Thursday, December 31, 2009

LUSTING: American Apparel Nail Polish

I have a love-hate relationship with American Apparel. I hate their hipster-than-thou-pervy-ironic clothing but on the other hand they make some good quality clothing, have an excellent colour palette and, well, a little perviness doesn't hurt anyone. Imagine my surprise and curiousity when in an American Apparel store recently I spotted a rack of nail polishes!

Top Row L-R: Poppy, Factory Grey
Second Row L-R: Passport Blue, Hunter
Third Row L-R: Dynasty, Palm Springs,
Bottom Row L-R: Berries, Pinto

Yup, American Apparel is now making nail polish, but just like their clothes and their advertising, they're paving their own route in the beauty department. ALL of their 18 colours are cremes, which means there's no sparkle, iridescence or glitter, just glossy shine and colour. All have the typical AA 80s/self-conscious inspiration - Dynasty, Pinto, Memo, Cotton, Hassid

I have not picked any of these up just yet, but I definitely will be. Likely on my nails will be Hunter (deep green) and either Factory Grey (cool grey) or Mouse (warm grey). These polishes are made without formaldehyde by a polish-making, family-run business in NYC and retail for $7.50 CDN/$6 US.

I will do a review once I own some of these. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

MAC: Warm and Cozy MSF and Eyeshadows

MAC released two LE Mineralize Skinfinishes and three LE eyeshadows and one repromoted eyeshadow (not pictured) for Warm and Cozy. Swatches done in natural light on NC 40 skin.

Left to right: Comfort and By Candlelight MSF, Modelette, Mulled Cider and Chamomile Eye Shadows

Mineralize Skinfinishes

Comfort - an orange toned bronzer with a very nice, refined, smooth finish. Would work best as a highlighter on darker skintones.  Personally I think this is too orange for lighter or pinker skintones.

By Candlelight - a shimmery golden pink highlighter.  Similar to Porcelain Pink but frostier.

Eye Shadows

Modelette - a golden, soft beige a little reminiscent of an old D'cd shade Camel except a touch more neutral.  This would be great for softening up darker crease contour colours.

Mulled Cider - a warm reddish, slightly mauvey brown.

Chamomile - a very pale pastel yellow.

General Comments

The eyeshadows, which are all satin finish, are nice warm neutrals.  Warm neutrals can look amazing on the eyes, and can suit all skintones.  My favourite of the shadows are Modelette and Chamomile, my least favourite is Embark, the permanent shade that I did not review, because I find it chalky and hard to blend.

Of the two MSF's, I prefer By Candlelight simply because I found Comfort very orange.  It's a bit of a shame because the formulation of Comfort is really fanastic - smooth, silky and with a tiny bit of sheen. 

Pick up any of these?  Let us know!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

MAC: Warm and Cozy Lipsticks and Lipglasses

If you love nude toned coloured lip products, you're bound to find something to buy in MAC's latest collection. All shades except Siss are LE, lipsticks and lipglasses are $16.50 CA/14.50 US.  Swatches done in natural light on NC 40 skin.

Left to right: 3N, Spiced Tea, Light That Fire!, Warm Me Up, 2N, Siss, Feeling Dreamy

3N - a repromoted lipglass from the beloved N Collection. A milk chocolate coloured gloss with hints of beige and pink. A MLBB (my-lips-but-better) shade for darker skintones.

Spiced Tea - a glaze lipstick which is a shimmery amber brown.

Light That Fire! - a lipglass which is a frosty orangey coral with gold shimmer. Very pigmented.

Warm Me Up - an amplified lipstick which is a beigey pink.  Great for a neutral lip.

2N - another repromoted lipglass from the N Collection.  A decently pigmented pale yellow toned milky pink.  So great for a pale nude lip. 

Siss - a satin finish lipstick and a permanent colour.  A very yellow toned beige - hard to wear on it's own without it looking like you smeared concealer on your lips. Probably best warmed up with a pink gloss.

Feeling Dreamy - a pale pink gloss with tiny pink shimmer in it.

