Products I’m digging out for fall

Posted on September 19, 2015 under Lists

Although it’s been boiling hot here in Montreal for the past few weeks, I know that fall is just around the corner – and I’m itching to pull out the fall clothes and makeup. With summer winding to a close, it’s time to seriously cut back on the peach, coral, and bronze tones that have been dominating my makeup for the past few months. More traditional fall tones are my favourite, and are never completely banished even in the hottest days of summer. My fall palette isn’t exactly creative – it consists mainly of taupe, berry, plum, dark purple, and rich brown, which is rather predictable. Here are some products that are coming out from hibernation now that fall is on its way!



My favourite fall eyeshadow is the eyelid shade from the Wet N Wild Silent Treatment trio – it’s the most gorgeous purple-y taupe! A lot of the shades from the LORAC Pro palette could potentially join my roster, but I’m particularly excited about Slate and Deep Purple.

As for products in stick form, I adore the Stila Smudge Crayon in Umber, a dark brown with a richness that suits the colder months. To round off the eye makeup, I’ll be pulling out Clinique’s eyeliner in Black Honey and Stila’s Smudge Stick in Tetra, two deep colours that will be perfect for this time of year.




On the cheeks, I’m super excited to use my Sleek blush in Flushed, which is one of my all-time favourite blushes. The formula is great, the colour is stunning, and the packaging is delightful. This is one product that I really don’t find myself reaching for at all in the warmer months, but I know I’ll go right back to it in the fall. (For some reason it always photographs as much warmer than it is, but it’s a lovely deep berry.) Another beautiful berry option is Benefit’s Benetint, which gives a lovely sheer glow.

I also love redder blushes when it’s cold out, as they most naturally mimic a natural flush from being out in the cold. My absolute favourite blush for this is the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Natural Beauty, but a warmer option is Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat. (Okay, so maybe I just want an excuse to use my Hourglass blushes whenever possible. CAN YOU BLAME ME?)

I’m also keen to move away from warm and sunkissed highlights by pulling out my Topshop Glow Highlight in Polished, which gives the most etheral, otherworldly glow. Somehow that just seems more appropriate for the crisp, cold weather.




Finally, you know I have a huge selection of lipsticks that I am itching to bust out. From the very dark (Topshop lipstick in Depth; L’Oreal Colour Extraordinnaire in Plum Adagio) to the berry red (NARS Cruella; Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Matte 107) to the rosy brown (Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Sultry), I have a large selection! Other favourites are MAC Creme-Sheen lipstick in Hang-Up, MAC Satin lipstick in Rebel (my all-time favourite lipstick), Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie, Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Aria, and Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté 017.


I attempted to arrange these swatches in some sort of organized fashion.

I know I’ll be kicking myself for wishing for cooler weather when it’s -40 in a few months, but, well, I’ve had enough of summer. Bring on fall!

Products with bad packaging

Posted on June 18, 2015 under Lists

I’ll admit it: I’m a packaging snob. I have all the makeup basics covered, which means that to introduce a new product into my collection I need to be wowed – and packaging is definitely something that I take into consideration. For me, makeup isn’t just something I put on my face. It’s something I experience, and if it looks pretty my experience is even better. Just today I bought a YSL Rouge Volupté lipstick, which I have wanted for the better part of a year pretty much solely based on the packaging. It makes me feel so fancy! (And it’s my birthday tomorrow, so I can do what I want.) But packaging isn’t just about beauty, either: it needs to be functional.

So, today I bring you some of my least favourite packaging, both aesthetically and functionally. Let’s begin!

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder


Rimmel Stay Matte Powder packaging, how do I hate thee? Well, let me not count the ways, because we’ll be here all damn day. I hate that you’re not a compact. I hate that your lid has no fastening mechanism, meaning I cannot in good faith toss you into my makeup bag and expect you to stay intact. I hate that you have no mirror. I hate how goddamn cheap you are. But what’s inside of you? Well, there’s a reason this powder is a $5 staple in makeup bags all over the world. But you suck, packaging. You truly do.

