Monday, March 31, 2014

Tarte SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners in Rose Gold and Taupe Review, Photos and Swatches

I'd never tried Tarte makeup before so when Jill had an extra Tarte Stop & Stare SmolderEYES Liner and Lash gift set, I happily took it off her hands. The Stop & Stare SmolderEYES Liner and Lash gift set contains three Skinny SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners, two SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners, and a sample size of their Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara. Since the gift set was a limited edition set for the 2013 holiday season, I opted to review the items in it separately.

In this post I'll take a look at the two SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners - Rose Gold and Taupe. These are larger version of the Skinny SmolderEYES Liners (see my review of Onyx, Purple Garnet and Azurite here) and they come with a built-in sponge tip for smudging. 

Here's what the Tarte website has to say about the SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners: 

A versatile waterproof liner powered by Amazonian clay for soft or smoldering eyes.

Create smoldering, sexy eyes that won't budge with these waterproof liners. With this one liner, you can go from simple to sultry in an instant. Create a defined line by gliding along the upper and lower lash line or use the built-in smudger to soften. For a sultry, smoky eye, use the liner as a shadow by applying a thicker line along upper lashes and blending toward the crease. 

Both Rose Gold and Taupe are limited edition. SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners are 0.056 oz and cost $22.00 US. 

First let's take a look at Rose Gold. Rose Gold is a very hot colour in the makeup world right now. It's a very flattering, pretty shade of pink-gold and can be found in a varying range of shades. This one is almost bronzey with it's warm red-brown metallic sheen. It goes on incredibly smoothly and softly and sets fairly quickly so be quick with your blending. It's easily blended with fingers, the built-in sponge tip smudger or a brush. It can be used as a base for powder eyeshadow or worn on it's own for a soft, shimmery effect, regardless of your skin tone. 

This is the Taupe SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner and just like the Rose Gold one, it glides onto the skin with incredible ease. It's not as metallic as Rose Gold and is a grayish brown that reads slightly purple. It's incredible soft and smudgeable, but you have to work quickly because once it sets it's not going anywhere without makeup remover or a cleansing oil. You don't have to wear a primer, even if your eyelids are oily with both of these - that's how waterproof they are.

They also both wear beautifully all day, without fading or creasing. Since the pencils are so soft, you will need to sharpen them more than other pencils to keep that rounded point. 

Stunning, shimmery, easy-to-wear shades in a beautiful, soft formula that lasts all day. Despite the fact that these two shades may not be available, I highly recommend checking out the SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners.

Grade: A+


Reviews for the other pieces in the Tarte Stop & Stare SmolderEYES Liner and Lash Set are:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up for March 30, 2014

Good morning lovelies and a happy Sunday to you! We hope it is sunny wherever you are.

  • Tracey from Beauty Reflections reviews the new Gosh Cosmetics Forever Eyes Shadow Sticks - creamy, shimmery eyeshadow in stick form!
  • Do you have green eyes? Here's an Emma Stone makeup tip that will help enhance them - aubergine eyeliner.
  • Rae from The Notice has a review of the iconic Revlon Icy Violet lipstick - originally launched in 1946.
  • Blush! There's no better way to bring light, colour and a youthful glow to your skin. Here are some picks for the best shades for your skin tone.
  • A great round-up of foundations for fair skin - as in, for skin fairer than "Siberia".
  • Fashion Magazine's Beauty Panel steps up to the $25 makeup challenge - create a look using products that in total are less than $25. Not as easy as it might sound!
  • Video tutorials!
    • MUA Charlotte Tilbury shows how to get bigger, brighter eyes. (Note: you don't need to use the specific products she uses.)
    • Pixi Beauty founder Petra Strand shows us how to do makeup for over-40 faces. (Note: there are no rules, and this isn't how you necessarily should do your makeup if you're over-40. This isn't necessarily how you shouldn't do your makeup if you're 30 or 60 either.)
    • Nic of Pixiwoo does a Victoria Beckham smoky eye tutorial.
  • Pompadour hair inspiration!
  • How to achieve a deep side-part, GIF-style.
  • Check out these amazing pin-up girl style photos featuring very sexy septuagenarians! These ladies are gorgeous and inspiring! (NSFW)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tarte Skinny SmolderEYES Liners in Onyx, Purple Garnet and Azurite Green Review and Swatches

