Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from Beauty Squared!

To you and yours, a very magical, beautiful and Merry Christmas!

Much love from Catherine and Jill
Beauty Squared

Monday, December 24, 2012

L'Oreal Spring 2013 Preview - Visible Lift Blush in Nude Life Review, Swatches and Photos

L'Oreal's Visible Life Cream Blush is new for 2013 (available in January). Suggested retail price is $16.99 CDN.

"Creating a beautiful, health and youthful flush, the new Visible Lift colour Blush recreates volume to uplift and bring cheekbones out of hiding. Featuring Tourmaline, one of nature's most naturally energizing minerals, the newest member to the Visible Lift family of products for mature skin, adds radiance and luminosity back to aging skin. Its lightweight powder in a creamy texture never settles into fine lines. A hint of shimmer gives skin a youthful glow. It has zero talc and zero wax - just rich colour pigments in six different shades to offer a glowing, healthy flush."

The shade I had to try out is called Nude Lift and is a soft golden pink with gold sparkle and shimmer. The texture is a cream that dries to a powder finish on the skin. There's a great deal of luminousness to the blush and it applies very nicely with the fingers or a brush.

The colour is a golden pink on the skin. It's an easy colour to wear and suits my cool skintone and would work well on lighter, warm toned skin. It's quite sheer so it's best for lighter skintones. On darker skintones it'd work best as a highlighter.

Nude Lift swatched on NW15 skintone
Here is is on my cheeks, layered fairly heavily. It gives me a nice, golden, almost sunkissed flush. It's very natural and easy to wear. 

Texture-wise, it's a light cream and goes on smoothly on moisturized skin (I'm wearing Garnier BB cream underneath). Since it has a shimmer and skin-like sheen to it, it can be left alone or topped with a translucent powder or another blush colour if you need a little more colour to your cheeks.

Like many drugstore brands, there isn't a lot of pigment to this blush. There's about three layers of it on my cheeks in the photos below. If your skin is fair, like mine, or you want a very natural blush, this is recommended.

As I don't have any fine lines or wrinkles on my cheeks, I can't vouch for it's not settling into them on me. I can see this working well for women who do have wrinkles. Creams tend to work much better on  lines and wrinkles and it gives the skin a dewy flush, something that the skin naturally loses as we age.

The blush lasted quite well on my cheeks, I'd say roughly 6 hours. With a powder blush on top and a primer underneath it'd last even longer, I bet. 

This is an alright blush, although I'd call it more of a highlighter since it's got more sheen than pigment. Perhaps the other colours have more pigment. For the same price or a little more, you can find better highlighters and better blushes.

Grade: B

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Beauty Squared Round-Up - December 23, 2012

We're deep in holiday season but we're not ignoring the internet. How could we? Here's some of the best stuff we've found online in the last week:

The history of the polka dot. 

Kohl eyeliner: why you should love it. 

The best nail looks of 2012 according to Glamour magazine.

Eyeshadow pencils are great if you're a little lazy about wearing eyeshadow.

The classic powder puff isn't a common beauty tool anymore. Here's why you should maybe look twice at it in your beauty regime.

Some tips to rid yourself of stained nails. 

A super-gorgeous Vanessa Paradis/Brigitte Bardot sex kitten look from Pixiwoo.

'Tis the season....for red lips

Girl crush and long time Cover Girl, Drew Barrymore, is collaborating with WalMart on a new makeup line.

Torture device or beauty kit must-have? Tips on choosing the best eyelash curler for you.

Friday, December 21, 2012

L'Oreal Spring 2013 Preview - Colour Riche Caresse Shine Stain Lipcolour Review and Photos

I attended L'Oreal's Spring 2013 Preview recently and received three of their new Colour Riche Caresse Shine Stain Lipcolours in my take home bag.

Caresse Shine Stain Lipcolours have a hybrid formula made up of 30% water combined with light shine oils for a shiny kiss of colour with a subtly sensuous wet look. They retail for about $12.99 CDN each and come in 12 shades. They will be in stores in January 2013.

The three shades I received were Pink Resistance, Lilac Ever After and Eternally Nude. All very subtle, muted shades. Great for a natural hint of colour on the lips.

The bottoms of the tubes are where the wands are, unlike your typical lipgloss tube. The applicators themselves are different than any I'd seen before. They're like broader deerfoot applicators or more like a shovel. I'm not sure what the reason is for this. I found it a little challenging to apply the product with these applicators. It's something I would get used to and I imagine someone with fuller lips might appreciate a wider applicator surface.

The scent of these bothered me a little. I am not a fan of overly perfumed products but these struck me as smelling a bit chemically. Products for your lips should have an appealing scent, I think.

Pink Resistance looks like a bubble gum pink on the wand and in the tube but it's a more subtle, natural pink on my skin and on my lips. It has a hint of sparkle to it and has an interesting consistency. If I hadn't read the product information, I would've though that this was a very light gloss.