Joe Fresh Matte Lipstick


I genuinely love the formula (and colour) of this $6 lipstick, but the packaging betrays its price point. Not only does it look cheap (white and clear plastic are dead giveaways), it’s flimsy as hell. I’ve never had lipstick packaging break in the way this one did – that middle piece in the picture is part of the tube! Add into the mix the tendency to get really dirty really quickly and you’ve got a recipe for unambiguously terrible packaging.

Wet N Wild Eyeshadow


By now we all know that Wet N Wild eyeshadow is some serious drugstore sorcery. There are, like, two powder eyeshadow formulas I will pull off the drugstore shelves and buy, and this is one. But the packaging is just so cheap. It’s entirely plastic, and no effort whatsoever has been made to make it look even a bit pretty. At ridiculously low prices I know I can’t complain, but I just wish the packaging would reflect the quality of the shadows. Think of how many people might overlook these amazing, insanely inexpensive eyeshadows just because the packaging makes them look like crap!

Benefit Boxed Powders


Don’t get me wrong – the packaging on these blushes is very aesthetically pleasing. Like most Benefit products, their boxed blushes are adorable. However, from a practical standpoint this packaging is hell. It’s, like, at least an inch thicker than it needs to be, making the products hard to store and even harder to pack for travel. Benefit Hervana would be my go-to neutral travel blush if it weren’t for the goddamn packaging! They’re also very annoying to store, since they take up so much room. Seriously – look at all that unused space! And I’ll always sideye cardboard packaging when I’m paying $35+ for a product.

Milani Baked Blushes


Ugh, talk about bulky! This compact is ostensibly so large because it contains a brush and a mirror, but I don’t think most people use the dinky brushes that come with blushes. I certainly don’t, as evidenced by the fact that it’s still in its wrapper. And I fail to see why the mirror can’t just be in the lid, instead of in a special panel underneath the product. There is nothing sexier than a slim, sleek blush compact, and THIS IS NOT THAT.

Every Physician’s Formula product ever


I know, I know. A lot of people think their packaging is cute. I think it’s gaudy and unnecessary. This Happy Boosting Powder that I have is actually rather inoffensive compared to some of their packaging, but it’s still unnecessarily large. Like the Milani Baked Blushes, it has a panel with a mirror and brush, both of which go completely unused. I find a lot of PF packaging to be similarly large: their mascara is almost offensive to me, for example.

I know it’s what’s on the inside that counts and that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But I think my days of buying crappily packaged products are, for the most part, over. I like beautiful things, and I like things that aren’t a pain in the ass to use and store. Maybe that makes me high maintenance and shallow, but at least I’ll have a lot of pretty pretty things!

My travel makeup bag

Posted on April 12, 2015 under Lists

One of the primary reasons I chose to do my year abroad in the UK was its proximity to other places. I’ve travelled to quite a few European cities, and even wandered off the continent to Northern Africa! And right now I’m in Iceland (see Instagram for proof), although tomorrow evening I will be reunited with Toronto.

It used to be that when I travelled I’d bring at least two makeup bags stuffed with products, never sure what I might want to use. (That goes for my suitcase, too.) Now, I’m down to one makeup bag and one backpack every time I travel, because I know what’s practical for travel and what I consider to be the barebones necessities for doing my makeup while abroad.

There’s no better way to illustrate this then to show you what I brought with me to my trip to London and Brighton last month!

Face Products


Powder or powder foundation: Due to liquid restrictions and mess factor, I don’t do my entire cleansing routine when I’m travelling. I never feel like wipes adequately get liquid foundation off. Add that to the facts that liquid foundation takes longer to apply, is messy, and doesn’t always hold up super well throughout long days of sightseeing, and you can see why I tend to banish it for the purpose of travel! Depending on how my skin is doing, I’ll bring either a powder just to mattify, or an actual powder foundation.

Concealer: I use a heavier concealer for any blemishes and then a light, illuminating one for under the eyes. I love my L’Oréal La Touche Magique Highlighting Concealer enough to let it take up precious space in my liquids baggie!

