Lipstick Collection: Peaches, Oranges, and Corals

Posted on May 18, 2018 under Reviews

Though I have a lot of lipsticks in this grouping of categories, I find peaches, oranges, and corals really tricky. The tones have to be just right. For a long time, I ignored these categories in favour of those that I could more easily wear – namely, fuchsias, reds, and berries. But once the floodgates were opened, I realized that colours in these categories are actually some of my all-time favourites – I just have to really pay attention to undertone and depth of shade.

As always, comparison arm swatches can be found in my big lipstick inventory post.

My bare lips, for posterity:

ColourPop Blotted Lips in Sucker

This is a bright borderline neon peach, which sounds like my worst nightmare. Because it’s sheer, I actually think it’s a really pretty colour, but I find it looks best when I go a little heavier on the blush and eye makeup. I really like the Blotted Lips formula – though I don’t generally go for sheerer lip colours, the sheer matte finish appeals to me. This is a comfortable formula which fades evenly, which I think is all you can ask of anything sheer. I will note that this can photograph a bit strangely, especially from afar – I have a few tourist pictures in Northern Ireland where I look very washed out because this colour is weird on camera. These pictures do accurately portray how it looks on me, though.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte

Ahh, my perfect peach! This colour has the tiniest hint of brown that makes it very wearable for me. (Although that brown mostly comes across in swatches and not so much on my lips!) This lipstick goes with so much and it’s one of my go-to respectable lady colours. And, of course, the Audacious formula is pretty much unparalleled. I lost my original tube of Brigitte to the depths of a rental car in late 2016, and I misplaced my current tube for a few months, so that’s why this picture was taken on a different day – I had just unearthed it from a backpack I never use. If it had eluded me forever, I probably would have spent Optimum points on it a third time. That’s how much I love this colour.

Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème in Strawberry Girl

This lipstick is the newest to my collection. On the last day of our trip, in Copenhagen, my mom offered to treat me to something from the Sephora that was half a block away from our Airbnb. I ended up selecting the recently-launched Strawberry Girl, which I see as Brigitte’s old sister. It’s not the easiest colour to describe, but I think “muted coral” probably comes the closest to getting at its red, orange, and brown tones. I love this formula: it’s creamy and rich but not heavy, and it lasts pretty well, although the wear time on this particular shade is not as great as So Sofia (which I’ll get to in a moment!) or even to the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang mini that will be featuring in an upcoming empties post. I’m not sure that this is my best shade, either, but I still like it on myself. Its muted dustiness reminds me of the pinky-browny shades I buy in bulk, but the warmth takes it in a different direction.

ColourPop Blotted Lips in Candyfloss

After hating and avoiding orange lipstick forever, 2017 was the year that I embraced a good earthy orange. Candyfloss is a gorgeous terracotta. Though it’s an unusual shade, I find that it’s pretty good for casual situations; I don’t feel like I’m making a huge statement when I wear it, because it’s muted. It wears down to appear a bit more peach, too, so it’s quite versatile. It’s my favourite of all the Blotted Lips I have – the colour is glorious and it applies and wears the most evenly.

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Covert Affair*

I’m pretty confident in saying that this was my most-worn non-neutral lip colour of 2017. This burnt orange is just so damn flattering. I’m really glad Buxom sent this along because I never would have fallen in love with this type of earthy orange otherwise. I actually think burnt orange is one of the ugliest colours on the planet in general, but I love it on my face. Go figure! Anyway, these lip pencils have a really comfortable formula that wears well. This is probably the most colour-accurate photo I’ve managed to get of this shade – usually it shows up very red, but I think the red in my top helps bring out the orange and brown tones more clearly here.

Bite Beauty Matte Lipstick in Custom Colour

This is a very bright reddy-orange. I don’t know that it’s quite a burnt orange since it’s so vibrant, but it’s definitely some sort of orange rather than red. (This is another one that’s tricky to photograph, but these pictures are pretty accurate, though they might read a bit more red on your screen.) Once again I’m shocked that I not only willingly put anything orange on my face but that I actually chose to have this colour custom-made. Again, I really enjoy the Bite matte formula – it’s nowhere close to a true matte, as you can clearly see, but it’s comfortable without being slippery (an issue I have with the Amuse Bouche formula). If they put out off-the-rack lipsticks in this formula I’d definitely hand over my money.

ColourPop Blotted Lips in On A Stick

A more recent lipstick colour fixation has been a good old reddy coral. On A Stick is the casual option, though it can be built up to near-opacity if you’re really looking for a punch of colour. For whatever reason I do find this makes my lips drier than the other Blotted Lips colours I have, but it’s nothing egregious.

Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in So Sofia

Old pictures ’cause they’re the most colour accurate.

I probably sang this lipstick’s praises enough in the nearly-1500 word blog post I wrote about it. The formula is incredible and the colour is the best thing ever. Like, there are plenty of lipsticks that look good on me, or that I can’t really object to one way or another. But this lipstick actively looks good on me. I spent literal years searching for this exact shade of no-bullshit, in-your-face, so-damn-loud coral, and finally I have it. I treasure this lipstick.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire and Ice

This was an impulse purchase added to a basket when I was spending Optimum points and was a few dollars short of my threshold. And goddammit, I don’t think I’ve ever made a better impulse purchase. I mean, it’s not that this formula is so incredible, because it’s not. It’s a decent cream lipstick formula – nothing to complain about, nothing to rave about. But this bright reddish coral is everything. It’s a bit of a chameleon; here it looks more pink, but sometimes it appears a lot more orangey on me. I haven’t worn in it some time since the gloomy winter weather has had me leaning towards more muted colours, but now that it’s finally warm out it will be back in my rotation.

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips in Tuesday

This vibrant red-coral is no doubt a beautiful colour. It’s a slightly more serious coral than something like So Sofia, but it’s still fun. Unfortunately, I am not only over liquid lipsticks as a whole, I am especially over this particular formula. I would describe how it feels on my lips, but I think the photo above does a pretty good job of that. I mean… no.

As I was taking these photos, I was struck by how much I genuinely love all of these colours. It’s been quite a sudden transformation from someone who hated anything that remotely hinted at orange to a devotee of a good coral or earthy orange. I guess opening your mind can be a good thing. Who knew?!

Spring 2018 Travels: England and Scotland

Posted on May 14, 2018 under Life

Well, I’m finally back from five weeks on the road! I must admit I’m happy to be back to my relatively chill existence – though travel is obviously incredibly rewarding, rarely staying in the same place for more than one night is exhausting.

Starting in mid-April, I was in London and Brighton for a few days, then my parents flew in (delayed 25 hours thanks to an unseasonal ice storm in Toronto) and we hit up the Scottish highlands, Ireland, Northern Ireland. Then me and my mom went on to Denmark and the Faroe Islands. If you are quite generous with your definition of “country”, that’s six in a month. It was a lot!

I thought I’d share a bit of my travels here since I had such an amazing time. A picture is worth a thousand words, so this will be pretty image-heavy. Today I’ll cover England and Scotland, a section of the trip that feels like a lifetime ago. We were in Ireland for eleven days, so that’ll be its own post, and then Denmark and the Faroes will be the final post in this series.

England

My trip to England was casual and not particularly touristy. I went down to see Arcade Fire and Harry Styles and to go to Aisling‘s thirtieth birthday party. (And to watch TV with her and her girlfriend Katy, and to sleep on their sofa for several days because they are angelic and generous beings.) I’ve been to London a few times now, and while there’s always more to do this was not that trip. As for Brighton, I’ve definitely seen all the main touristy stuff there, so I mostly just hung out with Aisling and Katy.

Oh, and I got to meet Poppy:

I woke up before 4am on April 11 to catch my early-morning flight, which was fun! I managed to survive Arcade Fire that night (and we got really close to the barrier), but we missed our last train to Brighton and didn’t get in until 3am, so it was a VERY tiring day. However, it was entirely worth it because Arcade Fire is truly the best live band in the world. I saw their hometown, tour-closing show in Montreal in 2014 and was blown away, and I have to say this was even better. It’s not just that the music is amazing and the onstage energy is strong – it’s that they think through every aspect of their performances, from accompanying visuals to lighting design. And the decision to play in a boxing ring, so that the GA audience could be on all four sides, was genius. The crowd was pretty loosely-packed and not at all overwhelming, and even though we arrived literally five minutes before show time by the end of the night we were only a few rows back from the barrier. My eight-year love for my favourite band is holding strong!

Here are a few pictures taken by Aisling, ft. me being EXTREMELY excited when they started playing Rebellion (Lies) even though obviously they were going to, it has never not been on their setlist.

My ONLY complaint is that they didn’t play Crown of Love, which is sometimes on their setlist but has eluded me twice.

The next day, we went back into London to see Harry Styles. I saw him play a small show in October (which was honestly not a great experience because the audience was garbage), and I’ve also seen One Direction six times (I know), so this was not my first time at the rodeo. It was Aisling’s first time being in his presence, and I’m pretty sure she had a great time judging from how often she said she loved him. Though our seats were very far away, he put on a great show and remains one of the most charming people in the world. I kept joking to Aisling that if he wore a boring suit I would demand a refund, but he wore leopard print McQueen so my £100 is still in his pocket.

