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Monday, May 31, 2010

Latest Xtreme Wear Swatches

All photos are with flash. Caribbean Coral is on the left; Going Green, right.
This is without top coat. Caribbean Coral is a gorgeous shimmery coral. It's not too pink and not too orange. I really like this colour but I have way too many corals. I always seem to buy them because they're so pretty but I don't wear them enough. 
Going Green is the perfect St. Patrick's Day colour. I just wish I had bought it months ago. It's about the colour of really healthy grass, with just enough shimmer.

I also swatched with matte top coat. I love Caribbean Coral with the matte finish. Going Green, on the other hand, loses everything that makes it special. The swatch photo looks much shinier than it really is. It's really just a dull, boring, completely unspecial green.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

EOTD: Lavender

I felt like doing a purple look but didn't want anything too harsh so this is what I came up with. It's a very easy look to do, but blending is important for this one. And I just realized that (again) all the products are ELF, so it can be done for less than $15. But of course, use whatever you have.

Products Used:
Elf Studio Eye Primer & Liner Sealer
Elf Brightening Eye Color-Drama (matte white), Punk Funk (purple)
Elf Studio Eye Transformer (lavender shade)
Elf Studio Cream Eye Liner-Black
Elf Studio Mineral Infused Mascara

Start off by priming your lid up to the brow bone. Brush the matte white on your lid. Apply a vibrant, medium purple (Punk Funk) to your crease and blend up to the brow bone, using the white to blend it out and as a brow highlight. Blend the lavender shade from the eye transforming palette over the entire lid and crease to soften the look. Also, use a little of the lavender under the eye. Using an angled brush, draw a thin line along your upper lashes with the black cream liner. (Or, if you prefer, use a pencil or liquid liner-whatever you're most comfortable with.) Finish off by curling your lashes and applying two coats of black mascara.

If you like this look (or even if you don't) please vote for it in ELF's Thanks a TWO Million contest!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

EOTD: Pixiwoo Inspired Sparkly Lashes

This is based on Pixiwoo's recent look, using all ELF products. I love this look because it's subtle and wearable but the lashes still make it stand out. And it's perfect in the summer if you don't want too much on your eye lids.

Elf Duo Eye Shadow Cream in Sugar Cookie
Elf Studio Eye Transformer
Elf Studio Mineral Infused Mascara in Black
Elf Liquid Eye Liner in Stardust
Elf Studio Under Eye Concealer & Highlighter

Start off by concealing any under eye circles. Blend the pink cream shadow over your lid. Then, apply the pink shade from the Eye Transformer palette over lid and into crease. Blend the purple shade into the crease and under the lower lashes. Use the highlight end of the Under Eye Concealer & Highlighter on brow bone. Curl lashes and apply two coats of black mascara. Then apply the glittery eye liner to your lashes.. This is easiest by just rolling the applicator over your lashes. Comb through your lashes to get rid of any clumps from the liner and you're done.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mall Haul

I've been looking for a matte top coat lately and finally found one at Claire's. I used to shop there all the time when I was younger and loved their 10 for $10 sales. So, after finding the top coat, I looked around the store and picked up a few more things on clearance.
Can you tell I really like bows? Whenever my hair is short, I like wearing really girly clips or hairbands in it. I think my favourite of these is the purple one on the end. The colour matches my sunglasses really well.
 I also bought some bow earrings. I just started wearing earrings again for the first time in years. So, we'll see if I actually use these but they were too cute to pass on.
Of course, I also bought nail polish. A fluorescent pink that dries with a semi-matte finish and a glitter with hearts in it. I really like this glitter but it can be a pain to actually get the hearts from the bottle.I'll do a review on these polishes once I get a chance to wear them but for now, here's a swatch photo (with flash).
My absolute favourite find of the day has to be this keychain. I think ducks are the cutest thing ever and now I know I'll be finding excuses to be pulling out my keys in front of people to show this off.

