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?!

Empties: Summer 2015

Posted on September 06, 2015 under Empties

Before we begin this post, I would like to take a moment to bask in the glory of an experience that will probably cause many people to judge me:

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The thing is that if you’re not an adult One Direction fan you will never understand how fun a 1D concert is. Like, it’s embarrassing enough to be 21 and at the concert, so you might as well make a fool of yourself, uninhibited, and have the time of your life. And when Harry Styles spits his water out at you and some of it ends up in your mouth (#blessed), you might as well sink to the ground dramatically because it’s all you’ve ever wanted. Same thing when he gets down on his knees right in front of you. Same thing when he wears gold boots. Same thing when he exists in any capacity.

Even more embarrassingly, this is my sixth One Direction concert – I’ve gone to two a year since 2013. Three of them have been on the floor. This show I was second row back from the catwalk, and it was life-affirming. I mean, HARRY SPIT HIS WATER AT ME. (Yes, he’s my favourite. This is just a logical choice to me.)

Now. Onto the content you’re here for.

After 18 months’ absence, I’ve just arrived back in Montreal to finish my degree. (If all goes according to plan I should have my BA in early June!) It seemed ludicrous to haul empties to another city, so I photographed what I used up this summer before I threw them all out the other day.

Products in italics are sample sizes.

Products denoted with an *asterisk* were received for free through work. All opinions are my own and the individual companies were not responsible for me acquiring these products.

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Body

I have several backups of the Freeman Body Sugar Scrub in Pomegranate because my mom bought them in bulk and then gave them to me, and I will happily use them. It works and it smells good, which is enough for me! Meanwhile, I hated the Palmer’s Cocoa Body Scrub. Anyone who’s been to Primark will know what it’s like to get sucked into hastily throwing something into your basket at the checkout. This was one of those purchases for me: it was only about £3 and was taunting me in that long, winding line. It did a decent job as a physical exfoliant, but I despised the scent. I just cannot stomach the smell of chocolate in my shower. I learned my lesson!

Out of the three Body Shop Body Butters, Mango was my favourite. I’ve repurchased it several times. Strawberry was okay, but the scent was a bit too artificially sweet for my liking. As for the sample of Green Tea I got, I did not like the scent and wouldn’t purchase it.

Skincare

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The Garnier Clean+ Nourishing Cleansing Oil was my first foray into the world of cleansing oils, and I enjoyed it at the time. However, I do prefer the Body Shop’s Camomile cleansing oil, so I won’t repurchase. As for “wouldn’t purchase in the first place”, I’d use Avène Micellar Lotion* if I were to receive it for free through work again, but wouldn’t spend actual money on it. I found it a bit drying compared to the La Roche-Posay micellar solution, which is my current favourite. That said, I currently have two micellar backups (all via work), so I probably wouldn’t buy any at the moment! I adore the Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover and I always cry when I run out of my samples of it since I refuse to spend $36 on the full size!

La Roche Posay Toleriane Fluid Soothing Protective Non-Oily Emulsion* wasn’t exactly right for my normal-to-dry skin, but I think it’d be a great option for those with combination to oily skin. It’s very lightweight and sinks in quickly and lacks a strong fragrance. It kept the more normal areas of my face feeling soft, but it didn’t quite do it for the dry patches around my nose and between my eyebrows. I would recommend it to people lacking dry patches, especially anyone who wants something very lightweight for the summer.

On the other end of the texture spectrum, The Body Shop Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream was a very thick cream that worked best at night for me. It did a pretty good job of moisturizing, but the scent was truly awful. It smelled like straight up soap – and not the scented stuff that makes the bath aisle smell amazing.

Makeup

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Lots of mascaras! L’Oréal Miss Manga Mascara in Indigo disappointed me; I hate the swivel wand, and the colour did not show up well. I was hoping for a bright, bleu Majorelle-esque colour, but it was very subtle. I’ve used the Maybelline Illegal Length* and Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant before and like them both enough to use again, but probably not to purchase with my own money. Benefit Roller Lash and Lancôme Définicils were both new to me; out of the two, I preferred the Lancôme. Roller Lash underwhelmed me and the sample dried up shockingly quickly. Définicils was my daily mascara until I used up the sample, and I liked it, though I don’t think it’s Lancôme’s best mascara offering.

I felt very “meh” about the Collection Cream Puff Moisturising Lip Cream in Cotton Candy. The colour was very pretty and you can’t beat the price (about £2.50), but it wasn’t very smooth to apply and definitely was not moisturizing. I didn’t hate it, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I got fairly used to Revlon ColorStay Makeup for Normal to Dry Skin in 110 Ivory, but after switching back to Revlon’s far less popular Nearly Naked, I do not harbour any particularly warm feelings towards ColorStay. I know it’s a favourite for a lot of people, but I didn’t find it especially great. I’m not a full coverage foundation person anyway, so perhaps I’m not adequately qualified to make this call; either way, I doubt I’ll repurchase. On the other had, I do love L’Oréal La Touche Magique Highlighting Concealer in Rose Beige, which was featured in a prior empties post: “The fact that it covers my very dark, very present undereye circles so well and never creases makes me love science.” I ended up trying out a new undereye concealer after I ran out of La Touche Magique, and I honestly regret it!

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat is a favourite of mine, and I’ve repurchased it. I’m shocked it lasted as long as it did – about a year, with approximately weekly manicures. Definitely worth the twelve bucks!

