Monday, January 16, 2017

Pür Cosmetics The Perfect Matte Velvet Liquid Lipstick Review

If you haven’t tried any of the Pür Cosmetics lip products you are missing out on some seriously gorgeous pigment! The vivacious Lip Lures are some of my favorite bold lip creams on the market so when the brand released a matte collection I had to have it!

The set comes with 4 liquid lipsticks (2 neutrals, 1 bright red and 1 deep burgundy) plus a translucent agave lip oil for shine, comfort and moisture. When it comes to color, these babies are beautiful! I’m totally obsessed with every shade in the kit and the formula is luxurious and ultra creamy.


If you wear the lipsticks without a base, the smooth, rich texture provides enough hydration and a nice matte effect without drying out the lips. You can also apply the oil under the pigment as a conditioning base or as a top coat for a pop of shine and color revival. For the most consistent coverage layering works best but when used sparingly you can achieve a beautiful sheer stain or blend a small amount in the center of the lips for a soft blurred effect.


The pigment layers very well and it doesn’t take much product to achieve vibrant, full-coverage color that makes lips appear full and pouty. Although the texture is thicker than the average cream formula, the consistency isn’t heavy and spreads well. I absolutely love the intense color pay-off and bold saturation. I’ve even used a dab of the deepest hue as blush to perk-up my dull winter complexion.



Unlike some matte lipsticks these don’t dry down to a flat, non-transferable finish that accentuates the texture of your lips. They remain quite moist, smooth and light but they may smear onto surfaces while eating or drinking. For the most part I didn’t have any issues with feathering and after hours of wear I can simply rub my lips together and add some oil to redistribute the color.


Even though I’m not always the biggest fan of neutrals or nude lipstick I love the 2 flattering hues in this collection. The deep burgundy is vampy and very trendy while the glamorous red is sexy and perfect for Valentine’s Day or girl’s night out. My only complaint is that sometimes the applicators are a bit stiff when pulling them out of the tubes but overall these are definitely keepers! The set is valued at $100.00 but retails for just $34.00, you can find Pür Cosmetics/Pür  Minerals at Shoppers Drug Mart, beautyboutique.ca and purcosmetics.com.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Smashbox For Twenty Five Years Our Lips Have Been Sealed Lipstick Palette Review

Last month I attended a fabulous holiday party hosted by Shoppers Drug Mart & beautyboutique.ca. There was champagne, sparkling white Christmas trees decorated with makeup ornaments and even a gingerbread ice cream sandwich station! In the press bag I received some beautiful personalized presents and a gift card to do some shopping (not that I needed any motivation).

Being a Beauty Editor and testing new products means that I have enough makeup, skincare and fragrance to last a lifetime so I had no idea what to get. After adding some everyday essentials to my online cart (the Urban Decay Primer Potion and a new bath puff) I saw this gorgeous Smashbox Palette! I hadn’t heard very much about this limited edition collection when it launched but the variety of colors intrigued the lipstick junkie in me and I found them irresistible!  


This beautiful range was released to celebrate the brand’s 25 year anniversary and their influence in photography, fashion and beauty. The palette contains 25 of their most beloved, bestselling cream and matte shades inspired by style icons. I like the idea of lip palettes because the variety is very appealing but they aren’t always practical for reapplication on-the-go. This one is okay for travel and totes but too large to lug around in my purse. I really chose it for the stunning shades since there isn’t one lipstick that I don't love.


For personal or professional use this palette is great! The selection includes everything I look for: trendy flattering hues mixed with bright tones, deep rich creams, a few neutrals, dark vampy effects, plums, reds, corals, pinks and shades for all seasons and occasions. The large mirror is a nice touch but the lip brush is small and the thin shape makes application seem tedious so I don't really use it.


Although I'm obsessed with every color, the coverage is surprisingly inconsistent. I expected intense, buildable saturation throughout and what I got was 10 amazing mattes with medium to full coverage high intensity pigment and 15 glossy creams with sheer to medium color. Needless to say I wasn’t thrilled with the sheer tones since some show up as tints rather than lipstick and require a lot of layering to transmit the vibrancy and pureness of the color. When applied very generously, most of the shiny shades still look beautiful but I would have appreciated an entire palette of mattes and full-coverage creams instead. I also recommend keeping the plastic sheet covering since lip palettes have a tendency to dry up if not closed and sealed properly.

