Summer 2016 Favourites

Posted on August 29, 2016 under Favourites

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It’s almost September, and that kind of means nothing to me. For the first time since I can remember, I’m not going back to school this week. I’m actually pretty bummed about it, but this time next year I will either be gearing up to move to Scotland or recently arrived, so I guess it’ll all be okay in the end.

Technically summer is not actually over for another few weeks, but I can’t help but see the end of August as the end of the season, since I’ve always started school in early September. So this seemed like an appropriate time to share with you my summer beauty favourites.

Face

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I believe I’ve mentioned in passing a few times my love for Revlon Nearly Naked foundation. It had light-to-medium coverage, a lightweight consistency, and a really great natural finish. I much preferred it to its thick, full coverage cousin Revlon ColorStay. I was devastated when NN was discontinued. The much-hyped MUFE Ultra HD reminds me a lot Nearly Naked. It has pretty good coverage but still looks natural; it’s lightweight and watery compared to foundations like, say, Rimmel Lasting Finish, and I like how it looks on my skin.

The real winner, though, is the combination of MUFE Ultra HD and the Real Techniques Stippling Brush. I had one I liked using to apply pigmented blushes, and decided to get another one for foundation. I’ve spent the last year applying foundation with my fingers, and before that was a devout knockoff Beauty Blender user. But I love the way this brush applies this particular foundation. It doesn’t go on too thick, and it’s super easy and quick to blend it all out with stippling motions. I do like this foundation with the RT Buffing Brush too, but there’s just something about the finish I get with the Stippling Brush that I truly love.

glossier-haloscope

I recently won the Glossier Haloscape in Quartz in Renee‘s giveaway. I was pretty jazzed about this because a) winning things is nice, and b) Glossier doesn’t ship to Canada (yet). Like many others, I’m not a massive fan of Glossier’s cool-girl branding, but I have been curious about some of the products thanks to all the hype. I’m not sure if there’s anything else I’d purchase myself if and when they do open up their international shipping, but I’m so glad I have the Haloscope.

I spent August 5 to 21 in front of my television whenever I wasn’t sleeping or working. I’m really serious about the Olympics. I actually packed a makeup bag full of stuff to keep in my living room so that I could get ready for work without leaving the television. As such, I used the Haloscape every day that I put on makeup. This is the product that has made me realize that cream is my favourite format for highlighter. It’s just so easy to swipe on (straight from the tube) and blend out with a few taps. And, I mean, the glow is real:

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So real that I just assumed it would distract you from that zit, and declined to photoshop it out.

Highlighter is one of those options that I could take or leave, so I love having a product that is easy to apply, requires no brushes, and makes a huge impact.

Eyes

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I will admit that I’m not a huge fan of Kat Von D the human. (Although, let’s be real, her video about Jeffree Star was incredibly satisfying to watch.) And if the UD Naked Ultimate Basics had been announced six weeks later, I would have bought that. But instead I bought the Kat Von D Shade & Light Eye Contour Palette, because lately I’ve been very into mattes for the first time in my life, and I don’t regret it for a second. These eyeshadows are every bit as high quality as everyone says, and I love all the colours on my skintone. The middle of those larger pans is the perfect subtle contour shade for me. I also love the large pan on the right. That peach shade is great for blending out around the edges. And of course, the deep rusty shade is stunning. I honestly think that between this palette and my LORAC Pro, I could probably be set for neutral eyeshadows. However, I will continue to own many unnecessary palettes because I want to.

nars-callisto

I bought NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Callisto at the end of May, and I absolutely love it. It’s a silvery pink eyeshadow with the most ridiculous shine. Seriously, you need to see it in motion to understand:

nars-callisto

The whole point of the Dual Intensity shadows is that you can use them wet or dry. I personally have not tried Callisto wet, because I can’t imagine it looking even more amazing than it does dry. One day I will test this thesis. One day I will also use it as a highlighter and probably have my mind blown.

summer-favs-lashes

There’s nothing like a good eyelash curler to make your lashes look amazing, is there? I’m glad I dropped the big bucks on this Tweezerman Classic Lash Curler, because it curls my lashes much more effectively than the cheapy Walmart brand one I’d been using previously. And Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara has been my go-to. Waterproof mascara isn’t my usual bag, but it’s nice when I’m hot and sweaty, and I adore what it does for my lashes:

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I’ve always been into length over volume, and this is probably the best lengthening mascara I’ve ever used. It may have even dethroned the original Lancôme Hypnôse for my favourite absurdly expensive mascara that I would in no way ever spend actual money on. (Truly Waterproof was a gift from a friend.)

