Thursday, December 8, 2016

Shu Uemura Murakami 2016 Holiday Collection: Review & Swatches

When it comes to holiday design and symbols of festivity many of us think candy canes, Christmas trees and Santa but contemporary artist Takashi Murakami does things a little differently. When it came to creating the colourful holiday collection for Shu Uemura, he used his cosmic bloom flower pattern to evoke the magic of the season from a child’s perspective and reawaken our dreams and innocence. I think the packaging is vibrant, fun and cheerful while staying true to Japanese trends.


The Cosmic Blossom Eye and Cheek Palettes are available in two color collections. This compact is called Cosmikawaii and the finishes range from matte, shimmer and glitter with tones that flatter many complexions. The beautiful garnet-red (my favorite for the season) has good pigmentation and the shimmery orange is bright and radiant. The deep matte purple is a little dry but creates contrast and definition for sculpting and all shades have a smooth texture. The lighter purple is quite soft compared to the others and the glitters are all very sheer so they require a lot more layering. I also found that sponge applicators or eye shadow brushes don’t really pick up and transfer the glitter very well so you may be better off using a finger or dusting them over other pigments. The coral blush with sparkling gold fragments provides just enough saturation for a fresh summery effect.


The Cosmicool palette is idea for those who prefer cooler tones. The purples, grey and midnight navy mix, match and pair beautifully in any combination for a harmonious balance of iridescence and smokiness. The lavender has a soft finish but the 4 central shades have the best color pay-off in the palette and can be enhanced for more coverage. Like the glitter shadows above, these are also very sheer (more like an overspray without much underlying pigment) which is probably what the artist was going for. The pink-coral blush reminds me of spring. It isn’t my favorite shade but it definitely helps perk up a dull complexion on a gloomy day and the glitter is very subtle. The palettes retail for $85.00 each.



The shadows are also available in trios with the same design for $39.00. I love the smouldering aubergine and bright orange combo!  


You don’t usually see much sunscreen in holiday collections let alone in makeup primer but these will shield you from harmful UV all year long with SPF 50. There are 2 tints available - Fresh Pink and Natural Beige which are formulated to balance uneven skin tone and hydrate for up to 24 hours. The primers do have a faint white finish if you use a generous amount but when blended very well the tint becomes unnoticeable and creates a smooth, even surface for foundation. Although they contain high SPF, the consistency is light, non-sticky and non-greasy so it doesn’t feel like sunscreen at all! The Primers retail for $46.00 each.


The Skin Purifier Anti/Oxi + Pollution & Dullness Clarifying Cleansing Oil is enriched with moringa and green tea to remove stubborn makeup and impurities. The citrus scented oil glides across the skin and loosens heavy foundation and pigments while nourishing, soothing and stimulating. After massaging it in for a few minutes, simply add water to emulsify and rinse clean. Unlike soap cleansers this one is gentle and non-drying. It leaves my skin soft, supple and moisturized which is why I will be using it all winter! It retails for $44.00.


The Rouge Unlimited Lipsticks come in the cutest packaging ever! The colors are vivid and luminous with sheer finishes that make lips look plump and pouty.




Although the tints are not intense, there is enough pigmentation for a nice wash of juicy color and the formula is light, non-sticky, hydrating and comfortable on parched lips. Some of the lipsticks have a simple, shiny finish while others contain floating pearls for a bit of dazzle but they are all bright and flattering no matter which you choose. They retail for $36.00 each.


This collection has a wide variety of products including the Wonder Worker Leave-In Spray. It detangles, conditions, smoothes and tames frizz. I spritz it on clean, damp hair before heat styling to enhance moisture, shine and softness. You can pick it up for $42.00


The Cleansing Oil Shampoo formula is one I am very familiar with. The lush oil works its way through every strand and transforms into a light cleansing lather that eradicates build-up, and excess oil. The shampoo also purifies and balances the scalp without parabens or silicone. It retails for $56.00.


You can find the Shu Uemura Holiday Collection at Sephora and shuuemura.ca

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Quo 2016 Holiday Collection: True Artist Lip & Cheek Palette Review

Quo has so many gift sets to choose from it can be difficult to pick favorites. Today I’m featuring another rather large palette from the holiday collection which includes eye shadow, lip color, bronzer, highlighter and blush.


If you like neutral tones, the True Artist Palette has a lot of them! There are 24 shades ranging from taupe, gold, brown, silver and cream plus a few greys, blue and black for contrast. I also like that the outside of the palette has sticker swatches displaying all the colors.



