Two Taylor Swift-inspired makeup looks (that you’re not expecting)

Posted on February 17, 2015 under FOTD

If I never see another winged eyeliner and red lipstick Taylor Swift makeup tutorial again, it will be too damn soon. It’s not that I don’t like the look, on her and in general; it’s a classic for a reason. But the beauty blogging and vlogging world does not need seventeen thousand identical tutorials! (See also: any and all Kardashian Kontouring tutorials.)

This is especially true when you consider that in her eight-year career, Taylor has worn a variety of interesting, pretty makeup looks that most people ignore. She’s one of those celebrities who, in my book, always looks good, and that includes her makeup. She has been settling on more of a makeup uniform in the past year or so, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a little inspiration from some of her most excellent past looks!

For both of these looks, I started by perfecting my base: I filled in my eyebrows with my trusty Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Tough As Taupe, and on my face I used Revlon ColorStay foundation in 110 Ivory, MAC Studio Finish concealer in NC15, and L’Oréal La Touche Magique Highlighting Concealer in Rose Beige.

Look One: Bronze smokey eyes and light pink lips


Taylor wore this look to the People’s Choice Awards in 2013.


I started by using Stila’s eyeshadow in Sunset, a shimmery copper found in the In the Light palette, all over my eyelid. I brought the shadow up fairly high, since Taylor’s goes nearly to her brows in this picture.


Next, I used Stila Sandstone, a matte brown found in the same palette, on the outer third of the lid and a bit in the crease. This picture is pre-blended, of course; never fear!


And here it is blended properly. I ended up adding more of both Sunset and Sandstone after blending the first time, to darken the colours and to really layer them up to get the same effect as Taylor. I also added a bit of Sunset under the first half or so of my lower lashline.


To finish of the eyes, I lined my upper lashline and waterline with black gel liner and applied several coats of MUFE Smoky Extravagant mascara on the top and bottom lashes. I’m pretty sure Taylor was wearing false lashes as well (or else her lashes are just crazy long!), but I didn’t want to go through the hassle of applying them.


To complete the look, I added some peachy blush (theBalm FratBoy), a light pink lipstick (Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in #17), and a matte white highlight under my eyes, on the tip of my nose, and in the cupid’s bow. Taylor’s lips had a brown undertone, but this pinker lipstick suits my complexion better, which is why I chose it. I figure it’s all about the nude look, not about using the exact same colour. And there we have it: smokey bronze eyes and light pink lips, à la Taylor Swift at the 2013 PCAs.

This look ended up being a bit more on the copper side (rather than bronze), but I still really like it. Next time I’d use the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze as a base to stay more faithful to the makeup Taylor wore.

Look two: Blue on the eyes, coral on the lips


Taylor’s 2014 Country Music Awards look is THE BEST THING SHE HAS EVER DONE TO HER FACE. I love it so much! I took some liberties with it here, making it a bit more dramatic and confining the blue to the lower lashline, but I recreated it more accurately this summer, and even curled my hair to match:


Anyway, let’s get on to how I interpreted it this time around.


I used my trusty Stila palette yet again, using Bare, a matte off-white, as a base. I then mixed two matte Sleek shadows, Thunder and Noir, respectively a medium grey and a black, and used that to define an angled corner on the outside of each eye.


Here it is blended. It’s meant to be quite subtle, since the rest of the look is fairly dramatic.


Eyeliner! This is probably where I took the most liberties; though I suspect Taylor’s soft, short flick was made with eyeshadow, I made mine a lot thicker and longer and used gel liner. My hooded eyelids tend to swallow winged liner, so I had to make it bigger so it would show up properly. I used the Real Techniques Eyeliner Brush for this, and used their Silicone Liner Brush in my waterline.


As I mentioned, I only used blue on my lower lashline, although Taylor had some on both the upper and lower. I thought my eyelid was already heavy enough! This blue is Infinitely Indigo by Lancôme, which I applied using the ELF Small Smudge Brush. I also brought some up under the wing.


I kept the same cheek colour for this look. Taylor also seemed to have more of a glow here, so I used my beloved Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished on the tops of my cheekbones. On the lips, I used Revlon’s Balm Stain in Romantic, a sheer warm red, with Lancôme’s Fever Gloss in 100 Degrees on top. I love this combination on the lips, and I think it complements the blue beautifully. As you can see, I didn’t have it in me to curl my hair this time – sorry!

This is definitely more dramatic than the source look, but I think it’s nice like both this and with my more delicate initial interpretation.

And if you need any more convincing that there is more to Swiftian makeup than matte true-red lips and winged liner, well…


Review: L’Oréal Color Radiance Protecting Mask / Elvive Colour Protect

Posted on February 14, 2015 under Reviews

You won’t find me denying that my blonde is 100% fake. For one thing, it wouldn’t be a very convincing argument, considering my particular hue and my near-constant roots, but I also just don’t believe in that type of coy pretense. There’s nothing wrong with altering your appearance, and not all of us are born with what we want.

You may imagine that, after enough bleach applications to take my hair from a stubbornly persistent medium brown to a near-platinum, it’s pretty damaged. And I suppose it is, if you don’t take into account what I do to care for it. But the fact is that my hair in all its bleached glory feels much smoother, softer, and healthier than it did pre-bleach.

Even as I started getting into makeup, I was ignorant about how to care for my hair. I used a clarifying shampoo every wash (shudder!), and my habit of blowing my hair dry most days left it frizzy, full of split-ends, and overall thirsty and sad. (“Thirsty and sad” is a good descriptor of a lot of people, incidentally.)

