Monday, July 29, 2013

MAC Nudes & Metallics Lipstick Review, Swatches and Photos

Despite having caught this collection online before it's availability became widely advertised, half the lipsticks I wanted to buy were already sold out. What I did manage to buy was Wholesome from the Nudes collection and Pre-Raphaelite from the Metallics collection. Both colours are LE ($18.00 CA/$15.00 US) and are still available online at the time of writing this post. Product photo taken with flash, swatches in natural light on NC40 skin.

Wholesome and Pre-Raphaelite

Wholesome - described as "sheer warm, midtone nude" by MAC. I would say this description is accurate except for the "sheer" part. This lipstick has an Amplified finish and delivers opaque, rich colour with just one pass, it is definitely not sheer! The midtone pinky brown beige is an excellent and very flattering nude lip for anyone with a medium skin tone or with naturally red or pigmented lips.

Pre-Raphaelite - described as a "metallic dirty berry" by MAC, it has a frost finish and is a medium dark burgundy that requires two passes for opaque coverage. This shade is very vampy and lovely for fall. It looks flattering both applied sheer and opaque and perfectly suits it's name, calling to mind the lush romantic palette of the art movement.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Venus Verticordia (1868)

Grade: Wholesome, A+; Pre-Raphaelite, B+


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Beauty Squared Round-Up - July 28, 2013

Hello lovelies! Busy days for the Beauty Squared gals lately, hence the lack of posts, but we still want to share our web finds with you every week (or almost every week)! Here are some beauty links for you to waste some time (and learn something!) on... Enjoy!

A Bettie Page hair tutorial from the lovely gals at Bettie Page Clothing. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eyeliner Crushing: Lauren Mayberry

Still from the 'Gun' video
Lauren Mayberry is the singer for a Glaswegian electropop band Chvrches (pronounced "churches"). She's adorable, right? Like a little pixie with her big brown eyes and delicate features. She reminds me a little of Emma Watson. 

I'm in love with the way she likes to wears her eyeliner. Long swooping lines that extend towards her nose on the inside and well out towards her temple. In the photo here, she's only got that long, extended line on one eye and there are tiny dots of eyeliner at the ends of each swoop. 

Sometimes she pairs it with some silver as in the photos here and here

Lips are kept rosy and slightly glossy. Skin is natural. It's a very simple look, but it's also very compelling. 

Sometimes she goes a bit heavier with her eye makeup, but keeps that elongated shape. In this photo it looks like she's got metallic (perhaps silver) swoops extended down onto her cheekbone. 

So pretty, and so cool. Referencing both the 1960s and the 1980s.

Here's the 'Gun' video - great tune. 

Check out Chvrches online here:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Clean & Clear Advantage Oil Absorbing Treatment Review

I have combination skin with a very oily, sometimes spotty t-zone. For many, many years I was a devotee of Clinique's Pore Minimizer T-Zone Control, a colourless mattifying gel that contained a small percentage of salicylic acid to help prevent acne. When it was discontinued around 5 years ago and my stockpile of the product had been diminished, I was forced to seek out similar products from different brands.

After years of searching, I have found my new go to mattifier, Clean & Clear's Advantage Oil Absorbing Treatment. This product is by far the closest match to my old Clinique favourite, giving you a matte finish with the added bonus of 2% salicylic acid to help prevent and treat breakouts. It is also oil free and has a light texture which disappears into the skin with light massaging.

Suggested retail price is $10.99 CA for 44 ml, and I only need half a pea sized amount to cover my t-zone and chin, while a full pea sized amount would cover your whole face if needed. I use it over my moisturizer and it gives leaves my skin naturally matte for about 4-5 hours before I feel the need to blot.

Price wise this product offers excellent value at $0.25/ml versus Clinique's Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector (the product which replaced my old favourite) which at $23.00 CA for 15 ml breaks down to $1.53/ml.

Besides the good performance and excellent value, I really like that this product is not heavy on silicone which makes this a good choice for oily/combination skin which breaks out with silicone.

