Sunday, April 27, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - April 27, 2014

Hello lovelies! Happy Sunday to you. Here are the beauty links we've gathered for you from this week. Read on!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sparkly Eye and Red Lip FOTD

I love a red lip. No, scratch that, I LOVE a red lip. And I'm always looking for an eye look to go with it. It's perfect with a cat eye, I know, and that's how I often wear it but sometimes, I want something softer and lighter. I've never been able to find a tutorial online that fits what I'm looking for. Most of the "soft" eye looks I've found online to pair with a bold lip are A LOT of look. I feel that wearing a lot of makeup can look heavy and age you and sometimes like you're not trying a little too hard.

So I came up with this look - a soft, sparkly eye to pair with a red lip and soft, glowing skin. It's glamorous in a subtle way, simple and elegant and modern. Anyone can wear this look.

I feel that when you wear a red lip, you should play down your eyes and your cheeks. The red lip should be the focus. 

Here's what I did.

First I applied primer to my clean, moisturized skin, under my eyes and onto my eyelids. I let that set and then applied Sleek BB cream mixed with MAC Lustre Drops in Pink Rebel to my skin with my Beauty Blender, starting at the centre of my face and blending out. I applied MAC Pro Longwear Concealer to my undereyes with the pointed end of the Beauty Blender, concentrating on the inner half of my undereye area. I used the same concealer around my nostrils, on the always-red area on my right cheek and on any blemishes and red areas the BB cream hadn't covered. I wanted my skin to be as flawless as possible. To set it, I applied a light layer of loose powder (a mix of Pari Mineral Glow and Ben Nye Neutral Set) with a my MAC 165 brush. I set the concealer under my eyes by pressing the still-damp Beauty Blender into some loose powder and pressing it to my undereye area. Applying the concealer and the powder on top with the Beauty Blender helps to keep it from creasing.

Next I worked on shaping and filling in my brows. I used Make Up For Ever's Aqua Brow in 20 and my Make Up For Ever 274 brush to both comb through and fill in my brows. Since my hair was going to be a little crazy and wild, I wanted my brows to match. So they're not perfect. 

Onto the eyes. I used only three eyeshadows. First I applied MAC Skintone 2 (a muted almost neutral gold) to my entire eyelid with my Merle Norman Eye Shader brush. Next, for a bit of definition, I swept MAC Wedge along my crease, blending it out, reapplying and blending some more. Since I wanted a bit more sparkle, I tapped a bit of MAC Pigment in Gold Mine (metallic champagne) to the very center of my eyelid. I curled my lashes with my Shu Uemera eyelash curler and applied lots and lots of Smashbox Full Exposure mascara to my top lashes. To my bottom lashes, I applied Clinique Lower Lash Mascara. This was for the super-sparkley effect I wanted. And that's it. No eyeliner at all. My eyes are defined, sparkly and soft.

*If your skin is a different shade than mine, you can use a shimmery shades that are very close to your own skintone. I chose light golds because they add shimmer and light to my skin. The crease shade should be slightly darker than your skintone, to add a slight definition.

I wanted to sculpt my face softly, so I applied the Illamasqua Sculpting Powder Duo to my cheeks, sweeping the contour shade (Heliopolis) below my cheekbones and along my jawline. I applied MAC Semi Precious Rose Quartz Mineralize Skinfinish to my cheeks as a shimmery blush and the highlighter shade (Lumos) from the Sculpting Powder Duo to the tops of my cheekbones.

What's left? Oh right! The red lips! Without the red lips, this would be a very pretty, very polished, very soft and glowy make-up look. Maybe a touch too much for day, but for an understated evening look, it'd be perfect. But that's not why we're here. 

My lip colour is OCC Lip Tar in Vintage. It's reading as quite cherry-red here, but it's actually deeper than that. Like red wine. I applied it with the mini lip brush it came with. 

As a final step, I dusted my face with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light.

