Friday, February 26, 2010

NARS Spring 2010: Purple Rain

I need more nail polish like I need a hole in the head, but when NARS launched their new spring colours including the new polish called Purple Rain, I caved. Photo taken with flash.

NARS Purple Rain

Purple Rain is a dark blue based loaded with fine red and blue shimmers. The overall effect is a rich, deep purple with a red shimmery sheen. Purple Rain is $21.00 CA/$16.00 US.

Anyone else feeling this purple?


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Featured Artist: Matt Dunne at Is. Salon

Everybody knows how hard it is to find a good stylist. They either over-excercise their artistic liscence, keep giving you the same cut again and again despite your requests for a change, or they're perfect except they change salons every 3 months. Or they retire, shut their salon and fail to inform you so you're left wondering why their phone number has been disconnected (true story - this happened to me)!

Enter Matt Dunne, stylist at Is. Salon in Vancouver, B.C. Located in trendy Yaletown, this salon has a warm yet posh atmosphere. Matt has been a stylist for seven years and uses his technical training and artistic flare to create styles that reflect his clients' energy and personality.

Matt updated my heavy, overgrown locks by cutting soft side bangs, face framing layers, as well as shaping and lightening my crown.  All this without sacrificing length! To top it off, he gave me lovely pre-Raphaelite curls which lasted a full 3 days despite the rain. Anyone with stick straight Asian hair can appreciate how difficult this task is!

It gets better: not only is Matt a great stylist, but he also is a great friend. My sister, who also sees Matt agrees and her hair has never looked better in her whole life (and trust me she was in a major 2 decade long hair rut before she started seeing him).

Haircuts start at $60.00 CA. Is. Salon is located at:

1260 Hamilton Street, Unit # 101
Vancouver, BC V6B 2S8
phone: 604 569 4247

*Makeup on Jill (all MAC)

Spring Forecast Colour 3 eye palette
Graphblack Technakohl liner
Stark Naked Beauty Powder Blush
Partial to Pink Cremesheen lipglass

Monday, February 22, 2010

MAC Riveting Lipglasses

While at my local MAC store, hauling the rest of the mammoth Spring Forecast (does it ever end?!?), I also picked up a few things from MAC's latest mini collection, Riveting.

Riveting is supposed to have an edgy rock n' roll feel, and while I don't know that it accomplishes this, it does have two nice new LE lipglasses ($16.50 CA/ 14.50 US).

MAC Riveting lipglasses (top to bottom): True Babe, Rock Out

True Babe is a hot pink creme - such a great colour. This one will look good on anyone and is a great way to wear a brighter lip without looking too garish or over the top.

Rock Out is a clear gloss loaded with silver and white sparkles. Not the most original colour, but I think it will look good over a variety of other lipsticks or glosses. It's a bit on the cool side, but I find layering cool glosses over warmer lipsticks yields pretty results.

I apologize for the blurriness of the swatch - but you get the picture!

MAC Riveting lipglasses (left to right): True Babe, Rock Out

A note about the matte nailpolishes...generally I'm not a fan.  I think they look and feel weird on my nails, as well I find them really streaky to apply. In my opinion the Riveting matte polishes were all of the above, so I skipped them all. The only one that seemed ok was Studded, but even then I didn't like it enough to invest.

Anyone pick up anything from this collection?


Friday, February 19, 2010

Cover Girl Exact Eyelights Eye Brightening Shadow Palette For Blue Eyes Review

I have been curious about the Cover Girl Eye Brightening Shadow Palettes ever since they were first advertised. I believe this was the first of its kind to catch my attention and I finally picked one up to try it a few weeks ago.

I admit that when it comes to enhancing the eyes I am very much a traditionalist, and I'm also on the conservative side when it comes to the colour I use on the eyes. I tend to stick to the colour wheel as it is a no-brainer that contrasting colours make each other pop. For this reason I've always stuck with warm red-browns (my favourite eyeshadow BY FAR for making my eyes pop is MAC's Satin Taupe), rusty oranges and deep blues and teals to enhance my baby blues. This palette would not be what I picked up normally with its bright, frosty blue, green and soft peach colour palette but I was interested in how these shades might make my eyes pop (rather than my suspicion that they'd compete).

