Thursday, July 29, 2010

MAC Rodarte Controversy Update!

Temptalia broke the news today that MAC has announced it will donate its global profits from the upcoming MAC for Rodarte make-up collection to a newly created initiative to benefit the girls and women of Juarez.

Beauty Squared blogged about the controversy here last week after MAC had announced that the names of the collection would be changed before its release: 

This is very good news.


Maybelline Volume'Express Falsies Mascara Review

Do you want a mascara that'll give you the false eyelash look without the glue and well, the false eyelashes? Maybelline has a new mascara out that claims to give you that effect. Here are the details from Maybelline's website

"The Falsies Mascara delivers a false lash look; giving you a full set of voluminous, bold, fanned out lashes and the appearance of no gaps from any angle.

The Pro-Keratin and Fibre enriched formula is designed to deliver immediate results, distributing volume and visible intensity to your lashes. The patented ‘Spoon’ shaped brush helps fan lashes out.

The Falsies Mascara is designed to give the appearance of no gaps and spaces. In a wink lashes you didn’t even know you had look visibly thickened!"

I bought some to test it out.

OK, so maybe it's not going to give the false eyelash effect, but it does claim to give you more visible lashes, to fill in the gaps and instant volume (do some mascaras give eventual volume?).

There it is, the claim that it'll give you the "false lash effect". Also, the spoon brush, which we'll get into below.

Fun, fat tube in purple-pink and metallic blue.

There's the wand and the spoon brush. Now this is a brush shape I haven't tried before. It is slightly curved and narrow on the sides but flat and wide from the top and bottom.

Brush from the side.

Brush from the top.
Hence the spoon description, the brush kind of scoops your lashes, helping to keep their curl and shape while you use it and stretching (fanning) them out. The mascara formula itself isn't overly wet but verging close to it. I find that mascara that is too wet takes away the curl in my lashes and I need all the curl I can get - my lashes point down, naturally.

Here I am wearing Falsies. You can see that it's given me long, dark, widespread lashes with a fair bit of drama. They look a little thicker too but nowhere near like I look when I'm wearing false eyelashes.


Because it's meant to give you so much drama, I find Falsies to be a bit heavy and it gets brittle when it dries. It's what to expect of course with a mascara that promises drama. This isn't a natural mascara, as you may have guessed. It'd be good for a night out although it's not as buildable as I like for a nighttime look. This is a fairly good mascara however, if you want length, volume and intensity and being a drugstore brand, it's reasonably priced.

I liked the brush because it can be used with the flat edge or with the skinny edge depending on the final look you want. Using it as directed, it felt like it was capturing almost my entire lash line all at once which is good for uniformity and the fanning out effect.

Has anybody tried The Falsies? What do you think of it? What do you look for in a mascara?


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

MAC Dare To Wear Preview

Inspired by Lady Gaga, MAC brings us Dare to Wear - available in North American stores on July 29, 2010. Here's what they have to say about this bold, daring collection:

Our own Lady Gaga mobilized legions of you to DARE TO WEAR…and it’s created a wave of energy, excitement and outrageousness all around the world! Join the brigade of loud-and-proud who daily dare to declare their own individuality. High-powered pigment and holographic pearl create a crazy-intense, shine-saturated gloss, combined with Pop Eye Shadow shades, as over-the-top as Lady G Live! Inter-dimensional one-coat colour on the first stroke means there’s always an encore! Creamy soft application grabs and sculpts, gel structure molds and has a bouncy feel – pure exhilaration, it’s a personal high! More and more of you, every minute, every hour, every day, not afraid to DARE TO WEAR. Bravo!

Dare to Wear includes six lipglasses ($21.50 CDN/$18 US) and 12 eyeshadows ($17.50 CDN/$14.50 US).