This is a really easy look to wear. The red lips will need some touching up in front of a mirror, but if you choose a long-lasting formula, like OCC Lip Tar. This would also work with a bright pink lip, a deep purple lip or a rich brown lip. The eyes and cheeks are neutral enough that it would work on both warm and cool skintones and on most skin colours. 

I love how much light this look brings to my face and how my skin, cheekbones, brows and eyes are enhanced but the lips are what stands out. It's such a flattering, sophisticated, youthful look.

Hopefully this helps anyone else like me who's looking for a subtle look to pair with a red lip!


Sunday, April 20, 2014

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer Review and Swatches

Ah, concealer. I am constantly on the hunt for the concealer that'll solve all my problems. It'll not only cover up my dark undereye circles, but it'll get me out of debt, solve world hunger and cure cancer. OK, so maybe not the last three. 

My latest concealer purchase came from my desire for a concealer that wasn't thick in consistency but provided good coverage. My dark circles are there despite how much sleep I get or how much water I drink. If I am dehydrated or lacking sleep, they're deeper and darker. 

I'd most recently been using MAC Studio Finish Concealer mixed with a bit of liquid concealer or moisturizer to thin it but still found that it was still too thick and tended to crease throughout the day.

MAC's Pro Longwear Concealer was recommended to me instead. It offers a high amount of pigmentation but is a liquid formula so it wouldn't be so prone to creasing like a thick, creamy concealer.

This is what the MAC website has to say about the Pro Longwear Concealer: 

A lightweight fluid concealer that provides medium to full coverage with a comfortable, natural, matte finish. Colour-true formula lasts up to 15 hours. Helps conceal and correct the look of under-eye circles, and discolourations. 

9 mL/0.30 US fl oz $23 CDN
It comes in 16 shades - NC15 to NC50 and NW15 to NW50.

It comes in a glass vial that I was warned to avoid dropping since it's prone to breaking easily. It has a pump that dispenses a decent amount of product - enough to use under my eyes and on any redness/blemishes/discolouration on an average day.

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW20
Here is one pump-worth of product on the back of my hand. It's highly pigmented so a little goes a long way. I admit I was a bit skeptical about it being able to offer enough coverage for my dark circles, but after the MAC MUA applied it in-store, I was sold. Suddenly my undereye area was brighter and smoother.

Here's what the product looks like on the skin (the back of my hand). 

One pump.
One pump spread out a little. 

One pump further spread out.

One pump completely spread out. 
Impressive, right? Here's what it looks like under my eyes.

My dark circles are pretty substantial and they're worse when I haven't slept well. They're blue-purple and I can't go without concealer. Thank god for concealer! 

The MAC Pro Longwear Concealer goes on beautifully. I use my Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush to apply it to the lower part of my undereye circles, concentrating on the inner area and blending out to the outer area and up the side of my nose, where there's a bit of blueness. The concealer blends out well and sets quickly. If I need a little more concealer on days I have darker and larger circles, I simply apply a bit more than normal and use my finger to tap it into my skin. I swirl a small amount of loose powder on top to help to set it. The amount of powder I need is much less than with a thicker, creamier concealer.

I will also use a damp sponge to apply it sometimes when I want a perfect application that won't crease (I am getting to the age where fine lines are a consideration). I work it into the skin with a damp sponge and then use the same damp sponge to press loose powder on top to set. This helps it stay smooth longer. 

I love the brightening quality of the Pro Longwear Concealer. It goes a long way to brighten my undereye area. Because of the brightening qualities, I have used it as a subtle highlighter on the tops of my cheekbones and down the centre of my nose. It also works well to conceal any redness in my skin. On days when I want a very natural skin finish, I'll just use this concealer in any areas that need coverage and blend it out. It works very well for that.

Oh, and it LASTS. MAC claims it'll last up to 15 hours and while I haven't worn it for that long in one go, yet, it certainly has lasted, without fading, for 12 hours. It last longer than my BB cream and my gel eyeliner!

I think I've found my new favourite concealer!

