Sunday, November 25, 2012

Beauty Squared Round-Up - November 25, 2012

Hello lovelies, here's our Beauty Squared Round-Up for the week!

Have you seen the new James Bond movie, Skyfall? If you have, how freaking incredible does Dame Judi Dench look? No, I don't mean how incredible does she look for her age, how incredible does she look, full stop. The Globe and Mail takes a look at the vanishing face of the older woman

NY Magazine test drives MAC's Grey Friday lipstick and OCC's Triptych Lip Tar on some willing New Yorkers. 

We know about the Andrej Pejic, the female model who is actually a man. Now here's Casey Ledger, a woman who works as a male model. 

Some of today's biggest pop stars are rocking more curvalicious bodies, as performances from Christina Aguilera, Nicki Minaj, Kelly Clarkson and Ke$ha at the recent American Music Awards can attest. With Lady Gaga looking more curvy than usual and of course, the beautiful Adele proudly not cowing to narrow beauty standards, this is good news.

An interview with Eugene Souleiman, one of the world's most inventive hair stylists.

Podiatrist Dr. Nathan Lucas, claims that he's seeing more and more women who want foot surgery (including wanting to cut off their pinky toes) to allow them to wear high heels more comfortably. 

Might the iconic Chanel No. 5 perfume be banned? 

The life of a full-time pin-up girl. I want to be her. 

Lipgloss lovers - here's an Indiegogo you'll want to check out. 

BlogTO's list of the best beauty shops and salons in Toronto. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Studio Girl Make-Up Kit

I attended a lecture on 1950s fashion at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto last weekend. The woman who spoke is the owner of a vintage store called Gadabout Vintage and she had brought some 1950s clothes and accessories with her to show us. One of the items was this make-up kit from Studio Girl. I fell in love with all the little bottles inside - many of which still had product inside.

The tall glass bottles with the white lids in the back of the top shelf were cologne and the white jar containers contained what I suspect were creams and lotions. The tiny vials along the front of the top shelf were cosmetics. I think they were foundations, concealers and cream colours to that effect. See the reddish colours? These were probably used as blush. The vials to the right were likely for concealing and highlighting. There's a small gold tube of lipstick, still mostly intact, on the bottom of the case. It was a deep, bright red, called True Red. Very Marilyn Monroe. 

How delightful to see what women in the 1950s would have bought and used. 


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Butter LONDON The Big Smoke Review and Swatches

I think I'm going to throw out all of my nailpolish and just buy Butter LONDON from now on. Seriously. None of my other polishes are cutting it compared to the BL shades. I just don't want to wear anything else!

This is the latest addition to my collection: Big Smoke. It's described as London's finest. Mildly metallic navy blue that's as naughty as a night in a smoky pub. 

The name "Big Smoke" is a nickname for London and refers specifically to the Great Smog of 1952. This polish is part of BL's regular collection. 

I love the deep navy colour and how it's got a metallic sheen, giving it a hazy appearance. 

Here it is swatched. This is with three coats and a top coat.

As with the other BL polishes I've tried, Big Smoke went on smoothly and was almost opaque with two coats but I used three which was more about my application skills that the polish itself. BL polishes dry quite quickly, which is one of the things I love about them. I've had this on for four days and there's no wear yet. The other BL polishes I've tried wear pretty well, giving me four or five days before showing visible wear. This one is no different (yet). The colour is true to how it looks in the bottle, and before drying. I love the deep blue shade and flash of metallic in certain light.

Sigh, yet another Butter LONDON polish to be in love with. I should just give in now, right?

Grade: A (I'd give it an A+ except the colour isn't totally unique and it is pricey (I paid $16.99 CDN for this polish).)


Monday, November 19, 2012

ID Photos: How To Not Look Like A Thug

Do you hate your ID photos? Many of us do. 

We all have to have photos taken for identification purposes, such as driver's licenses, passports, school IDs, security cards, etc. Most of the time these photos are not flattering and barely look like what you see when you look in the mirror. Somehow these photos seem to make our faces look flat, washed-out and because ID photos need to show you unsmiling and without glasses, you'd perhaps look better photographed when you first woke up in the morning so you look more like yourself!

I have some tips for you to keep in mind the next time you have to have your photo taken for a passport or work ID, you might actually like your photo, or at least not mind it so much. And you won't worry about being arrested at the airport for looking like a criminal in your passport photo.

This is my provincial health card. My photo was taken at the office, standing in front of a blank screen and with a blinding flash with barely a moment to compose myself. It's a mug shot, but it's in colour, rather oddly tinted pink and red. 
It's not a fantastic photo of me, but it's not terrible. I knew I was going to have my photo taken and having learned my lesson from previous ID photos, I made sure to use some makeup tricks to try to make my photo less unflattering.

