Sunday, September 27, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for September 27, 2015

It's Beauty Squared Round-Up time! We've been delinquent. September has been a very, very busy month.

But there's lots to share with you. And good stuff too!

  • Decoding makeup brushes. Here's a great article about the different types of makeup brushes and how they can be used.
  • InStyle rounds up the best beauty looks on the 2015 Emmy red carpet.
  • Jane Fonda (she's a spectacular 77 years old!) was in Toronto for TIFF this year, to promote her film Brenda In Youth. Beauty Geeks spoke to MUA Eddie Malter about the look Jane wears in the film, and the vastly different one he created for her for the TIFF red carpet.
  • You've got to see the beauty looks for Marc Jacobs' Spring 2016 runway show. Think the iconic looks of Ziggy Stardust and 1940s starlights, but the morning after.
  • In contrast, on the Gucci runway models looked bare-faced. But they weren't. In fact, as is typically the case, a "no-makeup look" requires a surprising number of products.
  • Taking inspiration from the runways of Milan, here are some ways to wear bold colour.
  • In Korea, a DIY (and potentially dangerous) trick to curl their eyelashes, which involves a lighter and a cotton bud. Here's how you do it if you're brave. I'll stick to my eyelash curler, thanks.
  • The Body Shop's new Fresh Nude Foundation comes in 16 shades, and innovatively, you can also purchase lightening and darkening drops to mix into the foundation so you can match it perfectly to your skin, no matter what season it is.
  • Do you want some Marilyn Monroe beauty tricks? Here you go.
  • Basic beauty tips: how to contour your eyes.
  • Dolce & Gabbana's Sophia Loren-inspired lipstick.
  • How to:
  • And finally, Megan Koester took a class called "Wow-Factor Makeup for Instagram" and wrote about it for Jezebel. Yes, there are classes being taught on how to do your makeup so that you can take selfies. Sigh, I guess how you look in real life doesn't matter as much as how you look on someone's smartphone. When is the next flight off the planet happening? 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for September 13, 2015

Happy Sunday! Hope you're having an excellent day.

  • Starting off the Round-Up this week is some shimmer and glow, with Karen of the Makeup and Beauty Blog's favourite five highlighters.
  • Cover FX has a product called Custom Cover Drops which can be used to add pigment to your foundation, moisturizer, BB cream and concealer if you find you need a little more than the products on their own. Here's an XOVain article about them.
  • Have you ever looked at an eyeshadow quad in the store, or bought one and wondered how exactly to use it? This Into the Gloss article looks at creating a smoky eye with an eyeshadow quad and breaks down how to make most eyeshadow quads work for you.
  • The Sunday Girl blog breaks down the different textures and types of concealers.
  • A great DIY brow gel trick.
  • No more denying it, fall is on its way. But don't be sad, now we can start pulling out the fall beauty and style looks! Here are four of fall 2015's biggest makeup trends and how to do them.
  •  Blushes and bronzers that look great on women of colour.
  • A fantastic makeup brush washing trick - making it quicker and easier to do this chore that we all procrastinate on.
  • Some common beauty blunders - too much blush, too much powder, clumpy eyelashes, etc -- and how to fix them!
  • Korean flight attendants share their beauty secrets.
  • How to deal with adult eczema.
  • Check out this very cool version of ombré hair colour - the bleached halo effect.
  • It's pretty stressful, as well as exciting, when you decide to change your hair dramatically. Three Elle Canada editors talk about their own dramatic hair transformations.
  • Beauty blogger Jordan Bone does beautiful makeup looks online, and has decided to open up about her disability after getting frequent comments and questions (many rude and disgusting) about her hands which she has been unable to use fully since a car accident. You can see her inspiring video here

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for September 6, 2015

Hello, and a happy Saturday to you!