I'd never tried Tarte makeup before, so when Jill had an extra Tarte Stop & Stare SmolderEYES Liner and Lash gift set, I happily took it off her hands. The Stop & Stare SmolderEYES Liner and Lash gift set contains three Skinny SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners, two SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners, and a sample size of their Deluxe, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara. Since the gift set was a limited edition set for the 2013 holiday season, I've opted to review the items in it separately. 

This post looks at the three Skinny SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners - Onyx, Purple Garnet and Azurite Green. Of the three, only Onyx isn't a limited edition shade.

What Tarte says about it's Skinny SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners:

Create smoldering & sultry eyes or doe eyed & awakened eyes in your color of choice. Tarte offers a wide range of gorgeous Amazonian clay-infused shades to choose. Simply glide along the upper and lower lash line for smooth rich color definition. 

They retail for $25 USD each and are 0.04 oz.

Tarte Skinny SmolderEYES Liner in Onyx
All three of the SmolderEYES Liners are very soft, and apply beautifully, though if you're not careful, it's easy to apply too much since the product is so soft. Go easy with the pressure and build as needed with these. But because they're so soft, there's less tugging of the delicate skin of the eye area than with other pencil liners. 

Onyx is black. Very, very black. One of the blackest eyeliners I've encountered yet. It's fantastic for that perfect smoky liner look. It sets quickly, and lasts, even in the waterline. Even in MY waterline which doesn't take and keep liner well.

Tarte Skinny SmolderEYES Liner in Purple Garnet
Purple Garnet is a very pretty reddish-purple shade with a lot of sheen. Depending on the angle and lighting, it can look like an auburn or a warm purple. This shade would look great with brown, blue, green and hazel eyes. It's also quite soft and depending on what look you're aiming for, it can be smudged to be less metallic, or left solid for more drama. It's difficult to see in the swatches below, but Purple Garnet has some glitter in it.

Tarte SmolderEYES Liner in Azurite
Azurite Green is a beautiful emerald green shade, with less shimmer than Purple Garnet but still plenty of oomph. It has the same soft, creamy consistency as the other two and goes on and wears beautifully. 

I've included two photos showing the swatches at different angles. Both photos are taken with flash. The first photo shows the sparkle of Purple Garnet and the second photo shows the depth of colour of all three swatches.
Swatched Top to Bottom: Onyx, Purple Garnet and Azurite Green

Swatched Top to Bottom: Onyx, Purple Garnet and Azurite Green

If these three liners are any indication, Tarte's SmolderEYES Liners are excellent in both quality and performance. Of the three I've reviewed here, only Onyx is permanent. Check out the other colours available at Sephora or online at

One note is that due to the softness of the Skinny SmolderEYES Liners, they require frequent sharpening and you may go through them quickly if you wear them frequently. More quickly than other eyeliner pencils that aren't so soft.

Grade: A

To see a review of Tarte's Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara, click here

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - March 23, 2014

Hello readers! We hope that you're enjoying your weekends. Spring is definitely in the air!

