Monday, December 29, 2014

Benefit Goodtime Gals: Posietint, Girl Meets Pearl and That Gal Review, Photos and Swatches

Samples are awesome, aren't they? You can test out the product before buying a full-size, and beauty brands have really been getting behind sampling. Benefit Cosmetics, which is arguably the reigning majesty of beauty packaging, is one of my favourite brands for samples. 

With a recent Sephora order, I got their Goodtime Gals sample pack, which contains their "That Gal" primer, their Girl Meets Pearl highlighter and their Posietint cheek and lip stain. These three products are designed to be worn together.

Of the three samples, I'd only every tried Posietint before. I was excited to try "That Gal" and Girl Meets Pearl because A) it's winter and my skin is looking pretty dull and B) who doesn't love highlighters?

First up, let's look at "That Gal", a brightening face primer. According to Benefit, it's a silky pink primer that makes your skin look brighter and smoother. It contains light-reflecting pigments to brighten and raspberry and chamomile to soothe.

"That Gal" is a light pink shade, and contains light-reflecting properties, to make the skin look brighter and healthier. As you can see with the above photo, it's almost liquid, so it goes onto the skin very easily. The applicator with the full size "That Gal" is a click-up pump, so perhaps with a tube, the product comes out too easily. 

My skin is combination, with an oily t-zone and drier cheeks. In the winter, my t-zone is still oily, but my cheeks are much drier and this year, the cold, dry outside air and the warm, dry electric heat in my apartment has led to my skin looking dehydrated. While I sleep at night, it sucks up the moisturizer I apply before bed, and I need to exfoliate more frequently to get rid of all the dead skin cells.

A brightening primer is just what I need for my skin at this time of year and I do like "That Gal" for its brightening properties. The sheen of the primer makes my skin look smoother and my foundation likes it a lot too. It applies very nicely on top. "That Gal" is a hydrating primer as well, or rather it feels like it is. The skin on my cheeks doesn't feel tight as it sometimes can during the winter wearing "That Gal". 

It's quite shiny once on, and can be worn on its own, but I need a foundation, or at least a concealer most days. Putting foundation on top of this does bring down the shine a lot, especially if you use a heavier coverage foundation, or a mattifying foundation. A foundation will bring down some of the light-reflecting properties as well. Under my MUFE HD Foundation, it works quite well. It's not completely redundant underneath, and there is an added brightness to my skin after I've layered my foundation on top.

It also smells pretty, sort of like strawberries.

So that's the plus about "That Gal". The negatives? Well, in a primer, I'd like something that minimizes my pores and helps my makeup last longer. If it can control oil, even better. "That Gal" works well on my cheeks, but it's too much, even in the winter on my t-zone and it doesn't minimize my pores or control oil, so it doesn't help my makeup last much longer at all. 

It's also probably not going to work very well on dark skintones, since it's pale pink in colour. If you've got a dark skintone, definitely test this out before buying. Same goes for those of you with oily skin. 

The full-size "That Gal" retails for $28 US and comes in a 0.37 fl oz tube.

Girl Meets Pearl is a golden-pink liquid highlighter and according to Benefit, contains light-reflecting pigments to illuminate your skin. It also, like "That Gal" contains raspberry and chamomile to soothe and hydrate the skin, and it also contains sweet almond extract to improve firmness and smoothness.

Girl Meets Pearl is a similar consistency to "That Gal". It's less pink though, and is visibly shimmering with tiny gold particles. The full-size of Girl Meets Pearl comes in a click-up tube, like "That Gal" does and you can apply it with a brush, or with your fingers. 

I really like liquid and cream highlighters because they tend to melt into your skin and look more natural. Girl Meets Pearl does just that, giving a lovely gold-with-a-hint-of-pink sheen to the skin. I think that Girl Meets Pearl would work on most skintones, since it's so sheer and gold is a universally-flattering shade. I can see this working on dark skintones, medium skintones and fair skintones, whether there are warm or cool undertones. 

