April 30, 2012

NOTW - Mottled Sunset With Nails Inc. And Maybelline New York

Two nail posts in a row? What's that about?

So here's the thing: I'm kind of in love with Chanel June... However, it is approximately (or maybe exactly?) $30 CAD. $30 CAD!!! That's ridiculous, yo! For $30, that nail polish better sing me a song, too!

All kidding aside, I've been patiently searching for a dupe for this gorgeous shade and I think I may have finally found it. Granted, I've never tried Chanel June, so I can't say for certain if it's similar enough. But, it's still the same colour I've been wanting to get for ages (and by ages, I mean months): a pastel, peach-melon type of shade.

Ladies and ladies, I introduce you all to Wellington Square, by Nails Inc. Nails Inc. has been available in North America close to a year, but I've only really remember seeing them in Canadian Sephoras this week. I'm not sure if it's only made its way to Canada now or if I'm just late to the game (the latter being the more likely of the two). Anyway, when I saw Wellington Square, I knew I had to have it. And at $11.50 CAD, it is more in line with how much I am willing to spend on nail polish.

Now, because I've become obsessed with using a sponge to apply nail polish, I've decided to use another shade (Maybelline Express Finish nail polish in Tulip Tango) to create a mottled effect that reminded me very much of a sunset. Tulip Tango is a gorgeous, pinky-coral shade that is absolutely perfect for summer; and at $5.99 CAD each, you can't really go wrong, can you?

And here is the finished, "Mottled Sunset" look. I love how subtly the two shades blend together; as opposed to my previous post, which had a more drastic colour change. I decided to do the mottled effect on only two nails (on both hands, of course), just because I can. <insert-emoticon-with-smug-smile-and-sunglasses>

Also, I used Butter London's Horse Power Nail Fertilizer as my base and Seche Vite as my top coat. Both of which make for a kick-ass manicure combo. But more on that in my April Favourites post...

Anyhoo, hope you guys like this rather simple NOTW/Nail Art-thingy! Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!

What is your favourite peach/melon nail polish?

April 25, 2012

Dani Attempts Nail Art And Isn't Half Bad At It!

That said, this is probably one of the simplest designs one can do on oneself and seeing as it's not meant to be neat in the slightest, it's pretty much fool-proof! Or Dani-proof, whichever you prefer.

For this Blue Ombré design, I used three Revlon nail polishes: 310 Timeless (a pale, grey-blue), 480 Chic (a slate-blue), and 471 Fashionista (a deep, peacock-blue); all of which I purchased last night. I'm not normally one to buy multiple nail polishes at once, but caman! Look how gorgeous these three are!

When I got home, I immediately sent Winnie a photo so she can squee over the loveliness with me. Good times were had by all, yo!

*I don't know where I'm going with this. All I know is that I'm dead tired.

**Don't ask me why I decided to blog instead of sleep.

I'm sure you all know the mechanics of an ombré nail design. But for the few of you who quite possibly don't know how this works, here's a quick recap:

Step 1: I applied Timeless from the base of my nails to around the centre area.

Step 2: Using a cosmetic sponge, I applied Chic on top of Timeless with a patting motion, making sure to leave a good amount of Timeless still showing.

Step 3: With a clean area of the same sponge, I dotted Fashionista along the top third of my nail. Then, I applied the same shade with the nail polish brush along the tips for a more opaque layer.

Step 4: Wait a few minutes, then apply top coat (I used Seche Vite).

Et voilà! Ombré nails!

I'm actually quite proud of myself! I didn't even have to re-do any of the nails, which is an absolute first for me. So you should all be proud of me, too :p.

I'm just kidding! You all probably think I'm ridiculous, and you're right, I totally am! :D

What's your favourite fool-proof nail art design?

April 18, 2012

With MAC's New Très Cheek Blushes, I'm Three Steps Closer To Blush Fiend Status!

It's kind of funny how crazy into blushes I've been this past year. And by funny, I really mean alarming.

When I first got wind of this new blush collection by MAC, I was immediately taken by the following shades: Immortal Flower, Modern Mandarin, and Lovecloud... Initially, I had only purchased the first two (along with Whisper of Gilt); but I couldn't stop thinking of Superb, so I eventually went back to MAC and surprisingly, it was still available. So then I made a stop by the Très Cheek display and swatched Lovecloud again and decided to pick one up as well.

It's rather unusual for me to purchase so many items from collections at once. I normally end up returning one or two products, but I still happily own all the items I picked up from the In Extra Dimension and Très Cheek collections; which says something about how much I'm loving them, me thinks.