Neutral blush: Without fail, I always bring my Lancôme Blush Subtil in Sheer Amourôse with me when I’m travelling. It’s the perfect slightly warm rosy pink that goes with anything, and it’s so slim and compact. There’s no way I’d want to take something like a Benefit boxed blush with me when travelling!

Bronzer: A good bronzer is such a multi-tasker! Besides the obvious, it can work as a contour or an eyeshadow. I often use a neutral cream eyeshadow as a base and then pop some bronzer into the crease – it’s so easy, but very put-together. I find The Body Shop’s Honey Bronzer perfect for this purpose since it’s not so warm that it can’t be used as a contour or crease colour in a pinch. I also find that since I’m doing my makeup quickly and not focusing too much on a flawless base, a quick sweep of bronzer over the high points of my face helps me look healthy and alive! I love tricking people into thinking I don’t retreat into my lair when the sun comes out… (Just kidding. I’m primarily of German and Irish heritage. I’m pasty. It’s in my genes.)



Brow product: Duh. My brows are my first thing I do every day and I could not live without them! I use the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe for this job. Sometimes I bring a product that doesn’t require a separate brush for application, such as Benefit’s Gimme Brow or the Soap and Glory Archery pencil, but this past trip I felt like having my ride or die on hand.

Eyelash curler: Just because I’m travelling doesn’t mean I am not VERY, VERY interested in having perfectly curled lashes! Some things cannot be sacrificed.

Mascara: Normally I’d actually bring a sample size just to save room, but this time I was feeling my Illegal Length.

Eyeliner: Sometimes I’ll go without packing eyeliner, but lately I have been feeling in an eyeliner-ific mood so I bring it with me to complete all my looks. Plus, I feel like I can get away with slightly heavier eyeliner on travel days since my eyeshadow is so quick and simple. I love Stila’s Stay All Day always and forever, especially on long travel days when I have neither the time nor inclination for touch-ups.

Eye primer: When I was in Warsaw I forgot my primer and my eyeshadow creased horribly after only a few hours. I was sort of glad, in a sick way, because it reinforced that, yes, the $30 I spend on my fancy NARS primer is TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Neutral eyeshadow palette: I alternate between bringing a single cream shadow (which I use with bronzer in the crease, as I said above) and a small, multi-tasking neutral palette. Lately I’ve been loving my Naked Basics palette for travel. It has every colour you could possibly need to create a simple, unassuming eye look – and the darkest shade can even be used as eyeliner, saving space in that horrendously tiny liquids bag. (I don’t know how it is elsewhere, but in Canada I always get away with bringing a gallon-sized baggie through security, whereas in the UK they are super strict about using their provided quart-sized bags.)



Lip liner: I always bring Rimmel’s Eastend Snob with me, because it’s my favourite lip liner. It’s so versatile! It’s fairly similar in tone to my natural lips, so it works under any lipstick without changing the colour, and it’s so creamy and comfortable on the lips that it’s beautiful on its own as well.

Neutral lip colour: I tend to bring an easy, don’t-even-have-to-think-about-it neutral lip colour with me when I travel and just use that every day. I recently wore down my trusty Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie, my go-to travel lip colour, so lately I’ve been using the L’Oréal Extraordinaire by Colour Riche in Molto Mauve, which is a pinky mauve that’s so easy to just slap on! It also looks great over Eastend Snob.

Bold lip colour: Depending on who I’m hanging out with and what I’m planning on doing, I might bring a more in-your-face lip colour for any special outings or occasions. A favourite of mine is Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution lipstick in Red Carpet Red, because the formula is so amazing and comfortable and the colour is just a classic that will work for pretty much any situation, especially with the more neutral eye and cheek products I bring with me when I travel.

And there you have it: my easy, no-fuss-no-muss travel makeup bag!

(Also, you may notice that these pictures were taken with a nice camera. I used Aisling’s camera to take pictures for a few posts when I was down in Brighton, so you may be seeing some nicer pictures here and there. It has reinforced that an entry-level DSLR needs to become a priority for me when I have some disposable income! After using her camera, my iPhone 5 seems pitiful in comparison.)