Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Make-Up Designory Canadian Launch & Review

In the spirit of freshening-up your makeup bag for summer Make-Up Designory (MUD) is now officially available in Canada at 10 Sears locations. The renowned New York and Los Angeles brand has been a popular choice with makeup professionals for decades offering high quality pigments, tools and customizable palette options.


I had never tried or heard very much about this brand until recently but their makeup brushes are excellent! The #600 Blender Brush ($32.00) has sturdy bristles and a tapered fluffy point that is perfect for buffing color into the crease without disrupting the surrounding shadow. It is firm yet soft against the skin so you can create the perfect cut crease, sharp sculpting and seamless results with no shedding. You can also use it for precise concealer application.


I am very impressed with the craftsmanship of the #615 Buffer Brush ($52.00). The sleek design, soft fibers and rounded surface blends cream or liquid foundation flawlessly to camouflage trouble areas and smooth skin texture. I haven’t experienced any shedding and this is definitely a brush any Makeup Artist would be proud to have in their kit.


The Eye Color Refills are magnetized and sold individually for $8.00 each so you can purchase empty customizable palettes or the single palettes for $3.50. The shades I have are flattering on all complexions and ideal for creating a sultry smokey effect with both shimmer and matte finishes. The pigments are simple and pure so the colors apply exactly as they appear in the pan and go from sheer to medium pigmentation with some shades offering bold saturation. The silky texture is soft and slightly creamy for easy blending but I recommend a good primer to enhance vibrancy and longevity.


The shades featured above are: Smoked Sapphire (deep navy), Semisweet (mid tone brown), Pyramid (mild gold), Moss (sheer green) and Black which can also be used as a liner.

A good setting powder is essential for long lasting makeup, refined pores and the appearance of even skin so I also tested the Zero Loose Powder ($28.00). The finely-milled, formula is soft and ultra light to effectively set makeup and color without settling into lines or looking cakey. There are several tints available but this universal shade has no color and helps control shine so your face looks fresh and matte. It also helps correct minor textural flaws and makes skin feel silky.


MUD is now available at Sears locations in Fairview Mall, Erin Mills Town Center, Stone Road Mall, Oshawa Center Promenade, Maple View Center and online at sears.ca.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 Limited Edition Spring Fragrances by Mugler

Mugler is well known for Angel and Alien Eau De Parfum but this spring the brand has released new limited edition variations featuring delicate craftsmanship. These collectible keepsakes will become the focal point of your vanity or dresser and the dazzling concoctions feature fresh seasonal ingredients that awaken the senses.


Alien is my favorite Mugler perfume because the unique scent is like no other on the market. Usually fragrances have many familiar accords that are quickly distinguishable but this composition rises to a higher level of complexity. Alien Eau Sublime is a new interpretation of the original inspired by the Solar Goddess with energizing notes of mandarin, bitter orange and galbanum balanced with robust jasmine, tiare flower and heliotrope and a base of warm cashmeran wood and white amber. The traditional dark amethyst bottle has had a luminous makeover and now features white crystal and golden hues that coincide with the theme of well-being, sunshine and femininity. This fragrance smells very similar to the original with a lighter, sweeter aroma and perhaps a little more zest. Although it retains a powerful presence without fading much, it is still suitable for both day and evening wear. I hope the next set of products from Mugler showcase different scents instead of a reformulation because it would be nice to smell something completely new. The 60 ml bottle featured here retails for $82.00


A*Men Kryptomint is the male version of Angel. The notes smell similar – albeit more masculine and the cologne is strong, vibrant and revitalizing. The magnificent flask-like bottle features a mysterious crystal star embedded in a bright aqua bottle that seems to come from outer space. I wasn’t sure I'd like the mint but it is well blended with the other notes so you get an initial whiff before it gradually fades into the background discernible only by a hint of freshness. The other accords are Egyptian geranium and Indonesian patchouli for a stimulating intermingling of sweet, and ruggedness. The 100 ml Bottle retails for $99.00.


For those of you who like the Angel Eau De Parfum (original scent) the refillable collector star bottle (35 ml) is now available for $98.00. I love the multidimensional irregular points and when you sit it down the bottle tilts to one side like a stunning gem. I don't care much for this particular scent and much prefer the shooting star gourmand - Angel Eau Sucrée, to read that review click HERE.


These fragrances are available at Hudson's Bay, Sephora, Nordstrom, Shoppers Drug Mart, Jean Coutu and Murale.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Rimmel Magnif’Eye Shadow Palette Review

If you wear makeup on a daily basis it's a good idea to have an everyday shadow palette with well matched shades that create quick, beautiful looks. Some mornings I just don’t have time to experiment with mixing and matching bold colors in flattering combinations so the Magnif’Eyes Collection by Rimmel comes in handy for work, evening events and travel.  