Immortal Flower is a lovely peach blush with a satin finish. Peaches, corals, and oranges are not well represented in my modest blush collection, so I was immediately drawn to this shade (along with Modern Mandarin). Despite being a satin finish, it doesn't have much of a sheen and leans more towards matte, though it isn't completely matte.

I was a little worried that Immortal Flower would be too similar to Cargo's Tonga blush, at first. But Tonga is definitely more pink.

I've had a soft spot for oranges lately (and not just because of this whole Tangerine Tango business). As I mentioned previously, oranges are largely underrepresented in my collection so along with Immortal Flower, Modern Mandarin was a must have.

Modern Mandarin is a pretty bright shade and is definitely not for the faint of heart. It has more of a satin sheen than Immortal Flower, which gives it a softer appearance than a matte powder would. Orange (and any bright shade, really) can be difficult to wear, but the satin finish makes it more wearable. Also, a light hand is your best friend when it comes to this shade.

To Lovecloud or not to Lovecloud... That was my question.

I love pink blushes. I have enough of them, I think. So did I really need another? Though as a blogger, was "need" really the requirement? After all, I don't need the majority of what I own.  Furthermore, what is the meaning of life? (#WrongBlog) (#YesIUseHashtagsOutsideOfTwitter) (#DontJudgeMe) (#YouCanLaughAtMeThough)

In the end, what won me over was the finish. Yes, all Très Cheek blushes have a satin sheen, but it's more pronounced in some and less so in others. Lovecloud is one that falls in the former category. Since I didn't have a blue-pink blush with this kind of finish before, I thought it would make a fabulous addition to my budding stash. It has also become my most reached for blush in the last few weeks.

Top to bottom: Lovecloud, Immortal Flower, and Modern Mandarin

What else is impressive about these blushes, aside from the shades and the finish? Well, they stay put, for one. As I write this, I have swatches along my arm and they are not budging, despite my efforts to rub them away. Don't get me wrong, they do fade during the day (especially if my skin is particularly oily), but I love that they can stick around me on a full work day (plus rehearsals!). This is good news for someone like me who has chubby cheeks and could use all the definition she can get!

Great pigmentation, gorgeous texture and finish, plus beautiful colours make each blush (at $24 CAD a pop) well worth it. I'll be getting a lot of use out of these blushes in the near future, that's for sure!

*Apologies for not having "face swatches." You will be waiting a long time for this post if I decided to include them. Dani has been a big lazybones lately. Bad beauty blogger! >:@

Are you a fan of blushes with a satin finish?

April 9, 2012

MAC's Extra Dimension Skinfinishes Have Done The Near Impossible...

...They made me not only want to purchase multiple highlighting products, but I've gone ahead and actually bought them!

Because honestly, I have Soft & Gentle and I was pretty sure that was I really needed. Highlighting isn't really a necessary step for me, so I didn't really feel the need to have a bunch of them. But these new Skinfinishes from MAC's In Extra Dimension Collection were literally "love at first swatch,"and I just had to have them.

I initially only purchased Whisper of Gilt, but the more I saw swatches of Superb online, the more I wanted it. And what the heck, it was my birthday this past weekend, so I figured I deserved the treat :p.

*Warning: Dani's about to get all choir-nerd here.

The first time I saw the name of this shade, I thought of this song by Amici Forever. I've always loved Whisper of Angels; the lyrics are beautiful and the voices give me chills. But what does this have to do with Whisper of Gilt aside from the words "whisper" and "of"? Well, when I think of this shade (a "light soft white with shimmery sheen"), I imagine light reflecting off of gold artifacts in Mount Olympus. And that's not just coz I watched Wrath of the Titans recently... Ok fine, maybe it is.

Meanwhile, Superb (a "soft peachy nude with multi-dimensional shimmer") doesn't quite inspire such dramatic useless ramblings, but it's no less gorgeous! Like I mentioned above, I wasn't originally going to purchase this shade, but it was just too beautiful to pass up. I stared at the swatch from every angle (in store, in natural light, etc.) and it looked stunning every time.

Whisper of Gilt - close up

Whisper of Gilt - swatch

Superb - close up

Superb - swatch

These Highlighters are so buttery smooth, it's ridiculous! Unlike Soft & Gentle, which can look kind of grainy on my skin, these babies just blend so effortlessly onto my skin! At first, I didn't know how to go about using it, because of the texture and formula (MAC describes it as "liquid-powder," "creamy," and "near-liquid"). So when I picked up Superb, I asked an SA what kind of brush she recommends using for this particular product, and she suggested one with dense, firm bristles. I find my Royal & Langnickel Baby Dome Brush works absolutely perfectly for this.