Girl Meets Pearl is creamy in texture, not too glittery, and gives a beautiful sheen to the skin on its own. It can also be mixed with foundation for an all-over glow. 

The full-size of Girl Meets Pearl is 0.40 fl. oz. and retails for about $30 US. 

Finally, here is the sample I received of Benefit's Posietint cheek and lip stain. Posietint, according to Benefit is a poppy-pink liquid-gel and brightens cheeks and lips with a cheery flush and natural finish. 

One of Benefit's first products was Benetint, a rose-tinted stain for lips and cheeks (and nipples!) and for years it was the only one of its kind. Now lip and cheek stains are quite common, and Benefit has improved on the orginal formula of Benetint with Posietint, which has more of gel-liquid consistency, making it easier to blend and absorb into the skin. 

I've tried Posietint before and thought it was a very pretty colour, but found it challenging to work with. It takes some layer to get enough colour on my cheeks, and it makes hardly any difference to my lip colour. I'm pretty fairskinned, and it takes two or three layers to look like anything on my cheeks. Yes, cheek stains are meant to be very sheer, very light and buildable. Posietint does that. I just prefer more on my first application than Posietint gives. Perhaps the shade of pink in Posietint too closely matches the natural pink of my skin and it just doesn't show up? Above, it's swatched fairly heavily on my hand and I bet if that photo wasn't part of this post, you wouldn't notice that there's anything on my hand! I need more ooomph to my blush. 

This is another product I'd recommend you test before buying full-size. If it works on you, swesome! It's a great way to add a hint of natural colour. This wouldn't show up at all on darker skintones though, considering on how little it shows up on my skintone. 

The full-size of Posietint is 0.42 fl. oz. and retails for $30.

Goodtime Gals

"That Gal"
Grade: B

Girl Meets Pearl
Grade: A

Grade: C

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up for December 28, 2014

Wishes for a warm, successful, festive and satisfying holiday season to you and yours. These are the days in between Christmas and New Years, for those you celebrate, when it's time for recovery, and/or shopping, and/or preparation. And time for checking out some beauty links!

  • The Rockettes, of NYC's Radio City Music Hall, discuss their beauty routine with InStyle.
  • Do you suffer from dry skin in the winter? Here are some tips on locking in your skin's moisture in the winter, or really, any time of the year.
  • A quick beauty look involving lots of lashes and bright lips.
  • A similar super-pretty look that's holiday (and anytime) appropriate, featuring a cat eye and bright lips.
  • Speaking of bright lips - here's a guide to the best fuchsia lipsticks.
  • And yet another bright lip link, though this isn't just about using lip colour to brighten your lips. Think a little lower...
  • Check out the insane foam that this bar of soap called Non-F Shabon Roller creates! Those of you with dry and dehydrated skin will want to check this one out.
  • It's the time of year to be looking back at the year behind us. Here are the most important beauty trends of 2014, according to Buzzfeed.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Bdellium Brushes 942, 540, 781, 787 and 763 Review and Photos

Brushes, brushes, brushes! You can never have enough. At least, I can't. IMATS Toronto is a fantastic place to get your brush fix with brands like Hakuhodo and Royal and Langnickel. A brand I first discovered my first time at IMATS Toronto in 2011 is Bdellium Tools. They came recommended and the prices were so reasonable, I bought a bunch

Bdellium has seven different lines of handmade brushes. The ones I have are from the Yellow Bambu collection, which are made with sustainable bamboo handles and blends of synthetic and natural bristles. 

The Bdellium booth was my first stop when I returned to IMATS this year and I picked up five more of the Yellow Bambu brushes. I paid just under $30 CDN in total. Prices are lower at IMATS than they are online!

I wanted an angled contour brush, for applying blush, contour colour and highlighter to my cheeks. This is Bdellium's face 942 slanted contour brush. I paid $7 CDN for it (regular $11 US). 

It is great for very precise application of product on my cheeks, though as a blush brush, I prefer a touch more fullness so that I can blend. For highlighter and contour though, it's great. Or when I want to use a blush for contouring as well as for blush.

