Sunday, November 30, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - November 30, 2014

Good morning lovelies!

Happy end-of-November/beginning-of-December. 

  • Is there a discontinued product that you still mourn? Allure has rounded up some of the most popular discontinued products and recommend some not-discontinued dupes.
  • Are you travelling internationally anytime soon? New Beauty has a slideshow of their favourite beauty product imports, like skincare from Sweden, cosmetics from New Zealand, and makeup from Poland. Tip: No need to travel for some of these brands already available in Canada (Vichy, Nuxe and Inglot).
  • If you're flying anywhere for the holidays, or on vacation, here are some tips on how to look great doing it so that you arrive looking fresh.
  • Timeless (and uncomplicated) skincare tips, like using tea to soothe oily skin and smelly feet, sour cream as a face mask, and chilling your eye cream.
  • Speaking of eye creams, Allure's editor share their favourites.
  • This gal is my kindred spirit: a blog post featuring eggs, with a cocktail recipe and DIY hair mask! I'll be making both, stat.
  • Speaking of cocktails, here are some tips and products to use when you wake up with a hangover, so that you don't look like you have one.
  • Vegan cosmetics line Youngblood.
  • Do you like your lipstick to last all day (or close to it)? Here are some beauty expert recommended products and tips.
  • Bright makeup tips for dark skin.
  • Paying homage to the one, the only, Shu Uemura eyelash curler.
  • There seems to be quite a bit of conversation about wearing makeup VS not wearing makeup lately. 
  • After trials and much frustration as teenagers, sisters and redheads Adrienne Vendetti and Stephanie Vendetti started a blog called How To Be A Redhead in which they share their experiences and knowledge about navigating a beauty universe that rarely caters to their unique colouring and beauty needs. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up for November 23, 2014

Hello! There's a whole lotta beauty stuff to share with you this morning and I'm on my second cup of Yorkshire Gold, so let's do this! Hope you enjoy.

  • Starting with a jolt, here's MUA Charlotte Tilbury recreates a starry-eyed look worn by Kate Moss. And I mean starry-eyed.
  • What sort of beauty tips can you find in a 1932 beautician text book?
  • Do you conceal your dark undereye circles? Maybe you shouldn't. Maybe none of us should.
  • An interview with Frank Toskan, co-founder of MAC Cosmetics. If you love MAC, read this.
  • A few weeks ago, we featured a Lisa Eldridge video where she did a Downton Abbey-inspired makeup look on Downton Abbey star, Laura Carmichael (she plays Lady Edith). In this video she takes that barely-there makeup look to an evening, red carpet look.
  • Another video by Lisa Eldridge, this one a fantastic casually-chic evening look that looks great but doesn't look like you tried too hard.
  • We all wash our hair, but how many of us are doing it correctly? Check out this article about how to do it the right way.
  • MUA Ashlee Glazer shows how to look holiday party ready in just 5 minutes, how to look great with a post-holiday party hangover, and how to look fresh after a long flight home for the holidays.
  • Face mapping and how your breakouts are (may be) linked to your overall health and how to prevent them.
  • 12 beauty products that can (almost) change your life.
  • Here are some weird beauty tricks. Do you have any of your own?
  • If you wear liquid or gel eye liner, you know how easy it is to mess it up, even if you've been doing it for years. Here's how you can fix it if you do.
  • It's winter in Canada, so the air is colder (outside) and dryer (both inside and outside), and it's holiday season (food, drink, late nights, stress). Here are some beauty fixes to help you deal with the season. 
  • Alternative spa treatments (vibrating chairs, crystal healing, PEMF (electromagnetic energy)) that actually feel great.
  • How to apply false lashes, step by step.
  • How to get a sexy, youthful eyebrow, just with a spoolie brush and some brow gel.
  • Makeup product names and marketing seem to be getting saucier and saucier. Remember when the name Orgasm (the iconic NARS blush) was risqué? Product names used to be Fire and Ice, and Dusky Heather while now more and more products have names like Snatch, Spunk, Bang, Perversion and Full Frontal.
  • Four women have launched a class action lawsuit against Sephora after the disastrous 20% off sale a few weeks ago. The lawsuit alleges discrimination, that Sephora purposely blocked customers from making online purchases because they are of Chinese descent. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

MAC Heirloom Mix Sweet Sentiment Mineralize Blush Review, Swatches and Photos

The last two weeks have been a blur of researching, planning, listing, debating, swatching, attempted purchasing and (FINALLY) purchasing a mega haul of products from Sephora's VIB/VIB Rouge sale. Because of the engrossing nature of this sale and it's accompanying problems (re: the website crashing and burning mere hours into the sale then remaining inoperable for days), the MAC Heirloom Mix holiday collection completely slipped by under my radar.

