May 30, 2012

Physicians Formula's PH Matchmaker Products - Cool Concept, Awesome Results!

I'm not much of a scientist.

I did enjoy mixing things in Chemistry class and I enjoyed Biology immensely, but my knowledge of the term pH is limited at best. So I'm going to let Physician's Formula explain what these products are all about:

Introducing the first ever pH powered makeup that adapts to the pH of your skin and your lighting environment to create the perfect shade for you in less than 60 seconds.
pH Power Complex transforms into your perfectly personalized hue:
  • Flourescein Based Dye - senses the pH level of your skin and adjusts within 60 seconds to create your perfect shade.
  • Photochromic Powders - light adjusting pigments adapt to your environment so colour looks the same indoors and outside 
Very cool concept, no? But does it work?

Read on to find out, my lovelies!

pH Matchmaker pH Powered Bronzer in Light Bronzer

When I first saw this bronzer, my first thought was, "that won't show up on my skin." Well, Physician's Formula didn't give this product the "matchmaker" moniker for nothing, because it definitely suits my skin tone. This bronzer has shimmer particles that are visible (if you look very closely), but still delicate. I also like that it doesn't look orangey on me, which is a problem I have with a lot of bronzers. Because the bronzer adapts to my skin, it makes for a very flattering shade; and seeing as the bronzer looks quite light in the pan, I'm definitely impressed that it morphs into something that looks so wearable on me. 

Something else that impressed me was the pigmentation. I've tried another PF bronzer in the past (I believe it was the Cashmere Wear bronzer) and was really disappointed in the lack of pigmentation. With the pH Matchmaker bronzer, I don't even have to apply much before I see the evidence on my skin. 

pH Matchmaker pH Powered Blush in Natural

I was also very impressed with the pH Matchmaker blush. It's a lovely pink blush that applies smoothly and effortless onto the skin. Like the bronzer, there is some shimmer action involved, though the particles are not too big. I definitely like the shade, as it's the kind of colour I reach for day to day. The only thing I don't like about this product is that when used in conjunction with the bronzer, it changes colour, making the blush lean a little towards coral. Which makes sense, since it's a "matchmaker" product and it adapts to whatever colour my face is.

It's not really a problem, nor is it a deal-breaker; I just have to wear it on its own or with another bronzer if I want to stick with the pink. Problem: solved!

pH Matchmaker pH Powered Lipgloss in Pink

The pH Matchmaker Lipgloss is probably my favourite out of the 3 products. It's not too sticky, though there's still tackiness involved, and it doesn't make my lips feel uncomfortable. Some lipglosses give me a reaction if I've worn them for longer than say, 4 hours; but not so with this one. 

Also, the shade is gorgeous! It's such a fun, shiny, vibrant pink that's perfect for Summer days or nights out with the girls. When I first applied it, I thought, "oh, this is pretty." But a few minutes after application, I looked in the mirror again and saw this...

That is one sexy pink! The shade turned deeper and brighter - I like this shade much more than the initial one, that's for sure. The only thing to watch out for is that this lipgloss stains your lips a bit. I'm not sure if that concerns any of you, but there you have it. 

I really like this lipgloss and shall be permanently placed in my makeup bag all Summer!

Just a note that the lip swatches were taken at night with an OttLite. To see a lip swatch in natural light, read further!

Am I impressed?

Swatches from L-R: Bronzer in Light Bronzer, Blush in Natural, and Lipgloss in Pink

In one word: YES!

All the products are so pigmented and look absolutely lovely on. The packaging is really neat, too! The LED lights will come in handy with the lighting situation is less than ideal. How cool is that? There is an option of turning it on and off, too; so if you don't need it, don't turn it on. 

The bronzer and blush have also lasted through one of my long days (work + rehearsals), too. Which is always something I appreciate. Especially now that my schedule's crazy hectic. 

I definitely recommend all three products. They work well, they look great on the skin, and they apply effortlessly. That said, the lipgloss is a real showstopper product for me. The colour is just so gorgeous and it feels so comfortable to wear. Still, I'm so pleased and really impressed with how these three have been performing in the last week. I've been wearing them every day for the past (nearly) 2 weeks and they have not let me down!

