Summer 2018 Favourites

Posted on July 30, 2018 under Favourites

I hardly ever do favourites posts, mostly because I don’t try nearly the volume of products necessary to make that tenable on a regular basis. I think occasional seasonal roundups work for my purposes, though the last one I did was back in the fall of 2016. Here is the warm-weather answer to that, then!

Like many others, in the summer months I opt for a lighter base. This is now my second summer regularly using The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.1N, which doesn’t work too well for my skin in winter but looks beautifully natural in summer. To pair with this lighter base, I’ve really been enjoying Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer in Ivory. True to its name, it has a natural, radiant finish, but its peachy undertone does wonders in brightening up my dark undereye area. To give it a bit more coverage and lasting-power (and to make it a tad lighter), I usually mix in a little bit of Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer in C1. Mixing concealers is a new and slightly finnicky trick in my repertoire, but I can’t fault the results.

Here’s the Bourjois concealer on its own (on the right, obviously) for comparison’s sake:

When mixed with the Makeup Revolution concealer, it’s not quite as dewy as it appears in this picture. I do prefer that look slightly, but I think the results of Radiance Reveal on its own are lovely: natural, luminous, and surprisingly effective for such a comfortable, emollient, lightweight formula.

Back in May I used some Optimum points to pick up the Clinique Blush Pop in Peach Pop, my first taste of this well-loved formula. Though I find the clear plastic packaging a bit cheap-looking, I can’t deny that this is a beautiful buildable, long-lasting blush. Like a basic bitch, I love peach in the summer, so I’ve used this very frequently over the past few months. When I want a more vibrant blush, I use my trusty Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat, a lovely red-coral. Between those two blushes (well, and the always-appropriate Hourglass Mood Exposure, of course), I’ve scarcely touched anything else.

My eyelids eat cream formulas after the six-hour mark, and I always have the best results with powder shadow over a good primer. So colour me surprised that the Stila Shimmer and Glow Liquid Eyeshadows truly stay put on my eyes all day. In the heat of a humid Toronto summer, these shadows are quick and easy to apply and completely bulletproof. I picked up the shades Kitten (Stila’s classic champagne) and Jezebel (a rose gold) in May, and I’ve been using them… basically all the time. I do really like the Glitter and Glow shadows, too, but they’re a bit prone to fallout, while the high-impact, metallic Shimmer and Glows are not.

Here’s how Kitten looks on my eye, with a matte brown powder shadow in the crease:

And Jezebel, with some similar crease shadow action (and mascara smudges):

And a swatch gif, so you can see how beautiful these guys really are:

In the summer I gravitate towards my impossibly bright lipsticks, all of which are in the same basic colour family. Marc Jacobs So Sofia, a purchase made almost exactly a year ago as summer wound to a close, has seen a lot of use. So has Revlon Fire and Ice, a truly classic shade which lives its best life in the summer months. New-to-me is NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, a shade popularized by Taylor Swift several years ago. In the wake of 1989 (which was a damn catchy pop album, sue me), I coveted the colour but could never pull the trigger; when a family friend gifted it to me last month, I was predictably ecstatic. On Swift, Dragon Girl is a bright, fiery red; on me, it’s noticeably more pink, though still as delightfully vibrant. Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in Romantic is a long, long, longtime favourite – it’s a beautiful sheer, warm red that’s never too much. (They still make this shade, too, though most of the Balm Stains are long gone.) After a long period of gravitating more towards neutral lipsticks, I’m back to my best self with my bold colours.

L-R: Marc Jacobs So Sofia, Revlon Fire and Ice, NARS Dragon Girl, Revlon Romantic

I arrived back in Canada at the end of May after eight months in the UK, and I found that my hands were suddenly very dry in this climate. Though I have a pretty dry face and very dry arms and legs, my hands have always self-regulated pretty well. But apparently the change in climate was too much, so I had to turn to The Chemistry Brand HA3 Hand Hydrator. This is a super effective, hyaluronic-based hand cream with a light whipped texture. The reason I like it enough to talk about on my blog is that it sinks in incredibly quickly without compromising its efficacy. I cannot stand feeling like there’s anything on my hands; I want to wash them immediately. A lot of hand creams are like nails on a chalkboard to me, but not this one. It also has a very peppy zesty scent which I enjoy.