  • It's a trend that's been around for awhile, but it's taken off again recently. Eyebrow slits.
  • There are some beauty rituals you should skip in the days just before your wedding (or any major event when you want to look your best).
  • We're in that transitional period where summer fades into autumn. What nail colour do you wear that's not completely un-summery but not entirely autumn either? Here are five ideas for you.
  • Fake eyelashes can be hella intimidating, but here are some tips if you're keen to wear them!
  • Some great makeup tricks that can make you look younger.
  • Kohl eyeliner, or kajal as it is known in different parts of the world, has been around for centuries. XOVain takes a look at some of the best kajal products.
  • Here's part one of Mascara Wars' Makeup Artist's Guide to Deep Black Skintones. Even if you're not a makeup artist, it's worth a read, especially if you've got dark skin.
  • Do you sleep in your makeup? Even just sometimes? Well, you should read this.
  • And on the flip side of that, here are ten beauty things you can be doing to your skin while you sleep.
  • Did you know that common anti-aging ingredients such as retinol lose their efficacy when they're exposed to air and light? That means that anti-aging moisturizers packaged in jars, requiring you to dip your fingers into them aren't as effective as those that come in tubes or bottles.
  • The 10 (Unbreakable) Laws of Always Looking Polished.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

NYX Shadow Stick Eye Pencils Rose Gold and Almond Review, Photos and Swatches

I love eyeshadow pencils. They're so easy to use, easy to store and so perfect for summer, or anytime for a smudgy, sexy, quick look. They're easy to pop into your handbag for carrying with you and don't require any brushes. 

Sadly, they tend to be a trendy thing for brands and there isn't a lot of selection for shades. NYX carries a fairly good range of shades in both their Jumbo Eye Pencil line and their Infinite Shadow Stick lines. 

This post will look at two of the NYX Infinite Shadow Sticks - Rose Gold and Bronze. I'm not sure what the difference between the Jumbo Eye Pencils and the Infinite Shadow Sticks are though the Jumbo Eye Pencils come in bolder shades (32 shades - green, blue, purple) as well as more neutral shades (nine shades in grey, brown and creams) and the Infinite Shadow Sticks come in much softer, neutral shades (the most dramatic shades are black and a soft pink). The Jumbo Eye Pencils ($4.50) are half the price of the Infinite Shadow Sticks ($9 US) and there are variations in their ingredients, but they do the same thing in the end. 

Here's how NYX describes the Infinite Shadow Sticks:

Infinitely awesome this shadow stick glides on easily and stays put. Waterproof and smudgeproof, you can really make this look last and last without creasing, flaking or fading. Have fun with an assortment of shades that will really make a statement day or night.

I like using eyeshadow pencils to do smudgy, sultry looks, so the two I choose were Rose Gold, which actually reads more orange than rose gold, and Almond, a pearly taupe. I was disappointed that there weren't darker greys and browns in the Infinite Shadow Stick selection. So much for smudgy and sultry. 

NYX Infinite Shadow Stick in Rose Gold

This is the Rose Gold Shadow Stick. There's definitely some rose and definitely a hint of gold, but overall, I see orange. Which isn't a terrible thing, since orange is an excellent complement to blue eyes but I do have already have an orange eye pencil and I actually don't typically wear orange on my eyes alot. I know it's complementary, but it's ORANGE. It's obvious.

NYX Infinite Shadow Stick in Rose Gold swatched (NW15 skintone)
Here it is on my face in what Raja, of Rupaul's Drag Race fame, calls "garage door eyeshadow". Don't judge, Raja! How else am I going to show my readers what this eyeshadow looks like?

NYX Infinite Shadow Stick in Rose Gold

In these photos I'm wearing Rose Gold on my top lids, and Almond along my lower lash line. As you can see, there's a nice, subtle sheen to both of them. 

The texture of Rose Gold is slightly on the dry side, so it does tug at the skin around my eye a little more than I'd like. It is possible to use a brush to apply it instead to cut down on this. But if not, it's blendable using your fingers and it sets, so it does not budge. I always use an eye primer, and Rose Gold stays put for at least 12 hours. When my Urban Decay Primer Potion starts to give up, that's when I might see Rose Gold start to crease, but really, 12 hours and I'm still wearing it? It's time to wash my face at that point.

