Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Conditioning Cleansers and Pantene Cleansing Conditioner, Colour Preserve Review

If you've had cable TV over the last few years you've probably seen the infomercials for Wen, the conditioning hair cleanser line. Finally, the drugstore brands have started to roll out their own versions, so you'll be seeing them on the shelves soon, if they're not already.

A cleansing conditioner is just what it sounds like - a conditioner that cleanses. With all the talk these days about not washing your hair every day, a cleansing conditioner makes it easy to skip the shampoo. Shampoo can be filled with harsh chemicals, drying and irritating your hair and your scalp, and the natural oils of your hair are actually good for your hair, yet it can be difficult to go without it as when unwashed, hair can look oily, hang limply, and feel heavy. Cleansing conditioners can make your hair look just as clean as shampoo does, but without drying or irritating. They are conditioners, so they are very conditioning. Which is all good for helping to maintain your colour and chemical-treated hair, and encourage your natural curl.

Plus, it's two products in one, so it will likely save you some money. 

Cleansing conditioners are especially good for people with dry hair, those with thick hair, and those with curly hair. But anyone can use cleansing conditioners. Depending on your hair type, you might find that you can't use just a cleansing conditioner all the time. You should still use shampoo to do a reset on your hair. Shampoo will get rid of any product build-up and depending on your hair, you might want to do it every few days, or once a week or perhaps once a month.

I picked up a bottle of Pantene's Cleansing Conditioner (part of their Colour Preserve line) recently. It cost me about $10 and comes in a 500 mL pump bottle. 

The consistency is quite thick, more like a conditioning mask than a conditioner and the directions say to use 3-4 pumps each time. If your hair is thick, you may need more. It doesn't lather like a shampoo, and you really have to work it into your hair, down to your roots. That massaging motion will help to lift the oil and residue from your scalp and work the conditioner into your hair. The directions also say to leave the conditioner on for a few minutes after massaging. It's tingly and refreshing but not like I've experienced with say the Body Shop's Ice Blue shampoo. It's not an intense sensation. 

The aroma is quite nondescript but not unpleasant. Sort of sweet and slightly minty, and not unlike the scent of most drugstore hair products.

I've been using the Cleansing Conditioner for a week now. I've washed my hair with shampoo three times, twice without really feeling the need to, and once to get rid of a lot of styling product that I'd had in my hair the day before. I've tried the trick of washing my hair with conditioner in the past, really massaging it into my scalp, with varying success. Sometimes it works and my roots aren't overly greasy, and other times it doesn't work to clean my hair much at all. But using this Cleansing Conditioner, I don't need to use shampoo everyday. My hair looks and feels clean, with the added bonus of being softer and more manageable. I think that a cleansing conditioner is one of those products that improves your hair over time, so one week isn't going to show much difference. I will continue to use it and see if I like it, but so far so good. I've never been able to really go without washing my hair with shampoo before and this has allowed me to, for the first time. 

My hair is on the fine side of normal and it easily can look flat. I find that the Pantene Cleansing Conditioner, despite being heavy, rinses away and doesn't leave my hair looking weighed down. I'm able to use my regular styling products afterwards without any ill effect as well.

I colour my hair red about every 5-6 weeks, and red hair colour fades very quickly. Shampooing speeds up this process. With longer use, I hope to see that the Cleansing Condition helps to maintain my colour longer. 

One quibble I have is with the size of the bottle. If you're using 3-4 pumps or more for each use, it won't take long at all to get through 500 mL of packaging. I'd happily pay more for a larger size.

In summary, I recommend trying the Pantene Cleansing Conditioner, especially if you have thick hair, dry hair, or chemically-treated hair. Or if you, like me, has wanted to stop shampooing their hair but haven't figured out how to make it work. 

Grade: A

Monday, January 26, 2015

Clarins 3-Dot Liner Review, Swatches and Photos

Considering my extremely large collection of makeup I've accumulated over the years which surveys almost all the major brands (luxury and otherwise), it's extremely rare that I run into a product that is genuinely new to me. Of course, there are always new and better formulations, finishes and countless iterations of established products - but today I have a product that I can honestly say I don't already have a version of.

Clarins' 3-Dot Liner originally launched a few years ago, but it has flown under my radar until recently when I discovered it while perusing the amazing work of professional MUA Robin Black on Beauty is Boring. According to the sales associate that helped me, Clarins has recently updated the formula of the original 3-Dot Liner to be longer lasting.

As it's name suggests, the 3-Dot Liner delivers liquid liner in a 3 dot formation thanks to it's 3 pronged applicator. The formula of liner is a pigmented jet black, with a slightly glossy finish that dries in  20-30 seconds. Clarins 3-Dot Liner is designed to fill in the gaps between your lashes (tight lining), and application could not be easier - you simply dab the applicator as close as possible to your lash line - no extraordinary hand-eye coordination needed!