I also really enjoy The Chemistry Brand Hyaluronic Body Mist for a hit of moisture between body lotion applications. It’s especially nice to have something so quick and easy to apply in the summer, when the heat can induce lethargy. Sometimes it seems altogether too much to rub cream all over my body, but a quick mist is within my capability. This product definitely isn’t a substitute for an actual body lotion (at least not for my dry skin!), but it’s a great interim product.

In the non-makeup realm, I would probably be dead without the Invisibobble knockoffs I got at Primark back in the winter. I’m growing out my blonde (as you have no doubt been able to surmise from my photos over the past year and a half), and I have a few months to go before I can chop it all off. My hair is longer than I like it, and since it’s very thick and abundant it’s just far too much to have on my neck in the summer. I’ve been putting it up in a high ponytail or topknot almost every day, and these little coiled hair ties do an amazing job at keeping my hair comfortably in place. I definitely don’t think you should pay for the brand name version, but if you can find cheap knockoffs they are great for keeping thick, unruly hair at bay.

And, before I go, one summery miss: Avène High Protection SPF50+ Emulsion. This sunscreen has a pleasant texture (if a bit thicker than other facial sunscreens by brands like La Roche-Posay and Vichy) and user-friendly packaging, and seems truly effective if my perpetually-fair face is anything to go by. Unfortunately, it leaves such a white cast. When I’m going to work this isn’t an issue as I put foundation on top anyway, but I often leave my house without makeup but still want to be protected from the sun. It’s a bummer, because I do like the product otherwise, and the pump/squeeze-tube hybrid packaging is always welcome in my home. When I’m out of this I’ll be looking to another brand for my face sunscreen needs.

And that’s what I’ve been putting on my face this summer! It’s a nice mixture of new discoveries and old favourites.

Months worth of decluttering packed into one convenient post

Posted on May 25, 2018 under Declutter

Yay, getting rid of things! I did a pretty thorough destash before I moved in September, but decluttering is a constant process and I have found even more that needs to leave my collection. I’m going to go ahead and say that in nine months I downsized my lipstick collection by almost 50%, and I am very proud of that. More on that in a bit…

First, a few things that I left behind in Toronto when I was there over Christmas – a relatively small purge which inspired a larger round.

First, the hideously bad Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation. I mean, hideously bad if you’re me and have dry skin and don’t like full coverage. If you like full coverage and have combo or oily skin, you might like this! It really did look like shit on me, though.

I absolutely fell in love with NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation back when I first bought it in November 2016 despite its trickiness. Over time, my skin started rejecting it, and I just found that it never looked flattering. I don’t think my skin got any dryer, but something definitely changed. It’s a shame, because it really was lovely, and I only used about 1/3 of the bottle. At least I bought it with Optimum points – I’d really hate to get rid of a $60 foundation that I spent real money on. My mom has informed me that she has taken the liberty of adopting this foundation and actually enjoys it, so I feel quite happy knowing that someone is getting my Optimum points’ worth.

The Seventeen Instant Glow Shimmer Brick is a really pretty rosy highlighter, but I’m trying to cull my highlighter collection. Ultimately it has to go because I rarely use powder highlighter and it’s just a bit more dramatic than I usually go for. It’s still a nice product, though – the Boots house brands do a great job.

ColourPop Ultra Blotted Lips in Split is just not my thing, as it turns out. The lack of staying power, finnicky application, and dryness on the lips are – shockingly – not a winning combination.

ColourPop Lippie Stix in Trixie was just never the colour I wanted it to be, and I found the formula too slippy for my tastes. ColourPop is just so frustrating – I’ve found a handful of really great, cost-effective products from them, but there are also a lot of duds amongst the impulse purchases I threw into my cart to meet the $50 free shipping minimum. It’s probably not worth all the wasted money and product for the few good things. Ultimately, I think I have to break up with ColourPop.