NYX Infinite Shadow Stick in Rose Gold

Let's look at Almond. It's a super-soft bronze shade that's very easy to wear. Bronze is in right now, don't you know? 

It's not terrifically dramatic, but if you want an easy-to-wear shade and you've got fair to medium skin, you could do worse than Almond. It's also a good base for a more dramatic look.
NYX Infinite Shadow Stick in Almond
Almond is a lovely mix of gold and medium brown, and like Rose Gold, applies slightly on the dry side so it does tug at the skin more than I'd like it to. I need to work quickly to blend it as well, since it doesn't take long to set. 

NYX Infinite Shadow Stick in Almond
I like the shade of Almond more than Rose Gold. I pair Almond with my Tarte SmolderEYES pencils for smudgy smoky eyes, and it's an easy shade to slap on quickly for a simple day look as well. 

NYX Infinite Shadow Stick in Almond
It's a pretty, subtle metallic shade that would suit lighter skintones. It works well as a base, and lasts a long time. 
NYX Infinite Shadow Stick in Almond

For the price, the NYX Shadow Sticks are great value. I just wish there were deeper, richer colour options. These two are a bit on the dry side, but they set well and stay set for a long time.

Grade: B

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Baptiste Review, Photos and Swatches

Jill and I have long raved about Illamasqua's nail polishes (case in point: here, here, here and here). They are easily some of the best nail polishes out there in terms of quality, price point and colour/texture selection. 

In this post, I have Baptiste, a rich, metallic purple shade, to show you. I'm at the point in the summer when I'm ready for it to be over. Warm weather and I are frenemies and each year I do my best to be patient and understanding, but every year, warm weather is a monster to me, and I stop trying in mid-July to be nice to it. Since it's now September, I'm pretty grumpy about warm weather and wishing for autumn.

Because of this, the fall shades start making an appearance around this time. The deep lip and nail shades start calling out to me. I miss them, and in my desire for cooler weather, I embrace fall and winter in the small ways I can. Mind over matter, right? Sod off, summer, I'm over your corals and pinks and neons and light, shimmery makeup. Bring on the vampy, the moody, the dark, rich tones of fall and winter.

Hello, Baptiste! I haven't seen you since last winter! I've missed you.

Baptiste is a dramatic royal purple, cool-toned, but with a hint of red to it. It's also very shimmery, and almost metallic depending on the light. Also depending on the light it can look inky and almost black. 

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Baptiste
See how pretty it looks? It look so luxurious and rich. It makes me want a giant bed covered in purple velvet that I can wrap myself in naked. 

Anyway... Velvet, that's what Baptiste makes me think of. 

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Baptiste

You can see hints of the red shimmer, as well as the silvery-fuchsia shimmer that make this inky purple metallic. This is a dark polish, first and foremost, with the shimmer playing second fiddle to the rich colour. It's a subtly shimmery polish.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Baptiste

And here it is on my (short) nails. Baptiste is a challenging shade to photograph. It looks inky in the shade but the shimmer pops when in direct light (like a camera flash). 

Application-wise, Baptiste is like the other Illamasqua nail polishes I've tried - smooth consistency, a good brush that allows for control, quick-drying, high shine, and opaque after one coat.

In this photo, I'm wearing two coats plus a top coat. Wear time with Baptiste is also like the other Illamasqua polishes I've tried - with a top coat, four days pass with only minor signs of wear.

Welcome back to my manicure, Baptiste!

Grade: A


Sunday, August 30, 2015

hakuho-do + SEPHORA PRO Ougi brush review & photos.

Another Japanese brush review for you today - this time one from the hakuho-do + Sephora Pro collaboration. Sephora collaborated with hakuho-do on a limited edition face brush collection, all hand crafted by the folks at hakuho-do using synthetic brush fibres ($50.00 CA, currently available in store and online.)

