Sunday, February 22, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for February 22, 2015

Good morning, everyone!

There's a lot to tell you about today, so let's waste no time and get right to it, so that you can waste a little bit of your Sunday on some beauty links. ;)

  • We've got a bunch of New York Fashion Week and London Fashion Week links for you.
  • The best advice for achieving a no makeup makeup look is to be naturally beautiful. Or at least so many tutorials you find online says without saying it. Here's a no makeup look done on a beautiful model.
  • Eight models share the beauty tips that superstar MUA Pat McGrath has given them. Think easy, quick, clever tips that can be individualized to you.
  • It's Oscar weekend and Glamour takes a look at some of the best makeup looks of the best actress nominees.
  • Speaking of the Oscars, you can bet that many of the ladies (and gents) are doing beauty treatments and steps like this right now in anticipation of all the cameras on the red carpet today. Into the Gloss has a tutorial on concealing undereye circles here.
  • Some excellent DIY beauty treatment advice and recipes from organic, all-natural skincare company S.W. Basics founder Adina Grigore.
  • Here's a Sunday project for you: Read this XOVain article about makeup product expiration dates, go to your bathroom and spring clean your makeup collection. Remember that if you have any MAC products, you can do the Back to MAC program (online or in-store) and restock with some new products!
  • TV host, radio host, and writer (among other things), Pay Chen shares her beauty tips and philosophy with Toronto's Vv Magazine's Ethnic Beauty Guide.
  • An excellent article about aging that asks why it's such a big deal that we are getting older? The Pain and Beauty of Growing Old, and Aging Gracefully.
  • The facade of the beauty industry was shaken a bit again this week, when unretouched photos of Beyoncé for a L'Oreal Paris campaign were posted on her fan site, showing just how much these types of photos can be retouched before we see them. Beyoncé fans leapt to her defense, claiming that the photos had been photoshopped to look especially bad and the photos were removed swiftly.

    Our two cents: Guess what? Beauty ads are hella photoshopped and it is not a surprise that even someone as beautiful as Beyoncé might not have perfect skin. Beauty brands want you to believe that if you use their products, you'll look photoshop-perfect. Maybe not Beyoncé or model-photoshop-perfect, because who could possible look that perfect? Nobody. Some advice to Beyoncé fans who are upset about the photos: take off the rose-coloured glasses. Beyoncé is no less talented or beautiful or amazing and worthy of your admiration and love because her skin may not be perfect. Get mad at the beauty industry instead for pretending that perfection is the only kind of beautiful. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up - February 16, 2015

Good morning!

In today's Beauty Squared links:

  • A new beauty brand called Stowaway Cosmetics is set to change the way we think about makeup. They do "mini makeup" - travel-friendly sizes that will beat that "I'll never finish all of this" feeling.
  • Hey, green eyes! Eye makeup looks just for you.
  • Have you seen the pretty, shimmering MAC x Cinderella collection yet? Promo photos here and Temptalia's reviews/swatches here.
  • Ready for spring? The new Essie + Rebecca Minkoff collection will help you get in the mood.
  • Speaking of spring nails, The Polishaholic has a review and swatches of the new Essie Resort 2015 collection.
  • Sephora's got an interesting new eyelash comb design. Temptalia's got her impression of it here.
  • How often do you wash your hair? Here's how often you should (hint: they're probably not the same thing).
  • Do you have rosacea? Or perhaps you've just got a lot of redness? Here's a makeup tutorial by Lisa Eldridge that offers tips for this kind of skin. Also, rather than just a natural look, Lisa does a more glam look using a red lipstick (something those with a lot of red to their skin tend to avoid).
  • Benefit Cosmetics has got another brand new mascara. This one is called Benefit Roller Lash and here is what Pixiwoo thought of it.
  • An interview with MUA Mark Coulier, who was behind the makeup look that so successfully aged Tilda Swinton in the Oscar-nominated Wes Anderson movie The Grant Budapest Hotel.
  • Some of the best makeup looks from last weekend's Grammy awards. Which were your favourites?
  • Pixiwoo takes a look at nine of their favourite Lipstick Queen lipsticks. GORGEOUS.
  • And finally, Max Factor: first beauty vlogger? Nah, but check out this fantastic video showing the beauty icon at work, creating a Claudette Colbert look on an actress. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up - February 8, 2015

Hello everyone, and a very happy Sunday to you! Hoping that it's warm wherever you are in the world today. 

Here are the links we've gathered for your enjoyment this week.

