Thursday, February 27, 2014

L'Oreal Paris Magic Nude Liquid Powder Bare Skin Perfecting Makeup Review, Swatches and Photos

L'Oreal Paris Magic Nude Liquid Powder Bare Skin Perfecting Makeup (phew!) is a liquid foundation that dries to a power-like finish. It's incredibly light and is meant to give a natural, bare skin appearance. 

Oddly, the European and US versions of this foundation have an SPF of 18 but the bottle I picked up has none. The active sunscreen ingredient in the US version, Octinoxate, is not listed in the ingredients on my bottle. There's no SPF mention on the label either, which is disappointing. Canadians need sunscreen just as much as Americans and Europeans, don't we? The sun shines here too.

The foundation comes in a rectangular glass bottle with a screw-off lid. You get 0.91 fl. oz. which is less than most foundations, which come in 1.0 fl. oz. It costs $18.99 CDN, which is more expensive than most other drugstore brand foundations, so that you get less for a higher price is a disappointment. 

The formula of the Magic Nude foundation is nearly identical to that of Giorgio Armani's Maestro Foundation, which is much more expensive ($75 CDN). It's also very similar to Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation ($64 CDN), also much more expensive. You can see my review of the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation here

The shade I selected (312 Classic Ivory) was the second lightest shade available at the drugstore I bought it at. There are 12 shades available though, which is an impressive selection, especially for a drugstore brand. 

The consistency of Magic Nude is very thin and very fluid. As in, more so than any other foundation I have tried. You have to be careful when opening it because it's so thin and liquid because it moves very quickly. In the photo below, I pressed the bottle into the back of my hand and inverted it. I had to keep my hand flat and steady to keep it in place.

L'Oreal Paris Magic Nude Liquid Powder Bare Skin Perfecting Makeup in Classic Ivory on NW15 skintone.
The instructions are to shake the foundation well, and invert the bottle with your finger over it. Use the product on your fingertip and blend into your skin, using your fingers, and not a brush or a sponge. 

L'Oreal Paris Magic Nude Liquid Powder Bare Skin Perfecting Makeup in Classic Ivory on NW15 skintone.
I tried applying it both ways and I definitely got a better finish with my fingers than when I used a brush. It actually took longer with a brush, as I had to buff it and buff it to get an even finish. With my fingers it just smoothed right into and over my skin.

There isn't much scent to the Magic Nude at all, and a little goes a long way since it's so very thin. The finish once it has set on my skin has a texture very similar to powder in both feel and in appearance. While it looks powdery, it doesn't read flat. The natural glow of my skin comes through.

I typically prefer a dewier finish to my foundation, and while Magic Nude is very thin and natural-looking, I don't like the way it clings to the fine hair on my face (visible on the lower half of my cheek, close to my jawline). I didn't however need to powder it except along my T-zone. 

I found that the wear time of this is pretty average. I need to blot and powder typically by midday when I wear my usual BB cream, and it was the same for Magic Nude. As the day went on, the pink and oiliness of my T-zone increasingly came through as it typically does, though on my cheeks where my skin is less prone to oiliness, the powdery texture maintained. 

This is a great foundation for it's price and it's quality. If you like a slightly matte, but natural finish, this is a great option. Magic Nude is available where L'Oreal products are sold, though depending on your skintone, the range of shades may be limiting. 

I wish it contained an SPF as the American and European versions do. That any foundations/BB creams are sold without SPF today is seriously disappointing. That's why, despite its good qualities (cost, texture), I'm giving it a C grade. It also loses points for being a smaller size for a higher price. 

Grade: C+

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

NARS Final Cut Collection: Decanso Satin Lip Pencil Review, Swatches and Photos

The last of my NARS Final Cut haul is Decanso Satin Lip Pencil (LE, $30.00 CA/$25.00 US.) All photos in natural light on NC 35 skin.

NARS Final Cut Satin Lip Pencil in Decanso

Decanso - Described as NARS as "tea rose", Decanso is a beautiful warm peachy rose with beige undertones. The formula is opaque, naturally glossy, smooth and weightless on the lips. The crayon shaped bullet allows you to easily line and fill in lips. Decanso is a perfect warm nude shade for anyone with yellow undertones, and on cool toned skin Decanso will pull more pink. For people with medium (or darker) skin tones, Decanso is a great choice for a "nude lip" look as it has enough depth of tone not to make the wearer look washed out.