General Comments

Out of the lot, Light That Fire! lipglass is the most unique colour, so if you like corals or oranges, this would be a good one to pick up.  My other must have pick is 2N, which is a fanastic pale pinky nude gloss for NC skintones (it's also great on NW tones).  Of the lipsticks Warm Me Up would be the most wearable and flattering on most people. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

MAC: Warm and Cozy Shadesticks

MAC Shadesticks used to be a permanent item in their line up until they were discontinued two-ish years ago.  Perhaps due to the popularity of certain colours (hello Sharkskin!) MAC has been bringing them back in their colour collections, albeit as limited edition shades.

Warm and Cozy features four LE shades, which fit the theme of the collection well. Shadesticks are $20.00 CA/16.50 US, swatches done on NC 40 skin.

Left to right: Cuddle, Nurture, Warm & Cozy, Relaxed

Cuddle - a frosty white gold shade, which would work well under any warmer toned shadow. Great for highlighting the tear duct area.

Nurture - an iridescent peachy pink, which again would work well under most shadows, warm and cool. Very pretty.

Warm & Cozy - a frosty coppery amber colour.  I did notice the texture of this one to be slighty grittier than the others, which is why the swatch looks splotchy.  My least favourite of the bunch.

Relaxed - a frosty golden brown, a great colour which is warm but not too warm you couldn't pair it with cooler browns.  Would be good for smokey eyes.

General Comments

MAC has really improved the texture and blendabilty (is that a word?) of their Shadesticks.  Shadesticks set after 20-30 seconds or so and make great bases for shadows.  My favourites are Cuddle & Nurture, which would look great on their own and because of their lighter shade, will make versatile bases.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

MAC: Warm and Cozy

MAC's latest offering, Warm and Cozy is just what neutral junkies have been asking for this holiday season!

This launch reminds me of the N Collection, except a very warm version.  In fact two of the lipglasses in this collection are repromotes from N. Here's a quick swatch of the collection (NC 35-40 skin):

Left to right, top to Bottom:

Close for Comfort Tinted Lip Conditioner

Relaxed Shadestick
Warm & Cozy Shadestick

Nuture Shadestick
Cuddle Shadestick

3N Lipglass (repromote from N)
Spiced Tea Lipstick
Light that Fire! Lipglass
Warm Me Up Lipstick
2N Lipglass (repromote from N)
Siss Lipstick
Feeling Dreamy Lipglass

Comfort Mineralize Skinfinish
By Candlelight Mineralize Skinfinish
Modelette Eye Shadow
Mulled Cider Eye Shadow
Chamomile Eye Shadow

*I am missing swatches of Embark Eye Shadow (which is a permanent colour) and Feeling Good Tinted Lip Conditioner (it accidently smudged off my hand before I could get a photo).

Stay tuned for individual product reviews!


Friday, December 25, 2009

EOTD: MAC Love Lace

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Here's our gift to you, a dead easy EOTD using colours from MAC's Love Lace Collection.

Products Used:

MAC Select Cover Concealer
NARS Eyeshadow All About Eve II
MAC Eyeshadows in Hypnotizing and Love Lace
MAC Technakohl Eye Pencil in Auto de Blu
MAC Kohl Power Eye Pencil in Sense of Style
MAC Eyeshadows in Espresso and Cork (for brows)
MAC Brow Set in Show-Off
Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara in Very Black

Using a fluffy brush (MAC 224) begin by washing the whole lid with NARS All ABout Eve II (darker beige in the duo).  Make sure to concentrate some shadow around the tear duct area.

Using a flat oval brush (MAC 242) apply Hypnotizing from the lashline to just past the crease.  Using the edge of the same brush, apply Hypnotizing to the lower lash line tapering it towards the inner corner.

Using Auto de Blu Technakohl, apply liner as close as possible to your lashline, dotting the liner between lashes where possible. Then with Sense of Style Kohl Power Pencil, draw a thick line on your upper lash line. Blend out the liner with your ring finger, pencil brush or q-tip.

Using a pencil brush (MAC 219) apply Love Lace shadow on top of smudged liner, working the shadow upwards and outwards.

Curl lashes and apply mascara. Define brows and set with Brow Set.