  • Beauty picks from the always-radiant Cate Blanchett and some cheaper but just-as-effective versions. 
  • The Muse shares some of her picks for spring, from Laura Mercier, Bath and Body Works, Clinique and Etude House. 
  • If you like electric-pastel nail colours, take a look at OCC's Plastic Passion Nail Lacquers.
  • Do you struggle to keep your brows looking their best? Anastasia Beverly Hills may have something you need. Click through to learn more.
  • Check out this kinda-genius Etsy idea: a makeup/docking station. You can use it for watching YouTube tutorials while putting on makeup. 
  • The seven most common makeup blunders and how to prevent/fix them. 
  • Makeup can make us look older, especially if we have dry skin or aging skin. Here are some makeup tips for looking younger.
  • Dry skin? Winter-dehydrated skin? Here are some heavy-duty moisturizers for you.
  • Runway inspiration for spring's pink lips, from nude and natural to bubblegum to bold and bright.
  • An earlier Beauty Squared post looked at Illamasqua's Sculpting Powder Duo - for contouring and highlighting. You can read it here. But here is why so many find contouring and highlighting so fascinating and/or so tricky to master. Do not use these celebrities as inspiration if you're looking into trying contouring and highlighting. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Illamasqua Sculpting Powder Duo Review, Photos and Swatches

Contouring is one of those makeup steps that can be rather intimidating. Or at least I've always thought so. You need to use a colour that's strong enough to make a difference, but you have to make sure to blend it down a lot, so it's just a hint of a shadow. Contouring also always felt like an extra-special step, like putting on false eyelashes. Bronzers are typically used as a contour colour and being fair-skinned and liking the pale look, I've never really used a bronzer. It's also tough to find one that's not orange which would be disastrous on me. 

So when I kept reading about Illamasqua's Sculpting Powder Duo, I was intrigued. I had to buy it. 

It's a compact that contains a contour colour (Heliopolis) and a highlight shade (Lumos) and a mirror so you can carry it with you in your handbag. The contour shade is a neutral brown and quite light, so it works well on lighter skin tones. The Sculpting Powder Duo only comes in one shade combination, and while Heliopolis could be layered for depth, this would work best only on lighter skin tones. Lumos is a champagne shade with a good amount of shimmer so it makes for an excellent highlighter, though again, for skintones on the lighter end of the spectrum.

The Illasmasqua Sculpting Powder Duo is priced at $36 CDN and is available at Bay stores in Canada and online. It can also be ordered online at

Some packaging photos:

The compact itself is Illamasqua's signature packaging, a stylized square black shape with curved edges. It's sexy packaging. The shiny surface will get grimy with fingerprints and product pretty quickly (if you care about that sort of thing). 

I should note that this compact is somewhat frustrating to open. The lip that you have to get your finger into and push upwards to open it is a bit challenging. There's not a lot of room and it's tightly closed. It can take a few tries to get open.

Heliotrope is the bottom shade and Lumos is the top shade. They're pretty close in colour and they're fleshtone shades, so they should blend well into the skin. For daily or special event makeup, you want your contour shades to melt into your skin. It should look like a shadow, not a strong line.

Top: Lumos - shimmering champagne
Bottom: Heliotrope - neutral matte
Heliotrope and Lumos go on very nicely and both are well-pigmented. Lumos is quite powdery and messy when dipping my brush into it which is a bit of a pain. I wish it had more of the consistency of Heliotrope which is almost creamy in texture.

Here they are swatched (NW15-20 skintone).

L-R: Heliotrope, Lumos
I use my Real Techniques Contour Brush to apply Heliotrope just below my cheekbone from my hairline to just where the outside corner of my eye starts if there was a line from it down my cheek. It's OK to apply a few layers and then blend. Heliotrope blends very, very nicely. I couldn't ask for any better and the shade looks very natural on me, which is a relief (many products that are meant for contouring are orangey). You can see in the photos below how softly but distinctly my cheekbones have been defined by Heliotrope. I've also applied a bit of Heliotrope softly down the sides of my nose. And on top of my cheekbones, where the light naturally hits, I've applied Lumos. In the second photo particularly, you can see the glow of it just below my eye. 

Both shades work very well on my skintone. Lumos is easy to play down or up. As I am wearing it in the above photos, I've got a small amount dusted across my cheekbones. It easily can be built up for a more dramatic look. Heliotrope is the same. 

I'll do a blog post in the future about contouring, once I get the hang of doing it on myself. Stay tuned!