The mattes hold-up well enough (usually a few hours of wear) but the glossy shades don’t last as long so once I leave the house (without the palette) I need a backup lipstick if I don’t want to go bare-lipped all day.

Below I've swatched some of the lipsticks to demonstrate pigmentation and finish. Dean, Robert, Kelly, Davis, Kim and Angie are the sheer-medium creams and the mattes go from Lori to Peggy.


The formula contains nourishing butters and oils that provide moisture for comfortable wear and I think most of the pigments are suitable for all complexions. The palette retails for $79.00 and is still available at beautyboutique.ca should you wish to indulge before it's gone.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

NEW Urban Decay Store & Makeup: Naked 3 Palette Review

Before Christmas, when the malls were bustling with shoppers scrambling to find last-minute gifts, I attended a private party to celebrate the opening of Urban Decay’s new flagship store in Square One Shopping Center. When one of your favorite brand’s gets a beautiful new store jam-packed with gorgeous makeup it’s a pretty big deal and that night I chatted with friends and sipped cocktails while checking out the limited edition collections and exclusive items!


In true Urban Decay style the purple carpet was rolled out as beauty gurus and press strolled in with glittery eyelids and edgy lipstick.


I received a shiny new Naked 3 Palette (which I didn’t have) and got it personalized with graffiti style paint.



I know this fan favorite has been around for awhile but since it is a new addition to my Naked Palette collection I decided to do a quick review.

At first glance these shades appear mild and quite neutral but once applied the colors are fresh, luminous and very trendy! With the exception of a deep matte brown (which would have been a nice addition) these brilliant hues are perfect for everyday wear and glamorous events of all kind. One end of the palette contains silvery pinks, vibrant gold, rosy-champagne, and creamy mattes while the other end is a tad darker with bronzy tones, deep silver and a smokey black embedded with dazzling red sparkle.


For the most part the texture is smooth and silky but the shade Dust is flaky and a bit gritty so it doesn't apply as consistently. The pigmentation throughout is soft and nicely saturated with the ability to be intensified and blended well. I also think these particular colors are ideal for most complexions.

I like to enhance the shimmers by patting them on instead of swiping and the effect makes my eyes appear bright, bold and beautiful! I would have liked a bit more variation among the matte hues for more sculpting but overall this is a great palette to have in your collection. It retails for $66.00.



At the event I also received a few Moondust Eye Shadows which I am very familiar with. These babies are not for glitter haters, they are bold, high-impact and kind of out-there (but in a good way). I highly recommend using a base so that the particles adhere well, apply consistently and stay put. The pigments start off with sheer to medium coverage (especially the silver hue) but you can intensify them by simply layering the color and dampening the brush to pick up and transfer more glitter. The Moondust shadows retail for $22.00 each and you can read my review on the new Moondust Palette by clicking HERE.

From top left to bottom: Chem Trial, Crux, Interstellar and Vortex


When it comes to eye shadow base my all-time favorite is the Urban Decay Primer Potion. I have tried countless primers from many different brands and although there are a few decent options out there, this one has been my go-to product for about 10 years. This creamy formula intensifies all pigments (no matter which brand or formula) so they appear bold rich and saturated. It also prolongs wear so that my shadows last all day without fading even in heat and humidity. I’m not a fan of the packaging because it makes extracting the product difficult when it’s almost finished but no matter where I travel this primer goes with me. It retails for $26.00 and I just got a new tube online at beautybeauty.ca.


I like the Afterglow Blush but X-Rated is not a shade I’d choose for myself. The pale pink just doesn’t have the bold punch of color I usually prefer but it may be suitable for fair complexions. The blush retails for $32.00 and is available in 14 shades. 


I have quite a few eye shadow brushes from UD but this was my first experience with their face brush and I am very impressed! The cruelty-free, environmentally friendly large powder brush is definitely pro-quality and the bristles are soft, fluffy and well crafted which allows you to achieve a flawless finish. The larger surface also picks up and transfers the perfect amount of product and blends it effortlessly. It retails for $59.00.