True Story

I did this look for the blog quickly before running errands, so when I left the house I didn't have time to finish my face (blush, lipstick etc.).  As I was walking to the bus stop, I ran into a random guy who upon seeing me called out "Hey sexy girl how are you doing today!" (verbatim).  He said it in a very friendly, non-creepy way, so it was kind of the moral of this story is try this look!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Sale Sephora Sale!

By that I mean, items already on sale at are an additional 20% off until the end of the year!

Sale items can be found here. Wondering what's worth your while? Here are Beauty Squared's picks:

Bare Escentuals Eye Looks on the Go: Another innovative product from Bare Escentuals. This isn't a must-have on my list but it's on sale for $12 US (plus 20% off) and it comes with 30 cards (10 cards of 3 looks) - each with two Bare Escentuals eye colours (on the cards) and instructions on how to apply them. If you're unfamiliar with Bare Escentuals this is a great way to try it for a very low price!

Benefit Bright Lights, Big City: I'm a big fan of many of Benefit's products and this kit (on sale for $35 US plus 20% off) has two of my favourites - their Eye Bright pencil and their BADGal Blue mascara. It's a kit meant for gals on the go and includes a primer, a concealing/highlighting pencil and an eye-brightening mascara as well as a travel mirror and a see-through plastic pouch.

Philosophy The Winter Escape: Mmmm, delicious Philosophy body treats. A mini version of their Peppermint Hot Cocoa 3-in-1 (bubble bath, shower gel, shampoo), a Melting Marshmallow Lip Shine and their Melting Marshmallow Cream Body Souffle. Those of you who are familiar with Philosophy's 3-in-1s, you'll know these are a real treat and I have to tout the unbelievable scent of the Melting Marshmallow Body Souffle - it smells like warm, slightly toasted melty marshmallows. I must admit though that I am wary of Philosophy lip products - years ago when I used to sell them, they looked and smelled fantastic but tasted awful. So awful that I couldn't wear them. Of course this may have changed, and if so, gloss away!

Marc Jacobs Daisy Gift Set: I am a sucker for Marc Jacobs fragrances and although I tend to stay away from any scents that are "green-smelling" I love Daisy. This gift set comes with a 1.7 oz bottle of the fragrance, a coin purse and a mini rollerball and it's on sale for $45 US (plus 20% off).

It looks like Sephora might be clearing out of Laura Geller, Vincent Longo and Kevyn Aucoin products (based on the number of products in their sale section). I do recommend the Kevyn Aucoin products, if only because they were created by the man himself. Two of these sales items I'm eyeing are the Sensual Skin Enhancer and the mini brush kit.

While I'd skip most of the Sephora brand make-up, there are a tonne of bags on sale that I'd suggest checking out. Many of these would double as clutches for an evening out!

Happy Shopping!


MAC: Love Lace

I finally managed to hit the mall and check out MAC's latest offering Love Lace. This collection is a bit like the anniversary of Chill, which also featured cool tones and frosty finishes.

Love Lace centers around blues and mauves - from the collection I managed to haul the following:

Left to right, top to bottom: Love Lace and Hypnotizing eye shadow, Sense of Style Kohl Power eye pencil, Intricate lipstick, Icescape and Utterly Discreet lipglass

Left to right: Hypnotizing and Love Lace eye shadow, Intricate lipstick, Sense of Style Kohl Power pencil, Icescape and Utterly Discreet Lipglass

Love Lace ($17.50 CA/14.50 US) is greyed out mid tone blue and is well pigmented.  It's a veluxe pearl finish, and is a fairly unique colour for MAC.  Hypnotizing is a warm mauve with a hint of grey, it's a frost finish and it's colour payoff is good but not as intense as Love Lace.

Sense of Style Kohl Power pencil ($17.50 CA/14.50 US) is a gorgeous deep black with navy blue pearl.  Kohl Power pencils are excellent for lining the waterline and great for creating quick and easy sexy, smudgy eyes.

Intricate lipstick ($16.50 CA/14.00 US) is a very sheer beigey mauve.  It is a frost finish, but seems to me more like a glaze in how sheer it is.  Personally, I think it is very pretty and works well at making pigmented lips paler, or as a highlight on top of other neutral/pink lipsticks.