Below are some before and after photos for your comparison. All photos are taken in natural light. For reference I'm wearing MUFE Full Cover concealer in 8 mixed with MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter in Bright Forecast under eyes and Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Ebony in brows.

No liner

Clarins 3-Dot Liner between lashes

Clarins 3-Dot Liner and Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express 
waterproof mascara in Very Black

Clarins 3-Dot Liner swatched on arm

It should be noted that the liner is fairly liquid, and as you can see on the above swatch on my arm it can bleed slightly if too much product is applied. However, I didn't find this to be much of a problem on my eyes as the skin on the eyelid is smoother and far less textured than skin on the body. I recommend that when applying this to the lash line you allow a few seconds between dabs to ensure you don't get too much wet product on the skin.

As you can see from the before and after photos, the liner really does make a big difference as to the look of the thickness of my lash line. It's precise application allows for a noticeable, and yet natural looking enhancement. Wear time for this product is excellent - I get at least 8 hours of wear without fading. Although this product is not officially waterproof, it is very water resistant and only budges with persistent rubbing when wet. Yesterday I went for a 40 minute run then took a hot shower, making sure to get my face wet (although not rubbing my eyes) and my liner still looked near perfect post shower!

Another big plus for me is this liner never requires sharpening! If you are concerned about the liner (or any liquid liner) drying out, make sure to always tightly cap the liner and store it upside down to avoid tip dry out.

Overall I really love this product, both in terms of concept and execution. Clarins 3-Dot Liner retails for $28.00 CA and also comes in brown. Highly, highly recommended!

Grade: A+

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for January 25, 2015

Hello lovelies!

Hope your Sunday is going well, whether you're out and running errands, or having a quiet afternoon. Thanks for spending some time with Beauty Squared!

  • Cold weather makeup tips - trust that this is a must-read!
  • Retinoids fight wrinkles and smooth the skin and here are the best you can get for under $30.
  • Ever since the BB cream became such a massive hit for so many Western skincare and makeup brands, the beauty world have been keeping their eyes on South Korean beauty trends. One of the latest to make its way over here are sleep masks, which you layer over your serums and moisturizers at night, allowing them to penetrate your skin better.
  • Tips for saving money on beauty products. I know we call could use this advice.
  • Oh, brown-eyed gals, this post is for you.
  • How to conceal dark undereye circles.
  • Twiggy, the iconic supermodel who defined the 1960s, has been signed as the latest face of L'Oreal Professional.
  • If you're a fan of the series Orange is the New Black, you've seen how the characters adapt their beauty regimes to prison life. Real-life former inmate Annie Burchard talks about how she adapted her distinct look after she was incarcerated using things you probably wouldn't have thought you could use for makeup and hair. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Purple and Red Eye-popping FOTD (for glasses-wearers)

One of my favourite eye make-up looks is to wear one (at least) shade on my eyelid and another along my lower lashline. Here's a version I've worn a few times to work lately. 

I've been wearing glasses to work since last year, and it's still unsettling for me. I still don't recognize myself and I still struggle to come up with eye makeup looks. My eyesight is poor meaning my glasses are a strong prescription so my eyes look smaller when I'm wearing them, and because I can't see well without them, putting eye makeup on can be difficult. Liquid/gel eyeliner, for example, is impossible to do properly on my left eye when I'm not wearing my contact lenses. I try to find looks that are simple, flattering and help make my eyes stand out behind my glasses.

Anyway, enough complaining and more about the point of this post. This is a colourful but wearable, simple look that make my eyes pop from behind glasses or not.

Here are some close-ups of my eyes.

The products I used for my base are Make Up For Ever HD Foundation in N115 all over my face, with MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW20 under my eyes as well as on any areas that needed more coverage. I set it all with a combination of Ben Nye Neutral Set and Pari Mineral Glow. My eyes are primed with Art Deco Eyeshadow Base. Even though this stuff does not work on me, I keep trying just in case it might someday because I hate wasting product. I do find that it does allow whatever eyeshadow you apply on top of it be true, in that it gives it a base to adhere to and in doing so, it's exactly the colour it is in the container. What it fails at is keeping it from creasing. In the photo two above, you can see some fading in my eyeshadow crease. I applied (the amazing) Anastasia Dipbrow in Auburn through my brows to fill them in, give them shape, and to alter the colour to match my hair colour better. 

On my eyes I applied MAC's Heritage Rouge (dirty brown plum) pigment to my eyelids, starting in the inner corner, working across the lid and up into my crease blending it out towards my browbone. I also carried it out into a winged shape on the outside of my eyes.

