Brief reviews of four eye-related products

Posted on October 19, 2016 under Reviews


Today I have for you reviews of four products that are somewhat related to the eyes, none of which I feel require full posts to review. Although I am wordy enough that a single short review is probably equivalent, word count-wise, to the average beauty review.

Hard Candy 1000 Lashes Fiberized Lash Primer


I bought this thinking it would be a white primer which would make my YSL Bleu Majorelle mascara show up better, which it was not and did not. However, it works pretty well as a lash primer in terms of adding both length and volume. I wouldn’t say it’s extremely noticeable – that is, if I applied to one eye and not the other I don’t think anyone would think there was a jarring discrepancy in how my lashes looked. But I do think there is a difference, and this primer may be a really great (budget-friendly!) option for people who want to bring their lashes to the next level.


Personally, I find using a separate primer under my mascara to be an annoying faff which I usually do not have time for. Should I want to pump up my lashes for a special occasion, I will definitely use this primer. But a lash primer is simply not something I see myself using on a regular basis. If you’re into that kind of thing, this is a solid, affordable option.

Lancôme Hypnôse Star Mascara


The original Hypnôse mascara is, I must begrudgingly admit, one of my favourite mascaras. I’ve enjoyed Definicils and Hypnôse Doll Lashes, while feeling very underwhelmed about the original Grandiôse. I find Hypnôse Star a bit underwhelming, as well. Where Grandiôse was slightly clumpy, Hypnôse Star is just… really not dramatic. At all. It doesn’t give me a huge amount of length or volume. I mean, it definitely enhances my natural lashes, as mascara is wont to do, but I was expecting, um, drama.

I’m wearing Hypnôse Drama in the lash comparison above, and I guess it looks fine. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it, and it doesn’t get clumpy. It definitely looks better than Grandiôse. But it just doesn’t compare to another of my favourites, Clarins Truly Waterproof, which gives me amazing length and super defined lashes:


If this mascara were eight bucks at the drugstore, I’d probably be pretty happy with it. But it’s eight million bucks, and if I’m going to spend eight million bucks on a mascara (which, once again, I never will), it’s going to be one that’s damn good. The original Hypnôse is still on my short list of fancy mascaras I’d spend Optimum points on. Hypnôse Drama certainly isn’t.

Maybelline Master Conceal by FaceStudio Camouflaging Concealer


In March my mom and I were using her Optimum points to buy a bunch of makeup (which is the best way to use Optimum points, of course), and we were just under our $170 worth of free stuff – so I grabbed a Master Conceal in a panic and threw it into the basket. As it turns out, I really like it. It’s a good multi-purpose concealer in that it covers blemishes well but also performs admirably under the eyes. It’s more dewy than matte, so it needs to be set and may not be suitable for those with very oily skin. But look at what it does for my undereyes:


It really brightens and lifts and does a pretty good job of hiding my dark circles, which is all I can ask for. Plus, the tube is a generous 0.4 fl oz (that’s almost half the size of a standard foundation), so I probably won’t be running out anytime soon. My biggest complaint with this product is, of course, the shade range. There are only five shades, and while they are definitely better than, say, Rimmel or Bourjois, whose shades consist of “pale to light tan”, it certainly doesn’t go terribly deep. Drugstore concealer seems to be particularly bad for this; while some brands are bringing out more expansive foundation ranges, concealers at a low price point are still basically all limited to a few (generally quite light) shades. It’s also worth noting that Fair, the shade which I use (surprise, surprise) leans slightly yellow, if that’s something that bothers you. I can’t say if the whole range does, having only used this one.

La Roche-Posay Respectissime Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover


I will start this off by saying that I am definitely a La Roche-Posay brand loyalist. I use skincare from various brands, but most of the time these days when I need something new I look to LRP first. But I was definitely skeptical of Respectissime; all the bi-phase alternatives to the very pricey but very effective Lancôme Bi-Facil I’ve tried have let me down.


You could say I like La Roche-Posay…

When I ran out of my supply of Bi-Facil, I could not face shelling out $39 for another bottle. So I bought Respectissime for a mere $19.50 (yep, that’s exactly half price for the same amount of product), because I was curious and because I do like La Roche-Posay. Colour me very impressed when it easily took off my Clarins Truly Waterproof mascara and Stila Stay All Day eyeliner, two products which are pretty stubborn when it comes to makeup removal time. Respectissime also lacks the heavy fragrance of Bi-Facil, which I appreciate. I don’t have sensitive eyes, but I don’t really need to be putting fragrance all up in my eyeballs, you know?