Icescape lipgloss ($16.50 CA/14.00 US) is a pale milky pink with pink pearl - it is a repromote from the Chill collection.  Utterly Discreet is a mauvey brown with tiny purple shimmer.  Both lipglasses are very sheer and would work well over most lipsticks.

General Comments

I'm liking this collection more than I thought I would - it has a few shades that aren't easily dupeable - namely Love Lace, Hypnotizing and Sense of Style.  The colour palette is nice because you could use it numerous ways - you could go cool neutrals and stick to the mauvey browns (Hypnotizing, Intricate and Utterly Discreet), do a night look using smokey blues (Love Lace and Sense of Style), or a mix of cool neutrals with a hint of blue.

I also wanted to purchase Light Affair nail polish and Suave Intentions eye shadow, but they were sold out in both stores!  They are still available online.

Must Haves

Sense of Style Kohl Power Pencil is my only "must have" pick from this collection.  It has a gorgeous deep blue sheen to it that isn't really picked up in the photo.  My second "good to have" pick is Love Lace because of the uniqueness of the colour.

Stay tuned for ETOD's!


Monday, December 21, 2009

EOTD: Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol 2

This year for the holidays Urban Decay revisted their incredibly popular Book of Shadows with all new colours (save for one) and the addition of two 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils.  At $58.00 CA/48.00 US for 16 eye shadows, 2 eyeliners and a mini bottle of Primer Potion, it's a fantastic deal.

I created the following look using this palette, it was darker and more intense in real life - please excuse the slight shift in lighting in the photos, that day I was having trouble with my camera!

Products used (all Urban Decay products listed in palette):

MAC Select Cover Concealer NW 20/NW30
MAC Eye Shadow in Espresso & Cork (for brows)
MAC Brow Set in Show Off

Urban Decay Primer Potion
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil in Zero
Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol II
      - Mushroom (metallic taupe)
      - Gunmetal (metallic gunmetal)
      - Home Grown (bright grassy metallic green)
      - Sellout (pale pinky beige frost)

Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara in Very Black

Begin by concealing the undereye area and set with loose powder. Using your ring finger, gently tap to blend Primer Potion all over the eye lid.  Tapping the product on keeps you from tugging at your skin while also helping to keep your concealer in place.

Apply eye liner to your tightline, making sure to wedge liner in between your lashes.  Then draw a thicker line above your lashes and using your ring finger, pencil brush or q-tip, smudge the eyeliner up and out. 

Using a flat oval brush (MAC 242) apply Mushroom all over the lid and up into the crease.  Make sure the shadow covers the liner you just applied. Also apply Mushroom to the lower lash line, about 3/4 of the way in.

Using the same brush, Apply Gunmetal to the outer 1/3 of your eyelid, blending it into the crease and winging it down along your lower lash line, 1/3 of the way in.

Using a fluffy blending brush (MAC 224) apply Home Grown on top of Gunmetal using wind shield wiping motions. Also wing some of the green onto your lower lash line.  Repeat this step 2 times to gradually build the green colour.


Apply Sell Out using a small flat oval brush to the inside 1/3 of your upper eyelid as well as around your tear duct. Using the fluffy blending brush, blend out your whole eye.

As a final step re-line your upper lash line. Curl your eyelashes and coat liberally with mascara.

General Comments

What I like about this look is it uses colour in a subtle and sophisticated way.  By layering bright colours over neutrals, you can wear almost any colour out there, regardless of how garish it looks in the pot.  The photographs don't fully capture how this look beautifully shifts from gunmetal to green as you turn your head. 


MAC Love Lace - In Stores Now!

MAC's latest collection is in stores now - get it while you can!

"Couture's fascination with lace is a long love affair. Intensely intimate, our newest collection captures lace's notoriety and allure."

Check back for swatches & reviews. I for one, am lusting after Hypnotizing eyeshadow. What are you lusting after?


Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Steal: BECCA and Beaute Cosmetics 50% Off!

BECCA and Beaute Cosmetics are 50% off at Holt Renfrew right now.  The very high end luxury brand By Terry is also 25% off. I recommend Beaute lipglosses and brushes...happy shopping!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Beauty Abroad: Brushes for Travelling

Like many of you, I'm travelling home to spend my holiday break. Anytime I pack for a trip, I have to be selective about what beauty products I'm going to bring with me - I'd love to take everything, but given my stash, that would be at least 3-4 extra large traincases worth!