Grade: A

Beauty Squared Round-Up - April 20, 2014

Hello lovelies! Another week has swept by in an instant, it seems and it's time again for our weekly Beauty Squared Round-Up. Are you ready?

  • The awesome Tracy Peart, of Toronto's Breakfast Television and Cityline gives her tips for applying bronzer and blush. 
  • Ombré brows. Subtly ombré brows, I mean. Don't be scared. 
  • I need these tips this morning - how to depuff your eyes
  • We all love "holy grail" beauty product lists, right? Here's another one. Make your shopping list! 
  • Gorgeous Arianne of the Glitter Geek beauty blog shows you her favourite contouring products that have cheekbone effects ranging from "I woke up like this" to "Cumberbatch".
  • Smoky purple is having a moment. Wear it on your eyes or nails with these products
  • The 60s mod eye is never out of style. Here's an updated version of it that uses a peachy shade on Cara Delevingne.
  • Smoky eyes never go out of style either. Here are two of Kevyn Aucoin's classic techniques that break down the steps for you. 
  • There are lots of work-appropriate makeup looks, and night-out makeup looks and every-possible-event-you-can-think-of looks but are there any sex-proof makeup looks? I haven't come across one until now. Thank you, Nerve. 
  • Sam of Pixiwoo has an awesome Siouxsie Sioux punk/goth makeup tutorial up. 
  • And since there are super-dramatic eyebrows happening in that video, let's look at some horrifying eyebrows. Caveat: I don't know if these are all real brows or if there's photoshop/satire involved, but I think it's safe to say that these should be inspirational only for how NOT to do your eyebrows

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - April 13, 2014

Hello lovelies! It's time for our weekly round-up of the most clickable, most interesting, most shareable beauty-related links... Let's dig in.

  • Skin finishes - luminous, matte and dewy - what is the difference, and how to get them. Spring time is the time to think skin.
  • Speaking of skin, one of the latest (and oddest-titled) makeup trends is the "toddler glow". It's a makeup application technique that gives you that extremely youthful glow that yes, toddlers have.
  • Bright eyeshadow colours for spring. Here's how to wear it so it isn't scary.
  • Photos and swatches of the Proenza Schouler-MAC collection over on the Makeup and Beauty Blog.
  • The best long-wearing lip products according to Allure, including MAC, Stila, OCC, Revlon and Wet & Wild.
  • New beauty brand alert: NUDESTIX - all crayon (chubby stick) makeup for eyes, cheeks, lips and nails (?!) - launching at Space NK stores in May.
  • Leandra Medine, aka Manrepeller, on why she doesn't wear makeup.
  • A print ad for Chanel's new foundation features a lovely model with a disturbing neck, courtesy of Photoshop.
  • National Geographic has a wonderful photo essay for their 125th anniversary issue. In it they look at what Americans will look like in 2050 - a striking and stunning mixing pot of features, skintones and hair colours. (It's a Nerve link, but it's safe for work as long as you don't explore any of the links on the page...)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil Review

Wash your face with oil? Yup, you heard me. Cleansing oils work for most skin types and are very effective in giving you clean skin without drying out your skin. Cleansing oils dissolve all the makeup, dirt, and oil that have accumulated on your skin, while protecting your skin's natural moisture balance. If rinsed properly, your skin will be left soft, smooth and clean. They're especially great to use when the air is dry such as during winter months when skin is drier and more dehydrated. 

I've used a few different cleansing oils over the years, including MAC's Cleanse Off Oil and Bobbi Brown's Soothing Cleansing Oil. This post will look at the most recent one I've tried -The Body Shop's Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil. 

This is what The Body Shop's website has to say about it's Silky Cleansing Oil:

This silky-soft cleanser will effortlessly remove make-up from the whole face quickly and effectively, leaving skin feeling clean, refreshed and clear of impurities. It’s the ultimate time-saver.

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil comes in a 200 mL pump-bottle and costs $16 CDN. 


It has a strong fragrance but if you've used Body Shop products before you know that's a given. I wish it was subtler as I feel it's on the overpowering side, but I do like the way the product works. 