I kept applying it until I got the effect I wanted. Along my lower lashline, I smudged L'Oreal Paris Infallible in Purple Obsession. The more I blended, the less purple it looked, so I kept adding and blending until I got both a soft, smudged effect and the colour I wanted. 

For some more definition along my lashline, I smudged MAC's Embark eyeshadow, a warm matte reddish-brown colour that adds a touch of definition but doesn't compete with either the Heritage Rouge or the Purple Obsession.

I curled my lashes and applied lots of Givenchy Noir Couture Volume Mascara in Black Taffeta.

On my cheeks I applied a combination of MAC's Stunner and Warmth of Coral blushes to give my skin some colour and to keep it soft so it didn't compete with my eyes.

And for a final touch, I dusted my skin all over with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light, which gives the skin a light glow, and blurs imperfections. 

On my lips, I'm wearing just a sheer lip balm. It's not that I wouldn't and don't wear a lip colour with this look, though I do (usually a MLBB shade). My lips have been chapped and dry lately and lip balm is about the only thing I can wear on them. 

And there you have it - my colourful, my-eyes-are-still-here-behind-these-glasses, fun and simple.

- C.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for January 18, 2015

Hello and a very happy Sunday to you, wherever you are in the world!

Let's dig in.

  • Starting with a bang: XOVain's Alle tries three lipstick looks popular on Instagram. See her results here.
  • Can you change your skintone? A dermatologist weighs in.
  • Do you have chapped lips? The chapped lip undo is for you.
  • You've got to love a DIY blemish treatment that will only cost you about $10.
  • If you have fair eyelashes, here's a mascara tip for you: how to apply mascara to the tops of your eyelashes.
  • Something for everyone here: low-maintenance haircuts for every hair texture.
  • Here are some beauty hacks from last weekend's Golden Globes red carpet.
  • Remember the 100 Years of Beauty video from a few weeks ago? Here's another, featuring looks from the 1910s to the 2010s, but this time with a black model.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for January 11, 2015

Hey there lovelies,

Second Sunday of the New Year and how are we all fairing so far? Did you make resolutions? If so, how are they going?

Here's the Beauty Squared Round-Up for Sunday, January 11. There's a lot to share with you so, let's goooooooo!

  • Rae of The Beauty Notice shares her favourites from 2014. If you've got dry and dehydrated skin, you'll find some product recommendations in there.
  • It's the new year, so why not try something new with your makeup look? Fashion Magazine's Beauty Panel share their change-up tips here.
  • Here's another argument for trying something new makeup-wise and tips from Alle of XOVain.
  • And if you typically wear quite a bit of makeup, for the new year why not try a fresh-faced look like Nic of Pixiwoo which she demonstrates here?
  • If you're experiencing cold, dry weather where you are right now, you're likely noticing changes to your skin and hair. Here are some helpful links.
    • Paste Magazine's round-up of natural beauty products for winter.
    • Your grandma probably used to use them (maybe still does!), and here's why you should take a look at cold creams if you're skin is dry and dehydrated.
    • You might need to rethink your makeup to suit the weather too. Here are some tips on winterizing your look.
  • Some more natural beauty treatments:
  • MUA and beauty blogger Lelo shares part one of her journey to clear up her acne.
  • Gray eyeliner: why you should wear it.
  • Tips for becoming blonde and maintaining it.
  • How to keep your undereye concealer from creasing.
  • A look at a new mascara coming from L'Oreal - Miss Manga Punky Mascara. It allows you to sculpt your lashes into shapes!
  • Fashion designer Victoria Beckham has collaborated with Nails Inc. on two nail polish shades to coincide with her Spring/Summer 2015 collection.
  • Red lipstick - Growing Up Meant Learning How To Wear Red Lipstick.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for January 4, 2015

Hello and a Happy New Year to you! How has 2015 been treating you so far?

Here's this week's round-up of beauty-ful links. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene Review, Photos and Swatches

Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene
Inspired by Lisa Eldridge's Dinner Date makeup tutorial, I picked up the Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene. I admit that drugstore makeup intimidates me. I have no idea what is good and what isn't and because I can't test most of the products, I tend to pass them right by. But seeing Lisa use the Colourstay Moisture Stain, as both a stain to base her lip look and as her final lip look, I was intrigued. 

The Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain is a highly pigmented gloss and stain in one. It comes in 12 colours, each named after a city (Milan, Stockholm, Rio, LA, London). It retails for about $10 CDN, but of course since Revlon is available at drugstores and places like Walmart, you'll likely be able to find them on sale. 

Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene
New York Scene is a red that reads more brown or more cherry, depending on the light and depending on who is wearing it. On me it reads more cherry-raspberry than brown.

Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene
The packaging is sleek and makes it look more high end than drugstore. The rectangular shape of the tube is unique and makes it easy to find by touch in the bottom of your purse.

Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene
The applicator is a wide, flat shape, which has its pros and cons. On the plus side, it makes it easy to apply the product to your lips, with its wide surface and curved edges. On the negative side, it does grab a lot of product making it easy to get too much of it on your lips.

Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene swatched on NW15 skintone.
The texture of the Colourstay Moisture Stain is very interesting, and quite unique. It feels like a gloss, a thick gloss, but its got a curiously liquidy texture. This isn't a product you can grab to quickly apply as you rush out the door. It takes a little time to apply it properly. 
As you can see from the above photo, the first layer can go on quite streaky and patchy. You want your lips to be hydrated, and exfoliated, with no dry patches before you apply the Moisture Stain. The product will cling to any dry areas. And do not, as I discovered, try to apply this over a lip balm. It was like painting water onto butter. 

This is how I've discovered is the most effective way of applying it. Start with a very small amount and spread it across your lips in a thin layer. You can use the applicator to get into the corners and create your lines (no need for liner!). Work it into your lips gently with your finger or a lip brush. It will not dry like a stain, it stays shiny, so go ahead and apply a second thin layer. Blend out any patchy areas as needed. Keep applying thin layers until you get the effect you want. It shouldn't take long. On me, I need two or perhaps three layers.

The photos below shows the sheen of the Moisture Stain even in a thin stain-like layer. Pretty right? And it's NOT STICKY! It feels great on the lips - cooling and wet. Never dry like a stain sometimes can feel. 

Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene
Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene
Here it is on me applied with a lighter application, showing how New York Scene can be worn more subtly. It's almost opaque but not quite, giving it a gloss-like appearance. 

Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene

Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene
Here it is applied more heavily. As you can see it becomes more opaque and looks almost like a lipstick with a gloss on top for shine.

Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene
Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene
On me, New York Scene lasted about 3-4 hours, which for something with this much shine and wet texture is very impressive. It also never feels or looks dry after time, like lipstick often does. It lasts better when I'm not eating and drinking, but even then, it wears away evenly, leaving a stain of colour behind. The gloss does fade more quickly than the colour does, but not entirely. 

Below is a photo of my lips after blotting most of New York Scene off. Even as a stain, there's a bit of shine left, but you can also see how it looks patchy and clings to some of the dryer patches of my lips. Still, my lips don't look dry after wearing the Moisture Stain and that's impressive! I'm usually dying for lip balm after wearing lip products with this much colour.
Revlon Colourstay Moisture Stain in New York Scene

I was impressed by New York Scene and will definitely buy some of the other shades. I love that New York Scene is such a dramatic colour and it has shine and it doesn't dry my lips out and it lasts. The texture takes some getting used to and the application takes some effort, but overall, a thumbs up from me. 

Grade: B+


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Beauty Squared's 2014 Favourites

On this first day of the new year, we thought we'd share with you some of our favourite posts for the past year. And before we get started, we want to wish you a very, very Happy New Year and that the year ahead is full of wonderful things, especially beauty and magic.

Here are our picks for our favourite posts of 2014.

Looking back at all the collections from 2014, MAC's Alluring Aquatics has to be one of my favourites. From the formulas, to the colours, the packaging and the concept - MAC hit this one out of the park! - Jill

The Illamasqua Sculpting Powder Duo has turned me into a contouring fan. The contouring shade is perfect for my skintone and so easy to use. The highlight shade is gorgeous and gives the perfect amount of glow to my skin. 
- Catherine

Another favourite product from 2014...this past fall Tom Ford finally satisfied my inner eye shadow junkie by releasing this finely milled, buttery textured, highly pigmented smokey neutral quad. If only all the Tom Ford eye quads were like this (I would be BROKE)!
- Jill

I've never bought any of Charlotte Tilbury's products but I've been tempted by Jill's reviews. The Fallen Angel Luxury Palette looks so beautiful...
- Catherine

I've found a holy grail product in these finely milled, luminous, never over-the-top highlighters from Clé de Peau Beauté. Definitely splurge worthy!
- Jill

MAC's Magnetic Nude collection came out in late December 2013, but I didn't get around to reviewing the items I'd purchased until January. I'm still thinking about this collection. The Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Superb is by far my favourite of those - silky, shimmery and so flattering. 
- Catherine

I love this EOTD by none other than my talented blog partner Catherine! A sophisticated, smokey look that contrasts cool blues and warm coppers and nudes. I love mixing up warm and cool tones and she does it so beautifully in this look. 
- Jill

I chose this post too, because it's a look I'm still surprised I put together. It's not a look I typically wear, but I really like it. It just shows how you should grab inspiration and run with it. 
- Catherine

2014 was the year we launched our Facebook page. It's been a fun year! You should join us.