Grade: A

Saturday, July 20, 2013

MAC Nudes & Metallics Eye Shadow Review, Swatches and Photos (Part 2: Metallics)

Today I have the four LE metallic eye shadows from MAC's latest PRO collection, Nudes & Metallics. All four eye shadows are veluxe pearl formula ($18.00 CA/$15.00 US), product photos taken with flash, swatches in natural light on NC 40 skin.

Deep Fixation, Love's Lure, Crimson Tryst and Brazenly.

Deep Fixation, Love's Lure, Crimson Tryst and Brazenly.

Deep Fixation - a rich, metallic copper brown with copper shimmer. Excellent pigmentation and smooth texture.

Love's Lure - a medium metallic orange based red which reads quite bright on the skin. Excellent pigmentation and smooth texture.

Crimson Tryst - a deep red based metallic burgundy. Excellent pigmentation and smooth texture.

Brazenly - a deep blackened, red based metallic purple.Excellent pigmentation and smooth texture.

Without sounding like a broken record, all four shadows are highly pigmented, have a lovely smooth metallic finish and are very blendable. What I love so much about this offering is how appropriate the shades are for fall...these colours strike me as having an almost gothic feel because of the predominance of deep red and wine tones. They aren't the most office friendly, but I like that! The quality and edginess of this collection reminds me of what MAC collections used to be like over a decade ago.

Grade: A+

Friday, July 19, 2013

MAC Nudes & Metallics Eye Shadow Review, Swatches and Photos (Part 1: Nudes)

Despite my overly large consumption of MAC products, I sometimes feel very ambivalent about them as a brand. In my opinion, they put out far too many poor to mediocre LE collections which though trendy or cool, rarely have the quality to justify the always demand.

A few times a year they really blow my mind, and this latest PRO only collection (PRO stores and online only) is in my mind the best collection to come out this year so far...which leads me to wonder why make these products so hard and confusing to get?!? First, this collection launched in stores on April 18th and were then slated to be online mid June, but only came online about a week ago. I was lucky to be alerted by Temptalia that the products were online, so I was able to buy most of what I wanted a few days before the collection officially launched through email - but even then numerous items were already sold out.

This post covers the four LE eye shadows in the nude collection ($18.00 CA/$15.00 US). Product photos taken with flash, swatches in natural light on NC 40 skin.

Bare Minimum, Glimpse of Flesh, Exposed and Body Conscious

Bare Minimum, Glimpse of Flesh, Exposed and Body Conscious

Bare Minimum - a pale, pinky beige satin. Fairly well pigmented and smooth, pale but not chalky.

Glimpse of Flesh - a peachy warm light brown with a satin finish, well pigmented, smooth and blendable..

Exposed - a peachy warm mid tone brown with a satin finish, well pigmented, smooth and blendable.

Body Conscious - a darker, slight more orangey version of Glimpse of Flesh. Again, well pigmented, blendable and smooth with a stain finish.

I did a double take when I first looked at these because in the pot, Glimpse of Flesh and Exposed look very, very similar. On the skin they look different enough, with Exposed pulling slightly more yellow and less peachy. I did another double take when I swatched all four because on my skin Glimpse of Flesh and Body Conscious look very similar too - with Body Conscious being a fraction darker.

The pigmentation is very good to excellent, and they are all soft and smooth without being too powdery. I think these are some of the best quality eye shadows MAC has put out in quite some time - my only criticism of this grouping is how warm they all are. It would have been nice to see half the grouping be cooler or even just neutral. I feel like cooler skin tones might find these pull too orange on them. As well, I wish MAC had varied the tonal range more, including something on the darker end of the spectrum, like a dark ashy taupe or brown for contouring the crease. 

Overall Grade: A 

Overall the collection is outstanding in terms of texture and pigmentation. The only thing that stops it being an "A+" for me is the lack of variation in both the hues and tones of the shadows.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Beauty Squared Round-Up for July 14, 2013

Happy Sunday, lovelies!