Before we saw Harry we had a very early dinner at La Choza, which is definitely the best Mexican food I’ve had in the UK. Not that that’s saying much, but it was good and very cost-effective – I had a burrito and a generous serving of nachos for a tenner.

Then on the Saturday we were in London once again to celebrate Aisling’s thirtieth birthday at Leggero, a gluten-free Italian restaurant in Soho. The food was delicious and the company was great! I would recommend Leggero to the gluten-intolerant and -tolerant alike – the food is fantastic and doesn’t suffer at all from the lack of gluten. Here is an action shot of me photographing my food, taken by Katy, who is not the Katy I already mentioned or the other Katy who attended the lunch. (All three are lovely!)

It was the most beautiful day in London, which put me in a great mood – I got to shed my jean jacket and walk around bare-armed for the first time this year! I capitalized on the good weather by ordering a pitcher of sangria at a random bar we wandered into, which was yummy if… possibly containing approximately 1-3 drops of wine?

Here is a picture of me posing next to a mop we found in the bar. (It was not a very good bar.) As a rush of barely-legal girls piled in for happy hour, I discovered that the new thing is apparently wearing clubwear with athletic shoes, which I think is a very practical and healthy compromise for the sake of feet around the world.

We topped off the day with with ice cream at Chin Chin (I had burnt caramel with hazelnut sand). All in all it was a very successful celebration indeed. (At least, I think so, but it wasn’t my birthday.)

A few pictures taken at Liberty, where I fell in love with a gorgeous floral patch but didn’t buy it because it was £25. For an iron-on patch. I mean, I know it’s Liberty, but still…

Wow you guys have probably never seen this exact picture of Brighton before. I am the first one to ever capture this startlingly unique image.

Oh my last day in Brighton we had a Sunday roast at The Farm Tavern, which was so good. Then we took a walk along the water, which coincided with the Brighton Marathon, and went and exchanged all my 2p coins for a single piece of candy in one of the arcade games on the pier. A very Brighton experience, I’d say!

Scotland

I got back to Glasgow the evening of April 15, with my parents due to arrive the morning of the 16th. Originally we had planned to spend the 16th and 17th in Glasgow, but since they were delayed a full day we ended up setting off for the highlands the day after they touched down. The 17th was a very chill day in the city – we went out for lunch at my perennial staple Hillhead Bookclub and I took my mom to the Tim Horton’s on Argyle Street (because we are Canadian), but otherwise we hung out at their Airbnb so they could try to get over their jetlag. (They both actually stayed up until their normal bedtimes, which totally puts me to shame since in September I spent nineteen hours sleeping off jetlag and then in January I went to bed at 11am the morning I arrived in Glasgow.)

Our first day of driving, the 18th, was a big one, and we ended up in Clachtoll, on a croft with a gorgeous beach and the cutest animals.

I also found a pig and her four babies in some ruins:

(By the way, I have wanted a potbelly pig since I can remember, and I watched this Buzzfeed video yesterday and truly could not handle it.)

Most of our time in Scotland was spent driving and stopping frequently to marvel at the amazing scenery.

My parents have both done quite a bit of travel through the UK, including the Scottish highlands. I was insistent that we go to the Isle of Skye, which I have been dreaming of for years now, and they were not too cranky about going back…

I mean, who would be? Especially when you get a picture of a sheep looking particularly beautiful at golden hour.

We really didn’t do all that much in the Highlands, because, well… all you need to do is look at them. So I will spare you my usual wordiness (she says, of a post that is already 1300 words long) and leave you with these pictures. Oh, and a recommendation for The Old School if you are ever on the Isle of Skye and fancy some seafood. Because, you know, I am all about sharing restaurant recommendations because food is the best.

On the 21st, we ended up back in Glasgow, where we checked out the Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition at the wonderful and underrated Kelvingrove Museum. We were pretty tired so we didn’t bother to wander around the museum, but I can say from prior experience that it’s an eclectic and fascinating place. If you happen to be in Glasgow between now and August 14, I highly recommend the Mackintosh exhibition, which is £7 for adults. The rest of the museum is free and you should totally do it even if you miss the exhibition!

Next time I will have many pictures of Ireland, and also lambs.

Review: Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer

Posted on May 10, 2018 under Reviews

Hi, have you been on the internet ever? If so, you’ve probably heard of the Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer, because it’s been getting a lot of hype as a dupe for perennial YouTuber favourite Tarte Shape Tape. (Notably, MUR is an extremely low-cost drugstore brand and they managed to launch with eighteen shades, whereas Shape Tape has fourteen after a shade range expansion.)