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Mystery* is a really pretty plum that’s just a bit too patchy to be workable. Let’s be real – I have plenty of lipstick, there’s no use holding onto stuff that’s not quite right when I could be wearing formulas and colours I absolutely love. Out of the six of these lip pencils that Buxom sent me back in 2016, I now only have two – but I wear them constantly. That’s a lot better than having four that I neglect and two that I wear.

Lastly, the Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art 2-in-1 Cream Eyeshadow and Sparkle just never worked for me. I love my Stila and Urban Decay liquid eyeshadows, so those are the ones I’ll continue to use. I meant to do a full review of the Revlon ones, but suffice to say they’re thick and sticky to the point of being downright uncomfortable.

When I got back to Glasgow, I was in a decluttering mood, and over the past few months I’ve been combing through my collection, trying out things that had been gathering dust, and tossing more items into my declutter pile.

Some highlighters had to go! Kiko Radiant Touch Creamy Stick Highlighter is pretty, but I’ll always prefer the Glossier Haloscope in Quartz. While I do very much enjoy the formula and wow factor of the Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter in Starlight, realistically I’ll get far more wear out of my subtler highlighters. I was enchanted with the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent when I first got it, but I really do prefer cream and liquid highlights these days. This is a very pretty product and it looks practically untouched, so it’ll be nice to pass it on to a friend who will enjoy it more than I do!

I have finally accepted that I don’t wear bronzer, so it’s bye-bye to the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer in Light Bronzer. I got this last winter and wore it, like, two times in the summer, and now that we’ve made it through yet another winter and it remains pretty much untouched… it’s time to admit defeat. I find the tone of this a bit too orange for my liking. The Body Shop Honey Bronzer is actually a great tone for me, and if I ever want to dip my toes back into the bronzer world again I’ll repurchase that. But I think for now I will live a bronzer-free life.

The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops were passed on from Aisling, but none of the foundations currently in my stash require adjusting and I don’t tend to purchase foundations that I won’t be able to use straight out of the bottle. Speaking of mismatched shades, I really liked the formula of the PS… My Perfect Colour Concealer in Nude Beige, but it was not, in fact, my perfect colour.

Lots of liquid lipsticks that are out the door today! Time to say goodbye to Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks in Fiore, Aria, Viola, and Beso. The first two are goners because they’re too old (though Aria is still one of the prettiest colours ever – you can kind of see it in this ancient post). Viola was just never that flattering on me, and I prefer NARS Annabella over Stila Beso if we’re talking warm reds. Other casualties were ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips in Tuesday and Lychee and Wet N Wild Liquid Catsuit in Nice to Fuchsia. Tuesday was an obvious candidate for eradication; Lychee was yet another dud in my years-long attempt to find my perfect lilac; Nice to Fuchsia was a hype-fuelled purchase in a Kentucky Walmart that I just never fell in love with.

I have declared this many many times, but I am finally ready to officially and truthfully state that I am over liquid lipsticks. I’m not even going to say “burn my house to the ground if you see me buying another liquid lipstick,” because I don’t need any incentive other than the thought of my lips shrivelling up and dying. Also because arson is illegal so I will not encourage that behaviour. The only liquid lipsticks I have left are ColourPop Dr. M (because it is a very special colour), Stila Chianti (because I haven’t found a bullet lipstick alternative to it yet), and my two Lancôme Matte Shakers* (because they don’t look, feel, or wear like liquid lipsticks).

Other lip products that had to go: Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in 017 (featured here – old; not my most flattering colour); Lise Watier Rouge Gourmand Velours in Cake Pop (featured here – four years old and not something I wear very often); Bite Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Beetroot (mini – I’m not a huge wearer of deep reds and I prefer something a bit longer-wearing for such a dramatic colour); Maybelline Color Drama Lip Pencil in Keep It Classy (too similar to other neutrals I own, though the formula is lovely).

I also got rid of that Primark glitter lip kit that made me look ill and hurt my lips, for obvious reasons.