  • If you're like me, your beauty routine more or less goes out the window when you spend any time in the heat and humidity. But, if, like me, you're not willing to forgo your beauty routine just because the weather is working against you, you may just need to change up how how you get ready and what products you use. Beautylish shares their favourite heat-proof beauty products that'll help keep you looking good all summer!
  • If you've ever had a short hairstyle you've liked, you've probably had that moment when you've wondered if you should let it grow out or if you should keep it short. Hairstylist Bill Angst offers some tips to Beautyeditor reader Maria about growing out her short hair.
  • Some "underrated" beauty habits, or really, just beauty tips, courtesy of Glamour readers.
  • Minimal, matte makeup as seen on Mad Men's Jessica ParĂ©.
  • If you get the chance, you should check out the Lipstick Queen lipsticks. Here's a feature on the Chinatown Glossy Lip Pencil in Catalina.
  • Summer in the city can be grand, but it can also take a real toll on your skin. Here are some common issues that arise with heat and city life and how you can protect your skin.
  • Whatever you do, don't listen to Gwyneth Paltrow's advice on sun exposure, listen to medical professionals.
  • Is there a discontinued lipstick that you can't forget about? For me it's MAC's Ionic from when I was a student. Check out Three Custom Color, who can recreate a number of long-gone shades from their colour library. Mine isn't there, but maybe yours is?
  • In Canada or New York? Pick up a copy of Chloe Magazine for a spread featuring MuchMusic VJ Liz Trinnear styled as Debbie Harry by the awesome Lucky Bromhead. You can see one of the shots on Lucky's Instagram here:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Beauty Squared Round-Up - July 7, 2013

Here are some interesting and helpful beauty links we've stumbled across this past week and want to share with you. Let's dig in!

  • Glamour magazine did a reader survey and found that young women recorded an average of 13 negative thoughts about their bodies every day.
  • CityTV MUA Tracy Peart has some tips for keeping cool while applying makeup.
  • Have you every wondered why some beauty products are so pricey?
  • What beauty products and treatments do beauty editors spend their money on?
  • Fashion Magazine's Beauty Panel has their tips for hair and makeup for job interviews. These would work well for a daily work look too. Polished and professional!
  • Skin is drier in the summertime so Elle Canada has a round-up of their favourite hydrating skin care products.
  • It's good to get some sunshine, some fresh air and some vitamin D. But it's not good to sit out and soak up the rays like you used to. Here are some tips for tanning safely.
  • Sunburn, chlorine-damage, dry skin - here are ten ways to repair summer damage to your hair and skin.
  • Did Coronation Street stars Brooke Vincent and Catherine Tyldesley break marketing rules by publicising fictitious beauty products on Twitter? An investigative UK TV series claims to have created a cosmetics firm and gotten the actresses to tweet about them. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Butter London Fishwife Review, Swatches and Photos

On my recent trip to NYC with Catherine, we both scooped up some Butter London polishes at Ricky's as they had some hard to find colours and were cheaper down there. So imagine my delight when a few weeks ago Butter London had their Friends & Family event! 

Before we proceed I have to give props to Butter London for a few customer service related things: 1) they actually have a website devoted to selling and shipping in Canada and 2) they offered the 30% discount to their Canadian customers. In this day and age of e-commerce there are still way too many beauty companies that only sell and ship to the US, or charge an unaffordable amount to ship to Canada (i.e: Bergdorf Goodman, Giorgio Armani, Urban Decay etc.)...don't they read our north of the border blogs? We are just as beauty obsessed as our south of the border cousins!

Ok rant let's look at one of a set of  polishes I ordered from Butter London.

Butter London Posh Bird and Fishwife

This post is a review for Fishwife, part of a duo set of polishes available exclusively online ($30.00 CA). Fishwife is a pale blue holo polish,with an incredibly fine holo particle. The holo effect on this polish is on the subtler side due to the fineness of the glitter. I rather like that this doesn't necessarily scream "HOLO!!!" because disco ball, retina burning nail colours are not for everyday. You could wear Fishwife to the office or club. It's that pretty and versatile.