Are you a fan of "matchmaking" makeup products?

*Disclaimer: This product was a PR sample sent for review consideration.

May 28, 2012

The Lipstick Bandits Do Summer Brights!

When Bite Beauty posted a photo on Twitter featuring their High Pigment Matte Pencil in Zinfandel ($28 CAD at Sephora), I knew I had to have it. I mean, it's described as "electric coral" for goodness sake! How does one resist that?

One doesn't... Which is why it is now in my possession.

I've had this product for a while now (since the start of the year, I believe), but it took me ages to actually review it. So when the Lipstick Bandits decided to do a Summer Brights post, I knew I had to whip out Zinfandel and share it with you all!

<tangent> And I've just found out that Bite Beauty is a Canadian company! How amazing is that? It's always so nice to see Canadian beauty brands experience mainstream North American success. I instantly became a fan of Bite Beauty when I tried Mulberry for the first time, so I'm just delighted that "one of ours" makes such lovely products! </tangent>

Now, when Bite says this pencil is High Pigment, they really do mean High Pigment. You really only need one thin layer of this bad boy and you've got yourself some hardcore, opaque, "electric coral" goodness on your lips. Zinfandel has a rather creamy consistency, which means it glides on smoothly and with absolutely no tugging on the lips.

It's not lightweight and feels slightly... Not heavy, that's definitely not the right word. But you certainly don't forget you're wearing it, that's for sure. It still feels rather comfortable on the lips, though. However, it does remain tacky and will transfer easily, so... Don't wear white? 

But what has me really confused is that it's not matte at all! Now, I don't know if it's just the particular pencil I got or if all their matte pencils are the same way, but my lips continues to sport some sheen every time I wear it. Which is a shame, really, as I would've loved if it was truly matte. Larie of Eye Heart It reviewed the High Pigment Matte Pencil in Pomegranate here and it definitely looks matte. But am I really going to complain about this? Not really. Why? Because the colour is stunning!

I can't say much about the wear time because I have the habit of eating quite often (every 3 hours at this point) and I often wipe my lips before and after eating, which would necessitate reapplication and kind of renders any wear time counting pointless. That said, I've been able to get a solid 4 hours with absolutely no signs of wear, so I'm going to go ahead and make the assumption that I would get even longer wear time if I hadn't  consumed any food or liquids.

Zinfandel is definitely not as matte as I would like, but gosh, just look at that colour! It's vibrant, it's fresh, it's "electric freakin' coral!"

This shade is absolutely perfect for Summer; so if you're looking for a Summer Bright, definitely check Zinfandel out!

Now comes the fun part - you get to check out the rest of the Lipstick Bandits' picks for their Summer Brights:

Bloomin' Beauty Blog
Eye Heart It
Getting Cheeky
Makeup Morsels
Messy Wands
Musing on Beauty
My Funny Valentine
My Women Stuff
Rocaille Writes
theNotice: a beauty blog

Let us know what your summer bright is! 

May 25, 2012

Cosmetics Blitz!

I've done a Blitz Review before and I thought it was about time I did another as I've accumulated quite a bit of makeup in the past 6 months (despite the spending ban. I know... -_-').

I've got a few random products to review here that are mostly drugstore products and hopefully, some of you will find these mini-reviews pretty useful. So let's get started!

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation in 210

I very rarely can match myself to a foundation perfectly. I have the dubious pleasure of having a warm-toned neck/body and a much lighter, neutral-toned face. Matching foundation to my neck results in me looking much too yellow; something my MUA instructor makes sure to warn my classmates about if they're doing my makeup.

But this foundation matches me so well! I was pretty surprised about that, since drugstore brands don't typically carry a wide range of foundation shades. Still, 210 is probably one of, if not the most natural looking foundation I've ever tried. It's quite liquidy and feels pretty light on the skin. Despite not having a lot of coverage (I would describe it as light-buildable), it still evens out my skintone rather well.

Unfortunately, this foundation doesn't last very long on my skin (around 4-6, depending on the situation) and is not very good at oil control (not that it claims to be). So it won't hold up for a full day, but is definitely more than enough for my half days at work.