Make-up tips:
  • Wear lipstick, or a tinted lip balm, or just a regular lip balm. It will give your lips some natural colour and sheen. This is ideal in a colour photo, but in a B&W photo it'll have a positive effect too. Just don't wear a dramatic lipstick colour. Try to keep it as natural as possible
  • Avoid really shiny lipglosses.  
  • Apply blush or bronzer to give your skin some colour. Even if the photos are in B&W, your skin will have some dimension and look a little more luminous.
  • Contour: If you're confident about contouring, define your cheekbones and jawline. This will help make your face look more three-dimensional under a bright flash.
  • Define your eyes. A thin line of a dark colour along your upper lashline will make your lashes look fuller and also, help your eyes to stand out against a bright flash. If you use a colour that enhances your eye colour, this can help your eyes stand out in colour photos. 
      • Blue eyes - burgundy.
      • Green eyes - dark orange-brown. 
      • Brown eyes - dark purple.
      • Hazel eyes - golden-brown.
      • Grey eyes - dark green.
  • Define your eyebrows. This falls into the contouring category. Well-shaped and groomed brows give your face a great deal of definition and shouldn't be neglected. At the very least, use a brow comb to brush the brow hairs up and towards the outside of your face. If the hairs are long, comb through with a brow gel to keep them in place. 
There are also some non-makeup tips for taking better ID photos (men can use these too!):
  • Posture. Even if the photo is head and shoulders only, standing up straight will make you look better in the photo. Pull your shoulders down and back and lift your chin slightly. Imagine an ice cube melting down your spine.
  • If possible, wear a flattering neckline and simple jewellery. Take off any outerwear like jackets or scarves. Simple is better, not to mention that wearing a winter coat inside while waiting in line can make you sweaty.
  • Smize! What's this? It's smiling with your eyes. Try it in the mirror. Smile without using your mouth. Try to capture an expression using your eyes only. Look in the mirror and smile like you normally would. Then relax your mouth but not the rest of the face. It's a lifting feeling in the outer eye area. Practice. You might not be trying to sell anything when you have your ID photo taken but you will look better in your photo if you don't have a dead stare. 
  • Wearing a shirt in a colour that flatters your complexion will give you a natural glow. This won't translate in a B&W photo, unfortunately. 
  • Think happy thoughts and allow them to lift your face into a non-glowery expression.
  • Relax, as much as possible. Doing so will soften your features. If you don't have much time, try to take a deep, deep breath before they take your photo.
  • Close your eyes just before they take your photo. This will relax your eyes and center you.
  • Don't clench your jaw.
  • Lift your eyebrows slightly. 
  • Tuck your chin down, slightly. 
Practice these tips in the mirror until you master them and you'll like your next ID photo. I promise.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Beauty Squared Round-Up - November 18, 2012

Some highly clickable links for you this week. Enjoy!

Easy tricks for improving vintage clothes.

In praise of the single eyeshadow!

Two-tone lips - would you?

Makeover your Facebook profile with NARS and Andy Warhol. 

Well, this is something different. A 72-year old man has become an Internet sensation for modelling clothing for his granddaughter's online store. 

Bella Sugar offers the best skin care products for Winter 2013.

Smoky eye and a nude lip? Bold lip and soft eyes? It's always one or the other since both at the same time can look like too much but Dior MUA Ricky Wilson shows us how to wear both effectively.

These ladies look pretty average, in terms of their body types, but they're considered plus-size by the fashion industry. Huffington Post counts down their favourite plus-size models.

Amanda Palmer writes a (pretty awesome) letter to PETA regarding one of its recent ad campaigns.

Lilac wine? Is that a new name for a colour like "oxblood" is the new fashion-y name for burgundy? 

A mod eye made easy. 

Quick tips for applying false eyelashes.

Apparently looking at different body types make us more accepting of our own (different body types). 

All you need to know about BB creams

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

La Roche Posay Mela-D Pigment Control Giveaway!

In my previous post I reviewed La Roche Posay's Mela-D Pigment Control serum, now La Roche Posay would like 5 lucky Beauty Squared subscribers to try it for themselves free!

To enter the giveaway simply do the following:

1. Subscribe to Beautysquared and leave a comment on this post with your tips on how to deal with skin pigmentation.

2. Get a second entry by tweeting your pigmentation tip to @larocheposayca:

“@larocheposayca I read @BeautySquared and my #pigmentcontrol tip is to make sure you wear sunscreen! #MelaD”  

3. The giveaway is open from November 14 - November 24, 2012. Winners will be selected by random draw and notified via email.

Good luck!