There are 3 color palettes available with the versatility to transform your look from day to night. The spectrum of pressed pigments can be used as shadow, liner, contour and highlight with both matte and shimmer finishes for a complete look. The range of color in the London Nudes Palette is a pretty gradient of neutrals, mid tone champagnes, pinks and purple undertones tapering off into deep grey, aubergine and copper for contrast and definition. The non-creasing, slightly creamy texture is quite rich and easy to blend for customized sculpting effects.


I don’t usually have high expectations for drugstore eye shadow but these shades are surprisingly saturated with fabulous pigmentation. I am able to achieve incredible intensity without using many layers and the neutrals pair wonderfully with the dark hues. When applied over a good primer my eye shadow holds up all day without fading or losing vibrancy.


For just $12.98 this palette is one of the better drugstore basics with highly usable shades. Rimmel is available at drugstores nationwide.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Urban Decay Vice Special Effects Long-Lasting Water-Resistant Lip Topcoat Review

Bold lip trends have been making a big comeback and I’m not just talking about unusual colors like blue, green and black. Some beauty gurus are taking it a step further by painting intricate water-color murals, adding a vertical strip of color to the bottom lip and even dousing their pout in glitter. Unfortunately we aren’t all blessed with an artistic talent for drawing but you can achieve Instagram-worthy lips in seconds with the new top coats from UD.


These dazzling special effects transform any lip color from beautiful to beyond and they work over cream, metallic and matte finishes. There are 12 glitter and shimmer shades available in clear tubes so you can see the color inside and they come with a flexible brush applicator that helps the formula glide on smoothly for mess free coverage.

Left to right - Circuit (smokey green with iridescent sparkle) and I got 2 in the shade Ritual (smokey blue-grey with 3D sparkle)

Swatched on their own the topcoats are sheer with multidimensional light reflecting particles but blended over lipstick the sheerness is filled out by the color of your lipstick creating a fluid wash of beautiful shimmer. To create a radiant highlight with a mesmerizing two-tone effect - apply the top coat to the center of the lips and when you want to amp-up the glam, glide it on all over.


At first the texture feels like a wet gel but it dries quickly with no sticky residue and creates a water-resistant barrier that seals in the color underneath and prevents it from moving around for longer wear. I also like that it doesn’t feel gritty or uncomfortable and you can layer it to enhance the intensity in specific areas. The glitter can be retouched throughout the day but to reapply the entire look (lipstick and all) it’s best to wipe everything off completely (tip: use the UD Makeup Remover Oil Stick to quickly cleanse the lips) and start over.

Monarchy (bright purple sparkle), reverb (purple with pink-gold sparkle) and Regulate (medium purple glitter)

The formula is enriched with marine filling spheres (aka collagen) for moisture and skin smoothing properties. You may experience a mild tingling sensation upon application as the special effects begin to lock-in and dry but this shouldn’t last very long.

Litter (iridescent glitter), Copycat (bright pink glitter) and Bruja (berry with gold pearl)

Although the topcoats can be used with any brand they match very well with the Vice Lipsticks. If you are unsure how to match them start by pairing each shade with a lipstick that has a similar undertone like red, purple, pink or green hues for a uniform look. When you’re ready for something more dramatic, try mixing colors that don’t quite match but still complement each other like pink with red or blue with green – the possibilities are endless!

Left to right: Regulate, Bruja layered over matte res lipstick, Monarchy over matte purple, Reverb, Copycat, Circuit, Ritual over deep indigo lipstick and Litter


The top coats retail for $21.00 each at Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart, UD freestanding stores and online at urbandecay.ca.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

2017 Summer Beauty Essentials

Although it has been a cold spring here in Toronto I’m looking forward to fun in the sun, drinks on the patio and warm beach days. Today I’m sharing some cute summer products that are totally on-trend this season including hair essentials, makeup and bath products that will transport you to an exotic destination.  


Mark’s Havana Sol Collection celebrates the energy of Cuba with tropical scents and bright pigments. The body wash ($14.00) is infused with a vibrant blend of fresh papaya, dark rum and warm velvet woods to create a blissful experience as you foam away the dirt, pollution and debris of a long day. The indulgent scent and relaxing lather leaves you feeling fresh and clean. The Mark Body Butter ($14.00) is my all-time favorite formula because of the super rich, hydrating texture. Infused with lush coconut oil, shea and aloe the cream melts in deeply to nourish, soften and soothe dry, flaky skin for 24 hours of relief. The soothing scent smells like summer in a jar and although it may be a bit too heavy for warm weather it does rejuvenate the body at night.