Today I have the Ougi brush for review. The Ougi is described as a "fan cheek brush" - I think it's better described as a medium sized, squared shaped paddle brush with rounded edges. The brush head is approximately 1.25" long and 1.25" wide at the tip. When viewed from the side, the brush has a sloped profile with one edge being more angled than the other. 

The bristles are soft on the skin, densely packed and firm. Unlike other synthetic brushes which have extremely smooth bristles, the Ougi's bristles which are tapered like natural hair, have a bit a texture to them, which allows them to pick up product easily.

I found the Ougi worked very well with powder blusher and highlighter. Because it is a denser brush with a tighter shape, it tends to deposit a lot of colour, so a light hand with this brush is needed if you are using a highly pigmented blush. I apply my blush by stippling first to evenly distribute the product and then blending using sweeping circular motions, and that technique works very well with this brush. If you tend to apply blush by sweeping right off the bat, this may not be the brush for you (when using highly pigmented blushes.)

Because of the smaller size and almost wedge shape of this brush, it is also an excellent brush for precision application of contour and highlighter. The brush itself is well constructed, with a medium length red lacquered wooden handle which has a nice weight and feel in the hand. The ferrule is a stylish matte black and the brush head itself feels neat and tightly packed.

Overall I think this is a very solid brush - as a person who 100% prefers natural hair brushes, I was pleasantly surprized by the shape, cut, feel and versatility of this brush. I think this is a great brush for precision blush, highlighter and contour application. People who are more interested in really light, diffuse applications of blush may not find this brush the easiest to work with. An added bonus (though not one that effected my review of this brush) is the beautiful and stately packaging on this product - this would make a perfect and impressive gift for any make-up brush lover.

Grade: A

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Twisted Romance FOTD

Twisted romance, eh? Yup, I wanted a fun and appropriate name for this impromptu look I did. It's partly inspired by my hair and partly by the makeup look. It's soft and sweet but with a touch of edge and rawr. Kind of like me! :P

First up, let's take about hair. I recently got my hands on this amazing hair curling device - the Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium MiraCurl Professional Curl Machine. It's not a flat iron or a curling iron, which are what I've always used in the past to add curl to my hair. This is a slightly intimidating gadget that sucks your hair into it, applies heat and ta-da! glorious curls. I'm not great at styling hair, and while I can manage well enough with my day-to-day hair, I wish I could do more with it. Enter the MiraCurl Curl Machine. Wowza y'all, this thing makes it easy to curl your hair! 

While I've only used it twice (as pictured here), and I still need to figure out how to create the best curly-look possible for me, I'm in awe of how perfectly it works. 

The MiraCurl has three buttons: one for setting the temperature your hair will be curled at (375 F, 410 F and 450 F). It's recommended that for fine hair you use the 375 F setting, and for coarse hair, you use the 450 F setting, but you can set it however you prefer.

The second button allows you to set the time (8 seconds, 10 seconds or 12 seconds). This is how long your hair will be curled for and you can alter this depending on your hair type (finer, damaged hair will want to use the shorter time) and the curl type (shorter for looser curls, longer for tighter curls). You also have the option of turning the timer off completely and curling your hair for as long or short a time period as you like.

The third button lets you choose the direction of the curl (right, left and alternate). You can choose to curl your hair on one side of your head all one direction and on the other side, all the other direction, which is how your hair grows and curls. The right setting starts the curl to the right, clockwise. The left setting starts the curl to the left, counter clockwise. The alternate setting alternates between the two - one left, one right, etc. 

With so many choices, you can really just let the MiraCurl do all the work. All you need to do is start with dry hair and apply a heat protectant spray (I like the TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Spray - mentioned in this review of the Rusk Thermal Str8 Protective Flat Iron Spray). Take a small section of hair - Babyliss recommends no more than 1 inch - and make sure it is snag and tangle-free. With the MiraCurl opening facing your head, open the "tongs" and lay your hair through. Close the "tongs" and the MiraCurl will suck your hair into it, which is a little freaky at first, but you get used to it. The MiraCurl will beep in even sequence until the time you've set it to is reached when it will beep four times. Then you open the "tongs" and release your hair. Marvel at the perfection of the curl and how easy it was to achieve. Repeat.