  • Hey blue eyes! This post is for you.
  • Pregnancy-safe beauty products.
  • Yet another how-to for creating fake freckles. Have you ever done this?
  • Blurred lines? Nope, try blurred lips - a fresh new way to wear lipstick.
  • Cool musician ladies Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells and Samantha Urbani of Blood Orange talk all-natural beauty products in Nylon.
  • Tis the season for dry lips. Here are some lip moisturizers you may not have heard of before.
  • And tis the season for dry skin, so here is how to rid yourself of flakiness and dullness.
  • 38 new beauty releases you need to know about.
  • 12 things only people with bangs will understand.
  • We're big fans of the colourful smoky eye here at Beauty Squared and here's a gorgeous one on Oscar nominee Felicity Jones. Bonus: they tell you how to recreate it too!
  • Sam of Pixiwoo does a gorgeous and fierce Michelle Visage-inspired (drag-inspired) makeup tutorial.
  • Would you give up smiling and laughing to keep your face from wrinkling? One woman says that she's prevented wrinkles and fine lines by refraining from not allowing her face to move for most of her life. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

bareMinerals Ready Eyeshadow Duo in The Perfect Storm Review, Photos and Swatches

bareMinerals is known for its mineral makeup. They were the first to bring mineral makeup to the masses with the help of the Shopping Channel and Sephora. They've branched out from their loose powder eyeshadows to pressed eyeshadows. I have a number of their loose powder eyeshadows, but I'd never tried any of their newer pressed eyeshadows until now. I've heard good things about them though.

* If you're wondering, the main difference between loose and pressed eyeshadows is the ease of use. The loose eyeshadows are a bit more challenging to apply because there can be fall-out when you tap it onto your eyelids. They can also be messy if their lids are closed properly.

The eyeshadow palette I have to review in this post is the bareMinerals Ready Eyeshadow Duo in The Perfect Storm. It comes in a small palette with a sponge tip applicator and a built-in mirror.

First, let's take a look at the packaging, because it's quite delightful. 

Here's the box (also in the lead photo). An image in the shape of the compact is on the front, and the names of the eyeshadows as well as the compact and ingredients listing are on the back. I quite like that they've got the colours as well as the colour names on the box. If you have a few of these palettes and you keep the boxes, it'll be easy to find the ones you want since the colours are displayed on the tops. This must make it easy for sales staff trying to find it as well.

Rather than opening the top, like with other packaging, there's a flap that lifts. The compact then can slide out the top opening, but there's a message to read on the underside of the flap first.

"Life is better when you're ready. Things just happen. Doors open, opportunity knocks, people takes notice... bareMinerals Ready Eyeshadow provides exceptionally vivid, long-wearing colour in an ultra smooth, silky texture for effortless application and seamless blendability. Powered by our proprietary SeaNutritive Mineral Complex, this formula delivers a softer, smoother, revitalized eye area. Read for extraordinary performance and incredible colour?"

And then "READY."

Here's the compact. On the back is a sticker that again shows the colours and names them. The sticker looks shabby compared to the rest of the packaging though. It looks cheap and faded.

And inside the compact, there's a plastic sheet laying on top of the eyeshadows that reads "HELLO." and a good-sized mirror.

And onto the eyeshadow. The white eyeshadow is called Cumulus (like the clouds), and the taupey shade is called Tempest (as in the Shakespeare play or as in a violent storm?). 

Here's how they swatched.

Both shadows applied beautifully. They are smooth, creamy and buttery. Both are cool-toned, despite being neutrals. I was concerned that Cumulus was going to be powdery, chalky and stark, but it wasn't at all. It's actually quite shimmery and when applied sheerly, it makes a beautiful, though dramatic highlighter. Tempest is a beautiful buttery matte shade that's brown but grey. Applying these is a dream. They blend so, so beautifully because they're so soft and creamy, almost as if they weren't powder. My first instinct was to wear these as a softer 60s cat eye, using Tempest rather than a black or a grey as eyeliner and crease colour, and Cumulus as a lid colour and browbone highlight rather than a matte white.

These both stayed true all day (over an eye primer) without fading or creasing. These are absolutely beautiful eyeshadows both in terms of the colours, and in terms of the texture.

The bareMinerals Eyeshadow Duos retail for $25 CDN at and are available in store as well.

Grade: A


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

NYX Blush in Mauve Review, Photos and Swatches

I picked up a bunch of NYX products recently because it was about time that I checked out this brand. It's a drugstore brand that has products that can rival higher-end products, so check it out!

NYX is known for their blushes and it's a good place to start if you're a newbie to the brand, like me. I recently picked up two NYX powder blushes - Mauve and Apricot. In this post we'll look at Mauve, a matte light mauve. NYX powder blushes deliver silky sheer colour that glides on easily, blends beautifully and creates a natural glow.