The texture of the shadow is smooth and slightly creamy but the pigmentation varies throughout. Some of the rich browns, nude tones and bright baby blue apply medium coverage and can be enhanced while a few others are sheer with very little color. There are some flattering shimmers, rich crease contours, mild transition hues and nice highlights but you may have to layer heavier to achieve maximum intensity and I highly recommend a good primer to prolong wear.


For everyday use, the shadows provide soft day looks and you can deepen things up with the smoky shades. The top row has too many white tones for my taste and there is also a lot of beige. I would have liked more color variation and pigmentation but I am still able to create some nice effects. I wouldn’t really classify this as an “artist palette” because the formula isn’t quite there but for beginners and those who prefer simple looks it gets the job done.  


The lip glosses are my favorite thing about the palette. There are 3 nude shades and 3 berry-red tints that are quite flattering. The deeper tones are light, sheer and moisturizing with a bright pop of color and you can amp-up the pigmentation a little for more saturation. The nude hues are also quite nice with gold, clear and pink undertones that add luminous shine. The only downside to having lip gloss in a large palette is that you can’t reapply on-the-go.  


The last row consists of blush, bronzer and a highlight but overall they didn’t have the color pay-off I hoped for. The last blush applies quite light even though it looks deeper and the browns are too sheer for contouring so I use them as eye shadow.


This palette retails for $45.00 exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart and although not every pigment is a winner, there are definitely some pretty hues. If you are looking for a multi-purpose palette from this collection I’d go with the Color Wonderland set which you can read about HERE.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Pür Minerals Best Sellers Kit Review: 5 Piece Beauty-To-Go Collection

If you are new to a particular beauty brand and have no idea what to try, the best sellers and blogger approved items can be a good place to start. Pür Minerals has selected 5 of their most popular products for this fabulous kit and they even provide a how-to guide should you need a little help.


The Correcting Primer comes in a mini tube and this stuff is wonderful! It instantly transforms rough, uneven skin into a smooth, silky canvass for flawless foundation, minimized pores and a shine-free finish. I like that the texture is not too slick or silicone feeling and although I still need a moisturizer underneath, it does provides light hydration so skin isn't dry and flaky.


The Big Look Mascara is definitely a cult fave and the spikey little bristles grab each hair and extend them up and out for added length, volume and thickness. It even grips the bottom lashes for a pretty fanned-out effect and the formula is infused with nourishing argan oil for protection and moisture. (Individually the mascara retails for $21.00)


The 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup is foundation, powder, concealer and sun protector all-in-one. It contains SPF 15 for a little UV protection and is available in 5 colors so you can find a shade suitable for your skin tone including: tan – (the one featured here), light tan, blush medium, blush light and golden medium. I wasn’t sure this color was going to match but it sets my foundation well and blends in seamlessly for light coverage. It also has brightening and mattifying benefits so skin looks fresh and healthy. The pigment has a smooth finish and helps conceal any blemishes not totally camouflaged by my regular corrector. The powder in the kit is roughly half the amount of the full-size version (which is still a lot) and there are 11 shades (4 deeper than this one and 6 lighter).


The Mineral Glow is my favorite product in the kit and you get the full-size version which retails for $25.00 individually. This velvety powder with radiant gold undertones is beautiful! Unlike many highlighters it doesn’t have an immense amount of glitter particles, instead there is a soft dusting of finely milled shimmer embedded in a luminous base. This formula appears more natural but still gives you the glow you crave or a sun-kissed effect depending on which shade you choose. On medium, olive and deep skin tones this is the perfect complexion enhancing color.


The kit also comes with a flat top chisel brush which is designed to apply the pressed foundation. I also use it to buff in primer and foundation because the top is flat and the soft bristles blend effortlessly.

The only thing missing is a lip color and since the Pür Minerals Lip Lure Lacquers are amazing, I would have loved to see one in the kit. Other than that, this is a fantastic deal and a great gift for the holidays! The collection retails for $45.00 available at Shoppers Drug Mart and beautyboutique.ca

Monday, December 5, 2016

2016 Holiday Gift Guide For Him

Holiday shopping can be stressful and some men can be a little difficult to shop for. If you are searching for the perfect gifts for guys, keep reading to discover my top picks for 2016 including: cologne, skincare, shaving essentials, jewelry and gadgets!