All I did to achieve the look in these photos was apply my heat protecter spray and some some mousse for volume. I separated my hair horizontally at my ears and pinned the top half at the top of my head (this helps with volume as well), I started at the front and worked around to the back all the way to the other side, creating curls. It gets a little tricky to maneuver the MiraCurl at the back of my head so the curl chamber opening is facing my head and the top of the MiraCurl is facing up, and the MiraCurl does get heavy after you use it for awhile. I repeated the process for the top half of my hair and honestly, got a little lazy towards the end, because it does take a longer time to style than I'm used to and it's easy to miss pieces of hair so I had to go around to catch them all. But this will improve with practice. And I quite like imperfect hairstyles anyway. 

The curls the MiraCurl creates are so lovely. They're tough suckers, glossy and strong. They hold their shape so well, better than any I've been able to create with my flat iron or a curling iron, and without hairspray. In these photos, I combed gently through them with my hands to create a messy, more natural look and to add volume. I then applied my favourite Jonathan Silky Dirt Shine and Define Cream for some definition, frizz-killer and shine. If I was wearing this look out, I would add hairspray, but from my limited experience using the MiraCurl, these curls hold up very, very well without it. Even waking up the next morning, I had intact curls. I am hella impressed with the MiraCurl!

And now for the makeup. This is a look I put together for my review of the Makeup Revolution Flawless Ultra Eyeshadows Palette and I liked how it looked all together with the hair so I decided to do full photos and do a separate post!

For my base, I'm wearing MAC Face + Body Foundation applied with my hands. I've got a bit of Make Up For Ever's Full Cover Concealer on areas that need more coverage and MAC's Pro Longwear Conceler under my eyes. MAC Prep + Prime Powder is dusted over my t-zone, apart from the very center of my nose, and on areas where there's concealer to set. 

I used Anastasia DipBrow in Auburn with a tiny angle brush to add colour and definition to my eyebrows. My blush is Benefit Rockateur (I'm mad for this blush!) applied softly high up on my cheekbones. It's a beautiful soft rose-gold shade with a touch of shimmer that I end up reaching for more often than not. It's such a sultry, sophisticated and easy shade to wear.

For my eyes, I used eyeshadows from the Makeup Revolution Flawless Ultra Eyeshadows Palette. On my eyelids, I applied Highlite, a shimmery silver-rose shade with a large eyeshadow brush from lashline just up to the crease. With a smaller eyeshadow brush, I smudged some Cheerless, a dark purple frost shade, starting at the outer corner and up into my crease. To add further definition to my crease, I applied Darkest Shimmer, a shimmery dark red-brown with a crease brush and then I blended with a fluffy crease brush to soften all the shades and blend them together.

And then comes the real colour, a flash of red when I blink. I used Red Night, a shimmery cranberry with a smallish eyeshadow brush starting from about the center of my lashline and working it up in a diagonal line towards my crease, following the line I did with Cheerless. I went back with a bit of Highlite to soften the line. For my lashline definition, I used a combination of Green Stars, a blackened green and Burgundy Nights, a shimmery burgundy and an angle brush to smudge along my lashline. 

For my lower lashline, I used a thin, flat brush to smoke a bit of Universal, a shimmery dusty rose, softly along along my lashes for some definition. Finally I popped a touch of Highlite into my inner eye, which adds a glow and makes the eyes look larger and more open. 

I curled my lashes with my She Uemura eyelash curler, and applied Benefit Bad Gal mascara to both top and bottom lashes. Finally, I applied a Becca Lipstick (an old one that the label has worn off of so I don't remember the name and they don't make anymore!) for a soft, nude effect.

So that's my soft, shimmery, twisted romantic look. What do you think?