Instructions on back of exterior packaging.

Instructions on back of palette

This palette offers fairly detailed instructions on how to apply the colours, on both the exterior packaging (in colour!) and on the back of the palette itself. It also comes with a small-sized brush for application as well as the standard (and pretty useless) sponge tip applicator.


As you can see, the blue and green shades swatched fairly intensely while it took some effort to get the peachy shade to show up on my hand as more than shimmer. The lightest (highlight) shade shows up as a slightly warm off-white vanilla colour.

I followed the instructions on the packaging and used both the brush and sponge-tip applicator, though I admit I used some of my own brushes to better control the colours and blend a bit more.

I had trouble getting any intensity from these shadows. It seemed to be all about the shimmer and frostiness and while there's nothing wrong with that, why do I need four shades of such low pigmentation? There's just not much ability to build and deepen the shades at all. That being siad, I liked the shades themselves (particularly the blue smudged along my lashline) and will use them again, just not in this look.

As for how well they made my eye colour pop, I didn't see that they did much to emphasize or enhance the colour. If anything, I think the shimmer and colour compete with my eye colour.

What do you think? Has anyone tried the Eye Brightening Palette and loved it?


Thursday, February 18, 2010

MAC Spring Forecast Lipsticks: Radicchio, Fresh Salmon and Rose Maiden

I spring-cleaned my make-up collection and had enough to get three lipsticks from the MAC Spring Forecast collection through Back to MAC. Here's my mini-haul!

L to R: Rose Maiden, Fresh Salmon and Radicchio

Swatched L to R: Fresh Salmon, Radicchio and Rose Maiden

ALL of the Spring Forecast lipsticks are gorgeous and you definitely should check them out while they're still in stock! 

Fresh Salmon and Rose Maiden are Lustres??? and Radicchio is sheer. All are quite similar in tone and aside from the gold sheen in Fresh Salmon and Rose Maiden, they're basically the same lipstick in different colours! I'm a creature of habit, clearly, but I don't own any lip colours like these and they're very wearable.

My lips, bare.

Fresh Salmon

Fresh Salmon is a corally-pink with a gold sheen. It goes on quite sheer, builds nicely and there's no need for a liner. It's a very easy-to-wear shade.


Radicchio is a soft plum and goes on quite sheer. Right off the bat, this is the one I have worn the most since I got them!

Rose Maiden

Rose Maiden is a cherry tone with a gold sheen. This is the "frostiest" of the three I bought and you'll want to make sure your lips are well exfoliated and moisturized since metallic shine will accentuate any dryness. This is the most dramatic shade of the three and so pretty!

If you haven't yet, head to your nearest MAC counter and check out the Spring Forecast collection. The lipsticks are a highlight as you can see! Or have you already been? If so, what have you hauled? Do you love it?


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

MAC Viva Glam VII - Out Today!

Tomorrow the massive Spring Collection hits MAC stores and counters and I can't be more excited! But today, we have the latest Viva Glam lipsticks released. It's #7 (already??) and this time I can applaud the choice of the spokesmodels (Fergie, not so much). Look, it's Cyndi Lauper! And the can't-take-your-eyes-off-her, Lady Gaga, looking very lovely and almost chic for a change.

Viva Glam Cyndi is a gorgeous light reddish coral and Viva Glam Gaga is a less easy to wear light blue pink. Regardless whether you pick up on of these two shades or one of the previous Viva Glam lipsticks or lip glosses, every penny from your purchase will go to the MAC AIDS Fund. There is definitely a shade in the Viva Glam collection for everyone!


Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Roller

We have a bunch of products we've been asked to review and this is the first in the series - the Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Roller. 

This is a new product from Olay, made available in Canada in January 2010 and retailing for approximately $34.99 for 6 mL. It's part of the Olay Regenerist line and like the other products in this line, it's designed to regenerate skin's appearance, making the skin appear younger, smoother and refreshed.

The Anti-Aging Eye Roller is a concentrated, hydrating anti-aging treatment that instantly helps reduce signs of aging in the eye area and housed in an applicator with three micro-rollers that gently massage to help reduce puffiness  and reduce/soften fine lines and wrinkles.