Hair

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John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Bonder Lightening Shampoo did a great job at toning the green tint out of my hair, and it is quite effective at keeping the brass out as well. It’s not a miracle worker nor is it a replacement for a toner, but I’ve felt that my hair has retained its cool, pale tone quite well in the five months that I’ve been using this shampoo (and the coordinating conditioner). Batiste Dry Shampoo (original scent) is a staple for me. I have no interest in trying other dry shampoos because this one does the job!

Finally, I bought Ice Cream SheCare Deep Conditioning Mask in a moment of stupidity when I thought that purple packaging = purple conditioner and quickly discovered that it was just a normal conditioner. It was absolutely not a mask, and was no match for bleach-destroyed hair. I ended up using it in place of shaving cream just to finish it. It would probably be an acceptable option for those who haven’t doused their heads in bleach a dozen times, but I am not that person.

Phew. Now I can start anew here in Montreal!

Makeup Declutter: Eye + Face Makeup

Posted on August 29, 2015 under Declutter

I never quite know where my makeup collection falls, in terms of size. Compared to the average human, it is quite large, especially in the categories of lipstick and eyeshadow. But compared to YouTubers or bigger beauty bloggers, it’s miniscule. There are categories that are downright minimal – for example, I currently have one liquid eyeliner, one mascara, one eye primer, one foundation, one concealer for blemishes, and one concealer for undereyes. But I know that there are products I don’t use, and it does make me guilty to have things sitting around that I never touch.

I’ve already purged twelve lipsticks this month, so here’s the end of this round of decluttering – mostly eye makeup, with a few face products thrown in for good measure.

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Eye primers/bases: LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer, ELF Eyelid Primer in Champagne, Lancôme La Base Paupières Pro Aquatique in Nude. The LORAC creases terribly on me, I’ve tried the ELF before and didn’t like it, bought the Lancôme last summer and have yet to open it. (I only took it out of the box about a month ago.) I love the NARS primer so much that I feel no need to test anything new. One of my friends is about to get very lucky, though – that Lancôme base is brand new and not cheap.

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Liners: Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer in Precious Gold (don’t like the colour on myself), Sephora Flashy Liner in Flashy Silver (I’m more likely to reach for greys than silvers; silver tends to look very stark against my fair skin), Lise Watier 24 Hrs Glam Eyeliner in Noir (transferred on my eyelids like basically every eyeliner in the world besides Stila and Kat Von D), Smashbox Cream Eyeliner in Picasso (also transferred), Lancôme Le Crayon Khôl (smudges ridiculously – I understand wanting smudgy eyeliner, but I cannot imagine wanting your eyeliner to get all over your damn face).

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Eyeshadow: Stila Stay All Day Wet-to-Set Eye Trio, Kiko Colour Sphere Eyeshadow in 03 Gold Beige, Wet N Wild Color Icon Glitter Single in Brass, J.cat Beauty Sparkling Cream Palette, Stila eyeshadow in Copper, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Sunwashed Sky. The glitter palette and single had to go because I never use straight up glitter; on the rare occasions that I want glittery gold on my eyelids, I just use a glitter liner over gold eyeshadow. The Stila eyeshadow and Color Tattoo simply didn’t suit me; every time I wore Stila Copper I looked undead, and Sunwashed Sky was too stark and frosty to flatter me. The Kiko shadow is actually really nice, but I have so many similar colours already that I use more regularly. Finally, I was always incredibly disappointed in pigmentation of the Wet-to-Set shadows when used dry. I know they’re really meant to be used wet, but I don’t have time for that. Plus, I rarely use those types of colours on my eyes.

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I never quite figured out how to use this Physician’s Formula Happy Booster powder – is it a setting powder? Is it a highlight? It seemed to work as both, but it wasn’t outstanding at either. It just wasn’t a product that excited me, and I HATE that gaudy packaging.

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The Revlon Photoready Cream Blushes in Pinched and Flushed are a decent formula, especially for the price. I decided to purge Flushed, a hot pink, awhile ago because it was too easy for it to become too much on my complexion. In the end, I realized that after giving Pinched a lot of love last summer, I barely use it anymore. I think cream blushes just aren’t for me. There are a few powder formulas that I love and that I will always reach for above any cream formula.

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Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Plumrose escaped my last purge, but only just. I put it on the other day and was overwhemled by the artificial watermelon scent, which lingered all day. It’s a nice colour and the formula is pretty good too, but those things just do not make up for that smell.

Finally, the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer seems to work for many a YouTuber, and I was excited to get my hands on it. But it just never blew me away. Sure, the coverage is good, but it’s nothing special. I also absolutely cannot get over concealers with doe-foot applicators because I find them completely, revoltingly unhygienic. The packaging is so cheap, too; the black letters rub off almost instaneously. Finally, the colour was never quite right for me, although that’s certainly not unique to this concealer – it’s rare that I find a foundation or concealer that isn’t at least a touch too dark for me. I don’t have a picture of it as I seem to have thrown it away already, apparently hating it too much to keep around for photography purposes!

That’s 19 products this round, 31 overall. Compared to the size of my collection, I’d say this is a good start – but I definitely want to get it even further under control. This round was the easy stuff, I suppose – the things that I absolutely never used and that had glaring problems. Next time I’ll have to be more ruthless, but that’s a problem for future Clem to deal with!