Packing Light for Prague

Posted on November 25, 2017 under Life

My last few trips I did not bother to pack light makeup-wise, either because I didn’t have to or because I felt I needed options. This weekend, however, I’m going to Prague for purely touristy reasons, and I thought this would be the perfect time to exercise some restraint. As with all my European weekend trips, I pack entirely in one small school-sized backpack, so I really need to streamline my makeup to make room. I thought I would share my very minimal makeup bag today.

I can easily fill a liquids bag with skincare, but I know that when I’m walking around all day and sleeping in a hostel dorm room at night my desire to keep up with a complex skincare routine is zero. So my liquids bag – which is from Muji, by the way – reflects a back-to-basics approach.

The skincare steps I cannot do without are cleansing and moisturizing. The Caudalie Vino Perfect Serum from this year’s Sephora birthday gift will help boost the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra moisturizer to keep my skin nice and hydrated. I’ve never had issues with dry undereyes until the past month or so, so I decided to bring the Biotherm Homme Eye Depuffer (which, by the way, is a nice gel eye cream even if you’re not a man). I got a sample of the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor which I’ve been saving for travel, since obviously my poor dead hair requires a lot of moisture. I don’t have any travel-sized shampoo right now, so I’ll have to pick one up at the airport.

The IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream is such an easy, fuss-free foundation that it was a no-brainer when it came to choosing which base product to pack. The packaging is also incredibly travel-friendly. For concealer, Maybelline Master Conceal works under the eyes and on blemishes.

I can’t be without Milani Eyeshadow Primer, and Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a staple for me as well. The Lancôme Hypnôse Drama mascara mini is convenient for travel, and I like the mascara as well. (Lancôme mascaras are so hit and miss to me, but this one is a hit.) Finally, a fresh tube of Essence Lash and Brow Mascara to keep my brow hairs in place.

And then the rest of my makeup easily fits in one small bag, which is a point of pride when I am prone to overpacking.

For the cheeks, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure goes with everything and is a perennial travel staple for me. This is the most beautiful flattering blush colour in the world despite how “meh” it appears in the pan. I’m not sure if I’ll bother with highlighter, but I figured I’d give myself the option. Glossier Haloscope in Quartz is easy to apply without brushes and it gives a very natural effect, so I thought it would be perfect for travel.

Urban Decay Naked Basics is probably the most boring travel palette choice in the world, but it’s small, practically indestructible, and foolproof. I decided to add an eyebrow pencil into my repertoire mainly for travel purposes, so I don’t have to mess around with a brush and pomade when I’m on the go. The Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner in Universal Taupe is one of many ABH Brow Wiz dupes, and it works for me.

Forgive me for being extra and packing two lip balms. Overnight, my lips need the heavy-duty power of Nuxe Rêve de Miel, but during the day I prefer something a little lighter like Vaseline Lip Therapy. In an uncharacteristic move, I am committing to a single lip liner – Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Enchantment – and a single lipstick – YSL Rouge Volupté in #17. I love moisturizing lip products when I’m travelling, and the soft berry shade of #17 makes it a perfect candidate for this trip. I usually like to pair the Rouge Voluptés with a liner underneath to increase the staying power a bit, so I’ll likely just wear this combination together each day.

I tend to really overpack brushes, but this time I cut it down to the essentials: Magic Collection Oval Brush, ColourPop Blush Brush, ColourPop Blending Brush, ELF Crease Brush, ELF Eyeshadow C Brush, ELF Eye Contour Brush, ELF Small Smudge Brush, Elf Spoolie. Wow, I do really like ELF brushes, don’t I?

(By the way, I definitely washed that foundation brush after I took this picture!)

In case you were wondering about cleansing, I did buy a pack of makeup wipes from Superdrug. I hardly ever use wipes, but I just think washing my face with an actual cleanser while travelling is more hassle than it’s worth. My skin is pretty resilient, so I think it’ll survive. I love using actives on my skin, but I know that I can get away with just makeup wipes and moisturizer for three nights. It’ll make my life easier!

Anyway, I’m off this evening with my nice light makeup bag. I’ve wanted to go Prague for years, so I’m really excited that I could finally make it happen.

