Products that deserve more hype

Posted on December 16, 2014 under Lists

We’ve talked about products that are worth their hype, but what about products that you think the whole world should know about but that nobody really talks about?

The world just isn’t fair, is it? Because if it was, you all would know (and love) these products just as much as I love them. (You can tell I love them because they are all really dirty in the photo. Hashtag authentic.)

Stila In The Light Palette

I have (and love) the Naked 3 palette, but my favourite neutral palette is In The Light. When I worked in cosmetics I sold so many of these babies because I would talk so passionately about my love for this palette to my customers. I’ve had it for a year now and I’ve probably used it at least 50% of the days I wear makeup. The eyeshadows are a gorgeous formula and there’s a really great variety of colours (from dark to light, matte to glitter). I like that there are some of the more classic neutrals such as off-white and dark brown, but also some colours that are a bit more fun, such a slate blue-grey, a copper, and a shimmery dark grey. This palette is so versatile, and I love it dearly.

If you’re in the market for a neutral palette that’s less outrageously expensive than the Naked palettes (and with less fallout, too – that’s my big complaint about Urban Decay shadows) and that comes with a full-sized eyeliner, this is the one for you.

Here is a collage of some looks I’ve done with this palette, in case you need convincing.

in the light

Revlon Nearly Naked foundation

This is my ride-or-die, holy grail foundation. It’s lightweight and sheer but buildable, with a pretty liquidy texture. I always apply it with a damp sponge, and it looks just like skin – so natural, yet flawless. It’s on the dewier side, so it works with my dry skin, but it’s not super shiny – just very natural and glow-y. Plus, it comes in approximately a bazillion shades, ranging from very pale (Ivory – my colour!) to quite dark (Cappuccino). This was one of my go-to products when colour matching someone since there was such a variety of shades.

I hear a lot of people talking about Revlon’s ColorStay, which is a full coverage foundation, but nobody ever talks about Nearly Naked! If you want something a bit lighter that looks like skin but still evens and smooths and generally looks beautiful, I would definitely check Nearly Naked out.

(My one complaint is that there’s NO PUMP. This would truly be the perfect foundation if it had one!)

I know before and after shots are really handy to judge a foundation’s efficacy, so hopefully this shows how flawless but natural it looks:


L’Oréal True Match La Touche Magique Highlighting Concealer

I have very noticeable purple undereye circles that just don’t quit. Nothing will make them go away – not sleep, not lots of water (I already drink 3L a day, what more do you want?!), not eye cream. All I can hope to do is conceal them. And I’ve tried a lot of concealer. I’ve caked things on thickly hoping that would help, I’ve used brightening concealers, I’ve done everything. And this is the answer.

I don’t know how, because the formula is very lightweight and not particularly high coverage, but this manages to cover up my undereye circles so well and lift that area. The lightest shade is absurdly pale (and I myself am absurdly pale) – for once in my life I’m using the second lightest, Rose Beige. I think its beige undertones help cancel out the purple of my dark circles, but who knows. I don’t give a shit how it works, to be honest. I just like that it works. I’m not going to question it!

Once again, before and after:

loreal concealer

The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder

Bronzer for pale people, am I right, ladies? Yes – it’s a tricky game! Pale people arguably need bronzer the most, since sometimes we can look a bit ill (especially in the middle of summer when everyone else has gorgeous tans and we’re slathering on the SPF60 to keep from burning the second we step outside), but it is so hard to find a product that works! Thankfully, the search is over – the Honey Bronzer is a light, matte brown that doesn’t pull orange at all. It’s not too pigmented, which means that it warms up the face and adds a bit of colour and dimension without making it look like you went a bit overboard. It can even be used as a contour in a pinch, although of course I prefer Illamasqua’s Hollow. This is hands down the best natural-looking bronzer for pale people I’ve found! I’m sure the darker shades are lovely for the non-ghost-like among us, as well.

NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base

Everyone is so caught up in the frenzy of the Urban Decay Primer Potion, but what if I told you that you could do SO MUCH BETTER? The NARS primer is truly my holy grail eyeshadow primer, and I do not award that status lightly. A little bit goes a long way so a tube of it lasts forever (I’ve had mine for a year and a half, and that’s with nearly daily use) and it will seriously keep your eyeshadow on all day. I’ve gone 15+ hours with a full face of makeup, and the one thing I can count on to look exactly the same as when I put it on is my eyeshadow. You will never have to worry about fading, creasing, or smudging with this base, and that is a promise.