I had a sensitive-eyed customer the other day who tested the Vichy waterproof eye makeup remover on one eye and Respectissime, at my suggestion, on the other. The Vichy made her eye red and didn’t fully remove her eye makeup. Respectissime did not irritate her eye whatsoever and removed everything. So I’ve already converted at least one person, and I intend to bring Respectissime into my regular rotation of “products I love to sell”, especially as an alternative to Bi-Facil.

(By the way, in case anyone was wondering, I don’t work for LRP. I have access to a variety of brands to sell but do sell a lot of LRP because I genuinely like it!)

And there we have it: four eye-related products that I wanted to share my thoughts on. Next time I see you I’ll have a lip product review which I am pretty excited about.

Empties: July to October 2016

Posted on October 12, 2016 under Empties

This is my hundredth post, and also just about the two-year anniversary of this blog. (I’m early by about a week, but oh well.) On this occasion I have another instalment of empties, brought to you by an overflowing box that I am eager to dump out. I’ll probably do one last empties post before the end of the year, but as we all know, I space them out rather sporadically so I can’t promise a thing.

As always, anything I received for free through work is indicated with an asterisk.



L’Oreal Colour Radiance Protective Mask: Man, are you tired of seeing these yet? Me too. Luckily this is the last of my neverending stash of these. I did really like this product for quite awhile there, but now that my hair is nearing three years of bleaching it’s not quite as effective as some other things. Great for dry but not terribly damaged hair, though.

Marc Anthony Nourishing Oil of Morocco Deep Hydrating Conditioning Treatment: Now that’s a name! I really liked this product and I’ll probably add another packet into my rotation when I’ve made my way through some of the deep conditioners I already have. I wish they sold a full-sized version of this (rather than just a regular conditioner), but I don’t mind buying smaller packets of deep conditioner as I can stretch them for a long time and it allows me to switch things up regularly.

Light Blue Shade Original Shampoo: I love this purple shampoo. It really helps with the labour-intensive upkeep required to be a platinum blonde, and works better at cutting brassiness and maintaining platinum better than anything else I’ve tried. (And I’ve tried a lot of things!)

Hi-Test 30 Volume Developer: I have never found a particular developer to be any better or worse than all the others. I currently have ten half-used bottles because for some reason I went through two years of selective amnesia surrounding purchasing developer, so it is notable that I actually finished one.



Lancôme Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover: I used up two of the deluxe sample sizes of this product. As established several times on my blog, I think it’s incredibly effective but also overpriced. Luckily, I have discovered an alternative for half the price, which you will be seeing on this blog very soon!

Avène Hydrance Optimale Légère*: I felt pretty meh about this moisturizer, to be honest. It was a pretty thin texture, which was okay for summer, but I still prefer a thicker moisturizer. It’s not that it did a bad job or irritated my skin, but I just really like the feeling of a thick cream (that doesn’t feel heavy on the skin).

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 60*: Good stuff, people!

Bath & Body


Freeman Pomegranate Body Sugar Scrub: A Clementine classic! I like this stuff a lot. It works and it’s cheap and cheerful.

A-Derma Exomega DEFI Emollient Balm*: I attended an A-Derma event in May for work and received a big swag bag. This is the only product I’ve gone through so far, and I must say I really liked it. It’s on par with the La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+ Baume for me in terms of effective but gentle body creams for my dry, KP-ravaged limbs.



Clarins Truly Waterpoof Mascara: Definitely one of the best mascaras I’ve ever tried. I’d use Optimum Points to buy this again, for sure. It made my lashes look incredibly long, and it lived up to the waterproof claim. (Something to keep in mind if you’re one of the many people out there who does not enjoy removing waterproof makeup!)

Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara: This mascara was such a letdown. I generally really like Lancôme mascaras, and the packaging is so beautiful that it totally sucked me in. But when my work friend gifted this to me and I actually tried it, I was disappointed! It’s more of a volumizing mascara (my preference is for length), but I find that it looks clumpy quite easily. It’s not unusable by any means, but I wouldn’t repurchase this at a drugstore price, let alone for the $35 Lancôme is charging!

NARS Illuminator in Copacabana: I got this sample of Copacabana with a purchase I made on r/makeupexchange and it lasted me a very long time. (You can see there’s still product in there, but I left it unsealed and it dried up.) I loved this very shiny pink-toned highlight a lot. I’m loathe to purchase the full-size because, seriously, that is way more product than I could ever reasonably need, and I already have five highlighters, which I feel is more than enough for me. But maybe one day if I ever make a dent in my highlighter stash!