Then I dyed my hair hot pink, over a bleached base, and it became imperative to actually take care of my hair. I bought the L’Oréal Color Radiance Protecting Mask (called Elvive Colour Protect in the UK) for two reasons: to keep the colour in my hair for as long as possible, and to keep it feeling and looking healthy despite being systematically destroyed with bleach.


I added cute things to this picture – am I a real blogger now?

When I went blonde in April, I put my Color Radiance products away since I was using purple shampoo and conditioner to maintain my hair colour. But let me tell you a (potentially obvious) fact: regular conditioner just does not cut it when it comes to hair that has been bleached eight times.

I pulled out the Color Radiance mask in June, and within two washes my hair felt alive, even though it was objectively more dead than it had been in my entire life. I’ve been using it faithfully since then, every single time I wash my hair, and my bleach-destroyed hair is paradoxically in the best shape of its life.


Because this shit is magical. Seriously, I think there is some sorcery involved in how damn good it is. I brush my hair infrequently because I have wavy hair and brushing it messes up the texture. Sometimes, it can get quite tangled in the back. But when I rinse this mask out of my hair, I can always run my fingers straight through it, no detangling efforts required. It’s soft, it’s smooth, and I have no frizz or split ends. (That also has something to do with the fact that I stopped using heat on my hair, of course.)

The texture of this product is of medium thickness, and can be best described using the very technical term “goopy”. I usually use my middle three fingers to scoop some out of the tub, which is enough to cover my hair. You don’t want too much of it; a little goes a long way! If your hair isn’t super damaged then I’d just apply this to the ends, but I need to cover my hair root to tip because it gets crunchy and dry all over otherwise. The texture thins out a bit about halfway through the tub, but this isn’t a con to me – it still works just as effectively.


So, basically, if you have damaged or dry hair, whether it’s coloured or not, you need this stuff in your life. It’s cheap, a tub lasts forever, and it works. I’m on my third tub, and I will continue buying it until the universe blesses us with something that is somehow even better.

L’Oréal Color Radiance Protecting Mask / Elvive Colour Protect retails for about $8 CAD or £5 for 300mL (10.6 fl oz), making it $0.026 CAD per mL ($0.75 per fl oz) or £0.17 per mL (£0.047 per fl oz), and can be found at any drugstore/pharmacy.

Favourite packaging #1

Posted on February 10, 2015 under Lists

I get suckered in by good packaging. There’s a reason I once bought a lipstick shaped like a cat, and it isn’t because I was just dying to have a sheer orange lipstick. (True story. Curse you, adorable Korean cosmetics shop five minutes from my old apartment!) Generally, I try to buy makeup I will actually use and enjoy, but occasionally good packaging gets to me.

Here are some products with beautiful packaging – although it must be said that I do genuinely like these items as, you know, makeup and not just eye candy.

Charlotte Tilbury lipstick

packaging charlotte tilbury

All of the Charlotte Tilbury packaging is unbelievably luxe, but as I haven’t quite been able to justify the cost of all her other products, for now I must make do with a beautiful lipstick. I love every aspect of this packaging: the rose gold, the ribbed texture, the embossed logo on the top of the cap, and, most of all, how solid it is in my hand. It feels expensive (and it damn well is).

Lancôme Fever Gloss

packaging lancome

I don’t find a lot of Lancôme products to be particularly beautifully packaged (although their Grandiôse mascara is like nothing else I have laid my eyes on), but the Fever Gloss is gorgeous. It’s the perfect mixture of sleek, with the clear tube and metal embellishments, and just a bit luxurious. It’s the glass tube that elevates it – this is definitely no $5 lip gloss.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush

packaging hourglass

Hourglass is, of course, a master of fancy packaging to match the slightly outrageous price tag. It’s gold and a bit art deco with the geometric aspects: the straight lines and sleek curves, the structure of the clasp. This is well-made pacakging; it’s not flimsy at all, and the mirror helps elevate it just that bit more. I rarely use the mirrors that come with blushes, bronzers, and powders, but I just feel like it’s such a nice touch that really makes the product feel expensive, regardless of price point.

Bourjois Java Rice Powder

packaging bourjois

Now that I’ve shown off some seriously fancy packaging, let’s move into the more whimsical territory. The Bourjois packaging is not exactly luxe, but it’s not cheap either – it’s fun, it’s solid, and the label of the Java Rice powder has that perfect detailed vintage feel. The designs on the side of the container add a nice touch to pull it all together. Although I do like packaging that makes me feel like the fancy-ass lady I will never be, there is always a place for well thought out fun packaging in my heart!

Topshop Glow Highlighter

pacakging topshop

I know I just talked about this, but it’s seriously some of the best packaging I have in my makeup collection! It strikes a balance between something a bit more fun, with the handwritten font and asterisk design, and a more sleek, expensive feeling, with the matte frosted glass. Once again, I love that this is glass instead of plastic. The Topshop makeup isn’t super expensive, but it’s not cheap either – so the glass feels right for this price point.


packaging vaseline

I didn’t say all these products were going to be exciting! For me, a mini tub of Vaseline is an absolute necessity to keep my lips happy during winter, and I love this collector’s edition tin. It reminds me of the Bourjois packaging: vintage and fun, pretty without taking itself seriously. In the past my mini Vaseline has come in little plastic tubs, but I am a big fan of the tin – it’s so much cuter, and I actually want to display it along with the rest of my products… even though, at the end of the day, it really is just Vaseline.

So there we have it – some of the most beautiful, cute, and fun product packaging in my collection.