Those are my top five underhyped products. I hope you’ll consider some (or all) of these, because I promise they are freakin’ awesome.

Products that are worth the hype #1

Posted on November 27, 2014 under Lists

I won’t even bother writing an introduction about how it sucks when a product is super hyped up and then you hate it, because we’ve all been there and it’s pretty obvious that that’s a shitty experience. Instead, I’ll just say that these five are staples in my makeup routine and in my opinion totally live up to the hype!

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

I know that everyone and their mom talks about this eyeliner, and if you don’t use it you’re probably like, “UGH, SHUT UP, I GET IT,” but the thing is that you don’t get it because it is that good. I have tried a lot of black liquid liners in my life, and I have found exactly two that don’t transfer on my eyelids.

To illustrate how well this one stays put, I will tell you a story of how I put it to The Drunk Test, which is the best possible test. Once, I did perfect winged eyeliner (which this liner makes it really easy to do, by the way), went out, drank several sidecars, rubbed my eyes halfway through the night and vaguely, drunkenly realized I probably shouldn’t do that, came home hours later, decided to wash off all my makeup but my eyeliner so that I didn’t have to do my wings again the next morning, and woke up to perfectly intact eyeliner.

The lesson? Drunk me is an innovative genius, and this eyeliner is the shit.

Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow

We’ve all heard that this is the best contour for pale, cool-toned skin. While I certainly have not tried every contour in the world and so cannot definitively say if this is true, I don’t feel the need to try every contour in the world because I have found The One.

My wonderful friend Jelena let me borrow Hollow for a not insignificant amount of time this summer, and I got so used to using it that when I had to return it to her I was lost. None of the products I was using to contour prior to Hollow came close to reaching its godliness. One of the first things I did when I got the UK, land of many Illamasqua counters, was run to Debenhams and buy Hollow. NOT SORRY AT ALL.

Hollow is, indeed, the perfect colour to give my complexion realistic-looking cheekbone definition. It also has just the right amount of pigment: it’s visible without needing to build up a million layers on your brush, but not so pigmented that it’s like, WOW, YOU PUT A LOT OF MAKEUP ON YOUR FACE. It’s easy to blend out, stays put all day, and after months of use I have not seen a dent in it at all.


This is a bad quality picture because I actually took it to document whatever the eff my hair is doing after being dyed lavender last month, but you can also see Hollow in action.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer

Concealer isn’t a very glamourous or fun product, but after hearing so many UK beauty gurus rave about it, it was #1 on my list of things to buy as soon as I got here. It took a bit of hunting to find a store that wasn’t out of the lightest shade (shoutout to the Boots on Princes Street in Edinburgh!), but it was so worth it. It’s creamy and extremely high coverage, which is good because I have this one zit on my chin that pretty much never goes away so I need ALL THE HELP I CAN GET! I also love using this one on my brow bone for when I want ***flawless, high-def brows.

The only downside to this product is that the colour range is very limited, with only four shades. If you’re not fair to tan, you’re out of luck. This is worth mentioning because it’s symptomatic of a wider culture of exclusion in the beauty industry. I really wish Collection would expand this line, because there are so many people needlessly missing out on an excellent product.

Maybelline Colour Tattoos

I believe I have 14 or 15 Colour Tattoos, which really tells you everything you need to know. Some are better than others (the coloured ones tend to be a bit gritty/patchy/hard to blend), but the majority of them are fantastic. Gorgeous colours, easy to apply (I always apply them with my finger!), great staying power. I do tend to have creasing problems (a result of having hooded, oily eyelids – SO unfair when the rest of my skin is dry as a bone), but these always stay really well. I never use a primer underneath them and I have no issues. They’re a great base to add pigment or dimension to powder shadows, but they’re also gorgeous on their own.

By now probably everybody knows how great these are since they’re so affordable, but they deserve a shoutout since they’re definitely in my top 5 favourite products of all time.

Rimmel Lasting Perfection by Kate Moss Lipsticks

Again, most people are probably aware of Rimmel’s Kate Moss line of lipstick since they’re very inexpensive and so talked about. The regular and matte lines are both excellent – great formula that stays put and feels comfortable on the lips, and a really nice variety of colours, from nudes to bright corals to deep berry reds. I have five from the regular line and one of the mattes, and I usually pick up a new one when they go on sale.

