Revisiting Bleu Majorelle with Yves Saint Laurent

Posted on September 13, 2015 under Reviews

Back in April, I wrote about my quest to find a replacement polish for Sally Hansen’s reformulated cult classic Pacific Blue, a perfect match for the bleu Majorelle of Marrakech. It’s a colour that I have found especially bewitching since my January trip to Marrakech.

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Many eons ago I mentioned in passing that when I was sufficiently fancy, I would purchase a bottle of Yves Saint Laurent’s Bleu Majorelle nail polish (from the La Lacque Couture line), the product that brought the colour to the forefront of Western beauty trends. Saint Laurent was a dedicated patron of the Jardin Majorelle, and the nomenclature of the polish pays homage to his time in Marrakech.

Nail polish is firmly in the category of “things I won’t pay the big bucks for” – but my girlfriend thrust me into fanciness by ordering me a bottle of the Bleu Majorelle as a late birthday gift.

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First, a word about the packaging: luxe. As if that gold cap engraved with the YSL logo isn’t enough, there is a secondary cap underneath. Imagine my surprise when I twisted the cap to apply the polish only to find that it popped right off to reveal the (far less ostentatious) actual cap. Perhaps my surprise betrays my lack of the sophistication in the field of nail polish, in which case I am guilty as charged – you won’t catch Sally Hansen producing something as opulent as decoratively-capped nail polish! God, if enjoying an absurdly-priced nail polish for the packaging is a sin (avarice, I suppose), I succumb happily.

Now, the colour itself is a bit perplexing. In direct sunlight, it’s vibrant – pretty close to Marrakech’s bleu Majorelle. In all other lighting, however, it’s darker, not nearly so electric. It lacks the same white base as Pacific Blue, and the integrity of the colour suffers as a result. Don’t get me wrong – it is still a stunning blue, not a navy, not an indigo – something else entirely. But, despite the name and origin, it is not bleu Majorelle. Sephora’s descriptor “peacock blue” is perhaps more accurate.

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Left: in direct sunlight. Right: in indoor lighting. Both pictures: my lack of ability to stay inside the lines.

And of course you want to know how it wears! I waited to test this until I’d left my job (which chipped any nail polish within days due to the nature of the tasks I was doing), thinking I could probably get at least a week of wear out of it. I used it with my regular top coat because I couldn’t imagine a circumstance under which I would wear any nail polish by itself, let alone a fancy one.

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Don’t mind how lumpy it looks. That’s because I did not manage to adequately remove my previous glitter manicure before painting my nails again. I’m an incompetent nail-haver.

As you can see, this polish suffered considerably during the 8 days I tested it out. Meanwhile, the $5 Sally Hansen manicure I used to assemble $500 worth of IKEA furniture lasted for well over a week.

Finally, a comparison of the brushes:

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The YSL brush is wider and flatter than Sally Hansen’s thin, rounded brush, but still a manageable size for those of us who still find it terribly difficult to paint our nails neatly. I don’t particularly prefer one brush over the other; they’re both serviceable.

All in all, I like Bleu Majorelle as a nail polish. It chipped around day 5, which is not ideal, but not terrible either. I tend to paint my nails every weekend anyway, so I don’t need it to stretch much longer than 5 or 6 days. It goes on smoothly and is one of the most beautifully shiny polishes I own. My relationship with its colour is a bit more complicated. I do genuinely like the colour on its own, though it’s disappointing as a dupe for the real bleu Majorelle. Personally, I harbour a bit of an obsession with the same colour Yves Saint Laurent fell in love with, and as a result I paradoxically don’t mind the colour discrepancy; it’s nice just to own a product that is so tied up in the history of the brand and of the colour.

That said, the closest match to the bleu Majorelle that I have seen in person is not, in fact, YSL’s Bleu Majorelle. For around $5, Sally Hansen still has the honour of being the best bleu Majorelle nail polish I’ve ever found!

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You’ll be happy to see that I bought two backups of the old Pacific Blue when I found them at work. Maybe less happy when you realize that I have a problem when it comes to this colour.

Yves Saint Laurent La Laque Couture Nail Lacquer in 18 Bleu Majorelle retails for $27 USD for 0.34 fl oz, or $79.41 USD per fl oz. It is available at American Sephora, YSL counters, or the YSL Beauty website. Canadians can purchase it on the Nordstrom website for a rather absurd $37.19 CAD ($109.39 per fl oz), not including the $9.95 shipping will cost. Don’t you just love the faltering Canadian dollar?!

LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer vs. NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base

Posted on August 17, 2015 under Reviews

Despite Reddit’s more-than-fair-share of umitigated grossness, there are a handful of subreddits that I consistently frequent: /r/toronto and /r/montreal, to keep up-to-date with my cities, /r/declutter, for vicarious satisfaction and a super supportive community, and, of course, /r/makeupaddiction, for inspiration, news, reviews, and makeup chit-chat. A newer discovery is /r/makeupexchange, a marketplace for new or barely-used makeup.

Recently, someone in Ontario was selling their lightly swatched LORAC Pro palette for $35 – a steal in itself, irresistible when combined with the inexpensive (and quick) domestic shipping.

Tangent: I’ve actually barely had any interest in this palette despite the nearly unanimous glowing reviews. LORAC is essentially unavailable in Canada, and I told myself I didn’t need it because it’s just another neutral palette. The moment it was available, however, I realized that I had been holding onto a latent desire for it for awhile.