Grade: A


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - March 16, 2014

Hello everyone and Happy St. Patrick's Day weekend! Are you hungover? A little overtired? Enjoying your Sunday? Let's have a peek at the links we've gathered for this week's Round-Up before it's over!

  • Simply stunning eye-opening effects can be had by contouring your eyelid crease. Follow these steps illustrated on Violet Grey to achieve it.
  • If you were up late last night, you'll find this list of Beauty411's 10 best concealers helpful.
  • How to get a Lorde-inspired vampy lip look.
  • How's your skin doing right now? If you're experiencing some issues, you're not alone and yes, we can blame the weather. Marie Claire has some ways you may be able to fix it, here.
  • The beauty blogosphere is buzzing over the new NARS Contour Blush.
  • Common eye makeup mistakes and how to fix them.
  • Lip tricks to help make your lip looks that much better.
  • Eye looks inspired by the sea and the sky for a variety of skin tones.
  • MUA Gucci Weston shows us how to wear colour in this Elle Canada video but make sure to listen to Gucci's tips, don't get distracted by the very editorial makeup.
  •  Style and fashion icon Iris Apfel is interviewed by Refinery29. She discusses personal style, her new HSN collection, her favourite NYC restaurants and aging. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tarte Deluxe Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara Review and Swatches

I'd never tried Tarte makeup before, so when Jill had an extra Tarte Stop & Stare SmolderEYES Liner and Lash gift set, I happily took it off her hands. The Stop & Stare SmolderEYES Liner and Lash gift set contains three Skinny SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners, two SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liners, and a sample size of their Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara. Since the gift set was a limited edition set for the 2013 holiday season, I opted to review the items in it separately.

I'll review the Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara in this post. The Tarte website has this to say about it:

A lengthening, curling, volumizing, and conditioning mascara infused with olive esters to condition, treat, and protect lashes. 
Our lights, camera, lashes™ 4-in-1 mascara could be considered a push-up bra for your lashes—a 4-in-1 (lengthening, curling, volumizing, and conditioning) plus it’s dermatologist- and clinically-proven to increase the appearance of lash volume. 
The sample size is 0.16 oz and the full size is 0.24 oz. It costs $19 USD and comes in black.

The brush in the sample size appears to be the same as in the full-size so I think I got a good idea what this mascara is like. 

It's a light mascara and it gives lashes a defined, lengthened but not heavy appearance. See below; I have the Lights, Camera, Flashes on my right eye and bare lashes on my left. I've got two coats on my right eye below, so you can see how light this mascara is. It's perfect for a natural look and especially if you just want some definition and length. 

L-R: Deluxe, Camera, Flashes, bare lashes.

I didn't see much curling impact, though since it's not a thick, heavy mascara, my lashes held onto their curl longer with Lights, Camera, Flashes. I liked the natural definition. One thing I didn't like however, was the difficulty I had in taking it off. I use a cleansing oil which normally works well on waterproof makeup but it takes two applications to get all of the mascara off my skin.

It does go on easily and defines and lengthens well. I didn't see a great deal of thickening on my lashes with this mascara. If you're going to spend $20 on a mascara, and want something not overly dramatic, you can do worse than this one!

Grade B

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lancome Spring 2014 French Ballerine: Blush Highlighter in Rose Ballerine Review, Swatches and Photos

A few weeks ago to celebrate Chinese New Year Lancome had a 15% off code for their online store. Wanting to take advantage of the discount I went online and discovered their new "French Ballerine" inspired spring collection. Naturally I was drawn to their LE Blush Highlighter Rose Ballerine...except when I tried to order it (numerous times) the website either wouldn't let me place it in my basket or when I did mange to get it in my basket it would tell me it was "no longer available".

So I just gave up. I'm tired of online retailers not programming or maintaining their websites correctly (I'm looking at you The Bay online.)

Luckily, I got a second shot at this product at a local Shopper's Drug Mart. Rose Ballerine is a LE Blush Highlighter that is a "universal shade of subtle, soft pink [that] perfectly refreshes and illuminates every complexion." It retails for $52.00 CA, all photos taken in natural light, swatch on NC 35 skin.