Mauve is a beautiful, soft, very wearable shade. It's one of those shades that you can wear and look like you've got almost nothing on. It's very natural, and would go well with a stronger eye or lip look, as well as with more natural looks.

Let's take a closer look.

All of the NYX powder blushes have this gem-like pattern pressed into them, which gives them a higher end feel. The packaging is black plastic with a clear window. Not sure if it's due to being a drugstore product and displayed in a those display units with plastic rows and the spring foot pushing the products forward, or the way it's shipped to stores, or from being handled, or the quality of it, but the packaging when I bought it was scuffed and scratched. 

Still, what's inside isn't damaged and looks beautiful. Check out the texture in the photo below (click on the image to enlarge it). 

On my skin, Mauve actually looks like a soft, cool pink. The texture is very smooth and it applies sheer. The best blushes are sheer because blush needs to look natural, like it's your skin, not sitting heavily on top. Sheer allows your skin to show through. Even when you apply layers of Mauve, it's still sheer but the colour increases. Mauve is matte, but it's not a completely flat shade. There's a hint of glow to it, but no shimmer at all. 

Mauve is quite a soft shade, so on my skintone (NW15) it shows up pretty quickly and easily, but on deeper skin tones it may need a few layers to have much effect. 

I think Mauve is a fantastic basic blush shade for lighter skintones. It looks natural and is easy to wear with a light application or a heavier application. It would work with heavier eye or lip looks or with something natural, such as how I'm wearing it in the photos above. 

Stay tuned for more NYX reviews, including of the NYX Apricot blush. 

Grade: A


Monday, February 2, 2015

NYX Chunky Dunk Hydrating Lippie in Rum Punch Review, Photos and Swatches

I'm a terrible beauty blogger as I've only recently tried NYX products for the first time. It's not terribly easy to find in-store in Toronto. Rexall drugstores carry the brand but not all stores do, and those that do tend to be poorly stocked, I've found. 

I've bought two lip products, two blushes and an undereye concealer stick so far and I've got my eyes on their lip primer and their yellow colour corrector for undereyes. I haven't been able to track them down.
This post will look at the NYX Chunky Dunk Hydrating Lippie in Rum Punch. The Chunky Dunk Hydrating Lippie is a sheer, tinted, lightweight lip balm that leaves a satiny, sheer wash of hydrating colour on the lips. You can wear it on bare lips or over lip pencil for more pigmentation.

Rum Punch is described as a light plum but I think it reads more cherry-red both in the pencil, in swatches and once on my lips.

It cost me $8.99 CDN.

The pencil is pointed and doesn't come with a built-in sharpener, but it does have a twist-up end. The tip will likely wear down to a rounded tip with time.

It is so easy to apply, creamy and smooth. I absolutely love this product, and it's the only lip colour I can wear right now since my lips are so dry. This does not hang on the dry bits like lipstick does and it doesn't dry my lips out while it's on, like lipstick does. 

It can be applied lightly for a tinted lip balm effect or applied more heavily. I like feeling like there's something on my lips, especially since they're so dry all the time these days and this feels like a lip balm but looks like a lipstick. I just love it right now.

It's got very good pigmentation, it's very hydrating and it's got good gloss and staying power (when you're not eating and drinking). 

I want more of these to get me through the winter! If you're looking for a lip product that acts like a lip balm yet gives you some colour, track down some Chunky Dunk!

So far I'm very impressed with NYX - stay tuned for my other reviews!

Grade: A


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for February 1, 2015

Hello lovelies!

Hoping that you're warm and having a great Sunday, doing whatever it is that you need to do. Here are our beauty links to share this week. Let's dig in!

  • Do you know what keratosis pilaris is? You may have it and not realize it. It's a very common skin condition and here's how to deal with it.
  • Undereye circles. Most of us are *blessed* with them, no matter how much sleep we get and how much water we drink. So concealer is our friend. Our very, very close friend. Here are some drugstore picks so you'll save some money AND be able to look more awake.
  • The Muse reviews the Bliss Fabulips Pout-O-Matic Spa Powered Lip-Perfecting System - a battery-operated lip exfoliating tool.
  • Wearing sunscreen is difficult especially when you wear makeup on top since you have to layer your products. Wearing products with built-in sunscreen is the trick, shortening your time spent and issues that can arise with layering. This list of the best tinted moisturizers that contain sunscreen should help.
  • Three contouring techniques for giving yourself your best cheekbones.
  • If you care about what's in your nail polish, here are ten five-free nail polish brands you should know about.