Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MAC Pro Trend Forecast Spring 15/Lip and Cheek Palette: Review, Swatches and Photos

Every fall and spring MAC Pro puts out two limited edition Pro palettes, one for eyes and one for lips. This year MAC has extended the lip palette to be a lip and cheek palette. All photos in natural light , swatches on NC 35/40 skin.

The Spring 15 Lip and Cheek palette features 6 new, limited edition lip and cheek shades conveniently house in a single palette. Though I have no official confirmation from MAC, the formula of the lip and cheek palette appears to be consistent with the Casual Color formula: solid in the pan but light and emollient to the touch. Generally, the consistency is like a semi sheer or glossy lipstick. The levels of pigmentation differ from shade to shade, but all shades have a sheer, glossy, emollient texture. 

The palette features 6 shades: Go Guava, One to Watch, Spring Sensation Must Have Melon, Bang on Red and Seasonally Peach.

1st row: Seasonally Peach/Spring Sensation
2nd row: Must Have Melon/Go Guava
3rd row: Bang on Red/One to Watch.

Seasonally Peach, Spring Sensation and Must Have Melon

Seasonally Peach - A very light peachy beige, this shade is one of the sheerest in the palette. Due to it's lightness and sheerness, I don't see using this color as a blush but it could possibly work as a dewy highlighter.

Spring Sensation - A light peachy pink in the pan which leans cooler pink on my warm skin tone,  this shade is one of the sheerer in the palette, but it is a tad more pigmented than Seasonally Peach. This could work as both a blush and lip color on lighter skin tones.

Must Have Melon - An orangey medium peach that has pigmentation levels equivalent to Spring Sensation. On lighter skin tones this could act as both a blush and a lip color.

Go Guava, Bang On Red and One to Watch

Go Guava - A medium mauve-rose shade with good pigmentation. Almost fully opaque in one pass. 

Bang On Red - A bright, medium deep red-coral with excellent pigmentation. Opaque in one pass.

One to Watch - A medium deep berry toned fuchsia with excellent pigmentation, Opaque in one pass. 

This is a beautiful palette for lips and cheeks - the colors are pretty, fresh and bright, as well as there is a good range of both warm, cool and neutral colors. There is also is a good variation in tone and depth of color, with the first row being light and sheer, the second row being medium in both tone and pigmentation, and finally the last row being deep and highly pigmented. In terms of formulation, the product applies smoothly, blends easily and has a dewy finish.

The drawbacks of this palette for some will be the lightness and sheerness of Seasonally Peach and Spring Sensation, shades that will work on lips but have little impact on cheeks.The second aspect of the palette that may be a drawback is the creamy, emollient finish. This type of product does not dry down or set, but will remain moist, which means wear time will be cut down and the finish might be too moist for oilier skins.

Overall I think this palette is great for travelling and has a variety of shades that could work with various looks from dramatic smokey eyes, to a neutral face, to bright lips. I love that this palette is for the most part, truly versatile. I hope MAC puts out more lip and cheek palettes like this.

Grade: B/B+


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - October 19, 2014

Hello lovelies,
Hope you're having a spectacular Fall day. If not, hopefully you're somewhere cosy and comfortable, or will be soon. 

Here is our weekly round-up of beauty-related weblinks for you!

  • Check out these "photoshopped" photos from the 1930s. (These photos aren't photoshopped, they're retouched.)
  • "Alien vampire goddess" Tilda Swinton will be featured in NARS' spring 2015 ad campaign.
  • Save some money and buy these beauty supply items at the art supply store.
  • More Instagram makeup transformations, this time from Lucia Pittalis, who has transformed herself into Keith Richards, Iggy Pop and Walter White from Breaking Bad.
  • MUA Lisa Eldridge does a very natural Downton Abbey makeup look on Downton star, Lady Edith herself, Laura Carmichael. This look is perfect for anyone who wants a no-makeup makeup look.
  • Need a Halloween costume? How about Marge Simpson? Check out this awesome tutorial.
  • Can an extremely talented, very experienced, awesome MUA like Pat McGrath do someone's makeup with her eyes closed? Model Natalia Vodianova challenged her to do just that in this short film. Do you think it's real?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Grace Review, Photos and Swatches

NARS, the world-renowned makeup brand founded by make-up artist Francois Nars, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. To celebrate, they've released a brand new line of lipsticks in a brand new formula. They're called Audacious, which is such a fantastic word, isn't it? 