Maybelline Fit Me Foundations retail for $7.99 CAD.

Boxx Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Darva*

Boxx Cosmetics is a fairly new brand whose philosophy is "high quality, practicality, innovation and affordability." They sell package-free cosmetics which can then fit into pre-existing compacts. I think it's a brilliant idea!

Their Darva eyeshadow is described as a "honey highlighter" and performs amazingly as such. I've used it as a base eyeshadow as well, but it's really much too light for my colouring. It also doesn't last very long on my oily lids. But as a highlighter, it's wonderful. I've been using it to highlight my brow bone and to illuminate the inner corners of my eyes.

Boxx Cosmetics wet/dry eyeshadows retail for $18 CAD.

NYX Cream Shadow in Gunmetal, Aqua, and Chocolate

I was immediately taken with these cream shadows from NYX. They are really pigmented and look absolutely stunning in swatches. That said, it's kind of difficult to blend. I've tried fingers and I've tried a synthetic brush; neither of those techniques apply these shadows evenly. They are also aren't quite a match for my oily lids, as I see some creasing at before the end of a typical 8-hour work-day.

I'm normally a fan of NYX products, but I think they missed the mark with this one.

NYX Cream Shadows retail for $11.99 CAD.

Rimmel Vinyl Max Lip Gloss in 701 Outrageous

These lipglosses are fairly new from Rimmel and they're pretty great! The particular shade I got is called Outrageous (though the shade itself can't be called "outrageous," can it? :p) and is a lovely peachy-pink colour with lots of shine. I chose this shade because I wanted a colour that was going to be easy to wear and didn't need a lot of thought beforehand in terms of choosing blush and eyeshadow shades that would compliment and not clash. 

The brush is ridiculous, though. Seriously, it does not need to be that big. I guess the thought process was that if the brush was bigger, you would need fewer swipes. BUT, I found I have to be even more careful using this than I do other lipglosses with regular-sized doe foot applicators because I was so afraid I would end up painting my face with it. It also has a cooling sensation that, while not uncomfortable, still kind of irks me. I would love this lipgloss more if they did away with the cooling sensation and came with a doe-foot applicator that wasn't made for a giant.

Rimmel Vinyl Max Lipglosses retail for $7.99 CAD.

Rimmel Clean Finish Foundation in 330 Sand

100% Poreless is a huge claim! Large pores are not really a problem for me, but I did find that the ones around my nose looked less visible. This foundation has medium to full coverage, is quite thick, and doesn't have a lot of slip; so I had to blend very quickly with a stippling brush (I was sporting an uneven coverage when I didn't work fast enough). It sets matte and lasted through a long work day, so I would say it works well for oilier skins. Because of the consistency of this foundation, I wouldn't recommend it for dry skins. 

I also love that it comes with a spatula! It makes using this foundation pretty mess-free and more sanitary. 

Rimmel Clean Finish Foundation retails for $7.99 CAD.

Marcelle Rouge Xpression Cream Lipstick in Paris Rose

I've wanted to get this ever since I saw it on The Notice last year. Anyway, I finally got it and it's just as lovely as I expected it to be. It's lightweight and feels very comfortable on the lips, though it does adhere to dry patches, so I have to be sure to exfoliate (which I don't do nearly as often as I should >.<). 

It starts out with a hint of sheen but as it sets, it takes on more of a "semi-matte" (as Rae-Rae likes to call it) finish. Such a lovely shade! 

Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipsticks retail for $11.99 CAD.

Joe Fresh Cream Blush in Apricot

Love the colour and love that it dries to a powdery finish; it actually was able to for about 6 hours before it started to lose some colour. It definitely applies better with fingers, though. I was using a cream blush brush by Quo and it was not blending well at all. That said, it does apply nicely with a stippling brush, which I really should remember to do. 

Joe Fresh Cream Blushes retail for $8.00 CAD.

And there you have...
My latest blitz review... I have to say, I'm really liking this kind of format. It allows me to review products without the pressure of doing a whole post on them. Sometimes, I just don't have enough to say, know what I mean? 