The seller shipped the palette with two bonuses: a sample of the NARS Copacabana liquid Illuminator, and a tube of the LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer. Being perilously close to finishing my beloved NARS primer, I eagerly gave the LORAC a try. If it was as good as the eyeshadows, it would save me dropping a borderline exorbitant $31 on a new tube of the NARS.

It was not as good as the eyeshadows. Not even close. Actually, it pretty much sucks, at least on my eyeshadow-eating hooded eyelids of doom.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Here we have LORAC Light Pink, Light Bronze, and Mauve over the LORAC Behind the Scenes primer. Top: Freshly applied, 3pm. Right: after work, 12:30am.

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Excuse the terrible bathroom lighting. Natural light was long-gone by the time I got home from work!

Uh, yeah. What little eyeshadow hasn’t disappeared has creased like nobody’s business in those blasted eyelid wrinkles. This is much more prominent with the darker shadows; knowing I was using the primer for the sole purpose of photographing the disaster, I purposefully used light colours so I wouldn’t look like a mess at work. But trust me, I could have lived without my beautiful coppery eyeshadow being eaten by the crease in the middle of my mobile lid.

Now, you may be thinking that this is the fault of the shadows and not the primer. Without a control variable, we can’t make any meaningful conclusions. Given that the LORAC shadows are so soft, maybe they are simply prone to creasing.

In the interests of science, I applied the same shadows over the NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base (phew, what a mouthful). Here is a comparison of post-application (3pm), my break (8pm), and just before makeup removal (12:30am):

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Um… it’s definitely not just the shadows. To save you the work of scrolling back up to compare, LORAC on top, NARS on bottom:

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I think these images tell you pretty much everything you need to know. However, I will add a word about the applicator. While more hygienic, I find the LORAC’s squeeze tube a bit hard to control. We all know that a thin layer of eye primer is ample, but sometimes the tube squirts out more than necessary. I find the NARS doefoot gives me much more control.

LORAC-texture

Top: how much product the tube squeezed out on me. That is enough for, like, three applications! Bottom: blended into the skin. It ends up being colourless on the eyelids, so is really a primer and not a base to even out the eyelids.

The NARS eye primer is more dependable than 90% of the people I know; I wouldn’t trust the LORAC one to buy me the right flavour of chips when running to the corner store for junk food. Honestly, it would probably take my money and run. Unsurprisingly, I have repurchased the NARS.

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Friends old and new. Friends that get DISGUTINGLY DIRTY easily. But that’s a small price to pay for amazingness.

The NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base retails for $31 CAD for 0.26oz ($119.23 per oz) at Sephora and NARS counters.

The LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer retails for $21 for 0.53oz (a much more reasonable $39.62 per oz) on the LORAC website. Shipping within the US only.

My new favourite MLBB: Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in 045 Rose Nude

Posted on August 11, 2015 under Reviews

I still haven’t quite discerned the difference between “my lips but better” and “nude”, although I tend to think of “nude” as more “concealer lips” and less “very natural lip colour”. Thus, I’m not sure if you could classify 045 from Rimmel’s new Kate Moss Nude Collection as “nude”, at least not on me – but it is my new favourite MLBB, as it most accurately matches the colour of my lips as compared to every other colour in my collection.

The Nude Collection comprises five shades, three of which I could tell just by swatching would be a disaster on me. (Oh, who am I kidding? All I had to do was look at the bullet of the lightest shade to know that it WOULD. NOT. WORK.) The darkest shade is a bit too brown for my personal tastes, but it would make a perfect true nude on darker skin. 045 Rose Nude, however, is the perfect shade for me.

When I first applied it I felt that it barely showed up on my lips – but upon swatching it on my arm I discovered that it was perfectly pigmented – it’s just that it’s that close to my actual lips. The lipstick has a tiny bit more of that brownish rose undertone, but I do feel that it could easily be mistaken for my natural lip colour.

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Some people don’t “get” the MLBB thing, and I’m certainly not one to normally choose colours in that family over my bolder lip colours – but they really are handy to have around. I feel that this colour helps to even out my lips and add a tiny bit of colour to my (admittedly unusually pale) complexion. It’s also great for no-makeup makeup occasions – for example, I wore it to get my photo taken for my American passport.

The Nudes collection is part of the regular Kate line, so they’re creamy, opaque, and not fully matte. The finish is perfect, in my opinion: anything too shiny or too matte wouldn’t look natural, thus defeating the point of wearing a nude. They feel comfortable and wear off fairly evenly. Like the original line, they’re not extraordinarily long-lasting, but they hold up to light-to-moderate food or beverage consumption.

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Swatched (on the far left) next to some of my favourite neutral/MLBB lipsticks: Little Mix by Collection lipstick in Jade (darker, warmer) Rimmel Kate Moss 08 (darker and warmer still), Rimmel Kate Moss 017 (much pinker). Clearly I like my Rimmel neutrals!

My one (minor) complaint is that I don’t think the packaging is nice as the other Rimmel Kate lipsticks. None of them exactly scream “fancy”, but this shiny pale pink just doesn’t do it for me! I get the nude colour scheme, but I wish the plastic were matte like the others – the shininess seems so cheap. But as we all know, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, so I’ll probably get over it.

Overall, I’m really pleased with this lipstick. I’m (obviously) a huge fan of the Kate line; they’re my favourite drugstore lipsticks by far. The nude line is a great addition to the collection, and 045 in particular is a great addition to my collection.