Eyeshadow in Aqua (matte)
Subdued pale greyed aqua

Eyeshadow in Atlantic Blue (matte)
Bright violet blue

Eyeshadow in Crazy Cool (veluxe pearl)
Pale frosty lavender

Eyeshadow in Free To Be (matte)
Creamy true coral

Eyeshadow in Going Bananas (frost)
Soft lemon yellow

Eyeshadow in Louder, Please (matte)
Bright fuchsia

Eyeshadow in Lime (matte)
Lime green

Eyeshadow in Sassy Grass (matte)
Bright grass green

Eyeshadow in Shock-a-Holic (matte)
Deep purple

Eyeshadow in Sky Blue (frost)
Robin's egg blue

Eyeshadow in Winkle (satin)
Mid-tone cornflower blue

Eyeshadow in Zingy (matte)
Bright Sky Blue

Dare To Wear Lipglass in Ban This!
Deep pearl with multi-pearl

Dare To Wear Lipglass in Bold & Brash
Bright red with multi-pearl

Dare To Wear Lipglass in Gimme That!
Bright fuchsia pink with pink pearl

Dare To Wear Lipglass in Dare to Dare
Light blue pink with multi-pearl

Dare To Wear lipglass in So Bad
Mid-tone coral-orange with pink and gold pearl

Dare To Wear lipglass in Wind Me Up
Dirty bronze with pink and gold pearl

So what do you think? Do any of these grab your attention? I have to say the lipglasses grab me more than the eyeshadows since I'm not one to wear bold colours on my eyes. Lady Gaga isn't one of my style inspirations. What're you hauling though? Tell us!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

MAC In the Groove Cremesheen Glasses Review and Swatches

MAC's latest collection, In the Groove offers up a wide assortment of Cremesheen Glasses ($21.50 CA/18.00 US), four of which are LE colours. Photo taken without flash, indoors on NC 35-40 skin.

Left to right: Fashion Whim, On the Scene, You've Got It
Going Casual, Right Image and Chillin'

All colours except Fashion Whim and Right Image are LE. All the Cremesheen Glasses tend to be fairly sheer in terms of pigmentation, but the non-sticky gel texture wins me over anytime. Each gloss is paired nicely with a complimentary lipstick, but could potentially be worn with a variety of lipsticks.

Left to right: Fashion Whim, On the Scene, You've Got It
Going Casual, Right Image and Chillin'

MAC Cremesheen Glass

Fashion Whim - a sheer, slightly pale milky peachy beige. A great shade to wear with neutral or smokey eyes.

On the Scene (LE) - a sheer peach, not as pale or opaque as Fashion Whim.

You've Got It (LE) - an ever so slightly grey brown which has a fine blue shimmer in the tube, but looks like a creme on the lips. A good colour for slightly neutralizing other lipsticks or naturally red lips.

Going Casual (LE) - a milky mauve pink which is very pretty. Would intensify any cool toned lipstick.

Right Image - the most pigmented of the bunch. A blue based pink which is great for a sheer pop of colour.

Chillin' (LE) - pale blue in the tube, Chillin' goes on a very sheer white with a hint of shimmer. A good gloss to have to tone down other lipsticks or just add a hint of cool glossiness.

General Comments

Of all the MAC formulations of lipgloss, Cremesheen Glass is hands down my favourite. Although I find the majority of the shades a bit on the sheer side, the texture on non-goopiness of these glosses are a major selling point for me. My favourites are Going Casual and Right Image, which are a great way to wear very cool toned pinks without the fear of looking like Lady Gaga, especially for those in the NC range of skintones. Overall, I'm very happy with the colour selection MAC has given us, although they aren't particularly unique (with the exception of You've Got It and Chillin') they promise pretty glossy lips.

Anyone else pick up any of these shades?


Thursday, July 22, 2010

MAC Cosmetics for Rodarte - Our thoughts.

MAC has collaborated with fashion house Rodarte for a collection to be released in North America in September 2010.

