March 23, 2014

Make Up For Ever HD Pressed Powder and Cream Blush

MAKE UP FOREVER has launched a couple new products over the past few months that I am super excited about and thanks to PR, I've been happily testing them out over the past little while. Now to share my thoughts!

First, I've been liking the HD Pressed Powder ($41 CAD), a talc-free finishing powder that offers the same benefits as MUFE's popular Microfinish Loose Powder but in a purse friendly compact.

The product is offered in only one shade which, as you can see from the photo above, looks insanely white in the pan. It actually appears translucent on the skin (apparently for all skin types). The powder is finely milled and once on, gives the skin a "soft focus effect" that feels very comfortable when worn. Unfortunately, I do have to touch up quite a few times throughout the day but with my oily skin this is kind of par for the course.

MUFE recommends using a brush like their #124 Kabuki Artisan Brush to apply the powder which I've been doing when I apply the powder before I leave in the morning. However, for on-the-go, it might make more sense to use a sponge/puff (but note that you'd have to purchase one separately).

This Spring, MUFE is also launching a new line of HD Cream Blush ($31 CAD). Unlike the former cream blush collection that came in pump bottles, these ones come in small compacts with mirrors for easy portability.

With sixteen shades available, I decided to opt for something a little out of the ordinary (at least for me). #520 Black Currant is the darkest shade in the range and I was very curious to see what it would look like. I typically gravitate towards peach and pink blushes but this one just looked so unique!

When initially swatched, the blush is quite pigmented. However, you can blend it into the skin for only the lightest flush, as I did, or keep layering if you want to build on more colour. Personally, I think #520 would make a great Fall/Winter blush for those with lighter skin tones, and would suit a lot of darker skin tones year round.

The formula itself isn't super "smooshy" but more waxy, if that description makes any sense. This means it's easier to control how much product you pick up either with your fingertips, a sponge, or a brush. Foolproof!

March 19, 2014

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in #15 Corail Intuitive

YSL lippies are widely raved about by beauty bloggers and vloggers alike, and now that I've finally purchased my first one, I can happily join the club as well! After mulling over the YSL counter for ages, I finally decided on the Rouge Volupté Shine in #15 Corail Intuitive, which caught my eye since I'm a sucker for corals (case in point).

When it comes to packaging, I really do think its hard to beat YSL. Seriously, how pretty is the gold tube with embossed logo? The lipstick feels expensive... and it is, at $39 CAD a pop. But fans swear it's worth it and I have to admit that I'm starting to buy in too.

Unlike the more opaque Rouge Volupté lipsticks, the Rouge Volupté Shines are more shiny (obviously) and fairly sheer. On my pigmented lips, Corail Intuitive imparts a faint hue that is slightly lighter than my natural lip colour, making it an easy-to-pair shade and perfect for minimal makeup days. The formula feels hydrating and applies well, plus it smells like tropical fruits which is a big bonus in my books.

Personally, I do prefer more pigmented lipsticks on an everyday basis since I like a bit more colour so I will be trying the regular Rouge Volupté line next. Don't get me wrong though - I do love this one too... and it was the perfect introduction to what feels like the start of a very expensive new habit!

March 14, 2014

Quilts Etc. Home Republic Manhattan Transfer Bedding

If my Pinterest account is any indication, it's clear that I am slightly obsessed with home decor. However, as much as I adore beautiful spaces, my ability to recreate them is severely lacking. You know how some people can artfully arrange things around their house and it looks so beautiful? Well, my attempts just look sad by comparison.

Thankfully, I recently got some much-needed help in sprucing up my bedroom thanks to the kind people at Canadian company Quilts Etc. and their new line of bedding, Home Republic (if you follow me on Instagram, you may have even gotten a sneak peek). There are currently 4 great designs to choose from but I decided on the Manhattan Transfer set, which is based on a vintage New York City blueprint dating back to 1886. Now my nights are spent slumbering under this stylish black and ivory map of lower Manhattan... and yes, sometimes I do find myself dreaming about visiting New York!

Of course, my bedroom (and apartment in general), continues to be a work in progress but I do feel that my new duvet and pillow shams mark a step in the right direction! I love the urban vibe (if only I had exposed brick walls...) and how much brighter the room looks. If you're looking for a quick space reinvention, you can't go wrong with a bedding update and Home Republic might be just the line to suit your individual tastes and lifestyle.

March 12, 2014

NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Lodhi

I have been loving any and all lip crayons lately (these Revlon ones are awesome and the Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Lip Crayons are also favourites), so it's no surprise that I found myself hovering over the lip pencils while at the NARS counter a few weeks ago. After swatching a few, I ended up purchasing the NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Lodhi.

This is my first time trying NARS lip pencils but since I love all their other products, I knew this would probably be a hit... and I was right!

Lodhi is described as a "vibrant coral" and while bright, is still easy to wear. It's well pigmented and would make a great summer colour (I'm a total follower of seasonal makeup). Personally, I can see myself wearing this shade a lot once the weather warms up. The formula is also creamy and hydrating on the lips, which makes for comfortable wearing. So pretty, right?