Jack Black sells popular skincare and shaving essentials and this year the Power Pack includes a complete grooming routine he is sure to love! The products come in a chic travel bag that is perfect for his busy schedule and includes: the Beard Lube Conditioning Shave with jojoba and eucalyptus, the bestselling Daily Facial Cleanser with aloe leaf and sage, Turbo Wash Energizing Cleanser for Hair & Body and the Clean Break Oil-Free Moisturizer with organic white tea. Many of these products are fragrance and paraben-free which makes them suitable for sensitive skin and easy to gift plus the nourishing elements sooth, refresh, hydrate and protect for soft, healthy skin. This collection retails for $79.00 at jackblack.ca and Hudson’s Bay.



For the tech savvy man who prides himself on capturing the perfect shot, the Limelens Kit may be just what he’s looking for! It comes with a nice case, 2 lenses, attachment clips, instruction manual and everything you need to get started. The Supreme Fisheye Lens has a 190˚ viewing angle and the Dual-Purpose Lens offers a 10 x macro perspective and wide angle view to capture intricate details beyond the capability of a Smartphone camera. It also offers a greater choice of photo angles, framing and composition plus it fits over 40 devices including leading phones and tablets.  


At first I had a little trouble aligning the lens over my device but once in place you can start snapping away with ease! Photo edges may appear slightly blurry and your phone may not fit in it's case with the lens attached but overall I found it particularly useful for shooting landscapes and travel photos. The kit originally retails for $99.00 at limlens.com but is now on sale for $49.99.



Avon always has a great selection of gifts including stylish, well crafted Elgin watches. This particular piece stood out because of its sophisticated design, smooth lines, classic embellishments and versatility. The silver and black combo with shiny finishes and large face is perfect for daily life or formal events. This is a watch he can wear to a board meeting paired with a trendy suit or with jeans and a t-shirt for guy’s night out. It retails for $100 but is currently available for $49.99 at avon.ca.


Les Industries Groom produces handcrafted grooming products from the finest natural ingredients without the use of parabens, perfume or coloring agents. The Travel Kit comes in a jar containing: the 30 ml Shaving Cream that creates a rich lather for a comfortable shave, a 15 ml Aftershave Balm for a invigorating blast of hydration, 7 ml Aftershave Splash and a 7 ml Shaving Oil that nourishes, protects and softens while reducing ingown hairs and cuts. The products are small but effective and this is a good brand introduction for men who seek a more organic option due to skin sensitivity or irritation. Since the products are made with plant ingredients and essential oils, the botanical scent is very strong but also quite fresh and healing. The set retails for $32.00 and is available at lesindustriesgroom.com


Wanted is like no other cologne on the market and the scent is my favorite release of the year! The bottle is sleek, sophisticated and dangerous - designed to resemble the cylinder of a loaded gun. The aroma evokes themes of passion, raw masculinity, ambition, power and bravery - qualities most men strive for. The exotic ingredients form a complex blend including: spicy ginger, zesty lemon, vibrant cardamom, French juniper (for a warm amber undertone), vetiver and tonka bean which balances the composition with vanilla, cherry and almond aromas. The cologne retails for $92.00 per 100 ml and is available at Hudson's Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora and Sears.


~Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Avon 2016 Holiday Collection: Mark Eye Daydream of Glam Eye Shadow Palette Review

Many of you know that Mark is my favorite Avon brand and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of a new eye shadow palette. Just in time for the holidays they launched this jaw-dropping color collection - a sequel to the bestselling Eye Dream of Glam Palette which I still use all the time!


When it comes to unique design, pretty pigment and cool packaging this palette takes the cake! There are 16 large eye shadows in shimmery marbled finishes that resembles a multicolored galaxy. The casing is sturdy and even when closed you can see every shade through clear peek-a-boo circles on the lid.


The shade selection is fascinating with a beautiful array of gold, blue, silver, champagne, pink, garnet, purple, deep green and more. Although each shade has a swirl of color, the most dominant hue in the circle is the one that shows up and I should also note that they do not appear multi-toned on the lids. You can alter the shade slightly by sweeping your brush over certain areas of the shadow to pick up different tints.



Overall the pigmentation and color pay-off is good and only a couple shades have a sheer base. The consistency is silky enough but still quite textured without much creaminess. To achieve more intensity I usually layer over primer or dampen my brush to pick up more shadow and swipe on heavier to enhance the color. Using a base also helps prolong wear and allows for better adhesion.



The finishes are mesmerizing with some shades applying iridescent, luminous and metallic. The vibrancy and bold effects pair well with matte crease colors that are blended to perfection. With a flattering mix of everyday hues and lavish tones you can use this palette for soft looks or glamorous creations and the shadows compliment all skin tones.