The Rodarte fashion house is based in southern California and is helmed by two sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy. MAC Cosmetics for Rodarte was inspired by a road trip taken by the sisters along the border Texas shares with Mexico. The Mulleavy sisters, who have Mexican heritage say they were inspired by the beauty of the landscape and people in the areas that they traveled. With their gothic and distressed fashion aesthetic, the promo picture below makes sense: 

But when the product information and names were released recently, there was an immediate reaction from the online world. Media, bloggers and fans expressed anger and shock at what appeared to be a horrible and ignorant oversight. While the promo imagery simply can be taken as a reflection of the Rodarte aesthetic, in combination with the products the whole thing took on a very different tone.

Many of the product names reflect the Mulleavy's bordertown road trip inspiration but there is a very dark and very real connection that belie the fact that these are nail polishes, eyeshadows and lipsticks. The product names include:
  • Ghost Town
  • Sleepwalker
  • Factory
  • Bordertown
  • Softly Drifting
  • Quinceanera
  • Juarez
The gothic, ghostly imagery, muted tones and references to ghosts, sleepwalking and a girl's coming of age celebration and most starkly the names Factory and Juarez brings to mind immediately the Mexican bordertown of Ciudad Juarez. This impoverished, violent city near El Paso, Texas is known as "The City of Lost Girls" because hundreds and possibly thousands of women have been sexually assaulted and/or violently murdered or have gone missing presumably with the same fate, there since 1993. Amid reports of government and police corruption there has been little or no official investigation into the cases and families are dissuaded from reporting their daughters, sisters, granddaughters and nieces missing. Most of the women are from poor families, between the ages of 12 and 22 and many of them targeted as they walked to and from work at Juarez's many factories. Authorities estimate the number of murders to be around 400 while locals believe the number to be closer to 5000. The murders are being called femicide and it's speculated that they're being committed by a number of men including serial killers, gang members and copycat killers.

With this in mind, the promo image above no longer looks just vaguely gothic. The pale, muted colours of the make-up collection also start to seem offensive since they bring to mind death, ghosts and even blood. Not only are there ethereal mauves, pinks and greys but there are also products, such as the Lip Erase and Chromagraphic pencil, designed to make the user look unnaturally pale.

To date, MAC and Rodarte have both released statements (you can read them here) and MAC has announced that they intend to donate $100,000 US to a charity "that has a proven, successful track-record helping women in need and that can directly improve the lives of women in Juarez in a meaningful way." To date, the collection will be launched as planned but the product names will be changed.

We at Beauty Squared wanted to weigh into the controversy since we feel that the situation in Juarez needs attention and also that the MAC/Rodarte controversy presents a controversial conundrum.


The combination of product colours, names and the imagery for the collection were a terrible oversight on the part of MAC and Rodarte. That they did not anticipate this negative reaction and did not think to announce a charitable donation or portion of the proceeds from this collection before the controversy broke was a misstep for a brand and company that has always been known for its philanthropic work. For make-up products to bear the name of a city known primarily for its violence and specifically for its violence against women, is shocking and offensive, particularly since there's no reference to that information. For a company whose customer base is mostly female to develop a collection that references not only violence against women but a patriarchal society that clearly devalues women, is appalling. In addition, the whole thing saddens me as it only supports the popular opinion that the make-up and fashion industries are frivolous, superficial and have their heads up their asses. This collection should not have been developed in the first place. It should not have taken an outcry for MAC to realize this collection is insensitive and offensive.

That there are some products clearly referencing the murders of women in Juarez in their colours, names and uses and others (such as the repromoted Kitschmas and permanent White Gold) that do not have names that fit with the Mexican-inspired names is a casual and callous suggestion that this collection is no different from others. The appearance of the model and bloodstain-like imagery of the promo photo, it's clear that the intention was to reference the missing and murdered young women of Juarez in arguably the most frivalous way - by having women want to make themselves up in ghostly colours. Having said this, I can see that this Juarez femicide is already gaining a mythical notoriety and will perhaps one day soon achieve the same gothic fascination as Jack the Ripper. But it's far too harshly current to use it as inspiration for a make-up collection. There hasn't been a Holocaust-inspired make-up line, has there?