Its wand is quite standard, like so:

clarins-truly-waterproof-wand

Lips

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Generally I go for cool lipstick colours because I like them better on myself. But this summer my two favourite lip colours are quite warm. The first is NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte, which is the first peach I’ve ever truly liked on myself. It’s a bit deeper – peaches with white bases are absolute no-gos for me – and has just a hint of brown. It was my go-to neutral colour this summer. I like the formula, too: I didn’t find it overly drying, and it lasted well. I’m not sure that it’s worth $39, but I bought it with Optimum points so I don’t really care anyway. (My one very pedantic criticism is that I always think of Brigitte Bardot with more of a pale nude lip than a deeper warm peach, but I found a lot of pictures of her wearing peach lipstick, so I will eat my words.)

When I wanted a bit more colour, I pulled out an old favourite: Revlon Balm Stain in Romantic, a sheer, warm red. I don’t think they even make this colour anymore. I bought it way back at the beginning of my interest in makeup – at the time I couldn’t have had more than 5 lip colours total. The few times I’ve tried to make opaque warm reds work on myself, I have hated them and given them away. But there’s something about the sheerness and slight shine of Romantic that I really like, and that gets me compliments every time I wear it.

summer2016-favs-lip-swatches

Brigitte is on the left in this picture; Romantic is on the right. They actually look really similar in this swatch; in real life Brigitte is more peach and Romantic is more red. But you can see that I really knew what I liked this summer!

Nails

summer2016-favs-nails

I used to have incredibly strong, thick, unbendable nails. Around two years ago, they started peeling. I’m not sure if this had to do with the fact that I stopped drinking like 75 litres of milk a day around that time, or because I started a job that required using my hands a lot around that time, or something else entirely. Witchcraft Be Strong Protein Hardener is a base coat that has really helped cut the peeling down. As for specific nail colours, I’m loving Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Rosy Outlook, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Pacific Blue (though I’m having to ration it since I only have two bottles left), Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Sugar Fix, Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Barracuda, and Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine in Kiwi. These are some of my favourite nail polish colours ever, come to think of it. Also, I really like blue. And Sally Hansen.

Hair

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Light Blue Shade is the best blonde shampoo I’ve ever tried, and it’s under $10 Canadian. Contrary to its name, it’s actually a deep purple, and it’s incredibly effective at fighting brassiness. Normally my hair will take on some yellow after some time without toner has elapsed, even with a purple shampoo. Here, compare a picture of my hair somewhere between toning cycles using another shampoo with my hair today:

light-blue-shade-results

The last time I did my roots and toned my hair was approximately 5 weeks ago, so we’re halfway through my usual cycle and still this platinum. And that’s using my DIY Manic Panic concoction instead of a more potent developer-based toner. Needless to say, I love this stuff a stupid amount.

And that is it for my summer favourites! I hope you all had a great summer and that if you’re embarking on a new school year it goes well for you.

I’m back…

Posted on August 06, 2016 under Life

In mid-July I said I hoped not to go a long stretch without a new post again, but here we are nineteen days after my last post. My three-year-old laptop finally died after barely chugging along for the past half year, and for boring reasons I wasn’t able to replace it until today. I am now a Mac owner, which so far is pretty sweet except for the pain I felt at dropping $1600 on a computer. (I did get the education discount and a free pair of Beats wireless headphones, so I guess that sweetens the deal a bit.)

Anyway, this is just a note in case anybody noticed my absence. It’s a bit of a copout post, but I hope to get back into the swing of things now that I’m not relying exclusively on my phone and iPad for internet access. Hope everyone is doing well – I’m currently going through over 200 blog posts in my feed reader to catch up with everything.

See you soon with a real post!

ELF Brush Collection and Review

Posted on July 18, 2016 under Reviews

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Back when I first got into makeup, ELF was one of the first brands I purchased from. I made a few large but shockingly inexpensive orders during the spring and summer of 2013. Since then I have purged all but a very few of the products. The things I have reached for most often over the past three years are a handful of brushes. A few weeks ago, my mom and I decided to make our first ELF order in years. I picked up their brush cleanser and some more of their dirt cheap brushes.

I decided that rather than just review the new brushes I’d give an overview of my ELF brush collection as a whole. I certainly have not tried even close to the whole brush range, but hopefully this slightly more comprehensive post will be helpful to someone out there!

Blush Brush

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This is a fairly flat, tapered blush brush. It’s smaller, flatter, and more tapered than the bdellium tools 964 and the Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Face Brush. I don’t find that it picks up product super well, and I tend to prefer a larger and more rounded brush for blush application anyway. But I love this brush for blending out heavy-handed blush application. Everyone knows that eyeshadow blending brushes are must-haves, but a blush blending brush has saved the day for me many times. This particular brush is certainly not an essential, but I have found a use for it!