These lipsticks are extremely bold or daring; recklessly brave; fearless and you'll feel that way wearing them, I bet. 

Here is NARS' model for the Audacious lipsticks, Charlotte Rampling. I presume she's wearing the Charlotte shade, an "oxblood burgundy". 

Here's what NARS has to say about the formula:

Modern lipstick so shamelessly seductive in touch and texture the sensation is audacious. Unadulterated luxury glides on like satin across skin with single-stroke coverage. A spectrum of 40 shades for unstoppable impact.
    • one-stroke, full-coverage creamy wear.
    • luxurious texture and enriched with ingredients to smooth and nourish lips.
    • long-lasting.
Each lipstick has a woman's name, and while there's no explanation as to which woman the lipstick was named for, there are many you can guess at. Or at least I think I can. Here are some of my guesses based on the lipstick shades. I've linked to photos of the ladies in similar shades to the NARS Audacious lipsticks I think are in homage to them. To me, it seems fairly obvious to some of them, for example, Anita is an "antique rose" which would fit perfectly with the 60s sex kitten look of Anita Ekberg. Catherine is a "sunny guava", which I bet Catherine Deneuve would have worn as Belle de Jour. Jane is a "terracotta rose" which looks exactly like a shade Jane Birkin would have worn. It's tough to guess what shade of red Marlene Dietrich is wearing since most of her films and photos were black and white, but we know she wore red, and I bet the Audacious lipstick described as "red brick" would have suited her.

Do you have any guesses? Let me know!

I have the NARS Audacious lipstick in Grace to show you today. Grace is a "bright pink coral" and one I was immediately drawn to. I was also drawn to Anita, but my Sephora was out of stock, so that will possibly be a future purchase. 

The NARS Audacious lipsticks are pricey - $37 CDN each, so while I typically balk at high pricetags, and initially did for these, the quality of them convinced me to splurge.

Ingredients part one.

Ingredients part two.
I've got to say a few words about the packaging. The lipstick case is square widthwise and rectangular lengthwise. It's matte black with NARS written around the bottom half. 

These lipsticks are nicely heavy. They feel good in your hand. I mean, really good, in your hand. This isn't some dainty, delicate, ordinary lipstick.

I have to talk about the lids too. Unlike most lipstick cases, the Audacious lipstick cases are magnetized, so they slip into place on their own. This is awesome, because we've all had lipstick lids come off in our purses, and that's a pain in the ass. These lipstick lids won't ever come off on their own. 

The best part is that because they're magnetized, they'll only fit on a specific way. Despite the fact that the case is square widthwise, the lids will only slip into place when certain edges line up with certain edges. If the wrong edges are lined up, you'll feel a resistance, and the lid will not slip into place. Sometimes, at certain angles, the lid will spin to fit correctly. It's quite delightful and satisfying. Another mark of the high quality of this product.

Onto the the lipstick itself. The Audacious lipsticks are 0.14 oz, which is about average for a lipstick, but to me the actual length of the product in the tube seems shorter than say a MAC lipstick.

Below, it's twisted all the way out of the tube. Perhaps it's slightly thicker than other lipsticks, so that can explain the seemingly shorter length. Also, this lipstick is very opaque with one swipe, and long-lasting, so you need to wear less of it.

Each lipstick has NARS stamped into on the squared-off side. You can hopefully see this in the photo above and the photo below. This squared off side gives the tip (traditionally tear drop shaped) a flat edge which perhaps makes it easier to apply. I'm not sure if it does, but it seems to me that it might. 

Grace is a "bright pink coral" and yes, that's accurate. It's a beautiful, bright colour. I can picture the elegant and beautiful Grace Kelly wearing this colour. It feels fresh and bright, but not overly dramatic.