Anyway, back to the matte top coat. I'm wearing it today over black polish and I love the effect. (And the fact that it pretty much doubles my nail polish options is a nice bonus.) It works better with some colours and finishes than others so I spent quite a while yesterday (too long probably) swatching it over different polishes. Here's a few of the swatches and I'll be doing more over the next few days.
This photo is with flash. The matte top coat is over the top half of each nail. Left to right: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Virtual Violet, Rockstar Pink, Blue Me Away, Gunmetal, Blue It, and Celeb City. 
Another store in the mall was having a no tax event and I managed to restrain myself and only buy three nail polishes. I haven't used KleanColor before or really heard much about them so I'll have a review up once I've tried them out but here's a swatch photo (with flash). 
Left to right: Aurora, Blue Pearl, and Mocha. The top half of Blue Pearl and Mocha each have matte top coat. (I guess I was really excited about that top coat.) I love the stars in Aurora but just by swatching, it seemed really hard to get them on the brush. Blue pearl is (obviously) a light blue with a pearlized finish and Mocha is just a medium brown.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

NOTD: Dorothy Who?

China Glaze's Dorothy Who? Three coats. Top photo is with flash; bottom is without flash, artificial light. 
I love this nail polish. It's a bright, medium-dark blue jelly base with tons of silver and blue glitter. 
Part of me wants to wear this colour every day. But I know if I did, it would lose some of its specialness so I have to restrain myself.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NOTD: Pink + Orange

This NOTD is really easy. The inspiration for this was butterfly cupcakes my sister had made for Mother's Day (sorry no pic of the cupcakes). Obviously, any two colours would work, although, cremes are better for this. 
Start with two coats of your base colour (Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Fushia Power). Then using either a small brush or a dotting tool, place a dot in the center of your nail and five dots around it. (I used Xtreme Wear Sunkissed for the dots.) Finish with top coat when the dots are nearly dry to blend them into the base colour. See, very easy to do, but I think it's cute for spring. 
Just a note about brushes: check out dollar stores or craft stores for paint brushes. You can usually get a variety of sizes for less than it would cost for specialty nail brushes.

Review: Rimmel Colour Rush Trio Eyeshadow

Rimmel Colour Rush Trio Eyeshadow in Maritime. Photo is with flash. Swatches on the left with primer; on the right, without.
Overall, I didn't like this eye shadow. Although the colours look really nice in the pan, they aren't well pigmented. Even with primer, these shadows are too sheer for anything but a very subtle shimmer. That said, they do blend well. I prefer brighter, more pigmented colours, but if you're just looking for a hint of colour it might be for you.
I also bought Spices, a neutral trio. None of the colours even showed up on my (very pale) skin.

Would I buy again? No.

Review: North American Hemp Co.

I've tried a few products from North American Hemp Co. and they've all been good. But my favourite by far is the Omega Deep Rich Conditioning Treatment

What they say: Omega Deep Rich treatment is our ultimate restorative treatment. Its intense moisturising formula containing hemp seed oil, Omega 3, 6, & 9, thermal algae, cornflower and sesame extracts absorbs quickly in your hair to tame wiry waves and repair dry over-processed hair.
  • All natural formula
  • Paraben & DEA free
  • Contains certified organic hemp seed oil
 I bleach my hair a lot (too much) and to be honest, there are times that it feels almost like straw. (All the bottle blondes understand.) So, I've tried tons of conditioners and masks and treatments. This is the only one that makes my hair actually feel like hair. Impressive. I just can't say enough good things about this product. 

I feel like it's a little pricey for a pretty small amount (50mL) but it's worth the money, especially if you consider how much I spend bleaching (read: damaging) my hair in the first place.

Would I buy again? Yes. Definitely give it a try if you have damaged hair from colouring or heat styling. If you're near a Pharma Plus, all the North American Hemp Co products go on sale for buy one get one free fairly often.

One last thing: This is cruelty-free and vegan, so much love for that.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Review: Elf Studio Corrective Concealer

I normally like Elf products, but the Corrective Concealer is a miss for me. It's not creamy enough and hard to blend. The coverage seems almost non-existent and the green shade doesn't cancel redness--it just leaves my skin green. I haven't found any use for the pink shade. And the nude and beige shades are way too dark for my skin tone (although I admit I am super pale). Well, that's enough for this rant. Overall, I would not buy this again, but for the $1.50 (with 50% off studio code) it cost me, I'm not too upset that I didn't like it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

NOTD: Mod Mauve

Photo is with flash. Elf's Mod Mauve is a deep, plum/berry shade. At first glance, it just looks brown, but there are purple undertones. Not quite as purple as the photo, and a little darker. I was a bit disappointed by this colour at first because it looks nothing like the Elf website, but it's grown on me. The polish went on smoothly, but it needed 3 coats for opacity. I'll update this later once I know how it wears.