 It's important to note that I had some difficulty capturing Fishwife's beautiful, pale blue, almost aqua colour in photographs - but I hope you can tell it's not a typical straight up silver holo. The formula on this (as on many holo polishes) was on the sheer side, but I found if I did two thicker coats, where I let the polish pool a bit more on the nail, I got complete coverage. I did find it pulled a bit in some areas but only if I didn't let the polish pool before I brushed it on. More research on the interwebs indicates if you buff your nails then apply a holo polish (sans regular basecoat), or if you use a specific aqua basecoat for holos you get better and more reliable applications.

Butter London Fishwife

I like this polish - it makes me think of icicles, glaciers and yes, the shimmery scales of a fish. This duo can be found here,Review of Posh Bird to follow.

Grade: A

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day to all our readers south of the boarder...don't forget to sunscreen your beautiful selves and have fun!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Philosophy Hope In A Jar Night: Review and Photos

Beauty Squared was recently sent some of Philosophy's new Hope in a Jar Night for review. It's an intense retexturizing moisturizer that features an innovative qusome delivery system that enhances efficacy, while limiting the potential for irritation. According to Philosophy, skin is noticeably smoother, lines are visibly softened, a rosy glow is restored and results continue to improve with nightly use. 

$48/2 oz

Some photos...

Instruction booklet



This cream has a very thick, almost sticky consistency and a noticeable, but pleasant lavender based scent. On the skin it absorbs fairly quickly and leaves your skin feeling cushioned and protected.

For the first few days of testing this, I used it without my usual night time treatment (Differin 3X Gel), because exfoliating and resurfacing creams can interact with Differin (an exfoliant) and potentially cause peeling. Used alone I found that this cream did improve the texture and brightness of my skin. My one complaint was this product did not leave my skin feeling well moisturized in the morning. Compared to the night cream I was using before I began testing Hope in a Jar Night, my skin was noticeably drier and tighter feeling upon waking. When used on top of Differin 3X Gel, my skin did peel slightly at the corner of my mouth and high on my temples. This indicates to me that this cream does in fact exfoliate as it claims.

All in all I liked this cream - I liked the thick, somewhat sticky texture, the scent and the way it made my skin look fresher and brighter in the morning. The only flaw for me is that it did not hydrate my skin as much as I would like.

Grade: A-


I've been a fan of Philosophy products for a few years. Their products are very good, although on the pricier side. If you can afford them, I recommend them.

Hope in a Jar Night has a thick consistency, almost paste-like (but much more pleasant). It's pleasant to massage into the skin, because it really feels like it's getting in to my pores. Despite it being a night cream, this does not sit on my skin. It really absorbs quickly and my skin feels soft and supple shortly after applying it.

My skin feels the same way in the morning, soft and supple. The product is still there and I can feel it come off when I wash my face. I notice a definite change in my skin after using this product for a few nights. It's smoother and more even-toned. I don't feel like I need to exfoliate as much. It has brought forward a few small pimples, which can be expected to happen with anything that renews the skin such as this type of moisturizer. 

It should be noted (and the packaging does) that this is a night cream only. The ingredients make skin more sensitive to sun damage and so, this should not be worn as a day cream. Everyone should wear a sunscreen during the day but especially if you're using this cream or any resurfacing, retexturizing cream.

I have no complaints about this product. It does what it claims to - gives you smoother, softer, renewed skin. It's not heavy, overly fragranced or greasy.