I needed a new lip brush, as I find that since I don't tend to use lip brushes very often, I end up using the ones I have as eye brushes. They are small, so they're great for applying shadows and creams very precisely, such as along the lower lash line and in the tear duct. 

The Bdellium lips 540 brush is all synthetic bristles, and best for use with cream/liquid products. It cost me $5 CDN ($8 US regular). 

The brush's tip narrows to a fine point, making it excellent for creating a precise lip shape. If a precise lip shape isn't needed, the flat, narrow width of the brush make applying lip colours easy. I probably won't use this brush that much, but it's good to have!

This is the Bdellium eyes 781 brush. I was on a quest to get more eye brushes, so I snapped this one up only to get home and realize I already owned it. Oops. But not really, because this is a brush I love and use almost every day. It cost me $6 CDN ($10.50 US regular).

It's an excellent crease brush for me - everyone's eyes are different - applying colour softly and blending beautifully. It also works just fine to softly apply eyeshadow to the browbone and lid.

Similarly, the Bdellium eyes 787 tapered blending brush is duet fibre (referring to the black lower bristles and white tips) and made for use on the eye specifically. But like most brushes, there are many areas this brush can be used (around the nose, for one). The 787 brush is great for using with mineral makeup. It cost me $6 CDN (regular $11 US).

I've only used this brush on my eyes, to blend out shadow in my crease. If I do soft, precise crease definition, I will use the 781, but I love using the 787 for a more dramatic look, and it works beautifully with shimmery colours. It's a large brush for my crease, but if you've got a shallow eye crease, or lots of space between your lashline and your browbone, this would be a great all-purpose crease brush for you. 

I love angle brushes. LOVE them. I use one of them almost every day, to apply product along my upper lashline, whether it's powder, cream or gel, and I love using one to smudge out lashline colour. I already own three or four but since I use them so much, I can always use more! This is the Bdellium eyes 763. It was $5 CDN (regular $8 US).

I have two MAC angle brushes that I use most often - a 266 and a 264. The Bdellium 763 is thicker and softer than those brushes, so for liquid or gel eyeliner it's not ideal. But for smudging some eyeshadow along the upper lash line, it's perfect. I like how soft it is and how well it blends colour out. It would also work well for eyebrow work, though I haven't tried that yet. 

Hurrah for new brushes! Hurrah for Bdellium!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Bobbi Brown Holiday 2014 Shimmer Brick in Copper Diamond Review, Swatches and Photos

The star of Bobbi Brown's Holiday 2014 offerings has to be her limited edition Shimmer Brick in Copper Diamond ($52.00 CA). I almost completely missed this one as I was more focused on procuring her Pink Glow and Bronze Glow Highlighters from her other holiday collection "Scotch on the Rocks."

While researching the Pink Glow and Bronze Glow Highlighters on the blogosphere I noticed how many people left comments raving about Copper Diamond Shimmer Brick. So when I saw one last Copper Diamond at the Bobbi Brown counter in Holt Renfrew, I quickly snapped it up! Photos taken in natural light, on NC 35 skin.

Copper Diamond, like all other Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks, features five stripes of shimmery metallic pigments all loosely based around the same hue. You can use each stripe individually or all five swirled together, although realistically only eye brushes would be small enough to be able to pick up the shades individually. 

Bobbi Brown Copper Diamond Shimmerbrick stripes from top to bottom.

The texture of Shimmer Bricks feel like a baked product - they are finely milled, compact, powdery and all shades are highly frosty/metallic. The first stripe is a pale white-gold, the second a medium gold, the third a medium champagne-gold, the fourth a medium bronze and the last stripe a bright yellow gold.

Mixed together, the five stripes look very similar to the third stripe and the overall effect when used as a highlighter is stunning - it looks like molten champagne-gold has been airbrushed on your cheekbones. So glamorous! This is a full effect kind of highlighter - normal application with a blush/highlighter brush will yield dramatic results, so for a subtle application use a fan brush.

Bobbi Brown Copper Diamond Shimmerbrick mixed.