The collection also includes the Havana Sol Cheek Magnet Hook Up Blush-Bronzer ($18.00). Usually Mark delivers on intense pigmentation but these shades are very sheer and require many layers to create a visible flush. Although the bronzer doesn’t really work on my skin tone and the glitter seems to scatter, the subtle shimmer can be used on the body. If you have fair skin these shades may appear more prominent but better color payoff would have made the compact more useable.


The Havana Eye Palette ($18.00) contains some pretty poolside hues including cool lavender, deep blue and bright aqua offset by a range of shimmery greys and champagne. The finishes range from sheer to medium coverage but you can layer over primer and build them up for more intensity. Mark is available at avon.ca or through independent consultants.


When it comes to cute hair accessories I love the new designs by Tangle Teezer. The pink flamingo print is perfect for summer and the brush keeps my hair knot-free, smooth and sleek while on-the-go.


I like that it has a cap to protect the bristles while in my bag and the curved design fits comfortably in the hand for precise brushing from root to tip. The flexible teeth make detangling less painful for neat, frizz-free styles and I also have the pink animal print. The travel brushes retail for $25.00.


The new Professional Finishing Brush ($30.00) is designed to smooth and create shine with long, flexible bristles that glide through my thick hair with ease. It also massages the scalp to stimulate blood flow and promote healthy growth while eliminating pesky knots without pain or breakage. Although the handle is a bit short I love the hot pink color. Tangle Teezer is available at Sephora.



Whether I’m strolling through the farmer’s market or running errands on Saturday morning I often stop for my favorite iced coffee or summer drink. The new Lip Smacker Best Flavor Forever Set ($13.77) contains 8 popular beverage inspired balms including: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Cinnamon Chai Latte, Caramel Macchiato, Mocha Frappe, Mandarin Mint Tea, Green Tea, Lemonade, Watermelon Lemonade and Pomegranate Ice Tea. These delicious balms will keep your pout soft and smooth all season long and this set is available at Walmart, Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, well.ca and Lawtons.


Most of us hate to shave but when it’s time to break out your summer wardrobe it must be done. Avon’s Skin So Soft Fresh & Smooth Moisturizing Shave Oil ($10.00) infused with shea butter and vitamins makes the task easier by transforming into a milky lotion on wet skin and creating a slippery surface for smoother glide and suppleness. Unlike heavy shaving creams this one doesn’t clog my razor and it provides a close shave with fewer cuts.


Paul & Joe has also released some pretty makeup including the Powder Blush Duo in shade 003 Mon Canard. This frosty pink and dusty rose function more as highlights with a pop of subtle color and silky sheen for a radiant glow. It retails for $21.00 and you can pick up the refillable case with spring motif for $8.00.


The About Pearl Foundation Primer in Silky Bon-Bon has a lightweight water based formula that provides dewy hydration and the illusion of crystal clear skin. Infused with orange flower water, white lily, jojoba oil, apricot extract and sparkling pearls it smooths, minimizes pores and blurs imperfections to create an even canvass for makeup application. The formula feels refreshing with no heavy residue or stickiness which is ideal for warm weather and I love the cute nail polish bottle design! The primer retails for $40.00 and Paul & Joe is available at beautyboutique.ca and Shoppers Drug Mart.


It isn’t a summer roundup without some fabulous lip products and recently I’ve rediscovered the NYX Soft Matte Lip creams. The lush formula provide layers of comfortable moisture with intense, vivid color that lasts for hours. They retail for $9.00 each and come in a wide variety of trendy hues at nyx.ca, drugstores and freestanding locations. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Burt’s Bees Lipstick Review – New Shades

If you’re on the hunt for juicy, moisturizing color, the Burt’s Bee’s Lipsticks combine vivid pigment with the comfort and healing power of a nutritive balm. The new shades are exactly my style - a sultry range of rich berry tones and a pop of mild pink.


Infused with a conditioning blend of Moringa Oil, Raspberry Seed Oil and Vitamin E, the formula is 100% natural with a smooth satin finish. I love the cute honeycomb motif on the tubes but you do have to be careful when capping to prevent smooshing the lipstick and avoid twisting them up too far.