Highlight Brush

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This is a new purchase for me. It’s a pretty standard tapered highlight brush with synthetic bristles. It’s fairly similar in shape to the bdellium tools 944, but a bit wider and fluffier. I really like how it applies highlighter: it lays down a good amount of product but not too much, and it blends it out as it goes.

Crease Brush

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This is a very fluffy blending brush that tapers considerably at the ferule. It is a lot fluffier and less flat than both the Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush and MAC 217 (and bdellium tools 766, which is so similar to the 217 that I didn’t bother to include it in the picture). A lot of people have hyped this brush up as one of the best crease brushes out there. Personally I think it’s okay for applying a crease colour if you’re going for a diffused look, as it’s quite fluffy. I find that it’s a bit too floppy for my tastes, though: I prefer a slightly stiffer and flatter brush because I find it’s easier to get the pressure necessary to blend effectively. I do like this for when I just want to fluff a neutral colour into my crease, put a coat of mascara on, and call it a day. I would not use it for more detailed crease work. I was excited for this one to arrive, but it was a bit of a letdown. I will certainly manage to use it, but I wouldn’t say it’s anything to write home about.

Contour Brush

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I’m not sure why this isn’t called the Eye Contour Brush since clearly it’s a short stubby pencil brush. It’s wider and less tapered than the Lise Watier Eye Contour Brush and Quo Crease Blending Brush. I really like this one for packing eyeshadow more densely into the crease. It has a slightly larger surface area than I was expecting so it’s not for extremely precise crease work, but I find it fits into my socket very well and applies colour evenly. It has no fluff to it so some blending work with a separate brush is required, but that’s cool. I don’t generally expect my brushes to blend unless they’re blending brushes, you know?

Small Smudge Brush

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This is one of my OG ELF brushes and I love it. It’s very small and flat, more so than the Real Techniques Detailer Brush and Accent Brush. (Both of those are fairly flat, but they’re nothing compared to the Small Smudge Brush!) I envy those girls on YouTube who can bring eyeshadow very far under their lashlines, but I’m not one of them. I have dark circles and too much eyeshadow under my eyes just brings them out. I do generally like a medium colour along the outer half of the bottom lashline for definition, and this is without fail the brush I use for that. It’s tiny and the perfect size for those of us who just want a little bit of shadow close to the lashline. It gets right in underneath the bottom lashes and doesn’t drag the colour down too far. I’d be lost without it!

Eyeshadow “C” Brush

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This is a large, rounded all over eyeshadow brush. It’s flatter than the Real Techniques Domed Shadow Brush and larger and slightly more rounded than the Real Techniques Smudge Brush. I don’t have a lot of eyelid space so this one covers a lot of area on me. Unfortunately, I don’t find it delivers great pigmentation, so I don’t reach for it very often. I find it most useful when I’m applying a light colour all over my eyelid and a medium colour in the crease for a very quick and easy eye look.

Concealer Brush

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Again, this is a fairly standard concealer brush: flat and a bit tapered. The Real Techniques Shading Brush is less flat; the Real Techniques Detailer Brush is smaller and relative to its size longer and thinner. I was very underwhelmed when I used this for concealer (I prefer something a bit fluffier), but when I discovered how well it packs on eyeshadow I was sold. I actually ordered two more this time around, because I use this brush all the time and the less often I have to clean it the better. It’s my go-to when I have an eyeshadow with lacklustre pigmentation. I’m sure most brushes with this shape would do a fine job packing on eyeshadow, but this one is three bucks, SO.

Angled Eyeliner Brush

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I’ve had this forever and I never really use it. I find the bristles a bit too floppy to apply gel eyeliner very well. It probably won’t survive my next purge. I rarely wear gel eyeliner, anyway, and when I do this is not my go-to brush.

Brow and Lash Brush

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This is a spoolie which I bought because it was $1 and I’ve been using a cleaned off mascara wand for the last three years instead of an actual spoolie. To be honest, the mascara wand was fine. But I wanted to feel a little more legit, and $1 seemed like a fair price. I like this, but I don’t feel that I would be overly critical of many spoolies regardless.

Retractable Lip Brush

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This is a lip brush. It’s slightly thinner than the Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush, but, you know, they’re pretty much the same thing. It does the job just fine. I like that it’s retractable because it’s good for travel – I don’t want a used lip brush getting gunky and gross.

I think ELF brushes can be a bit hit or miss: I don’t always find that they deliver the best pigmentation, but some of them are surprisingly good. There are quite a few that are staples in my brush collection and that I use every day. Like anything ELF, I think it’s best to do a bit of research before committing to any brushes – but there are some really great ones out there for 3 bucks a pop!

(Also, as an end note, I hope you will forgive me for my dirty brushes. I did not have the time to wash them before I took these pictures.)