Grade: A


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Colour Story: Chartreuse for Spring 2014

Is it spring yet where you are dear reader?

Where I live I predict we still have a solid month of winter left and I'm officially sick of having to wear hiking boots and two layers of socks all the time.

Recently in a bid to brighten my outlook on life/delude myself into thinking spring is imminent, I procured a new handbag. Although I have never mentioned it on the blog before I am a fairly serious bag aficionado! As an artist who always gets dirty at work, I often resort to black or grey clothes which won't get ruined by ink, paint or charcoal stains. And because my day-to-day wardrobe is monochromatic black, I always love to add some "pop" to my look with a brightly coloured bag.

My newest bag is the Coach Minetta in Acid Green. I had to convince myself with the help of a good friend that buying a chartreuse handbag wasn't a frivolous purchase destined to be outdated in a year...Well let's be honest, it was completely a frivolous purchase because I need a new handbag like I need a hole in the head. However, I feel confident with my colour choice because my accessories are where I "branch out" stylistically - the more statement making the accessory the better in my opinion. Plus, my good friend bought the same bag in chestnut and I couldn't very well have the exact same bag as her!

 Coach Minetta bag in Acid Green

Anyways, the bold colour of the bag made me think of examples of chartreuse in makeup. Despite the fact that Pantone has named Radiant Orchid as the Colour of the Year for 2014, chartreuse is holding it's own this season.

Clockwise from left: MAC Pigment in Chartreuse Bouquet, Butter London Nail Lacquer in Dosh,
 and Max Factor X Wild Shadow Pencil #10.

Max Factor X Wild Shadow Pencil # 10 was purchased at Boots Pharmacy (LE, £4.99) when I was in London this summer. This gel shadow pencil doubles as a liner and has a smooth, creamy texture whichsetsafter a minute. It has good pigmentation and a touch of grey in the golden green shade gives it a softer, subtler look. Very pretty. 

Grade: B+

MAC Pigment in Chartreuse Bouquet reviewed here is a bright, medium chartreuse frost with gold micro glitter and great colour payoff wet or dry. Chartreuse Bouquet is still available online or at your local counter.

Grade: A

Max Factor X Wild Shadow Pencil #10 and  MAC Pigment in Chartreuse Bouquet (dry/wet)

Butter London Nail Lacquer in Dosh (LE, $17.00 CA) was originally released in 2011, but is still available at Nail Polish Canada. Aptly described by BL as “a molten apple green shot 
through with metallic gold", Dosh is a very unique medium chartreuse polish loaded with silver and gold shimmer. It applies fairly sheer, so three coats are needed for full opacity. I found it also dried down about two tones darker than it appears in the bottle.
Grade: B+

Butter London Dosh

Are you liking chartreuse for spring?


Monday, February 24, 2014

Benefit Cosmetics Big Spender False Eyelashes Review and Photos

How excited was I to discover that Benefit Cosmetics has false eyelashes???

I picked up a set of the Big Spender lashes but there are five others to choose from - Debutante, Angel, Starlet, Prima Donna, and Pin-Up. I liked the doe-eyed look of the Big Spender lashes and thought they were unique looking. I was curious to see what they'd look like on. They cost me $18.99 CDN.

The packaging is really cool, isn't it? It's a solid clear plastic package and the lashes slide out on a separate piece. A photo of woman's closed eyes sit beneath to show off the lashes. 

The Big Spender lashes have thick, sturdy black bands and are full, shiny and natural-looking. They are angled down and towards the outer corner of the eyes.

No lash glue is included but Benefit does sell lash glue separately. I haven't tried it as I always have a tube of Duo lash glue on hand. 

To be honest, I don't love these lashes. They are stiff and take some working in before applying, and even then, the edges don't want to stay down. Once on, they're not particularly flattering since they're angled down, they push my natural lashes down so that open-eyed look curling my lashes gives is cancelled out. 

Boo hiss! False lashes are supposed to enhance your eyes. The black band adds some drama to my upper lash line, but my lashes (and the false ones) aren't really visible because of the angle. 

I think they look great in the package, so with my eyes closed - ta da! But open - meh. I'm curious about the other Benefit lashes, but I'm guessing the bands on them are the same as on Big Spender.

If you're looking for some false eyelashes, I recommend veering away from Benefit's. They're difficult enough to apply without having to fit with a stiff band and you want lashes that enhance your eyes and your eye look, not take away from it.