My only complaint is that they could definitely expand the range of colours. While there are a lot of nice ones, I’m at the point where I pretty much have all the colours that suit me and that I like – and I want more! (I’m a lipstick hoarder, by the way.)

What do you guys think of these products? And what products are totally worth the hype to you?

Beauty-related gifts that don’t suck

Posted on November 13, 2014 under Lists

There are a lot of beauty holiday gift roundups out there, but in my opinion most of them are not that great. Obviously, tastes differ and I’m sure there are people who would disagree with me, but personally I think it’s hard to go wrong with holiday-specific sets or products. I know, I know, not very creative, but they’re nice products from brands with name recognition and THEY ARE SPECIALLY PACKAGED FOR THE HOLIDAYS. I love the holiday season and I love interesting/cute/beautiful packaging, so obviously this is the way to my heart.

This isn’t a real wishlist because I know that I will be receiving ZERO of these products. This is just a list of holiday beauty gifts that are not crap.



Lipstick Queen Lip Nouveau Set – $48 USD ($54.46 CAD, £30.51)

I think Lipstick Queen packaging is beautiful in its simplicity (and the lipsticks are satisfyingly heavy to hold), and there is just something so special about receiving THREE ENTIRE lipsticks. You get three colours and three formulas, and although the set isn’t holiday-specific, the colours are all appropriate for cold-weather.

Charlotte Tilbury Mini Lipstick Charms – £29 ($51.77 CAD)

I’m in love with the Charlotte Tilbury lipstick I have, so of course this adorable miniature set of three miniature travel-friendly lipsticks is appealing. Plus, the packaging is perfect for the holiday season: it’s a bit fun, but still expensive with the matte chocolate brown and rose gold.

Sephora Favourites: Give Me Some Lip – $30 CAD (£16.80)

For the lipstick lover, there’s nothing better than the chance to try new formulas and colours, especially if you can try a bunch all at once. These are generous sizes (including one full-sized product), so it’s not like giving someone one-use samples. This is the gift of choice!



Lancôme Hypnôse Classic Mascara Christmas Gift Set – $35 CAD (£22.50)

Even though I refuse to spend my own money on high-end mascara since there’s so much on offer at the drugstore, I live for high-end samples and I love Hypnôse and its various spinoffs. Also, the Bi-Facil eye makeup remover is THE BEST and the Defincils eyeliner is a classic – and you’re getting those for free, since the set is the same price as the mascara alone. SCORE.

MAC Keepsakes Eye Palettes – $39.50 USD ($47.50 CAD, £32)

This one is entirely about the packaging for me – that cameo is too gorgeous! Plus, considering the price of MAC eyeshadows, this is actually a really great price for what you get. But I’m mostly in it for the packaging – I would treasure something this gorgeous forever!

Illamasqua Embellish Eye Trio – £49 ($87.40 CAD)

This set is a bit extravagantly priced, but when has Illamasqua ever mislead us?! The rose gold details and the beautiful box it comes in make this seem like a very special gift, plus cream eyeshadow, gel eyeliner, and brow gel are all products that would get a lot of love from me. This set is just decadent.



NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette – $75 CAD (£45)

This is another one that’s quite pricey, but NARS’ cheek pigments are legendary, the packaging is just the right balance between whimsical and chic, and this is a useful product for travelling. With a few cult products and a few of NARS’ lesser-known hits, this palette hits all the right notes.

Benefit Fun-Size Flirts Christmas Gift Set – $38 CAD (£29.50)

This set contains a little bit of everything – deluxe samples of primer, highlighter, blush, mascara, and more. Again, I’m into sampler gifts because the recipient can try out generous sample sizes of things for free and then know for sure if it’s worth dropping cash on the full-sized product! Also, I think the Benefit packaging is the cutest ever. Fancy packaging is nice too, but sometimes you just want something adorable.

Benefit Cutie Cravings Gift Set (Debenhams exclusive) – £26.55

And for those of us in the UK who are craving an especially adorable Benefit set, get thee to a Debenhams (or order online, it’s the 21st century). Personally I think this set is really useful, with Benefit’s cult classic Hoola bronzer, four neutral eyeshadows, the super popular They’re Real! mascara, and more. This set gives you pretty much everything you need to create a soft and pretty makeup look, which means that it’s basically the gift of a face.

So, those are my picks for beauty-related gifts I would like to receive/gifts I would give if I were rich. What are yours?