I do feel that it is good to bring attention to the situation in Juarez as much as possible and this controversy is doing that. Talking about issues makes people aware and when this controversy broke, even though I knew about Juarez and the femicide, I did some research into it to learn more. I think that changing the product names is necessary for business reasons but before it was announced MAC would be doing so, I thought that would be good to be reminded of Juarez each time you used a lipstick or a nail polish. Perhaps that will still happen thanks to this controversy.


I think this is a gross oversight on MAC's and Rodarte's part. While I respect the idea of artistic integrity, I do not believe a commercial driven endeavour such as this (makeup or fashion) has anything political, topical or even interesting to say about the brutal reality that plagues towns like Juarez.

While I appreciate MAC's $100,000 donation to Juarez, I cannot believe it is anything but damage control on the company's part. It disturbs me that such a foward thinking company (who gave us some of the first fundraisers for AIDS, RuPaul a transvestite spokesperson, and who espouse the message of equality "All Ages, All Races, All MAC") would unwittingly try to "stylize" what is essentially an epidemic of violence, rape and murder.

I do agree with Catherine that perhaps the positive outcome of this controversy (beyond the money donation) is that many online readers of blogs such as this one are more aware of what females in less fortune countries are subjected to.

Western society and fashion has a funny way of stylizing almost anything - think back to the early 90's "heroin chic". Although I don't exactly know what to say about this tendency, I think it stems from a very ego-centric perspective, or another way of looking at it -  no perspective.

If you're curious to see what others are saying about the matter, here are some links:

And let us know what you think! Will you be boycotting MAC for Rodarte? Do you think changing the names and a promise of donation is enough?


Monday, July 19, 2010

Cake Beauty Sweet Summer Sale - up to 70% off!

Cake Beauty is one of my very favourite brands. Every time I use anything by Cake my skin smells so intoxicatingly delicious I want to lick myself. If you've never tried this sweet but not sinful Canadian brand before, I highly recommend them. To make things even sweeter is having a sale!

I personally recommend the Cake Walk Triplemint Foot Creme for gloriously smooth and refreshed tootsies (I like to slather it on and wear socks to bed for gorgeous feet come morning!). I also love the Milk Made Velveteen Hand Creme which smells like a vanilla milkshake with a touch of raspberry. This is one of the best hand creams I've ever tried. I can also highly recommend all of the shower products and body moisturizers. Just pick your favourite scent and or mix and match. You'll smell delicious, I promise.

Happy shopping!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In the Groove Jazzed Lipstick and Petticoat Mineralize SkinFinish FOTD (A.K.A. Too Damned Hot and Humid FOTD)

This was my "haul" from MAC's In the Groove. Yup, I'm a big spender. I picked up Jazzed lipstick and Petticoat Mineralize Skin Finish. I took a look at the legendary Stereorose but it was too orangey-gold for me and I opted for Petticoat instead.

Jazzed lipstick

Jazzed is a cremesheen lipstick described by MAC as a bright coral pink but I would omit the bright part of that description. It's quite muted and opaque but a wearable, pretty summery shade.

Petticoat Mineralize Skin Finish

Petticoat MSF is described by MAC as pale rose with gold and amber veining. Like the other MSFs, it's sheer and buildable and can work as a highlighter, a blush and an eyeshadow. This is my second MSF (I also have By Candlelight) and it's much more highly pigmented and shimmery.

It's been INSANELY hot and humid in Toronto with temperatures in the mid 40Cs with the humidity. I don't have airconditioning at home so temperatures have been around 30C inside and getting ready in the morning is a bit of a challenge. Make-up just melts off my face before I can get out of the house. Not to mention trying to make my hair sleek. I won't even get into that.

When In the Groove was released by MAC on Thursday, I went by to check it out and picked up Jazzed lipstick and Petticoat MSF. I'm not one to go without make-up much and like to look as polished as possible so the weather has been frustrating. Heading out to a backyard BBQ on Saturday and to watch the World Cup Final, both low-key affairs, I pulled together a look using very few products.