What's even more impressive is its staying power. I wore Whisper of Gilt on the tops of my cheekbones for all of Sunday and it withstood more than 10 hours of wear. Granted, it had faded a tad by the end of the day, but I could still clearly see the highlighted area when I inspected my skin prior to wiping off all my makeup and washing my face. Pretty flipping amazing, if you ask me!

Despite my lack of affinity for highlighting products, I can honestly say the Extra Dimension Skinfinishes are worth every bit of its $34 CAD price tag. The formula is amazing (seriously guys, they are so smooth) and the staying power is impressive; I am officially a highlighting convert!

What's your favourite highlighting product?

April 6, 2012

New In My Kit...

For those of you who don't know, I am currently taking Makeup Artistry classes in a local community college. I finished Makeup Artistry Fundamentals two weeks ago and am currently awaiting the start of my next class (Evening & Bridal) later on this month.

Because Makeup Artistry Fundamentals was the foundation of all other makeup classes, what we learned was fairly basic stuff. Probably one of the most important things that's happened is I've come to really appreciate the value of a good neutral eyeshadow.

If you've seen my eye looks, you know I like to get colourful and creative. But that's not going to fly if I'm going to do freelance work, will it? Most women will want to stick to neutral shades, and I need to be able to have some go-to shades that I know will do the trick. So, I headed to MAC to pick up some neutral eyeshadows to add to my kit. Though, unsurprisingly, I couldn't resist a good purple :p. Ehh, I figure I can throw it in there anyway.

Here are the shades that I chose...

Retrospeck ("beached blonde")

All That Glitters ("beige with gold pearl")

Swatches of Retrospeck & All That Glitters

Satin Taupe ("taupe with silver shimmer")

Nocturnelle ("pinked-up chrome purple")

Twinks ("deep plum with pearl")

Swatches of Satin Taupe, Nocturnelle & Twinks

I've always loved MAC eyeshadows, though I've found not every single shade performs as well as others.  All That Glitters is particularly soft and buttery, which I love, because it ends up looking fairly pigmented right away. Meanwhile, Nocturnelle, Satin Taupe, and Twinks doesn't feel quite as buttery as All That Glitters and requires a few more swipes to get a good swatch, but they are still very soft and quite pigmented. Retrospeck doesn't apply as smoothly as the other four; it can go a bit patchy at times, but seeing as it's a light shade, it's not that obvious. It doesn't take much to even it out, either. 

I think these eyeshadows will make a fantastic addition to my kit and I can't wait to use them on a look for the blog. Also, would any of you guys be interested in a review and swatches of the Make Up For Ever eyeshadows that came with my kit for school? I keep meaning to write one, but we all know what a fail March was, blogging-wise. Let me know in the comments if this is something you would be interested in seeing on call it beauty.!

What are your favourite neutral eyeshadows?

April 4, 2012

Monthly Favourites - March 2012

Dear March,

I'm glad to see you go. You have kicked me in the behind too many times and showed me who's boss. Well, guess what? You're done now, so I get to be the boss again! *insert evil laughter here*

I don't know what it was about March, but my blogging mojo pretty much disappeared throughout this month. But now it's the brand new month of April; so fingers crossed, I will be getting back into the swing of things!

As always, I give you my favourite products from this past month...

Yes To Cucumbers Natural Glow Facial Towelettes

I've been wanting to try products from the Yes To line, and I finally had the chance when I ran out of makeup remover wipes.

What I love about these wipes is that they remove makeup effectively, they have a light, fresh scent, the cloths are super soft, and each wipe also has the largest surface area of any makeup remover wipes I've ever tried. I also love that these wipes aren't very wet; that means they don't leave any residue behind, which is always lovely. 

Now if that wasn't awesome enough, they are also: 98.7% natural, biodegradable, FSC certified, dermatologically & opthalmologically tested, oil-free, non-comodogenic, and hypoallergenic. All for the price of $7.99 CAD. 

I am SOLD!

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus & Medium Dark

Just how I was able to walk out of Nordstrom with a Medium Dark MSFN, I cannot tell you.

That said, it has proven to be quite useful for me. I either use it to contour or to layer on top of a foundation that is too light for me. Meanwhile, Medium Plus is my regular go-to shade. I also layer Medium Plus on top of a sheerer foundation to give myself just a bit more coverage. In both cases, these MSFN's perform absolutely beautifully.

I love these babies! They provide great coverage and feel über light on the skin. They're perfect for if you want very natural coverage and for touching up throughout the day (Medium Plus was a lifesaver last Summer), so go ahead and get yourself another to keep in your purse!

MAC Mineralize Blush in Subtle Breeze

My current favourite blush <3.