Grade: D

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - February 23, 2014

Hello lovelies!
Can you believe it's the last Sunday of February already? I can't. 2014 is whizzing by, so far.

We're excited to share our round-up with you this week, so let's dive in!

  • If there's a 60s makeup tutorial floating around out there and we spot it, you know it's getting shared with our B2 readers! ESPECIALLY if it's a Pixiwoo tutorial. Sam shows how to create an Edie Sedgwick look. Edie was a 60s It Girl and muse to Andy Warhol and this is a lot of look but it's so great. 
  • Winter is tough, tough, tough on the skin. The New York Times wants to help and recommends an eye serum, exfoliator and illuminating powder to help your skin look glowy and bright.
  • Products for battling undereye puffiness and tricks for reducing the appearance of undereye shadows.
  • Bad hair day fixes from Fashion Magazine's Beauty Panel for when you oversleep, used too much product or it's just not working for you. At all. We've all been there. 
  • A universally flattering eyeshadow shade? How intriguing... Click through to find out what this magical colour is.
  • Pink lipstick, and we're not talking MLBB (My Lips But Better) pink lipstick, but bright and bubbly pink. These'll get you thinking and feeling spring...
  • Speaking of spring, British Beauty Blogger has a look at Bobbi Brown's Nectar & Nude collection (launching in March). It's got coral and nude lipglosses, nail polish, cream blush and eyeshadows. Can't beat a soft nude palette accented with a bright pop of coral, really. Perfect for spring!
  • The Muse has a review of the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge from the Nectar & Nude collection. It's called Hibiscus, which is one of those colour names that's totally irresistible in the beauty world. 
  • Karen of the Makeup and Beauty Blog has photos and swatches of the new NARS Matte Multiple Collection. Speaking of NARS, did you see the B2 reviews of the new NARS matte blushes from the last week? 
  • Kevyn Aucoin was a master, and a celebrity makeup artist almost before that was something to be. His books, Making Faces and Face Forward are classics. Who better to learn how to do a smoky eye from? Kevyn Aucoin's smoky eye tutorials.
  • Actress Lea Seydoux wore a beautifully sophisticated and sexy blue smoky eye at last weekend's BAFTAs. Here's how to recreate it. 
  • 20 of the most gorgeous red lips of the last 20 years, according to InStyle magazine. 
  • Contouring your face can be tricky, very tricky. Here's a great tip on how to make the process easier. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

NARS Final Cut Collection: New Attitude Blush Review and Swatches

Last in my NARS Final Cut collection blush review I have New Attitude (LE, $33.00 CA). NARS Final Cut collection is exclusive to Holt Renfrew (in Canada) and Nordstrom (in the US.) Photos and swatches in natural light on NC 35 skin.

NARS Final Cut blush in New Attitude

New Attitude - Is described as a "cherry blossom pink". It's a bright light-medium pink that leans blue. It has a matte finish and good pigmentation and a powdery, but smooth and blendable texture. It's another good colour that you could use just as a pop of colour on the apples of the cheeks or build up for a serious flush. This might be my favourite colour of the four as I find blue pinks brighten up any complexion!

Grade: A


Links to reviews of the other NARS Final Cut blushes:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

NARS Final Cut Collection: Final Cut Blush Review and Swatches

Continuing with my NARS Final Cut collection blush review I have Final Cut for you today (LE, $33.00 CA). NARS Final Cut collection is exclusive to Holt Renfrew (in Canada) and Nordstrom (in the US.) Photos and swatches in natural light on NC 35 skin.

NARS Final Cut Blush in Final Cut

Final Cut - Is described by NARS as a "peach coral". Final Cut is a medium toned coral that leans on the orange side. It has a matte finish and like it's sister blushes, good pigmentation and a smooth, powdery texture. Final Cut pulls more orange on my yellow toned skin, but not in an overly yellow way. It has an underlying beige base which keeps it from being too orange.

Grade: A


Links to reviews of the other NARS Final Cut blushes:

NARS Final Cut Collection: Love Blush Review and Swatches

NARS Final Cut Collection Blushes

NARS Final Cut collection, exclusive to Holt Renfrew (in Canada) and Nordstrom (in the US) is blowing my mind. This LE spring collection is centered around a gorgeous quartet of pink toned blushes, and who doesn't love NARS blush?