Halloween 2012: Rosie the Riveter

My Halloween costume this year was Rosie the Riveter, specifically the iconic poster above. The poster was used during World War II when women worked in factories while the men were at war. It was a significant moment in feminist history, when women proved themselves capable of doing what was traditionally a man's job. Rosie represents the thousands of women who worked assembly lines, getting their hands dirty and supporting the war effort.

The poster has endured, even though Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post cover pre-dates it. 

In actuality, these images were used as propaganda, to entice women into the workforce and when the war ended, they were expected to go back to more traditional female roles. 

Still, Rosie the Riveter endures as a feminist icon and she is a popular Halloween costume. 

Here's my interpretation:

Self-portrait (that's my iPhone with it's Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock case tucked behind my arm)

I wore jeans, boots, a dark blue denim button-up shirt and a red handkerchief for my hair. I styled my hair in a bit of a pompadour, which is more 1950s than 1940s, admittedly, but some tutorials you can find online show a pomp and it's easier than trying to create curls in my hair.

Obviously, as a factory worker, Rosie wouldn't be wearing a lot of makeup, but women did wear some makeup even in doing hard labour. And in the poster, Rosie is clearly wearing eye makeup and lipstick. In the 1940s, eyeshadow colours tended to be neutral although an army green was popular. Women would wear red lipstick for evening and softer pink-red or orange-red for daytime. The focus was on the eyes and lips. 

For my look, I kept it simple. Natural skin, a bit of olive shadow in the crease, a thin liquid eyeliner line, mascara, slight contour in the cheeks and berry-red lips.

What I used:

To give me a perfect, natural complexion:
Garnier BB cream buffed into my skin with a foundation brush.
MAC Studio Fix Concealer in applied to undereye area in on any blemishes.
MAC powder in NC15 to set.

On my eyes:
Urban Decay eye primer.
MAC Vanilla eyeshadow on my eyelid and on my browbone.
MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack in a very thin line along my upper lashline, flicked out slightly at the end.
mascara on my upper lashes.
Laura Mercier Scheherazade eyeshadow (golden green) swept very lightly through my crease.  

For my elegant 1940s eyebrows: 
Using MAC Sketch eyeshadow I lightly filled in my eyebrows where there are gaps and extended the brow slightly. 

For a subtle flush:
MAC Stunner blush very lightly on the apples of my cheeks.

On my lips:
Lipstick Queen by Poppy lipstick in Saint Eden (watermelon pink).

Rosie the Riveter is a fairly simple and fun costume. It's not skimpy, it's sexy and badass. I felt tough and got to give little history lessons to everyone who asked who I was dressed as (No, I'm not a TV character.)

What was your Halloween costume?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

La Roche Posay Mela-D Pigment Control Review

New to La Roche Posay's skincare line is Mela-D Pigment Control serum which is intended to correct dark spots, hyper-pigmentation, dullness and unevenness.  Hydroquinone free and formulated with kojic and glycolic acid, after 8 weeks of use this product claims to reduce the look of dark spots by 28% , unevenness  by 24% and increase radiance by 36%.

I was sent a sample by PR for review. I have now been using the serum for 4 weeks, once a day before bed. The serum has a slightly thick gel consistency and spreads evenly and smoothly over the skin.

With my medium (NC 30/35) skin tone, freckles and occasional post acne dark spots, I was interested to see if this product would actually reduce my hyper pigmentation. What I found in my month of use is this product does help to brighten my complexion through gentle exfoliation. My skin has was smoother and better exfoliated during my use. I also like that this product has a light texture and that it was weightless underneath my moisturizer.

Of course the million dollar question is does this product really lighten dark spots? In the time I have used it, I cannot say I have seen a noticeable reduction in the darkness of my hyper pigmented spots. Hyper pigmentation is something that can only be corrected over longer periods of time and to be fair I haven't used the product for 8 weeks yet. So for me, the jury is out on whether this product will significantly lighten dark spots. What it will do is give you a brighter, smoother complexion which might help lessen the conspicuousness of dark spots. Either way your skin will have a better texture and appearance using this product.

As a final note, I would like to point out an aspect of this product I find frustrating. Specifically, I dislike the bottle and applicator, which is eye dropper style. I find using the eye dropper wasteful and messy. In the journey the dropper takes from the bottle to your hand/face, inevitably serum drops out onto the counter/floor and is wasted. As well, if you were to ever drop the applicator or bottle by accident you could potentially contaminate/spill your serum. I wish this product came in a pump bottle!

Come back tomorrow for a giveaway of this product!

Grade: B+


Vichy ProEVEN BB Creme Review and Photos

The bad news…
If the inevitable onset of wrinkles wasn’t daunting enough, now women are faced with another age imperfection to wrought off: dark spots. For many women, these dark spots are considered a more significant indicator of age than wrinkles!