A very important part of your beauty arsenal are your brushes - so I decided to let you in on what brushes I pack when travelling.

Top to bottom: MAC 129SE, Shu Uemura 20H, MAC 194SE, disposable mascara wand


For powder I pack this MAC travel sized powder brush - MAC's travel sets are available twice a year (usually fall & holiday) and are good sets for very basic travel brushes ($58.00 CA/49.50 US for 5 brushes). Sure the 129SE is kind of scratchy and sheds a bit, but it works decently - plus because of its short handle it fits into small bags nicely. 

Shu Uemura 20H ($50.00 US)

I like this brush because I can use it for blush and contouring. As you can tell by the price, it is not a travel brush but a premium, professional quality makeup artist brush. Shu Uemura's brushes are expensive but are superior in terms of materials and fabrication (superior to MAC in my opnion).  Again, the short handle fits well into small cases.


This travel concealer brush  has synthetic bristles, and it is one of the few MAC travel brushes which is NOT inferior to the full sized version. The majority of MAC travel brushes are mixes of synthetic and natural fibres whereas the full sized versions are usually 100% natural fibre (depending on the brush).  Therefore, this brush is pretty much the same as the full sized (the brush head may be a bit smaller).  Because of it's small size and pointy tip, it's good for under the eye and spot concealing. Again, this brush is available in the travel brush kits ($58.00 CA/49.50 US for 5 brushes).

Disposable Mascara Wand

Do yourself a favour - go to Sephora or any department store counter and help yourself to one (or a number) of their disposable mascara wands. Keep this for travelling to brush out your eye brows or de-clump your mascara.

Top to bottom: Lise Watier Definiton Eye Brush, MAC 226, Kevyn Aucoin Small Eye Shadow/Eyebrow, MAC 242, MAC 231, MAC 266

Lise Watier Definition Eye Brush

I got this brush on sale for $7 - 8 dollars, it turns out they were discontinuing this brush! It is a full, fluffy brush which can be used for crease defintiion or overall blending. Because I have very shallow creases I use this brush to blend out shadows only. A comparable (though more expensive) brush is MAC 224 ($33.50 CA/28.00 US).

MAC 226

This is a smaller, pointy version of the MAC 224 brush. It was a limited edition release with MAC's Blond Brunette Redhead collection and later came back with Colour Craft. Why MAC does not add this to their permanent line up astounds me. Because of its small head and pointy tip "cutting the crease" has never been easier or more precise. If you wish to sign a digital petition to bring this brush back permanently go here: .  Yes, such things exist!

Kevyn Aucoin Small Eye Shadow/Eyebrow ($25.00 US)

A small brush with a "pencil tip" head that is excellent for smoking out eyeliner, or packing on colour to small areas. I bring this with me because smokey eyes are part of my staple looks. Although it indicates it can be used on eyebrows, I wouldn't recommend it - it seems to full to be good for brows. A similar brush is MAC 219 ($27.50 CA/23.00 US). In my opinion, the Kevyn Aucoin brush is softer, smaller and therefore more precise.

MAC 242 ($27.50 CA/23.00 US)

I have a confession - the brush photographed is not really the 242, it is it's ancient ancestor the #16. A little under two decades ago I started buying MAC when they were still relatively unknown (and 100% Canadian owned!). This brush, which is pure sable, is a flat, round tip brush which is good for applying shadows densely. A comparable brush is the 242, which is good for both shadows and concealer.

MAC 231 ($21.00 CA/17.50 US)

In my opinion, this is one of the most underrated eye brushes MAC makes. It has a small, synthetic oval shaped head which is fantastic for laying down intense colour in small areas. Perfect for highlighting the tear duct, applying shadow to the lower lash line and also for packing on metallic, mineral or frost shadows. If you're one of those people who wear more than 3 shadows at a time I highly recommend this brush to you. Also, for people with shallow or non-existent creases, this is a wonderful brush to define or draw in your crease with. I can also see using this brush for concealer, gel liner or lipstick in a pinch. One of my favourite brushes ever.