Texture-wise, here is another way the Audacious lipsticks might make you gasp (I did). They are so creamy and so light, but opaque and richly pigmented. One swipe is all you need to build up the colour on your lips. The Audacious lipsticks all have a semi-matte or a satin (matte with a bit of sheen) finish, so if you're looking for something shimmery, you'll want to skip past these. 

Grace has a satin finish, so it's matte with a slight sheen. It glides on smoothly, smoothes out the texture of my lips and doesn't catch on any dry patches.

Swatched on NW15 skintone.

Swatched on NW15 skintone.
Grace wore very nicely on me. The colour stayed true for at least four hours. I did find it a touch drying, so I will have to make sure my lips are well exfoliated and moisturized next time I wear this for an extended period of time. 

I absolutely adore this lipstick formula. It's remarkable. For a lipstick that's not shimmery or glossy to go one so creamy and so opaque is fantastic. It goes on easily, wears well and packs a real bunch. This is a high quality product from packaging to application to wear and the $37 CDN price tag is not so shocking when you've tried these lipsticks.

I kind of want them all. 

Grade: B+

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Technopagan Nail Lacquer Review, Photos and Swatches

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) Fall 2014 collection, Unknown Pleasures, came out online in August and the beauty folk on the internet went a little wild. Specifically, they were enraptured by Technopagan the lip tar (here, here and here) and the matching Technopagan nail lacquer.

I am not brave enough to wear a blue-purple lip colour, so I have not purchased or tried Technopagan, though it does look pretty spectacular (see links above). However, I am all over a blue-purple nail colour.

OCC nail lacquers aren't available in Sephora stores in Canada, so I ordered it through Sephora.ca. Of course, OCC nail lacquers are only $10 US so ordering it online isn't ideal since shipping will cost more than the actual purchase! 

Technopagan is described as a metallic blackened purple with blue pearl. The texture is a touch on the thick side, but it applies nicely.

I feel that Technopagan tries pretty hard to be a duochrome but it just isn't one. See how in the bottle it flashes blue and purple? On my nails it looks mainly blue with just a hint of purple in the shadows.

It's a very pretty, very cool colour though. I could not capture the purpley nature with my camera flash, so I took some not-so-clear photos without it and that's where you can see the purple.
With flash

Without flash

Without flash

Technopagan is a fantastic colour. I have nothing else like it in my polish collection. It flashes and glows and reads a shimmery blue and sometimes purple. I got a lot of compliments wearing it.

Wear time is pretty average on me. I got about four days before tip wear was unignorable but I had no chipping after six days. 

OCC Nail Lacquers are available on Sephora.ca, and on OCCmakeup.com. The are $10 US and come in 0.5 oz bottles.
Grade: B

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up for October 12, 2014

Hello lovelies,

Beauty link round-up time. Here's what we've been reading this week.

  • Tyra Banks has a new makeup line out. Proceed with caution...
  • The most flattering eye makeup for:
  • The magic of waterlining.
  • Eight beauty rules that are sexist, racist and dumb. There are some good ones in this. Good, as in, dumb.
  • Tweezerman is branching out from the tweezer game with a line of makeup brushes.
  • Allure did a survey on aging, asking men and women about their opinions on their own changing looks, plastic surgery and whether sex gets better with age. See what they discovered here.
  • Have a look at what Filipino media personality Paolo Ballesteros can do with makeup.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo: Reviews, Swatches and Photos

I am finally getting around to the rest of my Fall 2014 Tom Ford haul. Today I have Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo for your consideration.

The Contouring Cheek Color Duos are a new, limited edition product ($84.00 CA/$77.00 US) from Tom Ford and "contains a lighter, pearlescent shade to highlight and a deeper, matte shade to add definition and structure." As well, the formula has "spherical powders and rich emollients to ensure colors glide seamless onto the skin with the comfort of a cream."

Stroked is not your typical contouring duo in the sense that the contour color is not a neutral or skin tone but a blush. The formula of both shades of Stroked is exceptional, it is highly pigment, creamy, blends beautifully and conforms perfectly to the companies description. All photos taken in natural light, swatches on NC 35/40 skin.

