Posted on December 10, 2016 under Reviews
Long-time readers of my blog will know that the words “cobalt”, “sapphire”, and “electric blue” always induce a certain excitement in me. I’ve been drawn to anything in that colour range for my whole life, my interest gaining speed with the purchase of the original Sally Hansen Pacific Blue in the summer of 2014 and peaking during my early 2015 trip to the Jardin Majorelle of Marrakech, Morocco, a botanical oasis in the middle of the bustling city which positively dripped with the most beautiful colour:
Picture of Jardin Majorelle taken by me in January 2015.
Since Sally Hansen tragically discontinued Pacific Blue, to my eye the most beautiful electric blue as well as the most faithful reproduction of the bleu Majorelle of Marrakech, I’ve been on a quest to find a suitable replacement. (So far, I haven’t managed to find an exact dupe, though I’ve come close enough for most people.) But I’ve also been on the hunt for anything of this hue to add to my life. I refer to anything in the cobalt/sapphire family as “my colour”. (Look, I wore my colour to graduation.)
So when a customer walked in one day wearing the most pefect cobalt liquid eyeliner, of course I had to ask her what it was. Imagine my joy when I found out it was NYX, rather than something expensive! (Would I have purchased it in a heartbeat if it were expensive? Of course. But the pricetag being a mere $8.49 made the decision that much easier.)
The NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Sapphire is a classic dip-style liquid liner with a little brush tip. I’ve been a devotee of a pen-style liner for over three years, but this brush has an incredibly fine tip that makes it easy for even those of us who have been wearing eyeliner since age seventeen but still can’t do it in our sleep to create a thin, fine line.
NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Sapphire brush tip.
It also makes it easy to create a wing, something which I’m definitely not an expert at. (I rarely do winged liner, since I have hooded eyes and it’s more trouble than it’s worth to me, but I feel that a colour like this sort of demands it.)
The box for this product has two suggestions for how to use it, one being a classic wing in the Sapphire colour with an orange accent above and one being a very complicated series of lines and dots:
Of course, I did neither, opting instead for a regular (albeit large) wing:
To complement the NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Sapphire, I pulled in my YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara in Bleu Majorelle and my trusty Annabelle Kohl Eyeliner in Lapis which I’ve had since the beginning of time.
Here’s how my “full face” looked when I did this look:
I put “full face” in quotes because all I’m actually wearing besides my eye makeup (which also included a tiny bit of a medium-brown eyeshadow in the crease) is NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly under the eyes, Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Tough as Taupe through the brows, and MAC matte lipstick in Please Me. As with my NARS Audacious Lipsticks (which I photographed on the same day, clearly), this entire look would be a bit more pulled together with some blush at the very least.
I’m really happy with the colour of the NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Sapphire. It’s a true vibrant sapphire; sometimes I find shades labelled “sapphire” or “cobalt” are a bit dark (as was the case with the YSL nail polish in Bleu Majorelle), but this one is light and electric enough that it satisfies me. So, no disappointments with the colour at all.
The formula is also impressive to me. I have a long-documented issue with eyeliners of all sorts transferring on my hooded eyelids, which is why I’ve been so loyal to my Stila Stay All Day liner for years. Regardless of the beautiful colour, this liner would be useless to me if it didn’t stay put. Luckily, I found that the NYX liner dried down quickly and to a pleasing matte finish and didn’t transfer whatsoever. By the end of about a ten-hour wear period, my wings had flaked off a bit, but I’m not sure if that’s because I had rubbed my eyes somewhere in there. All the liner along my lashline was completely intact.
NYX has a few other colours in the Vivid Brights line which look really nice, so even if Sapphire in particular doesn’t appeal to you I’d certainly recommend the line if you’re looking to try out a fun colour in a solid formula on the cheap.
NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Sapphire swatch.
NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Sapphire retails for $10.99 CAD (though it frequently goes on sale for less) for 0.06oz, or $183.17 CAD per oz. Canadians can pick it up at select Shoppers Drug Mart locations or at standalone NYX stores, of which there are two in Toronto.
Posted on June 13, 2016 under Reviews
I do not believe in paying a lot of money for mascara. This has been established several times over. Yet somehow I keep reviewing high end mascara. Actually, not “somehow”. Mascara is one of the things, along with moisturizer and sunscreen, that people practically throw at you when you work in cosmetics. I have not spent a single cent on mascara since the fall of 2013. I haven’t even picked out my own mascara since then; I’ve just been using samples, gifts, things I get through work.