The compact is lightweight plastic and has a mirrored top adorned with the brand name and a fuchsia bow. Although I think the compact is reasonably cute and theme appropriate, I wish the compact itself was more streamlined and less bulky. Inside the compact is a pale, yellow-toned warm pink powder deeply embossed with the signature Lancome rose. The powder has no over spray and has a subtle satin sheen.

Lancome Blush Highlighter in Rose Ballerine

The consistency of the powder is fairly firm in the compact, but once the top layer is buffed away, the beautiful, finely milled texture of the powder is revealed. Rose Ballerine is a product similar to MAC's Pearlmatte Face Powders albeit it much more refined, silky and less frosty. Somewhere in between a blush, highlighter and a face powder, Rose Ballerine will function as a subtle blush for pale skins and a brightening powder for medium and dark skin tones. The finely milled powder applies sheer on the skin with a subtle but natural sheen. Medium and dark skin tones can build and layer the product for a light pink wash, but ultimately this is a whisper light product that gives a fresh glow and not a serious flush.

This product is exceptionally pretty layered over other blushes to give the cheekbones greater dimension. As an all over wash for the face it brightens yellow toned skins beautifully. Pale skinned beauties who find it difficult to wear blush will like this one too because of the soft, sheer buildable colour.

Overall this is a nice product, though if you are looking for a straight up blush or highlighter you may want to look elsewhere. I have a few powders similar to this (Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light and Shu Uemura Luring Face Powder in Rose) and I'm always surprised how much more radiant my skin looks with a pink toned powder!

Grade: B+

Monday, March 10, 2014

Kevyn Aucoin's The Swinger FOTD

Kevyn Aucoin (1962 - 2002) was a well-loved celebrity makeup artist. During the 1980s and 1990s, he worked with many of the most talented photographers, the best publications and brands and with some of the biggest names in the industry. At a time when makeup artists stayed mostly behind-the-scenes, Kevyn put a spotlight on himself, and in extension, all make-up artists. 

Kevyn's three makeup books became New York Times bestsellers: The Art of Makeup (1996), Making Faces (1999) and Face Forward (2001). He worked with celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Janet Jackson, Cher, Tori Amos, Cindy Crawford, Winona Ryder, Drew Barrymore, Sophia Loren, Isabella Rossellini, Liza Minelli, Madonna, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez and Barbara Streisand, among others. 

His techniques and his passion for enhancing the beauty in every face were inspiring, and his books stand as both classics and a snapshot of the late 90s/early 00s. He and his books inspired me to wear makeup and to do makeup. 

Here are some photos from photo shoots my mom and friends and I did back in the mid-90s featuring Kevyn-inspired makeup and characters.

It's been a long time since I recreated any of the looks in Kevyn's books, I thought it might be an interesting project for Beauty Squared. This is my first attempt at doing one of Kevyn's looks - from Making Faces

I have one bone of contention about Kevyn's books. Often the instructions do not completely match the photographs. Steps that are on the face in the photo are missing from the accompanying instructions. Shade descriptions in the instructions don't always match what can be seen in the photo. The photoshopping that's been done to the photos can be misleading as well.  For instance, Kevyn often writes "Use light concealer only where needed." It could be that this is exactly what he did for the look, but in the photos, the skin has that photoshopped perfection. In order to successfully recreate the look, you need to use foundation for some of these looks or have access to Photoshop. 

The look featured in this post is Lisa Marie Presley as "The Swinger": 

With her carefully applied eyeliner, precise eyebrows, and light, glossy lips, this Sixties "cool cat" could be seen dancing the Frug or the Pony at the "grooviest" club in town, at a backyard barbecue or serving fondue for a ranch-style house full of guests. Very Mary Tyler Moore à la Laura Petrie. Showing amazing versatility, Lisa Marie Presley made an easy transition from her earlier incarnation as The Bombshell, to this crowd-pleasing party girl. With her hair pulled back in a tight, springy ponytail and wearing a flirtatious smile, her congenial gaze seems to say "Twister, anyone?".