The highlighting shade of Stroked is a warm peachy beige frost with a slightly metallic finish. You will want to use a light hand and loose brush with this highlighter to ensure you don't come out looking too robotic.The highlighter is a good universal, versatile shade and could be paired with countless other blushes.

The contour shade of stroked is an earthy, medium-deep toned peachy brown with a slight red pearl. The finish that is more satin and less of a straight up matte, which is nice because the color is quite deep. It's definitely a fall shade, and I think could be used both as a blush and a contour, though it would work better as a contour on warmer skin tones. I know some people expressed doubt as to whether this shade could actually function as a contour given that it's not a neutral "shadow" color, but I think it can function as both if you blend it up onto the cheek from below the cheekbone.

Tom Ford Stroked: highlighter and contour

This is a beautiful duo that has great pigmentation, wear and formulation. True, it's not your standard highlighter/contour duo, and I would say not your typical blush color either, but that's what makes it a unique product. If you are familiar with Tom Ford's makeup looks both on the runway and in promotional pictures, you will notice that the looks are typically dramatic with the face highly sculpted. Indeed as Ford puts it "sculpted cheekbones are vital to creating the Tom Ford look."

It goes without saying that since this is a Tom Ford product it comes with a hefty price tag. One should consider that this duo is the equivalent to two of Tom Ford's regular blushes which retail for $57.00 US each, so you are essentially getting two blushes with a discount of about 32%, or one blush at full price and the second for only $20.00 US. Whether or not you find this a good deal of course all depends on what your spend limit is.

Overall I'm very happy with this purchase. I actually prefer that the duo features a highlighter and a blush shade rather than a neutral contour shade. I personally don't contour my face on a day-to-day basis, but do wear blush and highlighter daily, so this is a good purchase for me. Even with the sticker shock.

Tom Ford products are available in Canada at Holt Renfrew (Vancouver and Bloor St. Toronto locations) and through online retailers such as Berdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

Grade: A


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in 657 Azure Review, Photos and Swatches

I bought my very first Chanel nail polish, you guys! I always thought my first Chanel nail polish purchase would be Vamp, but it wasn't. Maybe Vamp will be my second purchase!

I found Chanel's Azure polish at Winners recently, and while the Winners price wasn't lower than what I'd pay at Holt Renfrew (despite what the sticker said).

Azure is limited edition, and these may be some of the last bottles available to buy. I'd admired it before and was feeling in the mood to spend, so I grabbed it. It came out in late Spring 2013 in Chanel's L'Eté Papillion Summer collection along with Bel-Argus and Lilis.

Azure is a metallic blue-green. It's a duochrome which means that in different light it can look like two different colours. Azure looks green most of the time but shifts to blue in certain light. A friend once wondered why I was wearing a different shade of polish on one hand than on the other while I was wearing Azure recently. 

I love green polishes and I love blue polishes, so this was obviously my kind of colour!


In this photo you can it's duochrome qualities - it looks green at the front of the bottle, but blue on the side. 

Here it is freshly painted on my nails (you can tell by the mess around the nailbeds - I just scrub it off in the shower). It was challenging to capture the duochrome quality with my camera. I don't have much natural light in my apartment so I use my camera flash and that blankets most things with flat, bright light. However, you can kind of see a bit of the blue, particularly on my thumb. Temptalia has some great photos of it that show its duochrome effect a bit better here

As you should expect from a high-end brand, Azure goes on beautifully and if you're good at applying polish on yourself you could probably get away with one coat. I use two because I'm not great at it, even after all these years!

It wears quite well on me, not showing any wear at the tips or anywhere else for about four days. 

Since Azure is metallic, it does show brush strokes more than a non-metallic polish. I kind of like the effect though. Like brushed metal. 

I love the colour and often pause to admire the shifting colours when I'm wearing it. It definitely reads summer though - the green-blue metallic is pretty bright. Still, I won't hesitate to wear this year round whenever I feel like it. It'd be very pretty on tanned skin and worn on the toes. 

Chanel polishes are $28 CDN at The Bay and thebay.ca, and that's about what I paid for it at Winners. If you like metallic blue and green polishes, and duochrome polishes and track down some Azure at Winners or somewhere else, it's worth a look.

Grade: A