MAC 266 ($23.50 CA/19.50 US)

This is a small angled brush I use for filling in my brows. It can also be used for lining the eyes with shadow, gel or even pencil liner.  Also good for lining the lower lash line.

General Comments

Although MAC's travel brush kits are significantly lower in quality than their full sized brushes, they are a great deal and practical. The nice thing about owning some travel brushes is if they happen to get lost or stolen while you're travelling, is not too big of a deal to replace them.


Monday, December 14, 2009

An Intensive (this is Canada, afterall) Winter Weather Beauty Guide

This wasn't taken on the day I describe. This is another, quite pretty winter day in Toronto.

Toronto had its first nasty weather day of the winter last week and it got me thinking. Icy rain, slushy sidewalks, deep puddles, humidity, strong winds - hats, boots and umbrellas are a must all too frequently during the winter. Commuting was a nightmare and much coffee, tea, soup and comfort foods were consumed. Days like this require special tricks and techniques to keep you looking and feeling as unruffled as possible.

Skin (body): Cold weather outside, hot dry air inside and hot showers has your skin feeling tight and dry so exfoliation and moisturizing are very important during the cooler months. Be gentle on your skin as it is more apt to damage when it's dry - exfoliate in the shower with a loofah or exfoliating gloves and a creamy, moisturizing cleanser. You can also use a scrub, such as one with essential oils and sugar like Cake's Brown Sugar Body Scrubs or make your own:
  • 2 parts brown or golden sugar (brown is coarser than golden)
  • 1 part olive oil
  • a few drops of essential oils (whatever you prefer)
Keep the water as cool as you can stand it. Pat your skin dry with a towel and if you wish/need to slather on lotion. You can also try my trick of putting lotion on while still in the shower.

Skin (face): Just like the skin on your body, the skin on your face (and throat and chest) suffers with the drier hair and extremes in temperature, so treat it with care. Keep it moisturized and if necessary opt for a milder cleanser than you'd use in the summer. Use a mild exfoliator (try a little baking soda and water or mix a little into your cleanser) to slough away dry skin, and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!

Don't forget about your lips! The thin, delicate skin gets chapped, dry, cracked and generally uncomfortable. Use a moisturizing lip balm (avoid anything that tingles if you have cracked or chapped lips) frequently to protect and repair your lips.

At night is when your skin (and body and mind) are repairing and resting. Take advantage and apply your richer moisturizers, leave-in hair masks, cuticle cream, foot cream and lip balm.

Make-up: I admit I've never had to wear waterproof mascara. I love to walk in the rain and humidity wreaks havoc on my base but I've rarely had to deal with mascara blotches or smudges. But of course, there are many who switch up their usual mascara for waterproof or at least water-resistant mascara on rainy days. Maybelline Waterproof Great Lash is a great one to try.

If you don't already use a primer, you might want to consider one on messy stormy days. Face primers help your base, concealer and blush last, while eye primers can prevent shadow from creasing on your eyelids.

Powder (loose or pressed) is your best friend on messy days. It will help set any cream or liquid, such as foundation or concealer, as well as tone down any excess shininess and oil. Yes, even for those of you with dry skin! It's a good idea to carry powder and a retractable, covered brush with you, as well as blotting papers to help combat shine. If it's humid, you might want to carry an eyelash curler with you since the moisture in the hair will lessen the curl in your lashes.

Keep your make-up simple if you can on messy days. The less complicated your look, the easier it will be to maintain it. Even if you have to switch up your look - from work to going-out for example - keep it simple and you'll look polished longer.

If you can skip base, do it and stick with a tinted moisturizer or concealer and loose powder. If you need to conceal undereye circles, use something light like Benefit's Eye Bright. Layer a cream or gel blush with a powder to help it set and last. Dust a thin layer of loose transluscent powder over your eyeshadow to help it set.

Last but not least, look on the bright side! Humidity gives your hair volume, so all of you with fine or thin hair, embrace the puffiness! You can forgo the highlighter and blush on cold, damp days as the cold hair brings a flush to your cheeks and the humidity makes your skin naturally dewy. Embrace the youthful glow, flushed cheeks and volume in your hair!