Well, the other week I went to Murale to spend my Optimum points (more on that later, I’m sure), and all that changed. I wasn’t expecting to buy mascara, because I just busted open a tube of Clarins Truly Waterproof and I have two backups of Lancôme Hypnôse Star, but, well, I wasn’t anticipating Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara in Bleu Majorelle.
Seeing the colour was enough to make me stop in my tracks. I read the shade name and shoved a tube in my basket immediately. I mean, it’s not a surprise that YSL would have a mascara called Bleu Majorelle; they already have the nail polish, after all, and Actual Human Yves Saint Laurent was a patron of the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech. I know this! And yet – there I was, blown away by the name of this mascara. (For those of you who are new, this particular shade of electric blue is my absolute favourite colour in the world, and I truly fell in love with it when I visited the Jardin Majorelle in early 2015.)
So, first mascara I’ve purchased in almost three years. (With points; even I wouldn’t spent $37 on a Bleu Majorelle mascara. PROBABLY.) Is it actually any good?
In short, it’s decent. Not amazing, but good. It gives fantastic length and definitely lives up to the “effet faux cils” name (I mean, as much as a mascara can, I’ve never seen a mascara that literally looks like false lashes). I’ve found it very buildable and non-clumpy. This ticks all the boxes for me – if a mascara doesn’t clump and gives me good length, I’ll probably like it.
But what is missing from this description? The colour, of course. Because the colour doesn’t show up that well on me, and I’m not sure if it’s because of the mascara itself or because my eyelashes are naturally pretty dark. I will say that the blue is much more visible on the ends of my lashes, which are much lighter, so it could be that. A cursory browse through Google images seems to suggest that the blue in the Vinyl Couture mascara line is perhaps more visibly blue, but then, I’m not sure how dark all these random Google images people’s lashes are to begin with, which would be useful information.
My best luck so far with this mascara is loading up an angled brush with the product and using it as an eyeliner. It helps make the blue lashes pop more and, once dried, does hold fast without transferring. (A solid feat on my eyelids!) However, it requires several layers and a bit of finagling to build it up, and it still has a tendency to look a bit patchy – probably because it is not, in fact, an eyeliner. I finished off this eye look with a healthy dose of the Annabelle Khol Eyeliner in Lapis in the waterline, which is pretty much the perfect encapsulation of bleu Majorelle from an oft-overlooked Canadian brand.
I paired this look with peach, for contrast: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush on the cheeks, NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte (another Murale score) on the lips.
When I wore this eye makeup to work I did get a lot of compliments about “the blue”, but I’m not sure if people were noticing the lashes or just the liner.
I’m going to go ahead and assume that someone with fairer lashes will probably notice a more striking effect with this particular colour than me. However, colour aside, I am quite impressed with the Volume Effet Faux Cils mascara – enough that I might spend my precious points on a tube of the black, but, as always, not enough to lay down cold hard cash for it. I’m a bit disappointed in the colour payoff, but in my obsession with this colour I have come to expect disappointment.
Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara in Bleu Majorelle retails for $37 CAD for 0.23 fl oz, or $160.90 per fl oz.
Posted on February 05, 2016 under Reviews
Okay, guys. Is this getting ridiculous yet? I now have five bottles of nail polish in this shade range, all acquired with an eye to duping Sally Hansen’s reformulated and completely different Pacific Blue.
(I may be getting slightly better – I found a shade at H&M that I thought was similar, said, “I know it’s not going to be the same, but I’m going to buy it anyway,” and then a few minutes later decided against it. No promises for the future, though. Swatches of that product are scarce, but from what I can tell it is far too light, with an almost periwinkle tone. Still gorgeous, just not the right colour.)
I’ll answer my own question: this is getting ridiculous. I know this. And yet I cannot help being utterly bewitched by the hunt for the nail polish that best encapsulates the bleu Majorelle of Marrakech. I now identify strongly with Captain Ahab, which is for obvious reasons quite a surprise.
Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech, January 2015
My dupe hunt has been going on for months now. I’ve looked at endless swatches of supposed “dupes” online, instantly dismissing all of them. (HOW ARE THESE PEOPLE NOT SEEING THE BLATANT DIFFERENCES?) And I’ve given two polishes a try myself. First I tried Barry M’s Damson, which was close but a bit too deep for my (extremely) discerning eye. Then I tried YSL’s Bleu Majorelle, which despite its name fails to capture the electricity and vibrancy of the real deal. The old Pacific Blue (much lighter, brighter, and more opaque, as well as sans sparkle, compared to the new one) is the closest polish I’ve ever found to the bleu Majorelle I’ve seen in person.
It seems that Sally Hansen, breaker of Pacific Blue-loving hearts everywhere, may be the answer to our prayers. In a newly-launched addition to the Miracle Gel line (which I have previously reviewed), Sally Hansen has brought out Byte Blue. As soon as I unloaded it from a box of new releases at work I gasped, showing it to my work friend who is also aware of my quest.
“Is it the same?” she asked as I swatched it on a piece of paper.
“I… think it might be,” I said. “I have to buy it.” Never mind the fact that I have two backups of Pacific Blue plus the Barry M and YSL shades. I bought it for the blog, people.
(She then suggested two other colours to me, which I quickly refuted as completely incorrect. My bleu Majorelle eye is finely-tuned!)
As we all know, a swatch (on paper, nonetheless) is very different from wear on the nails – so is Byte Blue the new Pacific Blue?
In a word, not quite. But it’s the best I’ve found so far.
Let’s have a look at the two on the nails:
Here I’ve indicated with an asterisk which nails have been painted with Byte Blue. The other three (thumb, middle finger, and pinky) are sporting Pacific Blue, the colour which I am trying to dupe.
Now, I fully admit that 1) They are similar, and 2) I have a very discerning eye. (I refuse to admit that I’m just seeing things. Nobody else sees the differences because they aren’t looking for them and because they have no horse in this race.) But I think you can see from this image that Pacific Blue is deeper and slightly more purple than Byte Blue. Is Byte Blue a vibrant, gorgeous, electric blue? Yes. Is it similar to bleu Majorelle? Yes! But it doesn’t capture the essence and depth of that colour quite as well as Pacific Blue, which I find to be far more complex.
Byte Blue lasts just as well as most nail polish does with a top coat: that is, about 5-6 days without chipping and then another 2-3 days after that with only minor tipwear. (This, of course, changes when I’m working with my hands a lot, when even the best top coat will not preserve a manicure past the 2-day mark.)
I painted my other hand using Barry M Damson and YSL Bleu Majorelle:
Here I think my conclusion from the YSL post is especially stark: Bleu Majorelle, the nail polish, is far too dark and, to me, lacks both the vibrancy and depth of Pacific Blue and its other imitators.
Let’s see all four colours together:
Here we can see that Pacific Blue (PB) is deeper and slightly more purple than both Byte Blue (BB) and Damson (D), though lighter than Bleu Majorelle (BM) while retaining that vaguely purple undertone. Byte Blue and Damson look nearly identical both in pictures and on the nails, but Byte Blue is a hair deeper than Damson and has a very vaguely creamy quality that is more reminiscent of Pacific Blue.
So, in all my Pacific Blue dupe-hunting, I have come to the following conclusions:
A) There is no exact dupe for Sally Hansen Pacific Blue on the market.
B) The essential qualities of Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, which set it apart from other nail polishes of a similar colour, are as follows: 1) It retains its vibrancy while being slightly darker than most similar colours, something which makes it peculiar and adds to its allure. 2) It has the very slightest purple undertone – not noticeable on its own, but something that can be picked up on when swatched next to comparable colours. 3) It has a creamy quality (to the colour, not the texture) that other colours lack.
C) Sally Hansen Pacific Blue is very hard to describe to accurately. My descriptions seem to gain complexity as I try new possible dupes.
D) I am very picky in my assessments of these dupes, but I am also correct. Whether or not anybody else notices the differences (or cares), the fact is that Sally Hansen Pacific Blue is singular.
E) Sally Hansen Byte Blue is the closest dupe I’ve found, but it’s still not close enough that I am ready to end my dupe hunt.
(Conversation with my roommate last week, as we compared all four:
Me: You know, it’s just a bit more purple and darker. And it has sort of a creamy base, I don’t know.
Her: You don’t know?
Me: Okay, I’ve thought about this a lot.
She also agreed that they are different, SO THERE.)