Tip: If you love rocking a more dramatic/metallic highlighter, give your skin a spritz of MAC Fix + after applying the Shimmer Brick, the moisture in the spray will "foil" the highlighter on your skin giving you a more editorial glow.

Wear time on the Shimmer Brick is good, with a small amount of fading after 8 hours. As the finish is on the high frost side, this highlighter may emphasize dry or large pored skin. This is a particularly great highlighter for yellow based skin tones, though I think this would also work well with cool skin tones as the gold does not run too yellow. This highlighter also pairs well with many blush shades, and is great when mixed in with matte blushes to give them some sheen. Such a beautiful, luxurious highlighter for the season!

Copper Diamond is still available at Bobbi Brown online and may still be available at your local Holt Renfrew counter.

Grade: A+


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - December 21, 2014

Happy Holidays, lovelies! Apologies for missing our Round-Up last week - things have been very busy. 'Tis the season, right?

If you've been busy, and a little stressed out, we hope that you'll take some time to relax for a few minutes and check out some of the beauty links we've compiled for you this week.

  • This isn't a beauty link, but maybe it's relevant to more than just me right now. How to have a stress-free holiday.
  • If you're fair-haired, this link is for you - eyebrow products for blondes.
  • Holiday season is party-season. Whether you pull out the red lipstick for special occasions, or wear it regularly, here are some red lipstick tips and tricks.
  • Traveling this season? You might come across one of these at the airport.
  • Do you have lots of past-Christmas photos taken Christmas morning of everyone just awake and opening gifts? Not the most flattering photos, right? Here's a quick beauty look that you can do to look natural but refreshed in the photos from Christmas morning this year.
  • Or, if you're travelling Christmas morning, or any morning, here are some in transit beauty tips and tricks, whether you're in the backseat of a car, or on the bus.
  • Here's a simple and chic grey smoky eye that will look great at this time of the year or at any time!
  • Full eyebrows have been in style for awhile now, and Beauty Editor wonders if Lea Michele presents a case for this particular trend not being for everyone. What are your thoughts?
  • If you're seeking more natural beauty products, this link is for you - 4 Products for a More Natural Manicure.
  • Makeup artist Troi Ollivierre, responsible for the slicked-back hair, clean, dewy skin and popping lip colour look of the J. Crew photoshoots, talks about the J. Crew beauty look.
  • Damaged hair meets Kevyn Murphy's Born Again hair treatments.
  • Cult beauty products to try (if you haven't already).
  • Women who challenged the beauty status quo in 2014.
  • Sephora is partnering with Pantone again for 2015's Colour of the Year. It's Marsala this time and here are photos and info of the colour collection.
  • Remember Esther Honig's Photoshop experiment where she sent her photo to Photoshop artists around the world and asked them to make her appear more beautiful? Here's another where Bustle writer Marie Southard Ospina asked Photoshop artists to make her more beautiful. The difference is that Ospina is plus-size. Did the artists make her look slimmer? Click through to find out.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in Fallen Angel

 Ever since seeing Charlotte Tilbury in person during the launch of her eponymous makeup line at Selfridges in the summer of 2013 I have been pining to get my hands on more of her products. The great news is that Charlotte Tilbury is now available in the US and retailers such as Beautylish have made it easy to get her products north of the border.

Fallen Angel (LE $65.00 US) is part of TIlbury's holiday offerings and is part of Tilbury's "The Supermodel" look. Fallen Angel is the first Luxury Palette with "a breakthrough formula for a wet and dry finish." According to Tilbury, using these shadows with a damp brush gives "three times the colour intensity and an irresistible liquid metal reflective finish."

Photos taken in natural light, swatches are dry on unprimed NC 35 skin.

Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel (clockwise from top left): Prime, Enhance, Smoke and Pop

Like all the other Luxury Palettes, Fallen Angel consists of four shades: Prime, Enhance, Smoke and Pop (clockwise from top left.) 

Prime - described as a "pale golden pearl,"  this is a pale golden champagne shimmer that runs on the neutral side of golden with good pigmentation.