On my lips, it more or less disappears in my natural lip colour. It evens out the natural tone of my lips and adds a hint of sparkle and shine. 

For Ever Lilac is a light purple in the tube and on the wand and slightly plum-toned on my skin and on my lips. Again, it's a very subtle hint of colour on my lips. It looks natural. There's also that subtle, very pretty sheen and a touch of sparkle. I liked this shade the best of the three I received.

Eternally Nude looks like caramel and has the least amount of sparkle of the three I received. It is also very natural, very sheer and very subtle.

I didn't love these. I wasn't a big fan of the applicator, the scent or the effect. They stained very, very softly so if you have a lot of natural pigment to your lips this won't do a lot to change it. If you're looking for a lip product that gives a hint of colour and subtle sheen, you might want to check these out but a lip balm with a bit of colour to it will give you a similar effect AND provide your lips with moisture.

Grade: C


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Live Clean Spa Therapy Review and Photos

Live Clean has turned its attention to your bath with the introduction of Live Clean Spa Therapy, five eco-friendly products that soothe and cleanse to perfection. Spa Therapy's natural plant based ingredients and pure essential oils infuse formulations that wrap around your senses yet never overpower them. 

Beauty Squared was sent the five Spa Therapy products recently to test. At a time of the year when soaking in a warm, relaxing bath and keeping your skin soft and supple is important, these could not have come at a better time. Let's take a look.

Spa Therapy Dead Sea Salts (565 mL, app. $9.97 CDN) is a perfect blend of Epsom and Dead Sea Salts to soothe tired, aching muscles and relax your overworked system. Soothing Dead Sea Salts is enriched with certified organic extracts of Green Tea and Aloe Vera to fight free radicals and leave skin feeling soft and renewed. The fragrance is Live Clean's delightful intermingling of aromatic essential oils of Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon and Ginger.

Review: You can use these salts as a foot soak as well as in the bath. They work well for soothing soreness and they leave my skin feeling smooth. The scent is intriguing and definitely soothing and refreshing on the mind. I don't take a lot of baths but I like adding these to a bowl of warm water when I'm doing a pedicure. They're not great on any broken skin though, be warned. If you have broken blisters or cuts or scrapes, you'll feel them!

Spa Therapy Body Butter (120 mL, app. $9.97 CDN) for the ultimate post-bath experience. The skin nourishing capacities of Shea Butter and Coconut Oil are combined in a shamefully rich cream that hydrates deeply and leaves your skin exquisitely soft. Spa Therapy is enriched with certified organic Chamomile, Green Tea, Lemon and Ginger extracts to awaken but never overwhelm your senses.

Review: This is a rich, highly moisturizing body butter, thick in texture. It has the same fragrance as the rest of the Spa Therapy collection - soothing and refreshing. This is a great moisturizer for extra dry skin, like that on the heels, elbows and knees and as an after bath/shower treat. It takes time to work this into your skin but it's a great moisturizer for right before bed. It's very luxurious.

Spa Therapy Body Lotion (227 mL, app. $9.97 CDN) wraps your skin in the natural emollients of coconut oil and soy. Soothing and protecting, Live Clean's ultimate moisture lotion calms dry skin with Certified Organic botanicals of Chamomile and Aloe Vera and delights your senses with essential Lemon and Ginger Oils.

Review: A lighter version of the body butter, this is a good moisturizer when you need something quick to massage in after a shower. It absorbs well and leaves my skin feeling soft and supple and lightly fragranced. I find that my skin feels a little itchy after a few hours after applying this, though. 

Spa Therapy Body Scrub (200 g, $9.97 CDN) is skin renewal. Enriched with Soy Protein and Certified Organic Aloe Vera to soothe and protect, finely ground corn cob meal and walnet shell are blended to gently exfoliate. Spa Therapy Body Scrub keeps your sense in mind as well, of course, with essential essences of fresh Lemon and stimulating Ginger.

Review: I'm a sucker for exfoliating. It's the best thing to do to keep your skin smooth, and it allows moisturizer to penetrate better. This all means your skin will be hydrated and look supple therefore, younger longer. This is an invigorating body scrub with that great stimulating scent. It's a perfect prep for moisturizing. It's easy to overdo it with this scrub though, so it's important to be gentle, especially if your skin is dry. 

Spa Therapy Body Wash (500 mL, $9.97 CDN) gently cleanses and detoxifies and is infused with the hydrating, nourishing and regenerating properties of Coconut Oil, Soy Oil and Jojoba Oil. With certified organic botanicals of Green Tea and Aloe Vera.

Review: I've been using this body wash in the shower in the mornings. I like its emollient properties. My skin feels smoother and softer although it still needs moisturizing after my shower. I wish I had more time to moisturize after every bath and shower but at least this body wash helps to keep it from being insanely itchy!

Spa Therapy Foam Bath's (500 mL, $9.97 CDN) luxurious, frothy bubbles and unique blend of aromatic lemon and ginger will send you mind and soul into deep relaxation. For the best results, soak for 20-30 minutes and escape to your happy place.