Review: Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

Posted on November 18, 2017 under Reviews

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

Every time I visit Aisling, she has an enormous stash of makeup castaways for me to go through. (I mean, seriously, I filled a tote bag with stuff to bring home this time, and I only took about half the stuff she had stored for my perusal.) I always find it hard to resist mid-range and high end freebies even if I don’t really want them, so I ended up with a bottle of Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5 to try. I have heard overall good things about this product, but I also know that I prefer a light to medium coverage and that long-wearing foundations don’t tend to mesh well with my dryer skin type. However, I could not resist trying out a $50 foundation for free. Hey, if I like it I win, and if I don’t like it one of my friends will win.

I began to realize that I would probably struggle with this foundation when I watched Katya use it on Instagram Live. Now, I appreciate all the drag queens on the internet for teaching me so much about life and gluing your eyebrows, but when it comes to foundation I think it’s safe to say that if it’s drag-approved it is going to be beyond too much for me. Katya’s go-to is the Dermablend cream foundation, which I have tried and which could not possibly be thicker or more high coverage, so that gave me enough context to realize that I was wading into shark-infested waters.

And you know what? I was right! It’s not just that the All Nighter Foundation is truly full coverage, which is a level that I think few people actually need. It’s also the fact that this foundation is most definitely suited to combination to oily skin types. I usually describe myself as “on the dryer side of normal”, and now that we’re getting into winter it’s at its driest. Winter in general doesn’t wreak havoc on my skin, but the transition into winter does, and that’s where we’re at right now. So I fully acknowledge that I am not giving this product its best shot since my skin is at its lowest potential currently, but that’s just how the cookie crumbles.

Whether applied with a brush, a sponge, or my fingers, the All Nighter Foundation tends to cling to dry patches and textured areas. When applied with a damp sponge I find that after an hour or two of wear it smooths out somewhat, but upon initial application it looks noticeably heavy on my forehead, upper lip, and jawline.

Here is my face with no makeup:

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

And here is my face with about 2/3 of a pump of Urban Decay All Nighter foundation applied in one even layer:

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

I mean, is it just me or does this look very unnatural and mask-like? It’s also a bit too light for me, although it does oxidize – more on that later.

Let’s do some close-ups so we can evaluate the coverage and texture:

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

Clearly, the coverage is impressive; it totally covers my blemishes and hyperpigmentation, and my moles barely show through. What does show is that I am wearing foundation. I’ve seen cakier, but come on. This is how I like my face to look (dark circles notwithstanding):

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

Clearly, the All Nighter foundation is not giving me this look.

Here’s how it looks after four hours of wear:

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

Looks okay from here, but let’s zoom in:

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

There is clearly some unflattering clinging going on here – not as bad as it could be, but not ideal.

The All Nighter Foundation claims to be waterproof, so I tested this by running my face under my shower head for about ten seconds. I let most of the water dry naturally and then blotted the remainder off. Some of the foundation did come off, but it maintained pretty good coverage. However, it looked way cakier.

Here’s my full face after being watered:

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

And close-ups:

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

More heaviness on the forehead and between the brows, and it’s worn away just above the inner portion of my eyebrow.

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

Looks cakey on the upper lip, and it’s worn away around and on the nose.

Totally emphasizes the texture I have on my jawline, and it’s settled into my smile lines. By the way, the orange splotch is from eating soup sloppily and has nothing to do with the foundation. (Not that it needs help looking bad…)

Usually when I experience wear problems with foundation, it’s simply a matter of them wearing away. With the All Nighter Foundation, it stays on my skin but by the end of an 8- or 10-hour day it looks very heavy and textured. So I guess technically it is long-wearing, but it may not be something you actually want to wear for a long time. I wish I had photographic evidence of how it looks after a full day of wear, but unfortunately Glasgow is currently getting about 12 seconds of sunlight a day, so you’ll have to take my word.

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

Packaging-wise, I think this is attractive, sturdy, and functional, so it gets a Clem seal of approval. I love that it has an airless pump, because it means no product will be wasted. I’d say I wish every foundation were packaged like this, but we still can’t get every brand to include a regular pump so I won’t hold my breath. Either way, this is the only thing I wholeheartedly enjoy about this foundation.