MAC Mineralize Blush in Sweet Sentiment

I only picked up one thing from Heirloom Mix, the Mineralize blush in Sweet Sentiment (LE $35.00 CA, $30.00 US). Sweet Sentiment is described as a "rosy pink", it's a finely milled, medium cool pink with lilac overtones. It has a natural sheen, with no glitter or shimmer and good pigmentation.

Like most Mineralize blushes, Sweet Sentiment kicks up quite a bit of product when you run your brush over it, so I suggest patting your brush on this product as opposed to swiping it. Because it has good pigmentation, you won't need a lot of this blush to get good color payoff. Photos in natural light, swatches on NC 35/40 skin.

MAC Mineralize Blush in Sweet Sentiment

Like all the other Heirloom Mix offerings, Sweet Sentiment comes in special black and silver glitter packaging, which pushes the normal Mineralize blush price up to $35.00 CA from $32.00 CA. Interestingly, the holiday blushes are packaged in the old, smaller blush compacts, not the new larger ones. Sweet Sentiment is blendable with buildable color and wears well throughout a regular 8 hour day.

At the time of writing this post, Sweet Sentiment is still available online at MAC.

Grade: A-

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - November 16, 2014

Good morning, happy Sunday and hello!

Hoping you are all well, warm and happy on this November morning. We missed the Round-Up last weekend - apologies. But that means there's lots to get through today! It's a supersized Round-Up!

  • If you're in the northern hemisphere, it's probably getting colder where you are, and your skin is changing accordingly. Dryness? Flakiness? Tightness? Irritation? Here are 6 ingredients to look for in your skincare products to help combat these issues.
  • Do you have fine lines around your eyes? Here's an eye primer from Amazing Cosmetics you'll want to know about.
  • Ariane AKA The Glitter Geek, has an awesome (and simple) nail art tutorial inspired by strappy shoes.
  • Don't you love lists like this? 17 beauty editors pick their favourite beauty products.
  • Almost equally as lovable - lists of overrated products. Here's one from Fee at, featuring Philosophy's Hope In A Jar and L'Oreal's Magic Nude Foundation, among others.
  • Michelle of talks skincare and Joe Fresh's brand new skincare line.
  • Pixie cuts were very trendy, thanks to Jennifer Lawrence and Miley Cyrus. Did you rush to the salon to get one only to regret it later? Read this - Pixie Remorse and Remedies.
  • Here's a smouldering, grungy-cool burgundy smoky eye look to try.
  • Did you know that people used to believe that beauty marks (they weren't called that back then) were sent by the gods to mar the faces of people who were too attractive? Read more about the history of beauty marks.
  • Beginner beauty tricks and tips.
  • Lea T is one of the hottest models in the fashion and beauty worlds right now and she just snagged a contract with Redken to promote their Chromatics line. She also happens to be a transgender woman.
  • Women in India will finally be allowed to work as makeup artists, after India's Supreme Court struck down a 60-year-old clause that denied women the right to work as makeup artists because it would deny men work.
  • Here's a terrifying story: a Brazilian woman contracted HIV after sharing nail tools with a cousin when she was 12-years-old.
  • And finally, in case you haven't seen this video yet, it's worth a watch. Adults and children were asked a single question - If you chould change one thing about your body, what would it be? - and the responses are pretty telling. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot Box 'O Blushes Review, Photos and Swatches

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes

Holiday season when you're a beauty junkie is an exciting, tempting time. There are so many gift sets and special collections that come out starting in October and it's tough to avoid buying all of it. 

I was completely unable to avoid the temptation of snapping up the Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot Box 'O Blushes though. It's a palette containing six of Benefit's famous boxed powders - Dandelion, Hoola, Rockateur, Sugarbomb, CORALista and Bella Bamba, plus a little container of their Watt's Up cream highlighter and a small version of the boxed powder brush.

It retails for $43 CDN and is available at Sephora (stores and online) and in Shoppers Drug Mart stores that sell Benefit products. Comparatively, an individual Box 'O Powders retails for $36 CDN (a comparison of sizes comes later in the post). 

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes

Benefit is known for their packaging, and this one is no exception. It's a metal tin, shaped like a really narrow house, with a peaked roof. It's decorated to look like a candy store and is vaguely Christmas-themed.