The good news…
Vichy has a solution, with the introduction of the ProEVEN collection  - a collection specifically designed to target those nasty dark spots. 

And now, Vichy introduces the ProEVEN BB Cream, to help conceal unwanted spots. After just one month of using Vichy ProEVEN BB Cream, skin is transformed with a refined skin texture, a reduction of redness and unevenness and a more healthy radiant complexion.

The new ProEVEN BB Cream immediately works to:
·         Even skin tone
·         Boost radiance
·         Conceal redness, flaws and imperfections
·         Reduce the look of pores and fine lines

Vichy BB Cream gives fast, noticeable results all while concealing current imperfections, especially when used in combination with Vichy ProEVEN Daily Dark Spot Corrector.

Beauty Squared was sent a tubes of the new Vichy ProEVEN BB Cream to review. Here's what we thought of it.

Vichy ProEVEN BB Creme Swatches on NW15ish skintone L-R: Light/Medium and Medium/Dark


I was really interested to try Vichy's new Pro Even BB as it would be one of the first BB creams I have tried to date. I don't usually wear foundation or tinted moisturizer, so the BB cream hype seemed a bit lost on me. Usually I find multipurpose products to be rather so-so, like 2-in-1 shampoos, where the product only manages to fulfill it's multitude of promises in rather mediocre way, so I was skeptical about the numerous claims BB creams made.

Catherine got the product before me and gave me the heads up on the lightness of the product, so I only tested the "medium to dark complexions" cream (I am NC 30/35). I was fairly shocked to see the cream come out of the tube, as it is very, very, very light and ashy looking. The texture is thick and a tiny bit tacky. When I smoothed it on I was sure I was going to be walking around most of the day looking rather odd, with a ghostly cast over my face. Vichy claims this product "adapts" to individual skin tones and after working the product in vigorously it did lose most of it's ashiness.

On me this product turns mostly invisible, although for my yellow toned skin it does give it a slight whitish cast, like one you would get from a sunscreen with titanium dioxide (which this product contains). The way it felt on my combination/oily skin was moist and slightly dewy, and I felt I needed to powder it down after applying.

The things I like about this product are the decent SPF factor and the inclusion of some of the same ingredients found in the Pro Even serum, which I have used and liked in the past. What I don't like about this product is the colour and the texture. I definitely have a "medium" skin tone and although this product does adapt to your skin, I don't think it does an adequate enough job of "adapting" to provide natural looking coverage  Maybe this would work better on a pink based skin tone, but it just doesn't do it for me. I would rather wear a moisturizer with all of the above mentioned treatment ingredients then use a shade appropriate tinted moisturizer or sheer foundation on top.

To summarize I don't see this being a good choice for anyone with a skin tone as dark or darker than mine, or for anyone with oily skin. It's a shame that this spin off product from the Pro Even line didn't better match my skin tone. Because of the fact I can't really wear this product I won't be able to evaluate it's skin improvement claims which are based on using it over time. My rating is then based upon my initial impressions.

Grade: C


I have been using Garnier's BB cream since it was released, and Vichy's is only the second type that I've tried. I received both of the shades the BB cream comes in and after swatching opted to try the lighter of the two, the Light/Medium shade. I tend to wear if not the lightest foundation in a line, then pretty close to the lightest foundation, so I was very surprised when the Light/Medium shade made me look so pale and chalky. After a little while, the paleness dissipated slightly, but I found that with the heavier the application, the less it altered its colour and texture. The coverage of this is heavier than the Garnier BB cream, but I still found I wanted to layer it in some areas rather than adding a foundation on top. I was constantly frustrated with the application as it was fair too pale for my skintone no matter how I applied it. For a BB cream that claims to fit Light/Medium skintones and for a BB cream that only comes in two shades, this was disappointing. I tried mixing some of the Medium/Dark (which isn't very dark at all) into the Light/Medium and that's when it started looking more like my skintone match.

In the below photo I'm wearing the Light/Medium on the right half of my face, leaving the left half bare. 

In terms of the consistency, it does certainly look chalky or ashy (as Jill found) and while some of this eases after wearing it a little while, you have to wear a light layer to avoid it. I found the texture less moist than the Garnier BB cream I'm used to wearing but still in need of powder to set it.

I did wear it for a week or so to get a proper gauge of how it worked on my skin. Apart from the appearance of it, it did work as I think a BB cream should. It kept my skin feeling moisturized, it acted as a primer for my makeup and gave me some coverage.

I found the Vichy BB cream more frustrating than satisfying. I managed to make it work alright for me, but I wouldn't buy it. 

Grade: D