Happy Wintering!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

MAC: Can't-Live-Withouts

It's the end of the semester and things at school have been heating up - leaving me not much time to blog or even peruse the local makeup counters!  It's at hectic, stressful times like this I rely on my "can't-live-without" articles of makeup to get me through the day without looking like the zombie I really am.

MAC tends to be my standby for basics, so I've compiled a list of the items I can't get by without. 

Select Cover Concealer

I don't get enough sleep and even when I do I still have dark circles (it's genetic!).  Select Cover is my go to because it covers naturally, dries to a matte finish and has a long wear time.  I recommend using a warm shade to counter balance blue or purplish under eye circles (NW range of shades).

Eye Shadow

I have sparse brows and defining them really helps frame my face.  I mix two shades to fill in my brows, Espresso (a dark neutral brown), and Cork (a muted golden brown).  Espresso gives me the darkness my brows need, while Cork helps keep the look soft and natural.

Brow Set

I use Brow Set in Show Off to groom my brows into place.  I find that using it actually helps the eye shadow I've used to fill in my brows last longer throughout the day.  I recommend thoroughly wiping the excess product off the wand either on the lip of the tube or on a tissue before using it to style your brows.  I find if I don't do this I get large clumps of product in my brows which looks anything but natural.

Technakohl Liner

The basic eye for me is mascara and liner drawn in between my upper lashes - it's quick to do and really helps combat the look of sleepiness.  MAC's Technakohl Liner gets my vote as it's formula sets within a 10-20 seconds and has excellent lasting power.  The two shades I use regularly are Graphblack (a rich black) and Auto-de-Blu (a dark pthalo blue).  Auto-de-Blu really makes the whites of your eyes seem whiter, while not being too obvious in the colour department.  Technakohl Liners are also waterline safe and resist smudging excellently after they have set (even on the waterline!).


Sunday, November 29, 2009

EOTD: MAC's Smoky Eye

This look is MAC's Smoky Eye, featured in one of the video tutorials on the American MAC website (why these aren't on the Canadian site is a mystery). Smoky eyes are sexy, simple, sophisticated and very easy way to look sexy. You can use pretty much any colour palette for a smoky eye - greens, purples, greys, grey/black, bronzes, oranges, browns - and you can do a dramatic, complicated smoky eye or a very simple one. This one, by MAC MUA Luc, is very simple and basic, using four eyeshadow colours, one eyeliner and mascara. It is important to note, as this video is very short, that a successful smoky eye requires lots of blending.

Here's the link to the video: There is also a downloadable PDF of the step by step instructions and more information about the products he uses to create this look.

The products Luc used:
Mineralize Skin Finish Natural
Teddy Eye Kohl
Satin Taupe Eyeshadow
Smut Eyeshadow
Woodwinked Eyeshadow
Black Mascara

Here are the products I used to recreate my own MAC Smoky Eye:

MAC Vanilla Eyeshadow (in lieu of Mineralized Skinfinish Natural in Light)
MAC Teddy Eye Kohl
MAC Satin Taupe (do you think I need a new one?)
Kat von D chocolate brown eyeshadow (from the Romance palette) and JoeFresh eyeshadow in Midnight (in lieu of Smut)
MAC Shroom (in lieu of Woodwinked)
JoeFresh Black Mascara


*Note: I used a bit of MAC Strada blush and Smashbox Hybrid 2 in 1 Colour & Shine Gloss.

You can use any soft-coloured gloss or lipstick but you want the emphasis to be on your eyes for this look. This is a look you can intensify if you'd like a more dramatic look. Just remember that the key is to blend, blend, blend and then blend some more.

I highly recommend the MAC video tutorials and don't worry if you don't have the exact products used. Often you can substitute products and tools for what they use. I however, will be picking up MAC Smut tomorrow!

Try this out and less us know if you love it as much as we do!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Picks and Skips - MAC's Holiday Offerings Part Three - Miracles Happen Viva Glam

MAC's Miracles Happen Viva Glam lip palette is a PICK for the simple fact that 100% of its sales go to the MAC AIDS Fund.