Here it is in my hand to show you the size. 

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes
Even though it's made of metal, it's not heavy. The packaging reminds me of chocolate or cookie packaging, which is probably what they're aiming for. It'll be handy for storing things after it's empty as well. Oh, and the peaked roof bit comes off, so even easier to store. 

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes
The front of the box opens to reveal the palette inside. There's also an info booklet inside, which lists the ingredients in multiple languages and application instructions.

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes
There's a protective plastic sheet with each powder's names on it, that'll help keep the box clean and the blushes/bronzer protected from damage. Each powder has its name embossed in it, just as they do in the individual box 'o powders.

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes
The size of the blushes/bronzer in the palette vary as follows:

Dandelion = 4.0g Net wt. 0.14 oz.
Sugarbomb = 6.0g Net wt. 0.21 oz.
CORALista = 5.0g Net wt. 0.17 oz.
Bella Bamba = 5.0g Net wt. 0.17 oz.
Hoola = 5.0g Net wt. 0.17 oz.
Rockateur = 5.0g Net wt. 0.17 oz.

In comparison, the size of the individual Box 'O Powders are as follows:

Dandelion = 7.0g Net wt. 0.25 oz.
Sugarbomb = 12.0g Net wt. 0.42 oz.
CORALista = 8.0g Net wt. 0.28 oz.
Bella Bamba = 8.0g Net wt. 0.28 oz.
Hoola = 8.0g Net wt. 0.28 oz. 
Rockateur = 5.0g Net wt. 0.17 oz.

I'm not sure why there's such a variance in the size of the individual Box 'O Powders but the ones in the palette have less variance. It is of note that Rockateur in the Cheeky Sweet Spot is exactly the same size as the individual Rockateur, while the others are roughly half their individual size.

Here is a full-size Sugarbomb Box 'O Powder and the brush that came with it next to the palette to show size. 

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes
Let's take a look at some swatches!

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Dandelion

Dandelion is a ballerina pink brightening face powder, very sheer, very pretty and a little shimmery. It's very soft and sheer, as you can see in the below swatch. Dandelion is a little chalky in texture but it doesn't sit heavily on the skin at all. This is one of my favourites of Benefit's Box 'O Powders. 

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Dandelion
Bella Bamba is a 3D watermelon pink blush with gold undertones. It's a bright pink, but sheer and it's got a good dose of gold shimmer-sparkle. This is a highlighter and blush combined. Bella Bamba goes on silkily.

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Bella Bamba

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Bella Bamba
Sugarbomb is a combination of four shimmery shades - peach, plum, pink and rose. You can wear each shade individually or combined. Well, in the regular-sized Box 'O Powder you can. Maybe not so in this smaller version, unless you have a tiny brush (tinier than the one included in this palette). For the swatch below, I did a swirl of the shades.

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Sugarbomb

It's sheer, shimmery and quite a pretty shade, with pink and peach being the predominant colours. It's slightly chalky in texture. 

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Sugarbomb
Hoola is Benefit's much-loved boxed bronzer and the only one in the palette that's matte. Hoola is a warm, medium-brown shade, without much orange to it at all, which is perfect. It wears very sheer, so it's an easy shade to wear, even on fair skin. It applies very smoothly.

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Hoola

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Hoola
CORALista is a warm, shimmery coral-pink that gives the skin instant warmth. This is one of my favourite Box 'O Powders. It gives me an incredible glow when I wear it, without looking heavy or obvious. 

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - CORALista

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - CORALista
There is talk that the CORALista in the Cheeky Sweet Spot Box 'O Blushes is quite different from the regular CORALista, so I thought I'd compare the two to see for myself. I only have a sample of CORALista, not the full box, so assuming that my sample is the same as the original, here's what the two CORAListas look like side by side.

On the finger on the left is a heavy swatch of the original CORALista and on the right is a heavy swatch of the Cheeky Sweet Spot CORALista. The one on the left is pinker than the one on the right, definitely. Both have the same amount of shimmer but the one on the left is definitely more coral than the one on the right, which looks to me to be more peach.
Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - CORALista
Here are the two CORAListas swatched on my arm, with the original CORALista on the right and the Cheeky Sweet Spot Box 'O Blushes on the left. Yes, definitely a peachier tone to the left one compared to the right. 

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - CORALista

Rockateur is shimmery rose gold shade with much the same sheerness of the other blushes. It's probably the most silky of all of the blushes/bronzer in this palette and probably my favourite of all of them as well. It's an incredibly easy-to-wear blush.