Anyway, let me know in the comments if you guys like this kind of format!

Happy weekend, lovelies!

*Disclaimer: This product was a PR sample sent for review consideration. Review is 100% honest. 

May 23, 2012

The New Love Of My Life - Jo Malone's Dark Amber & Ginger Lily Cologne Intense

Once in a while, you meet a perfume that you just connect with... Well, I know I do, at least.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't know much about perfumes. I only know what I like and that's pretty much it. I actually only have thirteen perfumes; some of which, I've had for more than 2 years now. But there are a few fragrances I own which honestly have a very special place in my heart. I can't really explain it beyond a "love at first whiff" feeling and knowing that it's a scent that represents who I am better than any other fragrances I may enjoy.

There were only two perfumes that I felt this way about*: Burberry For Women and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. But now, I have Jo Malone's Dark Amber & Ginger Lily Cologne Intense to add to the mix.

*I'd like to add that although I'm not head-over-heels in love with Emporio Armani She, it was given to me while I was in Milan (I also started wearing it then), and to this day, a whiff of this perfume makes me remember that wonderful month-long trip to Europe.

I saw the Jo Malone counter for the first time in Bloomingdales when I went to New York in March. I was immediately intrigued because I loved the uniformity of the glass bottles... And there were so many!

Anyway, I wasn't in the mood for buying a new perfume, so I didn't really stop to try any of them out. Fast forward to the end of April and I happen to be at Holts Renfrew with my girl Winnie with the express purpose of having a sniff at a Diptyque fragrance I was interested in getting. But on the way to the Diptyque display, I passed by the Jo Malone counter and, well... I couldn't resist this time!

There were literally about 5 fragrances that I immediately liked, but only two of them really struck my fancy: Dark Amber & Ginger Lily and Orange Blossom. So the lovely Sales Associate (Audrey, who had the cutest Irish accent) sprayed one fragrance on each wrist and Winnie & I proceeded to walk around the beauty section to give myself some time to make a decision.

Eventually, it was decided that Dark Amber & Ginger Lily was "more me," so I went and made the purchase. I've never spent so much on perfume before; the Cologne Intense collection retails for $155 CAD and is not available in the 30mL bottles (at least not in Holt Renfrew). Still, I was in an indulgent mood and bought it anyway. Like I said, I really connected with this perfume; and since I loved it so much, it would make a great buy.

I've been wearing Dark Amber & Ginger Lily every day since I bought it and I am enjoying every moment of it! The scent is absolutely divine and despite being labeled as "cologne intense," doesn't smell overpowering or too sharp. It's comfortable to smell, in that it doesn't irritate my sinuses or give me a headache at all. It has such an interesting and multi-faceted scent as well. I can't immediately tell you what it smells like (i.e. vanilla, floral, powdery, citrusy, etc.), although that may very well be my lack of scent-descriptive skills. But mother-of-pearl, does it ever smell amazing!

According to Fragrantica, this perfume has base notes of leather, sandalwood, kyara incense, patchouli, and black amber; middle notes of jasmine, orchid, water lily, and rose; and finally, top notes of black cardamon, ginger, and pink pepper. I kind of have no idea what that all means. All I know is that put together, it makes for one of the most amazing, most interesting perfumes I've ever had the pleasure to smell!

Seriously, you guys... It smells SO good! <3

I also have to add that this fragrance lasts amazingly well on me. It's certainly not as present or obvious at the end of a long day, but I can definitely still catch whiffs of it and so can others. That's something that is very important to me when it comes to fragrances. If I have a full day of work and rehearsals afterwards, knowing that I still smell good kind of helps me feel more presentable.

Audrey included 8 free samples with my purchase, 3 of which were Orange Blossom because she knew how much I liked it as well. Oh, and she also told me that my name sounded like a famous singer, so she's now my new favourite person (after the Winmeister and all my Bandits, of course :p).

I'm told that Jo Malone fragrances are also meant to be layered, which is kind of an unknown concept to me, but I do love the idea of creating unique scents by layering different perfumes together. The Jo Malone website proves to be quit helpful in this regard, because each perfume's individual page has a list of other perfumes that it pairs well with.