What I used:
  • Kiehl's Ultra Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 in Light
  • Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil in Feather Light
  • MAC concealer in Studio Finish NW20 (undereye and in spots)
  • MAC Petticoat MSF 
  • Kiehl's Marvellous Mineral Mascara in Black
  • MAC Jazzed lipstick
  • Benefit Eye Bright
And here's how it looked:
With flash.

I applied moisturizer which provides a light coverage, then concealer to my undereye area and on any redness I wanted covered, then powdered over it all to set it, and focusing on my T-zone (which gets the oiliest). With a large fluffy brush I dusted Petticoat MSF along my cheekbones and up to my temples for a bit of pinky-gold glow. With a blush brush I applied Petticoat to my cheeks for blush and with my index finger I swiped it across my lids. I curled my lashes and applied lots of mascara to both my top and bottom lashes. I used Eye Bright on my waterline to make my eyes pop a bit more and to enhance the contrast between the Petticoat on my lids and the black mascara. The final touch was Jazzed lipstick on my lips.

Natural light.

Close-up of Petticoat on my cheeks and eye.

Of course, the photos don't capture the actual shimmer of Stiletto but I can tell you it's quite a shimmery product. Use it sparingly as a face powder or with more intensity as a blush and eyeshadow.

This was just enough make-up to make me look polished and fresh-faced but not too much so that when it melted away, I wouldn't look drastically different.

So what did you pick up from In the Groove? Got any summer beauty tips to share? 


Thursday, July 8, 2010

HerCut: Haircare For Your Haircut: The Bob Reviewed

I lusted after HerCut: Haircare For Your Haircut back in January and I finally picked some up recently. I chose The Bob Catalyst for my hair, which I currently wear in an angled bob. This product (and the others of HerCut) is designed not for your hair, but for your haircut. It makes sense, doesn't it? Most of us wear our hair in a way that works with our hair. Most of us also don't have hairstylists to do our hair for us every day and make it look like they cut it to look. That's where HerCut comes in. It's meant to work with your hair cut, so for example, The Bob Catalyst enhances forward flowing angular movement and clean geometric lines.

HerCut also make styling products for Long Layers, The Blunt, The Pixie and The Shag as well as shampoo and conditioner for all.

Photos of the delightful packaging:

On one side of the box there's a little history lesson of the bob. "Joan of Arc. Flappers and china girls...Suffragettes and speakeasies. Wartime and good times....60's mod. Disco, long playing. Keep your edge with this cut-enhancing cocktail."

Instructions on the top of the cap.

Front of the bottle.

Back of the bottle.

Side of the bottle.

Close-up of the top. Pump to the left, dual opening to the right.

The product in its two parts on the back of my hand.

Here's the product description: 

This groundbreaking, heat-activated formula's patent-pending technology fits the unique technical requirements of a long layered cut, for optimal tress performance. Its macromolecular complex creates interactions between the hair fibers via a system of charges that impel the cut to behave brilliantly. The innovative dual dispenser delivers a balanced combination of polymers and collaterals, each of which would be unstable as a single-phase product. Once dispersed, equal amounts of the cream and clear combine to spread evenly throughout damp hair.

What I thought:

I like this product a lot. I noticed a difference the first time I used it. It's summer in Toronto right now and it's always quite humid here so I've pretty much given up on my hair looking completely smooth and sleek and flowing forward or staying that way all day. With HerCut, my hair was sleeker, smoother and much more the way it looks after it's cut, immediately after I've finished blowdrying it. HerCut doesn't feel heavy at all in my hair and it's easy to use. Even though it is in two separate parts when it comes out of the bottle, you simply work it between your hands before applying it to your damp hair. 

It's more expensive than I'd normally pay for hair product ($30+ CDN) especially since you can't control how much (or how little) you use.

The scent is very pleasant, I love it, in fact and I'm more than happy that my hair smells this good.

Has anyone tried HerCut for their hair? What did you think?