Concealer is the type of product that I find horribly boring. It’s solely utilitarian, really – I just need it to cover up my dark circles and the occasional zit. That’s just not very exciting, you know?

However, sometimes products get so much hype that you just feel the need to throw your hat in the ring. Though I’ve been getting away with my Primark concealer over the past few months the slight shade mismatch was starting to bother me, so I thought I’d take advantage of that and pick up the Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer. Except you know that it’s not possible to just casually stroll into Superdrug to “pick up” a concealer that has blown up on the internet, as I found in mid-March when I went to three different stores in Glasgow City Centre to find them completely picked over. It was even sold out online, so I set up a restock alert and jumped on it the moment I got the email. I can definitely say I have never done that for a concealer before, so the hype has surely penetrated my consciousness.

Personally I can’t help but feel that the Shape Tape comparisons are partially just due to the similarities in packaging. (I mean, people still say that Maybelline Fit Me is a dupe for NARS Radiant Creamy even though they’re nothing alike. The sway of packaging is strong!) I will tell you right now that I have never tried Shape Tape, so I will not be able to bust this myth nor to verify it. I’m just going to tell you if I think this concealer is good.

Shade Range

As I noted, this concealer launched with a lot more shades than your average drugstore concealer, which is great and commendable and definitely a trend that I hope all brands will continue to adopt. It has some shades that are legitimately dark, but of course lighter shades are represented more. However, this shade range is a lot better than basically any drugstore brands and a lot of mid-range and high end brands. The shades are labelled with C and then a number, but I don’t believe this C refers to undertone as I don’t find that all of the shades are cool. The foundations are similarly labelled with an F, so I think the C just stands for “Concealer,” which is admittedly confusing when it’s fairly engrained that C = Cool. Don’t let that throw you off! The lightest shade in this range, C1, is legitimately very pale, along the same lines as NARS Chantilly.

Unfortunately I don’t still own Chantilly to swatch for you, but here it is with some other base products:

L-R: Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer in C1, Maybelline Master Conceal in Fair, The Ordinary Serum Foundation in N1.1, IT Cosmetics CC Cream in Fair

I think this a pretty neutral concealer – pink base products look all kinds of wrong on me and this doesn’t jump out as remotely pink. If anything, it has a hint of yellow.

This is a tad light for me, but C2 would have definitely been too dark, so I deal with this burden I am forced to bear. If you’re a YouTuber you probably think this is my perfect colour since you’re supposed to go lighter under your eyes. That has never looked extremely flattering on me, but it’s fine. I’ll live.

I also think it’s worth noting that you are probably not going to find the full shade range instore. Maybe if you live in a racially diverse part of the UK? But I live in Glasgow, which, as Scotland’s most racially diverse city, is 88% white, so they’re not putting that shit out on shelves. You have to order it online, and if you have a Health and Beauty Card Superdrug’s free shipping threshold is only £10, so it’s not the end of the world, but it’s also not the greatest thing to happen to makeup shelf space.

(Note: After I wrote the bulk of this post I was in a Superdrug in Brighton and they only stocked a few shades as well. Didn’t think to check while in London, though!)

Packaging

This is attractive packaging for the drugstore. The tube is short and thick, and the rose gold cap and label add a nice touch. It’s sturdy and the cap has a satisfying springy closure. Now I will state the obvious: this doefoot is huge, everyone. I mean, come on, this is the foot of a moose. (A female moose is called a cow, incidentally, and that is not a fact that Canadians come equipped with, it is something that I just Googled because I was hoping there would be a pleasing symmetry in deer and moose nomenclature, which there is not.)

Here is this giant moose woman foot compared to a normal-sized doefoot. YES. It is large. I don’t find it unwieldy by any means; it still fits underneath my eye just fine. I enjoy the way the doefoot is actually constructed, because it has a little well that the product sits in, ready to be brushed on your face:

Application and Finish

In terms of actually applying this product, I find that the aforementioned well holds quite a bit of product and that a little goes a long way. I know we say that about a lot of products, but it’s actually the case in this instance. It’s not that it’s so pigmented and high coverage; it’s just that it’s very spreadable. A quick dab under each eye and I’m good to go! This would probably be way too much product to apply directly to a blemish, but I don’t do that anyway. You may know that I am in principle very against doefoot applicators because I don’t like the concept of putting something on a bacteria-laden zit, sticking it into a dark, moist tube, and then applying that zit-contaminated concealer onto my face at a later date. So I never, ever, ever apply directly from the doefoot to blemishes, and instead just tap a little onto my finger and apply it to my face like that. (Fingers are underrated makeup application tools!)

