goes slightly sheer and dry, but it can be built up for more impact. 

Since these three products would work really well together in one look, I decided to wear them the next day to work. This is a subtle day look, perfect for work, both flattering and wearable. 

I used Hell Have No Fury along my upper lashline, and wore Paint the Town on my lips. (I applied Sex Kitten over it for a latter photo). 


I am also wearing Lorac Pro Palette shadows on my eyelid (Mauve), brow bone (Lt. Bronze) and lower lash line (Lt. Bronze). 
As you can see, Hell Have No Fury smudges easily and is a good, if slightly sheer, black. It wore pretty well all day, with minimal fading. 

On my lips is Sex Kitten. Sex Kitten goes on smoothly, and looks quite natural, both in colour and in texture. It's got slight shimmer to it. I found that it wore on my lips for about two hours before I needed to reapply, and it didn't feel dry on my lips. 

Here I am with the same look, just with Sex Kitten lip gloss applied on top of Paint the Town on my lips. 


Sex Kitten is slicker than Paint the Town, since it's a gloss and has more shine. It's very easy to wear, both in terms of the colour, and in texture. It's not sticky at all, which is comfortable to wear, but gives it a shorter wear-time. I'd say it stayed intact for an hour, and started fading after two. It's quite pigmented, so enough colour is left behind as it fades to make it easily worn during the day with minimal application. 


Saint Cosmetics is currently only available online at www.saintcosmetics.ca but stay tuned for announcements about increased availability in the future, I'm told. 

I'm excited to see if this all natural cosmetic line will take off. I was impressed with the products I've been able to try and would love to check out their primer, foundation, concealer, blushes and pencils. Hopefully they'll be available in stores where they can be swatched and applied.

C. 


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up for September 28, 2014

Hello there, friends. We've got a double Round-Up today since we missed last week's (sorry, travelling!). 


  • Awesome nerdy nail stickers from Espionage Cosmetics (Sherlock!) and they have a Kickstarter going, so go and donate if you like the looks of what they're doing!
  • Allure's got a list of the 50 beauty products you need to try. These are the cult ones (Chanel No. 5, NARS Orgasm, MAC Russian Red, Creme de la Mer) - how many have you tried?
  • Are you in need of some new YouTube vloggers to check out? Buzzfeed has a round-up of the best Aussie beauty gurus you can find online.
  • Some great drugstore brand lipglosses.
  • This pretty doll-look from the Spring 2015 Altuzarra catwalk can be achieved by just mixing up your mascara application.
  • Another runway trick to try - bronzer freckles!
  • If your concealer is covering your undereye circles OK, but there's still a bit of purple/blue showing through, you might want to try this easy, inexpensive Wayne Goss trick.
  • Facial massage is one of the best ways to keep your skin faster than it should and it just takes a few more minutes a day. MUA Lisa Eldridge shows us her facial massage routine. It's worth a try, and it feels good!
  • Simple, elegant makeup GIFs that show you some tricks for applying your makeup.
  • Could you be making one of these makeup mistakes that are making you look older?
  • Pro tips for taking your makeup from faded to fabulous from MUA Kevin James Bennett.
  • In an article about the new TV series 'How To Get Away With Murder' from 'Scandal' showrunner Shonda Rhimes, a New York Times TV critic described the show's star Viola Davis as "older, darker-skinned, and less classically beautiful than Ms. [Kerry] Washington". In response, the #lessclassicallybeautiful Twitter hashtag was born. 

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