If you haven’t read my previous review on the gorgeous Vice Lipsticks you can check it out by clicking HERE. My extensive collection gained two new hues over the holiday season – Jawbreaker (matte purple) and Ex-Girlfriend (nude-rose pink shimmer). There are 100 shades to choose from in a variety of finishes and textures. The lipsticks retail for $21.00 each.


I also received these glam, full-track lashes called Tricked Out. The hairs criss-cross for a natural, wispy look and the kit comes with glue for $20.00.


If you haven’t visited the new flagship store yet head on down to the mall! You can also find Urban Decay at Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart, urbandecay.ca and beautyboutique.ca.

NEW UD Beauty Junkies Rewards Program! 

When you join the new UD Beauty Junkies Rewards Program every purchase made at urbandecay.ca or freestanding stores earns you points that are redeemable for special rewards! As points accumulate ($20 and $30 rewards) you can use them to buy the products you crave. Membership also includes special access to limited edition items, promotions, gifts and more! For program details click HERE

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Annabelle Cosmetics 2017 Spring Collection Review

On January 6 (two days from now) Annabelle’s spring line is about to hit drugstore shelves and I’ve been busy testing some of the fabulous new releases!


The All-In-One Eye & Brow Palette contains: 2 eyebrow powders, 2 highlight shades, 6 shadows (matte & metallic) and 1 double-ended applicator. I love the idea of creating a complete eye look with one small palette and although the brow pigments are a tad ashy for my dark hair, the deepest hue works well for filling in sparse areas and the Annabelle eye pencils are my go-to brow liners.


The eye shadows are silky and soft with sheer to medium color-payoff that can be intensified and deepened when layered over primer. Although the colors aren’t very bold, they are smoky enough to create contrast and depth for simple everyday looks that flatter all complexions. The glitter is also quite mild if you prefer your pigments less flashy and more refined. The palette retails for just $12.95.


The Skinny Palette is great for travel and contains 5 appealing hues in warm neutral tones ranging from brown, bronze, silver and gold. These shadows seem to be a bit less saturated than the pigments above with sheer shimmer finishes and slightly buildable coverage. I would have liked a bit more richness and vibrancy but the smooth, velvety texture is easy to apply and the shades are very wearable. The palette retails for $9.95.


Since I prefer bold color, the Chrome Eye Shadows are more my style. These creamy, brilliant pigments are available in 5 hues and the Rose Gold shade below is very trendy! The texture is soft, moist and cushiony with vivid, high-impact metallic color. This smooth, cream formula isn’t flaky or loose and once applied it stays put without much transfer into the crease. To achieve such fabulous coverage with this particular finish I usually have to dampen my brush but this pigment adheres well (even without a base) and looks very similar to Stila's popular Metal Foil Shadows which I also love! They retail for just $8.95 each.


To make sure all those pretty shadows show up true to color the Annabelle Eye Shadow Primer is a must! It comes in a neutral peachy hue (which won’t show through when covered with pigment) and the creamy texture enhances color pay-off, prevents creasing and prolongs wear. I do have to dig into the jar a bit to extract the product but it works like a charm and when tested beside a swatch with no base, it amplified the shadow up to 3x more. The primer retails for $8.95.


The new Matte Single Eye Shadows ($8.95) come in 10 shades. Pink Lemonade (seen below with the primer) is sheer and soft which makes a great base and brow bone highlight.



The Full Blast Mascara ($6.95) has a traditional wand that is designed to thicken, define and separate for voluptuous lashes. I was able to achieve nice length and definition for daily wear and when layered with other mascaras the effect is more dramatic.


When it comes to eye pencils Annabelle has one of my favorite formulas and I like that many of them are twist-up. The Gel Eyeliner glides on effortlessly with rich black, waterproof pigment that accentuates the eyes and lasts all day. I also use this under my liquid eyeliner for even more definition and line reinforcement. It retails for $8.95.


Annabelle Cosmetics can be found in major drugstores across Canada and on annabelle.com with shipping to the U.S.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

NARS Spring 2017 Wildfire Collection: Review & Swatches

Although many of us have just celebrated Christmas and winter’s wrath is still in full-effect, I decided to start the New Year by sharing the pretty spring collection from NARS. The range features an eclectic mix of finishes including: vivid shadow sticks, bright blush palettes, metallics and neutrals.