Review: I don't have a lot of baths, but I've used this foam bath a few times. It softens the water and my skin and bubbles beautifully and fragrantly. The combination of soaking in the warm water and the fragrance is incredibly soothing.

Overall Review: A

I'm a fan of Live Clean. It's a very reasonably priced line of quality skin care products and available at Wal-Mart and Shoppers Drug Mart, so fairly easy to find. 

See my review of their facial care line here

Some more info about the Live Clean products:

All Live Clean products are formulated without many of the still too commonly used chemicals that are damaging to the environment and our well-being. Live Clean is free of Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS),  a common petro-chemical surfactant used in most personal care producs, as well as Diethanolamine (DEA), a common ingredient used for rich lather and viscosity building. Live Clean is also free of parabens (preservatives used to extend the shelf life of personal care products) and other harsh preservatives, as well as phthalates (chemicals commonly used to make fragrances last longer).

Completely vegan with 98% plant ingredients and with no animal products or animal byproducts used in the formulations, Live Clean is also cruelty-free; none of the products or their ingredients have been tested on animals. Im it's sensitivity to the environment, Live clean is also free of phosphates, known contributors to water pollution. Dermatologist-tested, Live Clean products are hypoallergenic.

Packaging has been carefully created to be as earth-friendly as possible. The Live Clean containers are recyclable; they are made from "virgin" materials, making them far easier to recycle than most plastics. Shipping cartons are made from recycled materials and even the inks used on shipping cartons are safe for the environment. And wherever possible, vendors are local, which cuts down on gas consumption and emissions resulting from transportation.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

MAC Forever Marilyn The Perfect Cheek, Beauty Powder and Love Goddess Lipstick Review and Swatches

The MAC Forever Marilyn collection sold out pretty quickly, and I was lucky enough to get what I wanted from it, thanks to Jill!

Only three items, but it turns out I chose well because they're all great products. And the packaging! Oh, the packaging! For sure, this is why the collection sold out so quickly. Each box and the packaging of the makeup itself has a black & white photo of Marilyn Monroe posing in a top hat and her signature in cherry red written on top along with the MAC logo.

First up, Forever Marilyn Beauty Powder. MAC's Beauty Powders are "a silky-soft 'beauty' powder that's delicately tinted and luxuriously pearl. Goes on as an ultra-fine shimmering 'veil' to the skin. Can be applied as a highlight, soft blush or overall finish."

A kiss from Marilyn on the inside flap of the box.

The Forever Marilyn Beauty Powder comes in a shiny black compact with a mirror, for touch-ups on the go. No brush or sponge is included. The photo of Marilyn which appeared on the box is also on the compact. Totally glam!

Forever Marilyn is described as a sheer pale peach highlighter and is intended to give you that Marilyn porcelain glow. You can use it as a highlighter or as a finishing powder all over your face.

On my skin (NW15), it is very soft, very pretty, a little chalky and a little shimmery. This is a good finishing powder and light highlighter for fair skin types but on darker skin tones it might look chalky and pale. 

I wear it as a finishing powder when I want to have that glowing, powdered look, a la the 1950s film starlet. I've also brushed it along the tops of my cheekbones for a very soft highlight.

Here's The Perfect Cheek Powder Blush. Also in shiny black packaging with a black & white photo of Marilyn. This same photo is on the blush packaging as well.

The Perfect Cheek is described as a neutral pink beige and has a matte texture. Jill said this "I think you do want The Perfect Cheek, it's a great neutral cheek colour and is so handy when you want to balance out dark eyes or lips. It also works great as a contour. Trust me on this one, I'm buying 2 for myself."

I've worn The Perfect Cheek as a blush and as contour colour. As a blush and as a contour colour it's very subtle, and very sophisticated on me. The colour is warm enough on me to give me some colour, though I often layer a brighter colour on top (as in the photos of me below). With smoky eyes, it's the perfect amount of colour on the cheeks.

And finally, one of the four gorgeous Forever Marilyn lipsticks - Love Goddess. Love Goddess is described as a brightened pink-red with a satin finish. It is GORGEOUS.

The packaging is also a shiny black with a black and white photo of Marilyn and the red signature and MAC logo. This is a sleeve that slides off revealing a standard MAC lipstick box underneath.

The tube itself also has the photo and red script on it. LOVE!

Love Goddess swatched on NW15 skintone
Here it is on me. Love Goddess is a very pretty, bright pink-red and a sheen when first applied but matte otherwise. In the photos below I'm also wearing The Perfect Cheek under a brighter matte pink blush. I have Love Goddess lipstick on and I have Forever Marilyn Beauty Powder dusted all over my face.

It goes on very smoothly and easily and isn't drying at all. Here are some iPhone photos of me wearing it. I love this colour. It makes me feel like a movie star! It's a little softer than a true red lip but still plenty bold, ladylike and glam.