Speaking of fingers, usually I end up blending out my undereye concealer with my fingers because I don’t find brushes blend efficiently and even the pointy end of a sponge is too big to really get into the inner corner of my eye. However, I have tested it with a small brush and a sponge and those methods are perfectly fine. I’d go for a sponge over a brush, however.

Here’s how much product I apply to one eye:

That’s really just a small tap of the wand underneath my eye, and even that is a pretty generous amount. “A little goes a long way” is cliché, but this really is a spreadable formula that makes a relatively large impact with a small amount of product.

A fact I have picked up about Tarte Shape Tape over the eighteen months of nonstop attention it has received is that it is extremely thick and full coverage. I don’t think MUR Conceal and Define is an extremely thick or full coverage concealer. It is of a normal viscosity, in my opinion. If you’ve tried NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, that is what I’d consider thick. This one is nowhere near that level. It’s probably close to full-coverage, but it’s not, like, an industrial-strength concealer. Here, see for yourself:

On the left, my undereye without concealer; on the right, I’ve applied one layer of Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer. You can see that it’s obviously covered a lot of the darkness, but some is still peeking through. Personally I think using a lighter undereye concealer can unflatteringly emphasize dark circles more than using one that matches perfectly, which I do think comes into play here a bit. The starkness of the light colour mixed with the purple of my undereye creates an almost grey tinge in some lights, which is why I generally prefer something with a bit more of a salmony undertone or that’s at least closer to my actual skin colour. This look is certainly preferable to going without concealer, but it’s not the perfect colour.

Here’s a close-up of how it looks:

I think you can see that around the outer corner of my eye it appears a little bit dry. All but the most emollient of concealers look like that under my eye, so that’s not unique to this product. I don’t think this is the most flattering concealer on planet Earth for the undereyes, but I think it’s fine. If your undereye area is quite dry, it may not be so fine, since it does have a pretty matte finish.

More before and after pictures:

Note the blemishes! The one that’s higher up is a semi-healed cystic zit that is in the exact spot that I always get cystic zits. I don’t know why the divine powers insist on punishing me like this, because that shit is actually really painful. The one lower down is a normal zit, and newer, and in a spot that is typical of stress breakouts for me. (By the time you’re reading this I will have no reason to be stressed, but at the time of photographing and writing I have two weeks to write 13,000 words worth of assignments, read hundreds of pages of film theory, and also write all the blog posts you are reading while I’m on vacation.)

And after concealer:

I am very impressed with the number this concealer did on that cystic zit, actually, because normally my zits repel concealer, to the point where I pretty much only bother with putting it under my eyes. The cheek zit did not fare as well, but it was also fresher, and I find that the newer the zit the less likely concealer is to do anything at all. Now you know a lot about my zits.

This concealer has a pretty matte finish, which is not super ideal for under my eyes but which isn’t patently terrible either. If you have very dry undereyes, you might avoid this one. My undereyes are pretty normal, usually.

Wear

This concealer does get visibly dryer throughout the day and it creases a tiny bit. This may not happen if I powdered it, but then it would look dryer, wouldn’t it? Tradeoffs! Here’s how it looked at the beginning of the day:

And here is how it fared after eight hours of wear:

You can see that my undereyes appear a bit dryer at this point, but that’s also an extreme closeup. I mean, my actual eye is not as big as it’s appearing on your screen. When I look at myself in the mirror I don’t think “Oh my god it’s old Crusty Eyes!” I just think it looks like my concealer is not the most fresh it ever has been. On the plus side, there is a surprising lack of creasing.

Overall Thoughts

I wish this concealer had a slightly more natural finish and also that it came in a shade that was a little bit better-suited to my needs and desires, but that’s okay. I’m not going to repurchase this because I think I need to put more emollient products under my eyes from now on, but as a semi-matte concealer with solid coverage I think this delivers. It looks nice, it covers what I want it to cover, and it wears perfectly adequately. Oh, and it’s £4. Is it so earth-shatteringly good that it’s worth all the YouTube hype and the countless hours (okay, uh, maybe one hour?) I spent hunting it down? No. But it’s good. And it’s £4.

The Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer goes for £4 ($7.18 CAD) for 0.11 fl oz/3.4 mL of product. That’s £36.36/$65.27 per fl oz or £1.18/$2.11 per mL. By comparison, Tarte Shape Tape is £22 for 0.33 fl oz, which is £66.67 per fl oz.