That’s thirteen lipsticks gone in this post in addition to the twenty-four I decluttered this past summer. When I did my lipstick inventory in August, I had an overwhelming seventy lipsticks. So I have managed to reduce it by just about bang-on fifty percent, with a total of thirty-seven lipsticks in my collection. It hasn’t been this small in years! I honestly wasn’t even aiming for this; I was just throwing things I didn’t like into a declutter box for months until I suddenly realized I’d halved my collection. I didn’t wear a lot of makeup this past school year because I was only on campus three days a week and I didn’t feel like doing fancy/exciting makeup most of the time anyway. I think that made it a lot easier to get rid of things, because when I was wearing makeup at least 40% less frequently than I had been, I wanted to use things I really, truly loved on the days that I did. That meant chucking a lot of things that I only wore when I remembered about them and keeping the things that I really love. Thirty-seven lipsticks is still more than a human actually needs, but my collection has been hovering at fifty (or more…) since at least 2015. I’m not going to use this declutter as an excuse to buy 15 more lipsticks, but ridding my collection of the dead weight does give me a bit of breathing room to carefully select a new product here and there, as I did when I got a new Marc Jacobs lipstick in Copenhagen this month.

Eye things: Bella Pierre Shimmer Powder in Snowflake is a very pretty sheer white shadow, but do you think I have the patience to mess around with a loose eyeshadow? No. Of course I don’t. Urban Decay Troublemaker Mascara frustrated me with its underwhelmingness.

A few truly random things: The Body Shop Sparkler All Over Shimmer, because I have no opportunity in my life to wear body glitter. Superdrug Naturally Radiant 5% Glycolic Acid, because I bought it out of desperation and I prefer an 8% glycolic that doesn’t smell weird. The Real Techniques Essential Foundation Brush is certainly not essential to me. I have highlighter brushes that I prefer to bdellium tools 944.

Recently I’ve been reflecting on minimalism and decluttering. I’ve reduced my makeup purchasing significantly in 2018 (like, the only makeup products I’ve purchased – as opposed to received as a gift – are a £4 concealer in March and an £8.99 tube of mascara in April). That said, I don’t think this extremely low level of buying is going to continue on forever. I’ve come a long way in reducing my consumerist tendencies and impulse purchases, but I’m not naïve enough to think that I’m done buying makeup forever. Inevitably, I get rid of a lot of things. And I think that’s okay! A lot of these products are things that I’ve had and used for years, that I’ve managed to get a lot of mileage out of but that aren’t right for me anymore. I don’t think it’s horrific that I didn’t actually finish up my tube of Rimmel lipstick, because I used it frequently for at least four years and I got my $6.99’s worth out of it for sure. And products that I didn’t get a lot of use out of – like ColourPop Tuesday – we can chalk up to learning experiences.

I like to have a diverse makeup collection because it’s fun to try new things and to have options. But I also like to feel like everything I have is being used. So if I’m going to keep buying new makeup, I will also continue to declutter, so that my collection remains within that sweet spot. When my makeup collection first swelled to a size that I found unmanageable, I thought I could perform one big cull and be done with it. But that’s definitely not the case – as long as I’m buying new things, old things will have to leave my collection. I don’t tend to sit down and pick through my collection all at once, either. Instead, I use something, realize I don’t like it much, and throw it into a box. When the box gets full, I do a blog post and let my friends go through everything. This might be the last declutter post on here for some time since I’ve definitely trimmed the fat, but you can bank on seeing another one at some point. That’s just the nature of the beast.

By the way, I’m moving back to Toronto tomorrow, so wish me luck hauling 3 suitcases and a backpack across the world!

Lipstick Collection: Fuchsias and Bright Pinks

Posted on April 16, 2018 under Inventory

Fuchsia was the first lipstick colour I ever fell in love with. When I was 19, you could expect to see me sporting fuchsia more often than not. It’s a colour that I’ve grown out of somewhat; I still really like the right tone on me, but I don’t think it’s my most flattering colour anymore. (To be fair, when my fuchsia obsession was at its height, I had brown hair.) Regardless, this portion of my collection is still pretty robust, even after trimming it down in the summer.