NARS always gets me on their packaging and these pencils are no exception. They feel smooth and sleek to the touch with a colour swatch on the end so you know what's inside. However, because they aren't twist-ups you do have to sharpen them with a special sharpener. This can get a little messy and waste precious product so I'd recommend popping the pencil in the fridge first to firm it up a bit. Nonetheless, despite this minor annoyance, I still feel the product is worth the money ($30 CAD) and can't wait to check out some other colours!

March 8, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Skintimate Mandarin Burst Shave Gel {CLOSED}

Launching this month is the Mandarin Burst Moisturizing Shave Gel, a brand new scent in the Skintimate® Signature Scents® line. I typically use body wash to shave but when I was sent this new shave gel in the mail, I decided it couldn't hurt to give it a try.

Featuring the citrusy fragrance of mandarin oranges, lemons and limes, this shave gel smells great and rather refreshing. It's definitely a great pick-me-up for tired mornings. The product foams into a rich lather, and leaves my skin feeling silky smooth. This is probably due in large part to the moisturizers, vitamins, and olive butter in the ingredients. Perfect for smoothing out that rough Winter skin!

Want to try this product out for yourself? Well, I've got an amazing giveaway for you all! 10 readers will win their own cannister of Skintimate® Signature Scents® Mandarin Burst Moisturizing Shave Gel to test out for themselves. Then, send me your review of the product and I'll randomly pick 1 of the 10 winners' reviews to win a $100 VISA gift card!


1. You must follow my blog on Bloglovin'.
2. Leave a comment below with your name and e-mail address so I can contact you.

Open to Canadian residents only (sorry!). Giveaway ends March 18.

March 5, 2014

ESQIDO Mink Lashes: Oh So Sweet and Lashlorette

I was recently contacted by ESQIDO false lashes, a company that specializes in mink false eyelashes to see if I wanted to try a few pairs out for review. Although I don't wear false lashes on an everyday basis, I have been intrigued by mink ones for a while now since they are often described as extremely luxurious and apparently all the rage in Hollywood.

At first, I admit I was concerned about what exactly the lashes are made of but was relieved to find out that all of ESQIDO's lashes use ethically sourced fur. The fur is collected from the natural shedding/molting cycles of mink animals and then sterilized to ensure that they are hypoallergenic and suitable for wear. The fur is then individually hand-crafted, one strand at a time to create the perfect set of lashes.

I decided on the following two lash designs: Oh So Sweet (top photo) and Lashlorette (bottom photo). They both look quite similar but Lashlorette features slightly longer lashes with more obvious criss-crossing.

Since my natural lashes grow straight and are fairly sparse (proof), the result after applying these ESQIDO mink lashes was astonishing. I'm wearing Oh So Sweet below and you can see how thick and curled they are from both the front and sides.

Given the density of these lashes, you'd think they'd be pretty uncomfortable but that's actually not the case. The soft cotton band is flexible and light, so it was easy to position on application. The quality means you can also get up to 25 wears with proper care, which makes the price ($45.99) a lot easier to swallow.

If you're in the market for some fancy false lashes, I absolutely recommend ESQIDO. Their designs range from more natural to super voluminous, so there really is something for everyone. I can't wait to wear these on my next night out!

March 2, 2014

Yves Rocher ELIXIR 7.9

I have been using anti-aging skincare products since my early 20s (in my opinion, it's never too early to start taking care of your skin) but have always stuck to my tried and true favourite brand. Now that I'm older, however, I've decided to experiment with some other lines to see what else is out there.

Lucky for me, a few months ago I was sent the Yves Rocher Elixir 7.9 system, which is targeted to people aged 25 years and older to slow down the formation of wrinkles and reactivate the skin's natural moisturization and protection processes. The line is backed by 12 years of research and a combination of 7 plants with anti-aging power (green rice inositol, apple oligosides, aphlioa extract, beet root extract, sandthorn seed extract, aloe vera polyosides, and tara seed extracts) that are recognized by 9 patents.

The Youth Intensifier Serum ($56 CAD for 30 mL) is applied morning and night on clean skin. In the day, I've been using the Youth Energy Day Care ($56 CAD for 40 mL) for normal to combination skin (there is also a dry skin formula and a sensitive skin formula). I really like the creamy gel texture, which feels very lightweight. At night, I apply the thicker balm-like Youth Energy Night Care ($56 CAD for 40 mL). After my respective creams, I have also been using the Youth Energy Eye Care Roll-On ($42 for 15 mL), which has a 3-bead applicator that massages and contours the eye area. I love the cooling sensation but I think I need a miracle product to get rid of my undereye circles!

Overall, I like this line though I'm not sure I've seen any radical changes in my skin in the months I've been using it. Admittedly, I didn't have many visible wrinkles or fines lines to begin with (please stay away forever, haha) so perhaps it is doing its job as a preventative measure. I also haven't experienced any breakouts and the products have lasted a long time even with everyday use. This is a good thing given the fact that these products aren't cheap since I suspect their prices might be a deterrent for some. There are, thankfully, skin care refills ($49 CAD) available, which are an ecological and economical option and can easily be popped into the empty cream jars once done.

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