Enhance - described as "antique silver," this is my favourite shade from the quad - a metallic taupe that leans golden brown at some angles and silvery in others. Excellent pigmentation.

Smoke - described as a ":velvet black",  this medium dark black has a slight blue undertone and a satiny/pearl finish. Good pigmentation.

Pop - this "metallic bronze" shade is an ultra pigmented metallic bronze with auburn undertones.

Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel applied dry (clockwise from top left): Prime, Enhance, Smoke and Pop

The texture of the shadows in the pan is smooth and almost dry feeling - very similar to MAC's Extra Dimension eye shadows or Estée Lauder's Gelée Powder eye shadows. All the shadows apply, blend and layer effortlessly. Applied dry the Pop and Enhance shades are the most opaque, although all the shades can be built up to be opaque in two layers. Applied wet, the shadows have a slightly more opaque finish, and they apply as smoothly as they do when dry. You can see Charlotte herself apply this quad both wet and dry in her fantastic and entertaining "Supermodel Look" tutorial here.

While the actual shades in the palette are not incredibly unique, the finish and saturation of the shades makes this worth owning if you love smokey neutrals and are willing to pay for a luxury brand. Yes, if you are a makeup junkie you most likely have colors very similar to this in your stash, but they will probably not perform this well! The one thing that impressed me in particular with this quad is how well the shadows layered on top of each other, there was no muddiness or dulling down of the shades. When layered, the shadows actually became richer and more lustrous. This is not an easy feat for a quad that contains both warm and cool tones. Wear time on the shadows is excellent, I only noticed a tiny bit of fading and creasing after 8 hours on non-primed eye lids. 

Highly recommended if it fits your budget!

Grade: A-


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Eyes Dark Circle Skin-Evening Corrector Review, Swatches and Photos

La Roche Posay's (LPR) new eye cream, Pigmentclar Eyes is part of their skincare line designed to target uneven pigmentation and dull skin. According to LRP, this product "visibly reduces the look of blue circles due to poor circulation and brown circles caused by melanin overproduction." This product contains concentrated "PhE-Resorcinol + caffeine" as well as light-reflecting pigments.

Although I don't suffer from hyperpigmentation in my eye area, I do naturally (and unnaturally) have dark circles caused genetically by thin under eye skin and bad habits such as staying up way too late, not getting enough sleep, drinking too much coffee and stress.

I tested Pigmentclar Eyes for four weeks, and used it both morning and evening with my regular skincare routine. The cream has a gel cream texture which melts into the skin and comes with a metal angled lipgloss style applicator which provides a cooling massage when you are applying the product.

Though I cannot comment on the pigment evening properties of this product because I don't suffer from hyper pigmentation in my eye area, I can say that the cream left my under eye area looking refreshed, dewy and less tired. The light reflecting pigments gave my dark circles a lift and the light, moisturizing texture proved to be an excellent, smooth base for concealer.

I would recommend this product for anyone looking for an eye cream that helps with tiredness, dullness and pigmentation. As well, I think this product would be great for people with oily eye lids as the texture is moisturizing but not greasy.

Pigmentclar Eyes retails for $49.00 CA and is available from retailers such as London Drugs and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Grade: A


*This product was provided to Beauty Squared by La Roche Posay for consideration.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Vice Review, Photos and Swatches

The holiday season is all about decadence, right? OK, maybe not ALL about decadence, there's some joy and love and peace and let's not forget about the stress and frustration, and OK, it's a lot about decadence. Because we need self-care to get through the bad stuff! Happy Holidays!

Speaking of Decadence, let's talk about Illamasqua's Vice for a second. It's a berry colour with an abundance of red to it. And it's got a rubber finish. A rubber polish has a finish somewhere in between the standard glossy nail polish finish, and a matte finish. It's a glossy finish that's been muted but not to the point of having no shine. 

I'd never tried Illamasqua's rubber polishes before, and I was intrigued, so I grabbed Vice during the Illamasqua clearance sale at Bay stores a few months ago. Vice is a discontinued polish, according to the Illamasqua website, so you might have trouble finding it. 