The color glides onto the lips effortlessly and drenches skin in dewy comfort for hours of softness. The pigmentation may not be full-coverage or opaque but the sheer wash is still vibrant enough to make a statement with a hint of glistening shine. I love how the luscious oils sink in and rejuvenate dry skin and the color lasts a few hours before fading into a pretty stain.

Left to right: 533 Orchid Ocean, 522 Crimson Coast, 524 Wine and 513 Doused Rose

The lightweight, fragrance-free formula is slightly creamy, non-irritating and safe for sensitive skin plus the range includes shades that flatter all skin tones. The sexy berry tones range in intensity so you can go light, medium or deep with the vampy blackberry.


The subtle petal pink called Doused Rose is soft, feminine and flattering when you want to lighten things up.




The lipsticks retail for $9.99 each and Burt’s Bees is available at drugstores nationwide and online at burtsbees.ca.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

LuMesh Blendable Lip/Cheek Stick - Review & Swatches

I was introduced to LuMesh Cosmetics a few years ago and since then I’ve been enjoying their Hydrating Lipgloss. The company may be small and fairly new but the products are formulated for women of all age groups and ethnicities without the use of parabens, sulfates or synthetic fragrances. The brand's support of diversity and self acceptance is represented by a range of complexion flattering pigments designed to accentuate the natural beauty of every woman.


The Lip/Cheek Sticks are beautifully packaged in chic black tubes with a clear base that displays each color. I love the idea of putting a small mirror on the cap because I don’t always remember my compact and it makes reapplying on-the-go quick and convenient.


The sticks were conceptualized as multi-purpose products designed to glide across the lips and cheeks for a sheer wash of color. The lush pigment melts into the skin as it's warmed by body heat and feels very silky, nourishing and lightweight - similar to a supple tinted balm. The infusion of Vitamin E, plant extracts and antioxidants condition, soften and hydrate with no greasiness and the rejuvenating effects are long lasting.

Julie

Although the colors are not intense, they aren’t completely sheer either. I was able to enhance the saturation by layering for a bit more coverage and all 3 shades are universal. I love how comfortable and moist my lips feel and the radiant sheen makes my pout appear healthy and smooth.

Michelle

Applying the color to the cheeks is a bit tricky because the texture is creamy and a tad glossy so blending too much can fade it out completely. Instead I swipe it on directly from the tube and gently dab at it with a finger to achieve a natural flush. You also have to set it lightly to prevent transfer but be careful not to wipe it all off with your brush. To avoid breaking the sticks don’t twist them up too much (that goes for most lipstick) and to switch from face to lips make sure to wipe off any foundation residue that may affect application.



Although you can use the sticks as sheer blush I personally prefer powder formulas for the face. As lip treatments/lipsticks these are definitely a trendier alternative to traditional balms and when you crave a light tint + dryness relief they deliver the perfect amount of juicy shine.

Jill

I'm looking froward to seeing what the future holds for this brand and I hope they expand the line to include some full-coverage matte or cream lipsticks! The Lip/Cheek Sticks retail for $36.00 each and LuMesh is available online at lumesh.com and select retailers listed on their website.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighter Illuminating Powder Review

Glowing skin is on-trend everywhere you look including the red carpet and social media so it's time for some high-end luminosity with Burberry’s Fresh Glow Highlighter. This elegant compact features a delicate lace design with reflective pearl shimmer that instantly brightens and accentuates the cheekbones. 

Shade: Nude Gold

The lightweight, translucent powder is versatile enough to create subtle shine or high-impact strobing for more glamour and the formula blends well without settling into the texture of skin. The shimmer particles disperse and blend well for a neat, seamless finish with no chunky glitter and this shade has a pretty silver base with frosty gold sheen. The silky texture applies smoothly with each swipe and the radiant effect lasts all day without fading so skin appears dewy and fresh.


When layered over primer the pigment can be used as glittering eye shadow or dab some around the inner tear ducts to make the eyes look wide and bright. The highlighter retails for $72.00 and is available in 3 other gorgeous tints.

Burberry has also released new face and lip contour pens for all your sculpting needs. The lighter brown is for facial contouring and the creamy crayon can be swiped on and blended out to diffuse the color and control intensity. This shade is deep enough for dramatic sculpting and retails for $42.00.


The Lip Contour ($33.00) is available in 4 shades and this is the darkest hue in the collection. I think the color is supposed to be more flesh tone for accentuating and plumping the border of your pout so this shade is way too dark for me. I may be able to use it for facial contouring, brow filler or lipstick but the formula is wonderful and sets well.

Highlighter, lip contour and face contour

Burberry Cosmetics is available at Hudson’s Bay, Nordstrom and Sephora
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