The palette contains two of MAC's easy-to-wear Viva Glam lipsticks - Viva Glam V, a pearly purpley-pink and Viva Glam VI, a warm russet-plum with pearl - and one Viva Glam lipgloss - Viva Glam V, a warm pinky-orange with pearl.All of these colours are highly wearable - most skin tones and colouring can look good in these colours.

So this is a no-brainer for me. If you have someone who loves MAC, loves make-up or if you want these gorgeous, easy-to-wear shades for yourself, PICK this up. It goes for $27 CDN ($22.50 US) and every cent of it's purchase price goes to the MAC AIDS Fund. This isn't one of those "10% of the total profits go towards " or "25 cents of every dollar goes towards helping ". The MAC AIDS Fund, which you should read more about here, is one of the beauty industry's best-known and longest-standing causes and even though Estee Lauder has taken over the company, every cent of the purchase price of Viva Glam products goes towards the MAC AIDS Fund.



Thursday, November 19, 2009

MAC: Magic, Mirth and Mischief!

I finally got around to examining MAC's holiday collection - Magic, Mirth and Mischief!  As in years before, MAC has heavily stocked their holiday collection with Mineralize Eyeshadows.

I have a very lukewarm realtionship with Mineralize Eyeshadows - I do buy a small number of these every year, but generally I skip the majority of them because I find the pigments in them too weak.  Plus, there is always the issue of the large amount of fallout they produce, the overly chunky glitter and the general difficulty in applying them evenly.

That being said, I did pick up a few things from the holiday offerings.  All holiday colours are limited edition:

Left to right: (top row) Midnight Madness Mineralize Eye Shadow, Conjure Up and Superdupernatural Mineralize Blush
Left column (top to bottom): Total Wow Lipstick (glaze), Surprize Me Lipstick (lustre)

Right column (top to bottom): She-Zam Dazzleglass, Ever So Rich Cremesheen Glass

Left to right: Midnight Madness Mineralize Eye Shadow, Conjure Up and
Superdupernatural Mineralize Blush

Midnight Madness Eye Shadow ($23.50 CA) is an interesting combination of a slightly plummy, gunmetal taupe with tiny silver sparkles with a cresent of chunky yellow gold glitter shadow.  The main gunmetal taupe colour is very smokey and is a unique colour for MAC.  The good news is the gunmetal taupe is actually quite pigmented and applies well for the mineral formula. The gold side of the shadow is very chunky and not very wearable as a shadow in the conventional sense.  I think it could function fairly well as a glitter accent on top of a sticky base such as a cream shadow.

The standout products for me in the whole collection are the two new LE Mineralize Blushes ($25.00 CA).  Unlike their eye shadow siblings, Mineralize Blushes are very high in pigment and apply like a dream (why the two formulas are so different is beyond me).  Conjure Up is a fanastic deep berry pink blush with that could be worn lightly for a shy flush or heavier for some serious drama.  Superdupernatural is a nice peach laced with pink shimmer.  I think that both colours could work for both warm and cool toned skins - on a very pale, cool toned skin, Superdupernatural could work as a bronzer.


Left to right: Surprize Me Lustre Lipstick, Total Wow Glaze Lipstick, She-Zam Dazzleglass, Ever So Rich Cremesheen Glass

Surprize Me lipstick ($16.50 CA) is a sheer peach with decent colour payoff.  Total Wow is the lipstick version of Conjure Up blush, and the two look great together - it is a deep berry pink with very good pigment (surprizing for a glaze formula!).  She-Zam Dazzleglass ($21.50 CA) is a silver and pink micro-glitter laced gloss which would look great layered over any colour lipstick - a must have for people who like Dazzleglasses (and possibly even for those who don't!).  Ever So Rich Cremesheen Glass ($21.50 CA) is a pale, milky lilac gloss which is very sheer, but does give lips a hint of paleness. As well it has a great gel based formula which is completely non-sticky.

Overall, I think this holiday collection is medicore.  There are some great products (notably the Mineralize Blushes) and some nice, easy, everyday colours (lipsticks), but in my opinion it lacks the drama and sizzle I usually associate with holiday shades - there's no killer red lipstick or emphasis on smokey shadows.