The Satin Lipstick in the shade Kiss Me Stupid is a beautiful burnt sienna. The texture glides on creamy and supple for a wash of sheer to medium color and the neutral orange-brown undertone softens my entire look. Breaking Free is not a shade I usually go for but the vibrant pop of neon coral with flashy peach tint is a little retro and perfect for spring. This hue has a creamy semi-matte texture that is moist and rich but it took a bit of blending and some well placed layers to achieve consistent coverage. Like the satin finish, this formula is nicely pigmented and quite hydrating with an infusion of antioxidants and conditioners that nourish and prevent dryness. The lipsticks retail for $35.00 each.


I’ve never been one to choose an eye shadow stick over pressed or loose pigment but the new Velvet Sticks glide on smooth and creamy without skipping or dragging. The color is vibrant, beautifully saturated, blendable and non-creasing with a lightweight formula that can also be layered under other shadows. The packaging is convenient for travel and the rounded tip allows you to accentuate the lash lines for a dramatic effect. There are 8 shades available in both matte and multidimensional shimmer finishes and once set the color is long-lasting and smudge-proof. I also like that the sticks twist-up without the need to sharpen and the deep, jewel tone purple is stunning on all complexions. If you want to get really creative you can even use these on the lips! The Velvet Shadow Sticks retail for $35.00 each.

Siros (shimmery gold) & Usbek (deep purple satin)

The Eye Shadow Duo in - Thessalonique contains an iridescent seashell pink and soft violet smoke that complement each other beautifully. On me the pink undertone is very faint and I get more of a shimmery champagne hue which illuminates and highlights. The purple swatches a bit deeper than it appears in the pan with a light dusting of glitter that makes it feel more textured and slightly drier than the silky silver. Both shades are nicely pigmented and can be enhanced from sheer to fuller-coverage with some layering and a good primer. The palette retails for $43.00 and is also available in an assortment of other color combos.


Left to right: eye shadow, Breaking Free, Kiss Me Stupid, Usbek & Siros

NARS Cosmetics is available at Sephora, Hudson's Bay, Nordstrom, Murale and Holt Renfrew.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Electric Toothbrush Review

On a daily basis I review some of the hottest products on the market and according to my family I can be quite difficult to shop for during the holiday season. I am thankful for all the wonderful gifts I received for Christmas last month but I did ask for one thing in particular – the new Phillips Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush.


Oral health is important but I grew tired of having to replace my manual toothbrush every 2-3 weeks. No matter which design or brand I tried they never seemed to get the job done and since sonic vibrations work so well for skin cleansing devices like the Clarisonic and Foreo, I decided that it was time to enhance my bedtime routine.

As far as toothbrushes go the new DiamondClean is top of the line. It is designed to whiten teeth 2x better than a manual brush while removing 100% more surface stains and improving gum health in just 2 weeks. With over 31,000 strokes per minute, it chips away at 10x more plaque and targets hard to reach areas more efficiently. The intense sonic vibrations push fluid between the teeth and along the gum line for professional cleansing results similar to the feeling you experience after visiting the dentist.


The device comes with 3 interchangeable brushes in various sizes with protective covers. The AdaptiveClean brush is the first of its kind and is designed to follow the unique curves of your teeth while adjusting pressure for more surface contact and customized care. The toothbrush is available in 5 colors including: pink, white, white with gold trim and the amethyst edition featured here.

When it's time to change the brush, the deep blue bristles will fade to white. The replacement brush heads retail for aprox $37.97 for a 2 pack.


The charging base is also very stylish and unique. It fits under the glass holder and you simply plug it in and place the toothbrush inside. The instructions indicate a charging time of 24 hours but it only took about half that.

Charging base for the glass

Toothbrush charges while standing up in the glass

It also comes with a sleek case that is perfect for frequent travelers like me. While on-the-go you don’t have to take the charging plate and glass with you because the case itself has a built-in charger which you can use with the USB cord or the wall outlet plug and there is space for 2 brush heads.