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Rockateur

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Rockateur
Finally, here is the Watt's Up highlighter. Watt's Up is a champagne cream-to-powder highlighter that looks like it might be too heavy when you apply it at first, but it blends out like a dream. This highlighter earns its praise and then some. It's so very, very pretty on the skin. 

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Watt's Up
Watt's Up has quite a stiff, almost dry texture, so you don't get a lot on your fingers (or brush) when you run them across it. This isn't a problem though, since you don't want a heavy application on the first try. Start with a little and build if you need to.

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Watt's Up
I think it was a great idea for Benefit to include Watt's Up with this palette. With five brushes and a bronzer you're already focusing on your cheeks so why not do a bit of highlighting as well. Tapping a bit of Watt's Up onto the tops of the cheekbones and onto the brow bone gives a beautiful glow to the skin. 

One minor complaint about Watt's Up here is more about the packaging than the product. This Watt's Up comes in a little plastic case with a resealable lid.

Benefit Cheeky Spot Box 'O Blushes - Watt's Up

I flat-out love this palette. I've only tried a few of the Benefit Box 'O Powders before in the past and this is a fantastic way to try the ones I haven't. I also really love how you can mix them, adding a bit of one shade and then another or blending four of them onto your skin - why not? In terms of a blush palette, it doesn't have a lot of variation shade and texture-wise, but for a Benefit blush palette, this is pretty awesome. If you're a fan of the Benefit Box 'O Powders, this is a palette you want. 

One drawback is of course, the variation in CORALista from the original. While the CORALista in the palette is pretty, I prefer the pink of the original. 

But in all, this was an excellent purchase. If you've been wanting to try some of the Benefit blushes but the price tag has made you hesitate or you've been unable to choose which one to start with, this is the perfect palette for you!

Grade: A-

Monday, November 3, 2014

La Roche-Posay Toleraine Ultra Fluide Review

La Roche-Posay (LRP) recently launched a new addition to their Toleriane skincare line which is designed to provide intense soothing care for ultra-sensitive or allergic combination/oily skin types. They sent me the new Toleriane Ultra Fluide for testing and review.

Packaged in a hermetically sealed pump bottle, Toleriane Ultra Fluide is designed to provide combination/oily skin types with 3 main actions: immediate relief of skin irritation, lasting relief of "irritation, reactivity and heated sensations" after 4 weeks of use, and a "high tolerance" for users. The formula contains Neurosensine a "strong soothing agent", LRP's thermal spring water which is included in all their products and is preservative/paraben/fragrance/alcohol/colorant and lanolin free.

I've been using Ultra Fluide for the last 3 weeks in conjunction with my regular skincare which includes Differin gel at night, and moisturizer with SPF 30 during the day. Although I do not have sensitive skin, I do suffer from seasonal allergies which, irritatingly enough, now persist until the snow falls. The skin on my face and around my eyes can frequently get itchy and red and I'm also prone to dryness, peeling and irritation around my mouth and nose due to the dry air the fall brings. I used the Ultra Fluide after I washed my face and after any topical medications (Differin). I did find that having a thin layer of this lotion helped ease the peeling, stinging and redness around my mouth (in part caused by the dryness and the Differin). It provided an extra layer of protection and moisture that that thinner skin needed without feeling heavy or being greasy. 

I also tested it after I used a depilatory cream on my upper lip. Hair removal products such as Neet or Olay irritate my skin leaving it pink and stinging. Using the Ultra Fluid after helped soothe my upper lip skin as well.

Overall I think this is an effective product for irritated skin. It works well layered with other products and is light enough that you won't notice an extra product on your skin. The packaging also ensures it stays free of contamination without adding any extra unwanted preservatives.

La Roche-Posay Toleraine Ultra Fluide retails for approximately $34.00 CA (40 ml) and can be found at retailers such as London Drugs and Shoppers Drug Mart. 

Grade: A


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - November 2, 2014

Hi lovelies! It's been a quiet week on the beauty side of things....but there are a couple of links that we found to share with you. Let's take a look.

  • Halloween is over, but maybe start to plan your costume for next year? Why not? Take a look at these fantastic transformations by MUA Kandee Johnson.
  • Check out this video showing MUA Val Garland creating a makeup look with minimal colour and freckles (that weren't there before).
  • The British Beauty Blogger has swatches of some of the Bobbi Brown Scotch on the Rocks collection.
  • Miley Cyrus is new face of MAC Viva Glam.