The next blush I have for review is Love (LE, $33.00 CA). Photos and swatches in natural light on NC 35 skin.

NARS Final Cut Blush in Love

Love - Is described by NARS as "tea rose." Love is a muted, warm beige rose with excellent pigmentation. Love is a matte blush with a silky texture that can be layered and blended easily. Because Love has beige undertones, I also see this blush working with many different lip colours making it a versatile choice. This is a great, universally flattering shade that could be used subtly, or built up for more drama. 

Grade: A


Links to reviews of the other NARS Final Cut blushes:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

MAC A Fantasy of Flowers Fluidlines: Sassy Moss and Phlox Garden Review and Swatches

It's always a big event for MAC aficionados when the brand releases new shades of Fluidlines. The latest MAC collection, A Fantasy of Flowers has two new LE shades of Fluidline: Sassy Moss and Phlox Garden ($19.00 CA/$16.00 US.) All photos taken in natural light on NC 35 skin.

MAC Fluidline Sassy Moss

MAC Fluidline Phlox Garden

Sassy Moss and Phlox Garden

Sassy Moss - Described by MAC as "vivid green", Sassy Moss is a bright mid-tone emerald with fine gold shimmer. The shade has excellent pigmentation and is opaque is one pass. True to the Fluidline formula it is creamy, smooth and long wearing. A great bright shade for spring!

Phlox Garden - MAC describes this shade as "vivid violet", but I would describe it as a fuchsia based plum. Phlox Garden has good but not excellent pigmentation and tends to be a little translucent on application. I found I needed two passes to get opaque colour. The consistency is creamy and the formula long wearing, however I did find this shade wore away a little faster than most other Fluidlines. I think because the formula is a bit sheer it tends to look patchy faster.

I think MAC did a great job on both of these shades, it's so nice to see more creative colours in the Fluidline range. Although Sassy Moss has the best payoff of the two, my favourite has to be Phlox Garden as red or pink based plums really bring out the hazel tones in my eyes.

Grade: Sassy Moss, A
              Phlox Garden, B+ 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

NARS Final Cut Collection: Sex Fantasy Blush Review and Swatches

NARS Final Cut Collection Blushes

NARS Final Cut collection, exclusive to Holt Renfrew (in Canada) and Nordstrom (in the US) is blowing my mind. This LE spring collection is centered around a gorgeous quartet of pink toned blushes, and who doesn't love NARS blush?

The first blush I have for review is the saucily named Sex Fantasy (LE, $33.00 CA). Photos and swatches in natural light on NC 35 skin.

NARS Final Cut Blush in Sex Fantasy

Sex Fantasy - Described by NARS as a "pale lavender pink", Sex Fantasy is a light, cool toned matte pink with a hint of grey. The lightest of the four blushes, Sex Fantasy has a surprising amount of pigment for a shade so light. Though Sex Fantasy will work best as a blush on pale skin tones, it can be built up in layers on medium skin tones for a pretty, albeit subtle flush. Most medium to dark skin tones can use this shade as a matte highlighter. This is a great blush to pair with strong lip colours as it will give a subtle glow without competing with any lipstick.

Grade: B+


Links to reviews of the other NARS Final Cut blushes:

Monday, February 17, 2014

NARS Final Cut Collection Blush Preview Photos and Swatches

I'm hard at work reviewing the new NARS Final Cut collection blushes, but in the meantime, enjoy these preliminary photos and swatches! All photos in natural light, swatches on NC 35 skin.

NARS Final Cut Blushes (clockwise from top left): Sex Fantasy, 
New Attitude, Love and Final Cut

NARS Final Cut Blushes: Sex Fantasy, Love, Final Cut and New Attitude

How gorgeous are they? Tune in tomorrow for full reviews and more swatches!


MAC A Fantasy of Flowers Pigments: Lily-White and Chartreuse Bouquet Review and Swatches

I have still have quite a few pieces from MAC`s Floral Fantasy to share with you! Today I`m reviewing the two LE pigments Lily-White (repromote) and Chartreuse Bouquet ($25.00 CA/$21.00 US.) All photos taken in natural light on NC 35 skin.