Illamasqua polishes are fantastic, some of the best out there in terms of the quality of the polish and the selection of colours and textures they have. They're a highly creative brand so if you're like me and like unique polish shades, this is a brand you'll want to check out. 

Here's Vice - pretty, right? It's a fairly standard berry toned nail polish, but it's got some depth to it. It's reddened nature hints almost at the colour of blood. 

Illamasqua nail polishes are highly pigmented, creamy, and the perfect consistency to apply quickly to the nails. It typically takes two coats to get opaqueness Vice, however, takes three coats.

Below is three coats of Vice on my nails. Because of the rubber finish, you can't wear top coat without making it a shiny finish, so the wear time of Vice is lessened. 

Also, I found with Vice that you need to let each coat dry completely before applying another. The rubber finish shows texture very readily, so any drags of the brush across not-yet-dry polish will show. As will any texture left by your base coat. This is a high maintenance nail polish finish!

As you can see, the rubber finish gives it a slightly-less-than-glossy finish, almost like rubber. Think of a pair of brand new black wellington boots. Or, as I'm sure Illamasqua was going for with the rubber finish, something like this.

I love the colour of Vice and the rubber finish, I just wish it lasted longer on me. I found that it lasted better than most polishes do with a top coat, but there were still chips and tip wear after a few days. I would likely forgo the rubber finish and put a top coat on to wear this. 

Grade B-


Other Illasmasqua nail varnishes reviewed on Beauty Squared:


Thursday, December 11, 2014

CND Vinylux Weekly Polish in Bloodline Review, Photos and Swatches

CND Vinylux is a Canadian brand of nail polish, from the creators of the shellac manicure. CND Vinylux is a weekly polish, that when used with the special CND Vinylux top coat is meant to last a week. The weekly polishes actually strengthen your nails, unlike regular nail polish which weakens and dries your nails. 

At IMATS Toronto this year, I picked up three colours of CND Vinylux. They were on sale for $6 each. Regularly they are about $10-$12 each. 

This is Bloodline, it's a true blood-red that reads red in bright light (such as with the camera flash in the photos below), but in regular light it's more of a burgundy. 

Texture-wise, this is a very creamy polish, just the right consistency though I did find it went on a little on the sheer side. I used three coats in the below photos, but still could see some sheerness. 

With the other CDN Vinylux polishes I've tried (links below) I've noticed tip wear after 3-5 days, with Bloodline it was after a day.

Below is a photo of my right hand showing tip wear on my pinky, ring finger and middle finger, the day after I applied it. While this could be due to my not applying the top coat properly, I am pretty convinced that this may be just the way Bloodline wears on me. Disappointing.

While the colour is great, and the shine and application are very good, I'm disappointed with the wear time of Bloodline. I'm also disappointed in the staining left behind when I removed it. 

With all the other CND Vinylux polishes, they removed easily and left nothing behind. Not with Bloodline. While my nails felt strong and healthy, they were stained. Anywhere where there was roughness or lines or crevices, the red lingered. As it did along my cuticles and try as I might I could not remove it with nail polish remover. 

Grade C

A couple of final thoughts on CND Vinylux weekly polishes: 

I should note too with all the CND Vinylux polishes I've tried that while there's good shine on my manicure after 4-5 days, it does tend to look scratchy and faded. If I wasn't always at the point of removing it after 4-5 days (if not before), a reapplication of top coat would fix that up. 

While the CND Vinylux polishes may not live up to their claim of a perfect manicure for a full week, it is an impressive polish. Most polishes wouldn't last as long and as well as CND Vinylux polishes do on me (Bloodline expected). And I do love how strong and healthy my nails feel when these polishes are removed.

As a note, I've tried wearing a base coat with CND Vinylux polishes (CND Vinylux recommends not using base coat) and it seems to lessen the wear time of my manicure considerably. I haven't noticed any ill effects in my nails from not wearing a base coat, so I'd recommend following CND Vinylux's instructions.

Other CND Vinylux polishes I've reviewed:

Dark Dahlia
Daring Escape
Steel Gaze