 We will again be using our 5 point scale to rate and review this product.  To read a full description of the scale, please visit this post:  

We each used the Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Roller for seven days. Here is a quick description of our undereye area skin types to help provide you with an idea of how the product works.

C's Undereye Area: 
No matter how much sleep I get or how much water I drink, I have always had dark circles under my eyes. When I don't get enough sleep, don't drink enough water, drink alcohol, eat lots of salt, I wake up in the morning with puffiness there too. I am concerned with the first signs of aging in my eye area especially as I wear contact lenses and rub my eyes quite a lot from the discomfort of wearing them. 

J's Undereye Area:
I have chronic dark circles that are in due to having very thin skin underneath my eyes (it's genetic!). I also suffer from puffiness when I've eaten too much salt, drunk too much alcohol or my seasonal allergies have kicked in. I have a few tiny fine lines underneath my eyes but no crow's feet just yet. My main concerns are signs of aging, puffiness and dryness.

Close-ups of the tip of the Eye Roller, without product and with product.

C's Review:

Value: 3
For the most part, I feel eye products are overpriced, simply because they can be. The area around your eyes is more delicate than the skin on the rest of your face, so it shows ages more quickly and often more dramatically. Hence, companies charging two or more times the price for a much tinier amount of eye cream than they would a bottle or jar of face cream.

$34.99 is pricey for an eye roller, especially since it's about $15 more than the Garnier Fructis Eye Roller which I feel provides the same effect and is also available at drugstores. Since this isn't technically a moisturizer, this is both an additional step and significant cost to your beauty routine. However, I'm not overly concerned with fine lines (yet) so perhaps someone who is would feel the $34.99 price tag is justified.

Application: 4
The Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Eye Roller has three small metal balls embedded in the smooth plastic wand and you press the bottom of the wand once or twice to release the cream. I like that you have control over the product released though you don't need to click more than once or twice for plenty of product. The instructions tell you to apply the cream by massaging it into the undereye area for 30 seconds. I found that one click gave me enough product for both eyes and I still had excess I needed to gently pat into my skin after the 30 seconds.

Effectiveness: 4
This product definitely does what it claims to. It's ideal for the morning when my eyes show some puffiness and it somehow does minimize the appearance of my dark circles ever so slightly. It also provides a good base for make-up. I do however, get the same effect from my Garnier eye roller although the cream in the Olay Regenerist is more moisturizing and abundant. The cooling sensation from the metal balls is very soothing and effective for reducing puffiness but I find I get more from my Garnier eye roller. 

J's Review: 

Value: 3 
I feel the price is on the steep side for a drugstore brand, but in comparison to higher end brands such as Dior, which I've used in the past, it's fairly affordable. Eye products are in general one of the most expensive forms of skincare, so the price point does not surprise me.

Application: 5
The applicator is very effective in delivering a perfect, even amount of product and I found the massaging action of the roller balls very pleasant. Massage helps stimulate circulation and lymphatic draining, so this action can add to the effectiveness of the "de-puffing" ingredients. This application system also prevents you from wasting any product, which is a huge plus when you're dealing with expensive eye products.

Effectiveness: 4 
I generally think this product fulfills its claims. It does help ease puffiness, and provides a nice level of moisture to the undereye area without any trace of greasiness. I usually use Garnier's Eye Roller, which seems stronger in the de-puffing department, but I do prefer the cream texture of the Olay roller over the gel texture of the Garnier roller. I find that Olay's product penetrates the skin fully, whereas the Garnier product tends to leave behind a film which can interfere with make up, making my concealer application a bit patchy looking.

C & J

Please note that the following product up for review was sent to us by a PR firm. All the opinions expressed in this review have been made independently and are not in any way affiliated with the company supplying the products or the PR firm we are in touch with.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

FOTD: How to wear a bold pink lip

Inspired by Lily Allen on the cover of Q Magazine's Artists of the Century (you can see the full cover here), where she's slouchily sitting in dark jeans, a black tank and black stiletto boots, hair in her eyes, poutily looking up at the camera with a fabulous fuchsia lip colour and little else on her face. This is one of my favourite looks so I wanted to show you how you can wear a bold pink lip.