Each night, I pump the bottle a few times into my hand and then rub my hands together to emulsify it. I then apply it to my dry face, all over, massaging it into my skin. I massage it well into areas such as my eyes and lips where the stickier makeup is, such as mascara and lipstick. 

It can take some rinsing to remove entirely, but with warm water and some more rubbing with my wet hands to lift the oil, my skin rinses clean. I have noticed a few times, some oily mascara smudges under my eyes even after massaging gently and rinsing thoroughly. I suspect this is due to one of the mascaras I use (I alternate depending on the look I'm going for) and less so the cleansing oil. 

I love this cleansing oil for its ability to remove all of my makeup. I don't like to use more than one cleanser to wash my entire face (for example a face cleanser and a separate eye makeup remover). Eye makeup removers tend to be oil-based anyway.

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleasing Oil does not irritate my skin, or over-stimulate the oiliness in my t-zone, and it effectively removes all my makeup and any oils and dirt on my skin at the end of the day. I do feel it's slightly too rich to use twice a day and save it only for my nighttime routine.

One drawback, as I mentioned before, is the heavy fragrance. If you're sensitive to heavy scents and fragrances, you probably already avoid The Body Shop, but you'll probably be better off using another cleansing oil, such as MAC's or Bobbi Brown's.

I don't have dry skin, but I have heard that using this cleansing oil has improved drastically the dry skin of users. It's certainly worth a try if you have dry skin or dry patches.

Thumbs up for the Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil from me!

Oh, and I thought I'd include this photo. I was washing my face with the Silky Cleansing Oil one night after wearing some dark eye makeup and thought it looked pretty cool, so I snapped a selfie. 

Grade: B (loses points for the heavy fragrance)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up: April 6, 2014

Hello lovelies! Happy Sunday! Is it spring where you are? SO MUCH to share with you today. Let's get started.

  • Remember how Adele looked at the 2013 Grammy Awards? MUA Nina Westbury has a step-by-step guide on how to achieve her gorgeous retro look. Click here
  • L'Oreal has hair chalk now - you can achieve unicorn hair without the commitment. Check out Tracy from Beauty Reflection's review here.
  • From the temporary to the classic, do you know if the products you are using are from a brand that's been around since 1937 or earlier? Check this list here to find out!
  • Beauty Geeks takes a look at Dior's New Vernis Gel Shine shades. Swoon!
  • New and improved Make Up For Ever's High Definition Blushes, including the shade used on Christina Hendricks on Mad Men (#210). See them here
  • Speaking of Mad Men, let's look at the beauty looks from the Season 7 (the last season - sob!) premiere red carpet - Elizabeth Moss, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Alison Brie, and Jessica Paré. 
  • Eyebrows are so important. Bad brows are just...bad. Good brows deserve a hallelujah. Want proof - look at these celebs with both bad brows and good brows
  • Five rules for contouring and highlighting in a step-by-step guide. 
  • In news that should surprise few, the gorgeous Lupita Nyong'o has been named as Lancome's spokesperson, making her the first black ambassador for the brand. The first half of that sentence makes me happy, the second half, not so much. Seriously, it's 2014, and Nyong'o is the FIRST black ambassador for Lancome?
  • A visual history of the cat eye.
  • Well this is a makeup trick I'd never heard of before - shower eyeliner. To read more, click here
  • New Zealand singer Lorde tweeted this week about a photo of herself that had been photoshopped to give her perfect skin, alongside a photo taken the same day that hadn't been retouched, and adding "Remember flaws are OK." Hear, hear, Lorde!
  • David Horne's The Art of Male Makeup looks like something I need to own. 
  • Singer Ingrid Michaelson's video for her very catchy song, Girls Chase Boys, is an homage to Robert Palmer's iconic Addicted To Love video, but with a twist. Sexy girls AND boys (in makeup)!  
  • (Also check out Ingrid's Blood Brothers video which features her being made over into John Lennon, Lady Gaga, Marilyn Monroe, David Bowie and Amy Winehouse among others.)