I've also got my eye on a few other fragrances. As I've mentioned earlier, I also quite liked Orange Blossom, but I don't think I like it enough to purchase a full 100mL bottle. Thankfully, Holt Renfrew carries the 30mL versions of the perfumes that are not in the Cologne Intense collection (those retail for $75 CAD, while 100mL bottles retail for around $130 or $140 CAD). Aside from Orange Blossom, I also quite like the sound of Nectarine Blossom & Honey, as well as Rose Water and Vanilla. So I'm thinking that another visit to the Jo Malone counter is in order one of these days.

What perfume holds a special place in your heart?

May 21, 2012

Thank You, Messy Wands! (And A Quick Update)

Look what the lovely Xiao of Messy Wands sent me!

I've been thinking about getting some Aqua Creams (and long-wearing cream shadows, in general) to add to my kit for some time now, so I'm incredibly grateful to her for sending this over! I've already used three of them and so far, I'm quite pleased. I think I still need to figure out exactly how to layer powder over them (should I allow them to dry completely? Should I apply powder straight after applying the aqua cream? Etc...) so I don't get any patches; but overall, I love having these in my kit.

The colours are fantastic, too! They're all neutral, so they would be perfect for use in weddings and special occasions. I'm going to be using them for my Evening & Bridal Final Exams in June, so I'm excited about that.

She also included these Pro Longwear Lipcremes from MAC's Daphne Guinness collection. Because she's über nice like that!

Dear Xiao, have I told you lately that I love you? <3

Here, have some Renner for your generosity! You're welcome. :)

Speaking of Makeup Kits...

Yes, I'm still in school! I haven't been posting about my progress because, well... I forget. But to catch you all up (that is, if you're interested :p), I am currently down to the last 4 weeks of Evening & Bridal. The next 2 weeks are going to be all about hair, which I was nervous about, but now I'm pretty excited. I practiced on my friend Missy (who will be my model for my final exams) last night and her hair turned out pretty awesome. So I'm looking forward to working on my hairstyling skills so that I can proficient enough to also do hair for special occasions. I'm Not quite sure I would want the extra pressure of doing hair for a wedding; and anyway, I think most brides would want an actual hairstylist. However, if I encounter a bride who wants to save a bit more money by using a makeup artist who can style hair, then I don't want to have to say no.

It took me a while to get back into the swing of things after a 3 week break between classes, but I finally got my groove back a few classes into the course. I wasn't able to do makeup every class because my instructor went a bit overtime on his demo, which I wasn't that pleased about. I've had some pretty memorable moments, as well. Top of which was creating an Indian Bridal look on a classmate who had small, mono-lidded eyes. That was probably the toughest thing I've had to do so far.

Anyway the last 2 weeks have been awesome, skill-wise. I did a glam bridal look and a classic evening look recently, and my instructor was quite impressed with both. So now I'm really focused on doing an excellent job on my final exams... There will be a photoshoot as well; each student can only choose one look (evening or bridal) to be photographed and I've chosen Evening. I've got some pretty cool ideas for the shoot and I can't wait to share the photos with you guys!

Oh! And I've also booked my first paid makeup gig! I will be helping another makeup artist with a wedding in July. There are 10 women who will need to have their makeup done, so we will be splitting the task up between us. I'm kind of excited about it, but also kind of nervous. Hopefully there'll be lots of opportunities to do makeup this Summer because my next course doesn't actually start until September.

So that's what I've been up to in my Evening & Bridal class... My kit has been steadily growing and now includes some hair tools and hair products. I also kind of went crazy a few weeks ago and got a ridiculous amount of lip products...

L-R: Airy Fairy by Rimmel, Temptress by Revlon, Blushing Mauve by Revlon, 
Yummy Plummy by Maybelline, and Black Cherry by Revlon

L-R: Blushing Berry Le Gloss by L'oréal, a Vinyl Gloss by Rimmel (why do they not put the name on the tube? >.<), Raspberry Splash Le Gloss by L'oréal, Peony Colorburst Lipgloss by Revlon, 
and Nude Touch Le Gloss by L'oréal

Have a great week, lovelies!


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