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer: I’ve tried several samples of this and it’s always left me feeling disappointed. For all the hype it receives I don’t feel that it does anything for the longevity of my foundation – and, yes, I’m testing it with silicone-based products. I’ve used this with at least three foundations with the same underwhelming results each time.

Dior Forever & Ever Wear Extreme Perfection and Hold Makeup Base: This was miraculous with my Rimmel Lasting Finish 25H Foundation. I never felt that that foundation went on well with a damp sponge until I used it on top of this primer – it looked glorious. And it really did hold it in place all day. I didn’t find it did much for my MUFE Ultra HD, which is ultimately what held me off from purchasing the full size for an admittedly absurd price. I’m still on the hunt for a primer that works well for me, and I’m growing increasingly skeptical that any of them actually do anything.

And that concludes this instalment of “Pictures of My Garbage”!

Review: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes

Posted on October 01, 2016 under Reviews


In the past year and a half, I have moved to a quality over quantity approach in my makeup acquisition. When I was just starting out, it didn’t make sense to pay big prices for products that I didn’t know how to use. Now, though, I have everything I reasonably need (insofar as anybody can “need” makeup), and my purchasing has decreased at a steady rate. I’m a big fan of regularly evaluating my collection and decluttering items I’m not using, but I’m also decidedly not a minimalist. I will continue to acquire new makeup – just at a slower pace.

Although I do love a good bargain and swear by many a drugstore product, much of my makeup interest lies on the more expensive side of things these days. Well, that’s not strictly true. For boring things (the necessities, you might say), I’m more likely to spend my money at the drugstore. But for colour cosmetics, things that excite me, I’m all about those fancy products!

I wholly acknowledge that, often, higher end products are all about marketing and nice packaging. I used to scoff at people who shopped at Sephora, thinking that there was no way any of those products were worth it. But, well, some of those products are worth it.

This probably doesn’t come as any surprise to those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, but I adamantly believe that the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes are worth their weight in gold. (Incidentally, ounce for ounce, gold is currently worth almost six times as much as an ALB. Adjusting for Canadian price differentials, the closest blush I could find to the weight of gold was Tom Ford, at $313.71/oz.) Aisling gave me Diffused Heat in January 2015, and over the course of that year I collected four of the seven shades, adding Luminous Flush in June and Radiant Magenta and Mood Exposure in December.


Maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places, but I feel like a lot of the time blush reviews talk about colours, pigmentation, texture, and blendability and completely skip over longevity. I don’t know about you guys, but I have a lot of blushes that are beautiful colours and textures that fade fairly quickly. These blushes are the antithesis to that – they check every box, including longevity. I always put products to the work test – if they can survive eight hours of me being run off my feet in a busy retail environment, they can’t be too bad. The other week, I applied Diffused Heat at 2pm and got home past 12am. When I looked in the mirror, it had not budged. That’s why I think Hourglass has managed to edge out some of the other more expensive blushes that may be pigmented, soft, and blendable but not intensely long-wearing. They also give the most gorgeous glow to the face without ever looking shimmery. I was not a fan of the Ambient Lighting Powders, but damn they’re nice mixed in with a blush.

My only real complaint with these (other than the obvious – the price point) is that the shade range is not great. There are only seven shades to begin with – which seems to be about average compared to luxury brands like Tom Ford and Guerlain – and, more disappointingly, the actual range is honestly not the best. There is only one truly cool-toned blush out of the bunch, Ethereal Glow, and it’s so pale that I can’t imagine it would be serviceable for a very wide range of skin tones. Mood Exposure is the only other standout in terms of sheer difference; it’s a warm mauvey plum. The others are all variations of coral or peach – and, let’s face it, when blended out they’re not going to look that different. I wish that Hourglass would bring out more shades, but also that they’d thought through the original six a little more fully. I think a deep, cool pink is missing from the range, and a deeper berry or soft rose would be welcome additions in my mind!

You can see what I’m talking about in my swatches:


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat is a warm coral red. It has visible shimmer in direct sunlight. It’s pretty pigmented right out of the gate, but not too much so.


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush is a peachy pink. Like Diffused Heat, it’s quite pigmented.


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta is a toned-down fuchsia. It has visible shimmer in direct sunlight. It’s a bit sheerer than Diffused Heat and Luminous Flush.


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure is a brownish plum, or maybe a plummy brown. It’s my favourite of them all because it’s so versatile. It looks boring in the pan but on the face it’s stunning.



Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush on my face.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes retail for $45 CAD for 0.15oz, or $300 per oz. (For those wondering, at the time of writing, gold is currently $1730 CAD per oz.)