Grade: A

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

MAC Tropical Taboo: Mineralize Skinfinish Review, Swatches and Photos

Undoubtedly the most anticipated products of a MAC Mineralize collection are the Mineralize Skinfinishes, and this summer's collection Tropical Taboo is no exception. Featured in Tropical Taboo are three new limited edition Skinfinishes: Adored, Lust and Rio ($35.00 CA/$30.00 US). All photos taken in natural light, swatches on NC 40/42 skin.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish: Adored, Lust and Rio

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Adored

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lust

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Rio

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish: Adored, Lust and Rio

Adored - described by MAC as "coral with a light beige pearl." Once mixed Adored turns into a champagne beige shimmer with a hint of peach/pink. On most skin tones it would work best as a neutral highlighter, as it's pigment is on the light end and it's colour is essentially close to that of skin. On darker complexions it will obviously look cooler and more dramatic. It's texture is very finely milled and a little powdery so it tends to blend out very easily.

Grade: B+

Lust - the description of Lust as a "pale pink with cranberry pearl" is somewhat misleading as I would peg Lust as a light-medium pink with pink pearl. Unlike Adored or Rio, Lust has an added pearl or fleck, which gives it's finish a slightly glittery/metallic look. It's texture is a little bit grittier than Adored or Rio due to this added pearl. Out of the three this one was the most pigmented on my skin, so on  light skin tones I could see this working as a blush. On medium and dark skin tone sit would be a slightly more dramatic/metallic highlighter.

Grade: B

Rio - a "bronze with a bright pink pearl" is more like a beige-coral on my skin tone. My favorite out of the three, it has a finely milled, powdery texture and a warm tone that I would imagine would be flattering to both warm and cool complexions. Pigmentation is on the light side, so this would again be best as more of a highlighter than a blush. On really fair complexions this would make a great companion to soften or blend out bronzer.

Grade: A-

I was very pleased to see MAC producing a refined group of MSF's. In the past this product has been extremely frosty/glittery which is fine for more dramatic looks but much too obvious for a "natural sheen" effect. I would like to see MAC continue to move towards this trend of finely milled highlighters...maybe they could end up somewhere in the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders end of the spectrum?


Monday, July 1, 2013

Deborah Lippmann The Stripper To Go Nail Lacquer Remover Finger Mitts Review

The Deborah Lippman Stripper To Go Nail Lacquer Remover Finger Mitts (deep breath) are convenient little sealed fingertip mitts that you can use when travelling or whenever you need to quickly remove your polish.

The fingertip mitts are individually packaged and saturated with Deborah Lippman's award-winning lavender lacquer remover. It contains aloe vera to help prevent dehydration and lavender for fragrance and anti-bacterial properties. One mitt cleans all ten nails.

6 for $12.00 at Nail Polish Canada.


The first thing I noticed when I opened the package was the absence of nose hair burning scent. On the contrary to most nail polish removers, this product has a lavender scent which though strong, is much more preferable to the majority of polish removers out there. I was skeptical that one little mitt would clean all 10 fingers, but I used one mitt to clean off a dark polish (plus base + top coat) and it worked quite nicely. I did find that for that final wipe to remove any last traces of polish it was better to just use the mitt as you would a cotton pad as the inside of the mitt gets saturated with polish fairly quickly. The mitt stays wet with remover for quite a long time because it is very saturated - so you don't have to worry about working super fast.

These would be a great product for travelling, but as Catherine mentions below, they work out to be quite expensive on a per use basis. Like any polish junkie, I like to change my nails once a week and I could never afford to use these year round! I have given them a grade to reflect their effectiveness, not their relative expensiveness.

Grade: A


These are the second nail lacquer remover finger mitts/pads that I've tried (the first came in my June Glymm box). They're a clever idea, especially for travel purposes. They cost $12 CDN for 6 mitts and each mitt claims to clean all ten nails so that works out to $2 per nail polish removal. Pretty pricey if you remove nail polish weekly like I do. Just like with the La Fresh finger mitts I tried, the scent of these is refreshing compared to the cheap drugstore polish remover I typically use. These have a distinctive lavender scent although there's still a strong chemical scent underneath. The feel of the Deborah Lippmann polish remover is different too; it's soft and moisturizing rather than drying. I found the mitts well-moistened and effective for removing even thick, multi-layered polish like butter LONDON's Gobsmacked

Grade: A