MAC Fantasy of Flowers Pigments: Lily-White and Chartreuse Bouquet

Lily-White (dry/wet) and Chartreuse Bouquet (dry/wet)

Lily-White - This launches version of Lily-White is a pale, shimmery yellow with a smooth frost finish. It looks more saturated in the pot, but does apply to the skin with a slightly warm overtone. It's a nice highlighter colour for eyes, but I can also see it working on the high cheekbones or dusted on top of a matte blusher. It reminds me of MAC Nylon eye shadow but with a softer and less aggressively frosty finish. Applied dry it's sheer and opaque when applied wet. Suitable for all skin tones but as a colour not very original.

Chartreuse Bouquet - Is a bright medium yellow-green soft frost with a sprinkling of gold micro glitter. Applied dry the pigment is vibrant but slightly sheer and the micro glitter is not obvious. Applied wet the colour becomes opaque, gloriously bright and the micro glitter sparkles nicely. I think it's one of the better versions of chartreuse I've seen in a powder product.

Grades: Lily-White, B+
                Chartreuse Bouquet, A

As mentioned previously, Lily-White is a repromoted shade, although as any hard-core MAC user will already know this launches version differs greatly to the original Lily-White pigment. I own a mini vial of a previous release of Lily-White (from the Holiday 2007 Warm Pigment set) and offer this comparison.

Fantasy of Flowers Lily-White and Lily-White from Holiday 2007

Lily-White Holiday 2007 (dry/wet) and Lily-White Fantasy of Flowers 2014 (dry/wet)

You can see from the product shot that the two shades are totally dissimilar. Lily-White 2014 has a yellow tone and Lily-White 2007 a pink tone. This difference is as noticeable on the skin as in the packaging, with Lily-White 2007 casting a pinky-grey, almost mauve tone on my skin. Closer inspection also reveals that the textures of the two pigments are not the same either. Lily-White 2014 has a finely milled frost finish while Lily-White 2007 has an almost chunky/flaky frost finish which does not adhere as easily to the skin.

So which is better? I think the answer to that question really depends on what type of colour you want. Lily-White 2014 is definitely smoother in texture and more natural in tone, but Lily-White 2007 is a higher impact frost that will add more drama. In the end I don't think they are comparable because they are completely different colours, so buy or do not buy based on what you want. I know many bloggers have criticized MAC for the large oversight and I would agree that MAC should have come up with a new name for Lily-White 2014 as it is a new and completely different shade.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - February 16, 2014

Happy Sunday! The Beauty Squared gals have been awfully busy lately and that's why there have been so few posts. We're working on a few posts though and hope to get back to a regular blogging pace very soon!

But we always have a Round-Up for you and here's this week's...let's go!

  • Super-pretty muted mauve-y looks from the Diane von Furstenberg Fall/Winter 2014 runway show.
  • Fashion shows are a huge source of inspiration for beauty looks - the crazy and the not-so-crazy. Check out this eye look inspired by 60s drag racing just tweeted by @MACcosmetics.
  • Radiant Orchid is Pantone's Colour of 2013. Here's a monochromatic orchid lip-blush look using an OCC Lip Tar as both lip colour and cheek colour.
  • Cuticle tattoos from Ciaté.
  • Do you use blotting papers? Save yourself some money! Here's a cheap (or free) DIY version.
  • Confused about using the techniques of contouring and highlighting to enhance your facial features? (Me too, admittedly.) Fashion Magazine's Beauty Panel offer up their tips, techniques and products.
  • Organizing your beauty products is a common dilemma amongst beauty bloggers, makeup artists, product junkies and really, anyone who wears makeup. New Beauty Magazine takes a look at some storage ideas (for purchase).
  • Are you ready for spring yet? Here's a look at Guerlain's spring 2014 pretty beauty collection. Pretty floral lips and cheeks.
  • Former model and activist, Sara Ziff spoke to Salon Magazine about the ugly side of the fashion industry, including eating disorders, sexual coercion, and homogenous beauty ideals.
  • We see stock photography everywhere, even when we don't realize we're looking at it. It is among the many things unconsciously shaping our world and internal views. Getty Images, one of the world's largest source for stock photography, is working to change the visual perception of women in stock photography with their "Lean In Collection", photos showing female leadership in contemporary life. Buzzfeed has some of the photos here.
  • Australian nurse, mother of four and cancer survivor, Beth Whaanga had photos taken showing her body post-surgeries and posted them on Facebook to try to promote awareness of the physical changes that can signal that something is wrong. The photos are honest, and startling, since our culture rarely shows us women's bodies in their reality. Warning: photos in this link show partial nudity, so click through with caution.