Lisa Marie Presley as The Swinger in Making Faces
The Swinger step-by-step instructions 
To achieve this look, I followed the instructions as exactly as I could, looking to the photo only for eyeshadow and eyebrow placement/shape, and for hair inspiration. 

Steps where what I did varied from Kevyn's instructions:

Instead of light concealer where needed as Kevyn suggests, I applied MAC's Select Cover-Up (NW20) as a foundation, over most of my face. I used MAC Pro Longwear Concealer (NW20) under my eyes. 

Instead of using an eyebrow pencil, I used two eyeshadows (MAC Wedge and MAC Embark) and an angle brush to fill in and thicken my brows. 

Kevyn says to use a "light, neutral brown cream eyeshadow" all over the lid. I do not own a light, neutral brown cream eyeshadow, so I used MAC Satin Taupe, which is a shimmery brown-taupe powder eyeshadow. In the photo of Lisa Marie, there's clearly a dark brown shade used to accentuate her crease, and because that was typical in the 1960s, I used a dark brown eyeshadow (Sleek's Bark from the I-Divine Au Natural palette) on my crease. 

It also appears that Kevyn applied the eyeshadow quite high on Lisa Marie's eyes, much higher than I did. There's no mention in the instructions about a highlighting shade on the eyes, though the photo appears to show one. I opted to use one (MAC Shroom eyeshadow) very lightly on my browbone

The instructions say to use a pale pink powder blush and for the lips: a light flesh-toned lip pencil to define and fill-in the lip area before applying a pale, cool-toned pink lipgloss. In the photo, Lisa Marie is clearly not wearing a pale pink blush and pale, cool-toned pink lipgloss. Her lips appear monochromatic with her eyes, brows, cheeks and hair. She looks great, but it's misleading for the instructions to not match the photo. On me, I used a pale pink blussh (Marc Jacobs Beauty Blush in Obsessed) and a nude peach-toned lip pencil (Smashbox's Smashing Muse) with a cool pink lipgloss (MAC Cremesheen Glass in Partial to Pink) on top. 

Lisa Marie appears to be wearing false lashes on her top lashes (possibly on the bottom as well) in the photo, but Kevyn's instructions do not mention them. He says to apply a thick coat of black mascara to the top and bottom lashes, and that's it. That is what I did. 


Wow my eyebrows look uneven!
I must have had one eyebrow arched for all these photos.

I don't own a turtleneck, so I opted to wear
a chevron-print sweater with a high neck for this look.

Posing with booze - how classy!

What I achieved isn't quite as dramatic as Lisa Marie's look, but it's a flattering, not-overly dramatic look that doesn't scream 1960s, but teases at it. I'd definitely wear this look again. 

List of the products I used:

MAC Select Cover-Up (NW20) - as foundation. 
MAC Pro Longwear Concealer (NW20) - as concealer.
Pari Mineral Glow loose powder - for setting.
MAC Wedge and Embark eyeshadows - for the brows (filling in and thickening).
MAC Blacktrack Fluidline gel eyeliner - for eyeliner (definition and drama).
Sleek I-Divine Au Natural eyeshadow in Bark - for the crease colour (definition).
MAC Satin Taupe eyeshadow - for the lid colour (colour and sheen).
MAC Shroom eyeshadow - for add a highlight to the browbone.
Shu Uemura eyelash curler - for curling the lashes.
L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara in Black - to thicken, lengthen and enhance the lashes.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Shameless Bold Blush in Obsessed - to add a touch of colour to the cheeks.
Smashbox Sheer Lipliner in Smashing Muse - to define and fill in the lip.
MAC Cremesheen Gloss in Partial to Pink - for colour, sheen and gloss on the lips. 

Stay tuned for more Kevyn Aucoin looks and let us know what you think! Do you love Kevyn too? What's your favourite look from his books? Tell us!