This is the swatch from the Elf site. Much lighter and more purple than the actual colour. I'd love if they actually made a polish that looked like this swatch.

UPDATE: I only wore the polish for one day, but it lasted fairly well through that. There was some tip wear, but that's pretty standard for me since I tend to be rough on my hands. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nail Polish Fail: Sally Hansen New Lengths Ceramics

I've been looking for a really great lilac creme for a while now, but since it seems impossible to find just the right shade (that doesn't cost a small fortune) I was ready to settle for a frost. So I picked up Divine Purple yesterday and had high hopes for it. Well, I painted my nails last night, had some wear on my tips this morning, and chipping this afternoon. Tonight, after less than twenty-four hours, the polish was just peeling off in big pieces.
I'm really disappointed in this polish. The colour would be great if it stayed on more than a few hours. And I haven't had problems with Sally Hansen polishes in general before. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lip Lustres: Meloncholy

Top is with flash; bottom, without. This goes on fairly orange but blends into lips and within a few minutes seem more melon-y (and almost pink) and less obviously orange. Less pink than the flash photo and less orange than the no flash photo. It's supposed to have a green tea scent, but I don't think it's noticeable at all.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fyrinnae Swatches

I finally got some decent swatch photos done of my new Fyrinnae shades. These loose shadows go on well, blend smoothly, and last long over a primer. I only bought a few shades since it was my first order and I wanted to try just a couple before committing to a lot of shadows I might not wear. Well, I'm already planning my next order. And I have a feeling it will be considerably larger than this one.

Parental Advisory. With flash.Left to right: Primer; Primer + Pixie Epoxy; Pixie Epoxy; no baseParental Advisory. No flash. Left to right: Primer; Primer + Pixie Epoxy; Pixie Epoxy; no base

Parental Advisory is somewhere between the two photos. More purple than the pic with flash, not quite as dark as the no flash, and very sparkly. The second from left in the no flash photo shows it best, but again, it has a lot of shimmer that isn't showing up. This colour really needs a primer and (if you have it) pixie epoxy.

1.22 Gigawatts. With flash. Left to right: Primer; Primer + Pixie Epoxy; Pixie Epoxy; no base
1.22 Gigawatts. No flash. Left to right: Primer; Primer + Pixie Epoxy; Pixie Epoxy; no base

The no flash photo is much closer, but it's a bit brighter than this. And this shadow has tons of sparkle. Fyrinnae's swatch photo is pretty accurate for this shade. I've had bright blue eye shadow on my wish list for a while, and 1.22 Gigawatts definitely fills the role.

Bifrost. Left to right: Primer; Primer + Pixie Epoxy; Pixie Epoxy; no base

This colour actually photographed amazingly well. Bifrost is a pure, bright, vibrant, glittery yellow. The kind of yellow that is nearly impossible to find. I used it in an EOTD recently and got tons of compliments. Even if you think you'll never wear yellow eyeshadow, buy this colour because you will love it.

Edit: I just realized looking at these pics that the difference between using pixie epoxy/primer or no base isn't very obvious. But when actually applying the shadow, you really will notice it. The primer stops it from creasing and makes the colour more vibrant and the pixie epoxy really holds sparkle/shimmer in place.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I wonder what would happen if...

I layered VIP Pink over black? Inspired by my recent obsession with glitters over black bases, and realizing I hadn't worn VIP Pink in a while, I did a quick swatch.
This is one (generous) coat of VIP Pink over two coats of Elf Black. With flash. I love how the pink jelly base fades into the black, leaving gorgeous pink glitter.

What are some of your favourite layering combinations?

Elf Swatch: Punk Funk

While I was posting my latest EOTD, I realized I had completely forgotten to swatch Elf's Brightening Eye Color Punk Funk quad. So, here it is. This is with flash. (Left to right:) bright, slightly shimmery pink; bright violet; bright, dark blue (slightly darker than it looks here, this is the only colour to somewhat disappoint me); and, white with a subtle pink shimmer.

EOTD: Pink & Yellow

Prime lid up to brow bone (I use Elf studio primer). Then apply a bright yellow on lid (Fyrinnae Bifrost). Fill in crease with bright pink and blend up to brow bone. (I used a random hot pink but Elf's punk funk quad has a perfect pink for this.) Using Elf Studio Small Precision Brush (or any fairly small brush), blend bright orange into the crease. Highlight is matte white to blend out the pink. Finish with two coats of black mascara and black liner on lower lash line and waterline.