This technologically savvy toothbrush takes teeth cleaning to a whole new level with 5 modes to customize your daily treatment.
-Clean Mode (2 mins): the ultimate in plaque removal, includes a 30 second cleaning interval.
-White Mode (2mins): removes surface stains to brighten and polish the front teeth
-Sensitive Mode (2 mins): gentle cycle for sensitive teeth and gums
-Gum Care Mode (1 min): complete whole mouth cleaning for problem areas and along the gum line
-Deep Clean Mode (3 mins): invigorating cycle with alternating cleaning and massaging
*The device also has a built-in Quadpacer - an interval timer that beeps and pauses to remind you to brush the 4 sections of your mouth (top and bottom).


Unlike the Oral B electric toothbrush (which I’ve used in the past), this one does not have circular rotating brush heads, instead  it works with deep sonic vibrations and manual movement. Although the vibrations are powerful enough to reverberate through the teeth and eradicate hard to remove plaque and food, a combination of rotation and sonic impulses would have resulted in the ultimate brush and made this device even better!

Since the vibrations are so strong expect some splashing and avoid touching the back of the brush (the plastic material) to the teeth because the sensation is not pleasant. With the exception of the largest brush, the other two are quite small which may be ideal for the shape and size of teeth but not as effective for cleaning the tongue. Although the vibration may feel intense at first, the bristles are firm yet gentle and I did not experience any gum soreness or irritation. There were a few toothpaste mishaps that sent globs flying off  brush when I turned on the device but you'll get the hang of it. I also decided to make the switch to all-natural toothpaste, more specifically the Toothy Tabs from LUSH which I will review shortly. 


Overall this toothbrush makes my mouth and teeth feel much cleaner than my manual brush and overtime I predict whiter teeth and stain removal which is great for coffee drinkers. My teeth also feel smoother with less plaque build-up along the gum line and around the permanent wire retainers hidden at the back of my 4 front teeth (a result of having braces). The Sonicare makes it a lot easier to thoroughly clean the back molars and behind each tooth where build-up regularly occurs resulting in fresher breath and little to no bleeding as gum health improves. After using this device morning and night a regular manual toothbrush just doesn't cut it anymore. 

The DiamondClean Toothbrush retails for $244.97 at Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Best Buy and select retailers. You can visit the website by clicking HERE.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Serpentine Beauty Luxe Crème Lipstick Review

Before Christmas I introduced Serpentine Beauty by featuring all of the Bold Lip Glazes and today you’ll get a sneak peek at the new Luxe Crème Lipstick Collection before it officially launches! While this up-and-coming Canadian brand puts the finishing touches on their website and packaging, let's sit back and marvel at these luxurious pigments that will surely leave their mark on the makeup community.


Designed to promote confidence and produce professional results, the new range showcases 10 brilliant shades with half the spectrum catering to neutral lovers and the other half consisting of rich, scintillating hues in a variety of bright and deep undertones.

The packaging is chic and elegant with a push-button top to release the lipstick from its capsule. Some of the inner tubes are a bit stiff in the cap and don’t always pop out all the way but the secure closure ensures that they won’t open in your purse.



If you are on the hunt for spectacular, pouty lip color without sacrificing comfort then look no further! These hues are vivid and pure for optimum pigmentation and there is just enough creaminess to lock in moisture and prevent dryness without bleeding or feathering. The satin finish will satisfy both matte fanatics and shine lovers since it falls somewhere in-between with a solid base and a hint of luminous sheen for eye-catching radiance.


Most of these shades last longer than your average lipstick because the weightless color adheres well and fades gradually without smudging. Applying the pigment sparingly gives you a lighter stain and layering allows you to boldly enhance the color for full-coverage saturation. The sweet vanilla scent is pleasantly mild and the formula is enriched with Vitamin C, Jojoba and conditioning Shea Butter to keep lips supple, smooth and nourished.


The variation of color is not extensive but it is classic and flattering so there is something for all skin tones. I don’t wear nude hues very often but surprisingly these all work for me. On my complexion the most flesh tone shade is Nude Awakening and my favorite neutral with its beautiful pink-coral undertone is Cheeky Minx. Among the deeper hues I tend to favor Code Red which is very Hollywood glam and Red Reaper which caters to my vampy side with a stunning wash of sultry wine. As far as pinks go I think many of you will love the shade Koúkla because the brightness is balanced with a blue undertone that makes it very wearable.


The quality of these beautiful lipsticks is on-par with popular high-end brands and they retail for $28.00 each at serpentinebeauty.com.
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