I love that this shade looks good with a lot of different lipsticks. Because it's so utterly wearable, I can wear a coral lipstick with this blush and still not look like a clown. It blends to smoothly and evenly over my skin; it never looks patchy! The texture is so soft, too... 

Read my original review here.

MAC Eyeshadow in Quarry

My go-to eye makeup look has looked like thus: a champagne shade all over the lid, Quarry along the crease for some definition, and black eyeliner. I've loved using this eyeshadow for contouring (even on my cheeks) for more than a year now, but I've been giving it some serious usage this month. The shade is perfect for when I'm planning on using cooler tones on my cheeks and lips. 

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Shade 01 & Lancôme Rouge in Love Lipstick in Rose Boudoir

My current favourite lipsticks.

Rose Boudoir is an amazing shade. It's bright, it's fun, and it looks even more amazing on. The formula of the Rouge in Love lipsticks are absolutely lovely - so lightweight, I forget that I'm wearing lipstick! If you would like to know more about Rouge in love lipsticks, click here to read my original, in-depth review.

The Rimmel lipstick is also wonderful. It glides on smoothly and is very pigmented. I love that this lipstick fades into a nice stain-like, shade after a while. And even if you're eating, it doesn't wear off in a patchy way. To read my original review of these lipsticks, click here.

Sephora Collection I.T. Stippling Brush

Probably my favourite buy from the last month or so. If you guys are familiar with Sephora's I.T. brushes, you will know that they are not cheap. BUT, they were phasing this style of brush out, so I was able to buy it for $11 CAD ($30 original). What's even more awesome is that I've been wanting to a buy a brush just like this one for ages. Huzzah and all that jazz!

I love using this brush with very pigmented foundations. It blends the product beautifully and sheers out the coverage of the foundation. It's not the softest brush, but it doesn't hurt, either. 

Also, it's hot pink! Oh, and I love that the brush handle is rather thin and that it tapers at the end. It gives the brush a great look and makes it easier to hold if you have smallish hands like me.

In other news...

Check out what my nails look like right now:

Aren't they fun? I love them so much! Winnie, one of my closest and dearest and bestest friends, did them on Monday! I would love it if you checked out here blog >> CLICK HERE <<. She does lots of amazing nail art, so if you're interested in that sort of thing, then her blog is for you! :)

I showed you mine, now show me yours!
What are your March Favourites?

April 2, 2012

All For One & One For All - The Lipstick Bandits' Universal Lipstick

The beauty of makeup is all the different shades you can play around with. Still, it's great to know that there are some shades that work for a wide variety of skin tones. So the Lipstick Bandits were wondering, is there such a thing as a universal lipstick shade?

We emailed back and forth, making suggestions (actually, I mostly just said I would agree with anything people liked :p); and Tracy came up with The Chosen One -- MAC Viva Glam V.

I will admit, when I first swatched this baby, my immediate reaction was: "oh..."

That was a disappointed "oh," in case you didn't realize.

"This looks nothing like the photos I've seen online," I thought.

Here's the thing, I can't say I'm in love with this particular shade. It looks good on me, I'm just not a fan of the finish. It's growing on me, though... Slowly, but surely!

Now, being a Lustre, this lipstick applies really smoothly. It glides onto my lips without a fuss and is so easy to work with. It also feels like I'm not wearing anything more than a balm on lips. Bonus points, yo!

MAC describes Viva Glam V as a "neutral pink with pearl," and frankly, I think it's the pearl that makes this lipstick look a bit 90s. This is very much an MLBB shade that compliments my skin tone very nicely, though it leans a bit too brown for my taste. Can you tell I have an aversion to 90s-style lipsticks? :p

The lip swatch is the closest I could get to what it actually looks like on me; but in real life, it definitely looks more brown. Still, I quite like this shade! In fact, I'm surprised at how much I do like it considering my reaction when I swatched the lipstick at MAC. That said, I would cross over from in-like to in-love if the lipstick looked more pink on me and if the pearl finish wasn't so obvious.

This colour has taken some getting used to, for sure, as I normally don't wear brown lipsticks. But I've seen swatches of this lipstick on others and it looks absolutely gorgeous. It's probably the colour of my lips that's making this lipstick lean more towards brown... They are fairly pigmented on their own, you see.

That said, I find that applying a few thin layers of Viva Glam V over lip balm makes it look more nude and less brown (almost like Jubilee). The pearly finish also becomes less pronounced; it's still there, but looks less... "90's."* And it works out well because this lipstick isn't exactly hydrating.

*90's is now an adjective I use to describe things

So this is how Viva Glam V looks on me... Curious to see how it looks on the other Bandits? Check out my fellow Lipstick Bandits' posts:

Are you a fan of Viva Glam V?


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