Comparison swatches:

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

L-R: Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5, Rimmel BB Cream in Very Light, NARS All Day Luminous Weightless in Siberia, The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.1N (current best match)

Aisling told me that she bought the lightest shade, 0.5, because she had read that this product oxidizes a lot. It didn’t on her and she ended up with a product that was too light for her. On me, it definitely does oxidize – when I first apply it, it’s a hair too light, but it ends up being a hair too dark.

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 0.5

You can see that it’s noticeably darker around the edges where it’s dried. If after this absolutely glowing review you’re interested in this foundation, I’d keep the oxidization issue in mind and maybe get a sample before buying if possible.

If you have oily skin and/or are a drag queen, the Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation may be the product for you! If you are normal to dry, I would suggest avoiding it. I’m not big on full coverage foundations anyway, and this certainly isn’t the one to change my mind. While it’s packaged beautifully and does boast impressive coverage, it simply does not want to play with my skin type, and the oxidization is another strike against it.

Drugstore favourites: Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipsticks

Posted on November 11, 2017 under Reviews

I noticed recently that a great deal of my reviews are of mid-range to high-end products – probably because they’re more exciting to me. I’m far more likely to meticulously research pricey products before pulling the trigger, and the fact that they’ve taken up so much headspace means I’m already in the frame of mind to review them. With drugstore products, I’m prone to impulse purchasing – snapping something up, putting it in my makeup storage, and only thinking of it when it’s time to apply it. But, like most of us, I started at the drugstore and I still have a good range of drugstore products in my collection which I use regularly. Today I thought I’d shine a spotlight on one of my favourite drugstore products of all time, the Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipsticks.

When it comes to lipstick, my collection leans pretty expensive nowadays. When I first started wearing makeup regularly, I was all about the lipstick (and still am) and bought all my lip products from the drugstore. These days buying a fancy lipstick is one of my favourite ways to treat myself, and over the years I’ve accumulated so many dupes and near-dupes that I’ve weeded out a lot of my cheaper lipsticks in favour of the ones I paid a lot for. My favourite lipstick formulas are higher end; I’d say that my top two are Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution and NARS Audacious. But the Maybelline Creamy Mattes will remain in my collection, because they are amazing. In fact, I’d rank them right up there with CT and NARS formula-wise at a quarter of the price.

A lot of the time when we talk about drugstore products, we qualify them: they’re good for the price, because they’re so cheap we can’t complain, they’re a good budget option. But no joke, the Creamy Mattes are straight up one of my favourite lipstick formulas, no qualification necessary.

The name really says it all; Maybelline was not lying. These are a true matte (for a bullet lipstick, that is – they don’t look as, well, dry as liquid lipsticks) and incredibly comfortable. They don’t feel as smooth and creamy as the CT or NARS; they have a slightly dryer-feeling formula, but they don’t dry out the lips or tug on application. All in all, they’re everything you could ever look for in a lipstick formula, and you can regularly get them on sale for $5.99 CAD. The packaging is undeniably drugstore, but I think it’s pretty nice. It’s sturdy and I like that it’s matte, which always reads as less cheap to me than a shiny tube. These lipsticks feel more substantial than something like the Rimmel lipsticks. The tubes all look the same, however (with the colour of the outer packaging changing from line to line, but not shade to shade), so if you have a few of these I’d suggest storing them upside-down so you can see the shade names at a glance.

Really my only complaint is that I want them to expand the shade range! Canada gets a little short-changed here; we don’t have as many colours as our American friends. I have diligently avoided the allure of buying makeup since arriving in the UK, but it seems that Boots and Superdrug carry a whopping six shades of the line. Maybelline did just launch the Inta-Mattes a few months ago, which, as far as I can tell, share the Creamy Matte formula, but none of those colours call to me. (They also don’t seem to be available in the UK.) I would kill for more bolds in this line! The drugstore could use more high quality mattes in the plum/magenta/berry/purple family.

These smell similar to MAC lipsticks – that is, they have that vanilla-reminiscent scent that’s standard across a lot of lip formulas. I wouldn’t say I love the scent, but it doesn’t bother me in the least, and I don’t notice it throughout the day. I mention this only because I know some people dislike that specific scent in their lip products, and I myself am sensitive to certain scents as well.