It's such a simple, sophisticated, edgy, youthful look and stands outs amid all the smoky eyes and retro red or glossy lips. It's very pop, very new wave, very early 80s, very electric but the way it's being worn today, as on Lily, is very modern.

So here, are three ways you can wear a bold pink (or coral, or orange, or purple) lip. You want to keep the rest of your make-up simple, very simple. Base, a touch of very natural blush, clear, glowy skin and a very basic eye make-up such as the three below. The lipstick colour I'm wearing in all three looks is MAC's Girl About Town.

Soft and sparkly. I wore this look going to see The Big Pink at Lee's Palace.

For this soft and sparkly look I applied Gosh eyeshadow in 14 Grey Brown - a taupey-silver - quite heavily from my lashline up just past my crease. It's a sheer colour so even with a few layers it doesn't look like much, but that's what I wanted, just a hint of colour and lots of shimmer. I wanted to have a lash-heavy look so using an angle brush, I smudged JoeFresh Midnight eyeshadow - a dark, sparkly grey - along my upper lashes. I applied JoeFresh mascara in black, heavily, for a dramatic look. I then lined my lower lashes with Gosh Sparkling Pearl eye pencil - a soft yellow-gold - to emphasize my lower lashes and to make my eyes sparkle a little more. Blush is a tiny bit of Strada under my cheekbones and Benefit High Beam as a highlighter along my brown bone and the tops of my cheekbones.

14 Grey Brown
Sparking Pearl
High Beam

Liquid liner (a la Lily):

Here's a FOTD based on what I'm guessing Lily is wearing on the cover of Q Magazine. It's a very basic black slightly winged eyeliner and soft blush. I used MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study on my lids and then lined my lash line with MAC Blacktrack and an angle brush. Cheeks are a layering of JoeFresh Pink Rose cheektint and MAC powder blush in Fleur Power. Mascara is Bare Escentuals Buxom.

Bare Study

Pink Rose
Fleur Power 

Silvery eye:

This silvery eye isn't so different from the Soft and Sparkly Eye above, it's simply a touch smokier and uses greys and silvers rather than soft beiges and vanilla colours. This look was more dramatic in person than it appears in the photos.

How I got this look was by softly lining my waterline with a black eye pencil and smudging it out into my lashline and slightly onto my eye lids, blending it out. I topped the smudged pencil line on my upper lid with MAC Smut and a tiny bit of MAC Carbon for more depth. I used BE Drama all over my lids to just above my crease and used JoeFresh Midnight on the outer half of my lids. I applied Benefit High Beam to my browbone and blended it down onto my cheekbones for highlight. Blush is minimal, a touch of whatever was still on my blush brush (likely MAC Strada and MAC Fleur Power). I applied multiple coats of BE Buxom Lash mascara on my top lashes and two coats on my lower lashes, as this is was a going-out look and combed through with a lash comb to get rid of clumps.



*You could go heavier with the liner and the black around your eyes for a more dramatic look, particularly if you've got darker skin than I do. Try not to go overboard because this look can easily become "80s rocker" - unless of course, that's what you want!


Monday, February 8, 2010

Lancome: O My Rose Pop 'n Petrol Eyeshadow and Le Kohl Glosses

Lancome's International Artistic Director for Makeup, Aaron De Mey delivers a very unorthodox spring collection entitled "O My Rose!".  I call this collection unorthodox because from the title, you would assume a palette of pinks, roses and mauves.  Instead, De Mey delivers warm, coppery neutrals and cool greens.

I'm reviewing the Pop 'n Petrol eye shadow palette and the Le Kohl Gloss pencils in BB Sand and Pop Petrol. All items are LE, swatched on NC 35-40 skin, natural light.

Left to right: Le Kohl Gloss in BB Sand and Pop Petrol, Pop 'n Petrol Palette.

Le Kohl Gloss ($31.50 CA)

BB Sand - a shimmery beige, with a gloss texture.

Pop Petrol - a stunning phtalo blue, well pigmented with a gloss texture.