This palette is a holiday exclusive so it may not be around for long. It makes an amazing gift or a nice treat for yourself and retails for $50.00. You can find it at avon.ca or through an independent consultant and this collection also includes a brush set, nail polish and fragrance with the same packaging design. To see more of Avon’s holiday collection click HERE.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Arbonne 2016 Holiday Collection & Gift Guide

The stocking are hung, the tree is up and it’s time to get out the wrapping paper! Every holiday I know I can count on Arbonne for great gift ideas and luxurious skincare that my family is sure to love! This year the brand has released a beautiful selection of festively packaged sets and trendy pigments.


Let’s start with something to satisfy the beauty junkies on your list – pretty eye shadow! These refillable palettes are totally customizable with magnetic backings and mini mirrors. You can simply select your favorite single shades for $20.00 each to create your own palette or purchase an expertly paired duo for $50.00 (including compact). Most of the hues are deep mattes, vibrant shimmers or flattering neutrals – perfect for daily wear or bold festive looks.




The shadows are silky, smooth and long-lasting with buildable color that can be intensified nicely for professional results. The crease hues are all very blendable to create contrast and shape with little fall-out and good coverage. Because you can mix and match the palettes any way you want by changing the shadow parings, the possibilities are endless! I love that the brand offers sophisticated, rich hues that compliment all skin tones and age groups to make gift giving simple.

For those who love a pop of vivid green - Amber Forrest is a great palette. The bright gold and dark green contrast beautifully to make the eyes pop!


Sequoia is my favorite duo because I wear these colors most often. The gold and bronze combo is one that every woman can pull-off effortlessly.


Storm has a gorgeous deep brown crease hue offset by a shimmery gold that is simply stunning!


One gift that is always popular during the cold winter months is a good hand cream with loads of natural ingredients. The Shea Butter Collection with nourishing oils, extracts and luxurious butters is just what dry skin craves on frosty days. The set comes with three wonderful scents – Apricot Vanilla, Lavender Mint and Shea. Each formula softens, and repairs dry rough skin and damaged cuticles to protect, and deeply moisturize. You can gift this collection as is or break it up to create 3 individual gifts or stocking stuffers. It retails for $50.00


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – bold lipstick on chapped, peeling lips isn’t cute. The Lip Therapy Set with Tahitian Coconut is lush and tropical with a delicious soothing scent. It comes with a creamy Lip Smoother with sugary granules and a super moisturizing Lip Salve with a luminous, non-greasy finish. The Smoother contains meadowfoam oil, coconut extract, shea and grape seed oil to rejuvenate and hydrate while exfoliating rough skin for supple, healthy lips. I usually rub it around with my finger or apply some to my lips while pressing and rubbing them together. The balm provides long lasting results to heal and alleviate on contact. You can pick up this great set for $61.00.


You can find these products at arbonne.ca or through an independent consultant.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Burt’s Bees 2016 Holiday Collection: Gift Sets & Stocking Stuffers

I’ve already begun wrapping gifts and putting them under my Christmas tree and this year I’m giving wonderful skincare and lots of beauty surprises! If there are loved ones on your list sensitive to fragrances, synthetic additives, dyes and parabens, Burt’s Bees is an excellent choice for the holidays.


What girl wouldn’t love a pampering mani-pedi set with amazing natural ingredients?! This kit comes with an invigorating peppermint foot lotion, moisturizing hand cream (for very dry skin), lemon butter cuticle cream and an exfoliating foot brush for just $19.99. The skincare is infused with nourishing sunflower, coconut oil, witch hazel, rosemary, orange, parsley, tea tree and a long list of fruit and plant extracts that soften, heal and rejuvenate rough hands and feet. The foot brush is double-sided and comes with a pumice stone for sloughing away rough skin cells and the creams are non-greasy and refreshing.


The Facial Cleansing Cloths are fantastic because they remove dirt, oil and heavy makeup while gently conditioning the skin with aloe, cucumber and white tea extract. I love that the cleansing formula doesn’t burn my eyes while removing crunchy, waterproof mascara and this little pack (10 wipes) is great for travel. You can stuff these in stockings for just $3.99.


Burt’s lip balms are cult faves and are now available in fun flavors and tints. The Kissable Color Collection is another great stocking stuffer idea. It comes with three juicy shades – apricot, watermelon and grapefruit with sheer radiant finishes and a pop of shimmer.


These light, luminous tones hydrate parched lips and shield them from winter’s wrath with loads of oils and supple butters. The set retails for $9.99 and is also available in deeper hues.


Burt’s Bees is available at major drugstores, grocery stores and mass market retailers. 
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