Sorry for the lack of open eye pictures. I only realized after I had taken off the make up that all the decent pics were eyes closed.

NOTD: Black + Glitter

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Disco Ball and Strobe Light over Elf Black (tutorial here) with one coat Xtreme Wear Shooting Star over everything. With Flash. Boo lack of clean up.

April Favourites

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear
I guess this one is a bit obvious. But I love the colours, they apply well, and they're really inexpensive. Tons of swatches here (and a bonus NOTD).

Joe Fresh Style Lip Stain
I keep meaning to review and swatch these. They apply like a felt-tip marker, last 5+ hours without fading, and are fairly cheap ($6). Couple of issues with these: they're only available at Fortino's; there isn't a ton of selection (some colours are nearly identical); and, the colour of the stain doesn't always match what you'd expect from the packaging (usually quite a bit darker). Overall, though, I love them because they are so easy to apply and don't wear off too easily. Berry is a perfect dark red and Lilac is an amazing fuschia. (I'm just starting to get into purple lips--and I don't know why it didn't happen sooner.)

Elf Studio Eye Primer & Liner Sealer

And, finally, warm weather! We had a few amazingly gorgeous days. Now it's cold and miserable and rainy. I guess that's Spring.

Xtreme Wear Glitters

Two coats of glitter over two coats of black. Left to right: Disco Ball, Strobe Light, Rockstar Pink, Shooting Star

Friday, May 7, 2010

Brushes Part Deux

I posted about my eye brushes the other day. I'm going to do this one a bit differently and organize it by function (ie. foundation, powder, concealer, etc).

(Top: Spa Resource, $3.50; Bottom: Elf Studio, $3)

I use these two brushes interchangeably and don't really have a preference between the two. Basically, if one is dirty, or still wet from washing, I'll use the other. Elf is taklon; Spa Resource is (non-specific) synthetic fibres. Both are very soft and I haven't had a problem with shedding with either.
The angle on the Elf brush does help with getting into smaller areas. The Spa Resource brush is a bit smaller and I like that for precision but I also find that makes it a bit harder to blend out the foundation on larger areas (cheeks, forehead).
Overall, I'd buy either one again. It would probably just come down to whether I was making an elf order at the time, or just running to WalMart.


(Top: EcoTools; Bottom: Spa Resource, $2)

The EcoTools brush is made from taklon and the bristles are tapered to apply concealer to smalls spots. It's not bad for concealer but more often than not, I find myself using this brush to apply eyeshadow as a hightlight since it's so soft. I bought this in a set ($20 for 5-piece at Zellers); otherwise, I'd skip it as a concealer brush.
The Spa resource brush is synthetic, not quite as soft but firmer. I like this brush if I have to do larger strokes of concealer, but the hairs aren't very tapered so it's tough to use for smaller blemishes. Overall, it's worth the couple bucks I paid, but I'm not really a fan of this brush.
I guess I'm still looking for a good concealer brush. If anyone has any (affordable, synthetic) suggestions, leave a comment. Maybe I'll try the Elf Studio brush with my next order. Has anyone tried this? Opinions?

(Top: EcoTools; Bottom: Elf Studio Complexion Brush, $3)

Both these brushes are taklon, super soft, don't shed. The Elf brush is a bit bigger and the bristles a little more spread out. I use this brush mostly for powder (especially Elf Complexion Perfection-review coming up) but also for a very light dusting of blush or bronzer.
The EcoTools blush brush is a bit more versatile. I use it for everything from powder to blush and bronzer to contouring. It's smaller and the hairs are somewhat tapered, allowing for more precise placement of colour.
My last face brush is the Elf Studio blush brush. It's quite a bit smaller than these two and somewhat denser, so I only use it for blush. And it is easy to overdo it with more pigmented blushes, but the smaller size and relative density of the bristles are perfect for a sheer wash over colour just on the apples of the cheeks.
If you were only going to buy one, I would go for the EcoTools, just because it does more. But the three together are so inexpensive, I'd buy them all again.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Even More Xtreme Wear Swatches

I've had these three colours for a while but just keep forgetting to post swatches. The photos aren't the greatest; it seems lately that none of my photos are turning out. The bottom is without flash, artificial light; top is with flash.