General Comments

The Le Kohl Glosses are essentially an eye gloss in a stick.  The formula is very glossy, soft and smudgeable.  I was immediately attracted to Pop Petrol, as phtalo is my favourite shade of blue. I wanted to buy it immediately!  But I held off, mainly for the reason that eye gloss is notoriously difficult to wear because it never sets and will always crease and smudge.  Add in the price factor, and I'm just not sure it is worth spending $31.50 on something that you're going to wear very few times in very few situations.  You can get the same effect by layering a face gloss such as MAC's Clear Gloss ($22.00 CA) over a similar shade of eyeliner. You could also dupe BB Sand this way by layering gloss over a shade like MAC Shroom. These are very pretty products but unfortunately not very practical and quite expensive.

Pop 'n Petrol Palette ($55.00 CA/48.00 US)

Another item I wasn't sure if I wanted or not! This is a fairly unique quad that features a shimmery white, deep metallic teal, slightly greenish silver and a matte sage. The colours are on their own, very pretty - particularly the greenish silver, which (if memory serves me correctly) is a kin to the legendary Erika F shadow Lancome sells in Europe (comparison coming soon!). What stumped me though is the combination of the colours. I'm not an expert in colour theory, but I know enough to recognize that the warm brownish sage shade doesn't quite fit in with the otherwise cool tones. All that being said, I am going back to pick this one up and will definitely try to do a look using all four colours.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cover Girl Smoky Shadow Blasts Looks and Review

I saw these in the drugstore and thought they looked interesting so I picked up two to bring home and try out. Drew Barrymore looked gorgeous in the imagery and I admit that she sucked me in. 
Drew wearing CoverGirl Smoky Shadow Blast in Silver Sky

The two shades I bought are Purple Plume and Silver Sky (pictured below).

The CoverGirl Smoky Shadow Blasts are double-ended cream shadow sticks designed to be used without brushes or applicators. The Step One end has a rounded tip and is meant to be worn on your lid, while the Step Two end has a slightly tapered tip for applying to your lashline and in your crease.

Close-ups of the two ends.
Step One is a rose shade and Step Two is a warm brown.

Before swatching or applying, my concern was about the tapered Step Two end. With use, the tapered point will get worn down and since it's meant to be used for more precise, thin application, using it will increasingly result in smudgier and smudgier looks.

I admit that my first instinct was to use brushes to apply this product, but I opted to stick with the instructions on the package and the CoverGirl website for this review.

Purple Plume swatched

As you can see by the swatches, these cream eyeshadows aren't very pigmented and have a metallic sparkle to them. In my experience, smoky eyes work best when you start light and build your colour, blending as you go, layering sparkly shades (if you use it) over more matte shades. So I was skeptical about how well these would work in producing a satisfying smoky eye.

Here's Purple Plume applied.

Purple Plume applied as per instructions

As you can see, it's very, very soft in terms of pigmentation. I did not wear an eyeshadow primer or apply any product, such as a translucent powder on top for staying powder. Within 5-10 minutes the product had begun to travel into my crease (you can even see it beginning in the right photo). 

I also found the colours too similar in intensity to really differentiate enough. I had to work to get any intensity at all, in fact and layered quite heavily to get the effect you see above. The instructions tell you to use your finger to blend the product out. It was actually quite difficult to see the Step One colour on my lids while I was applying it and the Step Two colour only provided a reasonable darkness and dimension to my crease. I could not seem to get it to show up very much, perhaps because of the amount of Step One I applied.

I itched to apply powder eyeshadow on top, for longevity and for pigment but didn't for the sake of this review.

Silver Sky was moderately better in terms of the look but the same in terms of staying power and application.

Close-ups of the two ends.
Step One is a medium silver and Step Two is a silvery plum shade.

Silver Sky swatched.

Again, the colours don't differ much in terms of intensity and are quite metallic.

Silver Sky applied:

I did much prefer the effect of Silver Sky over Purple Plume because I do like a silvery eye, but again, this is far from a smoky eye for me. As you can see the Step Two colour doesn't have any effect in adding dimension to my crease or emphasizing my lashline. It blends almost completely into the Step One colour on my lid.

Overall, I would not recommend these. They definitely need an eyelid primer underneath and a powder to help them set on top (which would likely minimize their sparkle). The colours aren't bad, but then they're more about the shimmer than pigmentation. I might wear Silver Sky again but definitely under another eyeshadow since it creases so quickly on my oily lids.