Now, some pictures of the colours I have:

My first exposure to the Creamy Mattes was in the form of Lust For Blush, which is a cross between pink and lilac. This is the type of colour that should not be flattering on me but somehow is. It’s quite similar to Wet N Wild Mauve Outta Here, a colour that I destashed back in 2013 but sought to replace with something with a superior formula. (That was a lie the internet told me – I never got along with those Wet N Wild lipsticks.) It’s really the colour of Lust For Blush that compelled me to buy it, as I was convinced that it was the colour I was looking for. And it was, but it also got me hooked on the formula. This borders on a Barbie pink, which should look positively terrible on me. Every time I put it on I’m surprised not only that it doesn’t look awful but that it actually brightens up my face a lot. This is one of my favourite lipstick colours of all time!

Comparison swatches:

L-R: MAC Please Me, NARS Audacious in Anna, Maybelline Lust For Blush, Lise Watier Rouge Gourmand Velours in Cake Pop, Little Mix by Collection in Perrie

You can see that it’s more purple than the medium pink (Please Me), though not as mauve or dusty as Anna. It looks positively pink compared to a true purple (Perrie). Lise Watier Cake Pop is darker and more saturated but the most similar tonally, though it still lacks that hint of lilac.

My next foray into this line was Touch of Spice. This was a colour which I had passed over many times until I saw my coworker wearing it. This is one of those complex neutrals that can be described with a variety of colour adjectives: brown-y pink-y mauve-y. On her it pulled quite purple, which interested me as the bullet appears more brown. On me it’s more of a pinky-brown. I never would have thought I’d like something with this much brown, but it’s very flattering and easy to wear and one of my favourite fall neutrals. When I worked in cosmetics, this was one of the lipsticks I sold most frequently. I’m pretty sure every customer I put it on bought it! It looks different on everybody and it flatters such a variety of skintones. Of course I shy away from describing something as “universally flattering”, partially because that’s nearly impossible and partially because it’s really just conjecture on my part. That said, I have seen this colour on a lot of people ranging from very fair to medium-to-dark, with basically every undertone, and it’s looked good on them all. I can’t promise you anything, but it’s worth a swatch, at least. You can see in the pictures above that different lighting conditions pull different undertones out, as well, though usually on me it’s more of a pinky-brown without too much mauve or plum.

Comparison swatches:

L-R: Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry, Maybelline Touch of Spice, Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Hush Hush

Okay, let’s address the obvious: if you have Revlon Sultry you probably don’t need Touch of Spice, though both are colours which seem to transform on the lips and look very different on everyone. On me, the red tones in Sultry are evident, whereas Touch of Spice appears a little more brown. It’s definitely more brown than pink (as you can see when compared to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which pulls much more pink) but not entirely brown – the pinky plumminess is evident when viewed next to something more brown (Hush Hush).

Finally, I picked up a newer colour, Burgundy Blush. I believe this colour is permanent in the US but already long-gone in Canada (sorry). This is another one that seems to appear pretty different depending on who’s wearing it. On Christine of Temptalia, it looks much more like a brick or burgundy. On me, it’s a dark brown with strong red undertones. This is the type of colour that I would never have worn even when I was out there rocking dark purple lips on the regular. I was terrified of brown lipstick for a long time, but I’m finally on board. The camera seems to make this one look slightly uneven on my lips, but I don’t notice any patchiness in real life. In her review of Burgundy Blush, Christine notes that it feels a bit drier than the other Creamy Mattes, which I don’t personally notice.

Comparison swatches:

L-R: Bite Amouse Bouche Lipstick in Whiskey, Maybelline Burgundy Blush, ColourPop Ultra Satin Lips in Prim

In these swatches, Burgundy Blush appears to have a stronger red/berry hint than it does on my lips, especially when compared to Bite Whiskey, which is clearly more brown (though it does have a berry undertone, as well). It’s very similar to ColourPop Prim, especially applied to my lips rather than the underside of my arm.

Obviously, I’m a fan of the Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipsticks – they’re pretty much everything I look for in a lipstick formula, and at a great price point. I hope Maybelline continues to expand the colour selection, because this is one of the best products you can get at the drugstore.

The Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipsticks retail for between $7.97 (Walmart) and $10.99 (Shoppers Drug Mart) for 0.15oz.