Left to Right:
Purple Potion-Violet with a blue highlight. Most similar to the flash pic. It's close to Deep Purple but lighter and brighter.
Fuchsia Power-Bright pink frost. Very similar to Twisted Pink, without the shimmer. Really don't need both these colours.
Black Out-Black. Not much else to say about this. Except it goes on smoothly and it's completely opaque with two coats.

The rest of my Xtreme Wear Swathes are here and there.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Until fairly recently, I didn't use make up brushes too much. I pretty much used cotton swabs, sponges, or my fingers. I still do use each of those sometimes, but the right tool makes everything easier (and look better). So I figured I'd do a review/collection post about the brushes I've amassed over the past few months. There's quite a few so I'll divide it into two parts: eyes and face.

First up: Eye Brushes

EcoTools Angled Eyeliner Brush

The bristles are made of taklon, a synthetic fiber. They're soft but firm and densely packed. I love this brush--it's pretty much the only way I can do liquid liner without making a mess. I actually have two of these: one for eye liner and one exclusively for filling in my brows. (There's nothing worse than thinking you're using a clean brush only to realize later that you have purple sparkles in your eye brows. I would definitely buy this again (and clearly I already have). I think it was about $3 but it's also available in a 5 piece set for $20.

Elf Studio Small Angled Brush

To be honest, I'm not sure exactly why I bought this brush, since I have two angled brushes already. That said, I'm glad I did. Also taklon, but not quite as soft as the Ecotools brush. The bristles are a bit firmer though. I pretty much use them interchangeably. This is $3 on the elf website, but they have 50% off studio sales fairly often.

Ecotools Eye Shading Brush

This is my go-to brush for eye shadow. This is taklon too (notice a pattern?) and, again, super soft and I haven't had any trouble with it shedding. I use this for everything: my lid, highlight, to place colour in my crease, and sometimes to blend. I have two already and I'm tempted to get another. I'm not sure of the individual price but it is available in the set for $20.

Elf Studio Small Smudge Brush

Also taklon, and soft but firm and very densely packed. The bristles are only about 5mm long. I use this mostly for placing colour in my crease, but also for smudging shadow under my eyes. A must-have, I think because it helps with smaller areas or detailed application. $3 from elf website.

Elf Studio Small Precision Brush

The bristles on this one (yes, taklon) are about 2-3 mm longer than the smudge brush and much looser packed. I probably use this the least of my eye brushes, simply because it doesn't do anything I can't do with my other brushes. It's only $3 but I'd probably pass on it (especially if you have the smudge brush and any blending brush).

Ecotools Lash & Brow Groomer

I actually am not a fan of this one. I got it in a set or I would not have bought it seperately. The bristles on the brow brush aren't firm enough to do anything and the teeth on the lash comb are pretty flimsy so I'm a little afraid to comb through mascara clumps with it. I guess in terms of positives I could say I like the handle. It's made from bamboo (I love bamboo; I don't know exactly why but that's a sure way to get me to by something) and recycled aluminum. I much prefer this...

Random Lash & Brow Brush

The bristles are firmer, the comb is a lot sturdier. And, it has a spoolie on the other end. I wish I knew what brand it was but I picked it up at Zellers a while back for two bucks. I'm not crazy about double-ended brushes (or brushes with interchangeable pieces) but I've made an exception for this one because it works.

*Just a quick tip about spoolies: don't waste your money to buy one. Every time I finish a mascara, I clean the wand and use that. They're great for grooming brows, combing lashes, and Petrilude has a great video for using them to clean up mascara smudges. And for anyone who isn't familiar with Petrilude, WATCH his videos. He does the most amazing make up.

OK, so back to brushes...

Elf Studio Eyeshadow C Brush

I don't really use this brush much. It's a bit too wide for my eyes so I usually use the Ecotools brush instead. But I do like it for blending, or for neutral or sheer colours. And the bristles are soft and don't shed. (I guess I've been lucky with soft bristles.) For $3, it's nice to have but if you only want one shadow brush, I wouldn't choose this one.

Elf Studio Contour Brush

The picture doesn't show it but the bristles on this one are in a nearly perfect circle and spread out as you move away from the handle. It is amazing for blending out the crease. Buy this brush.

I also just bought the Fyrinnae crease brush and a pack of mini art brushes. So I'll have pics and reviews up for those soon.

Face brushes are here.