This category can get slightly hazy – sometimes there’s not a lot separating a warm fuchsia from a pink-based coral or a cool fuchsia from a warm lilac. I’ve just gone with my gut here, which has involved rearranging the configuration of products I presented in my lipstick inventory post back in the summer. (By the way, as always, arm swatches are available in that post.)

And here are my bare lips:

Lancôme Le Lip Liner in Rose Lancôme

Man, isn’t this colour just so pretty? It’s bright and unapologetic and it has the hint of warmth that I love in a good fuchsia. Although you definitely should not spend $30 on a lip liner, if you do, Lancôme liners have an almost gel-like quality and they glide on very comfortably and evenly. Personally I like to cheap out on lip liners, but I’ve found it really hard to find a bright, warm fuchsia and I bought this with Optimum points anyway. (Of course. Come on. I buy everything with Optimum points.)

ColourPop Lippie Stix in Heart-On

Ugh, I still hate the name. However, this is a great lip liner option – it’s cooler and deeper than Rose Lancôme, so it fulfils a different function. You can see in the photos in the original post that a purple undertone can become more apparent in cooler lighting, which makes it a nice layering option to change the undertone of a fuchsia lipstick. Also, one time I wore this lip liner by itself to work, and a man asked me why, and I said because I liked it, and he said, “No you don’t,” and I still don’t know what he meant by that. Actually, I’m pretty sure he meant he didn’t like it, which is fine because he was buying Just 4 Men hair dye because he wants to pay more money for less hair dye solely because there’s a picture of a man on the box. Anyway. This lip liner reminds me of that man. I hope he’s having fun touching up his grays.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Angela

I honestly have no idea how to categorize this lipstick. Is it a bright magenta? Is it a super bright cool-toned pink? Is it almost a lilac? I don’t know! In the end I decided that it’s too light and bright to be magenta and too pink to be lilac, which leaves it in the vague “bright pink” category. Rest assured that the Audacious formula is one of my favourites of all time – I have five of them! You can read my full review of the formula here. Angela is my most recent addition to the Audacious collection (though it’s not really that recent an acquisition since I bought it in August). I was slightly nervous that this colour would be way too much, but I shouldn’t have worried. In general, I can pull off really saturated colours, and this one totally works.

Bite Beauty Matte Lipstick in Custom Colour

Oh, you thought NARS Angela was freakishly bold? Well, allow me to introduce to you this custom colour from Bite Beauty, which is Angela on steroids. This is possibly the most unapologetically loud lipstick I own, and I love it for that. The formula is also great – I’m in a small minority who doesn’t live and die by the Amuse Bouche formula, but I really enjoy the matte formula Bite offers at their lip labs. It strikes a nice balance between wear time and comfort. In the original post you’ll be able to see that it can appear a bit more purple in some lights, but overall I think it’s just shy of being a true purple. Whatever it is, I love it.

ColourPop Lippie Stix Matte X in Poppin

This is genuinely one of the best lipstick formulas I have in my collection, and I always forget about it. It has a true matte finish but manages to look beautifully smooth on my lips. It also wears like a champ. And this is just a really nice colour – anything that leans berry is going to be flattering on me, but I like that this colour has that nice vibrant punch. If I ever make another ill-advised ColourPop order, I might have to try some other Matte X colours, because this one is seriously so good. (And, hey, it was a GWP, so I didn’t even spend any real money on it.)

Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in Lovesick

I have such an intense nostalgic love for this lipstick. It was one of the first I ever bought, right when I was first getting into makeup in early 2013. I have a perfectly clear memory of buying it: I was at the end of my first year of university, just finishing exams, and preparing to move back to Toronto for the summer. I bought it from the Pharmaprix near my dorm and put it on just to see how it looked. I wasn’t used to so much colour on my face, but I found that I really liked it. I wore it constantly during the summer. On my nineteenth birthday, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that it was a really flattering colour on me. Wait, here is a picture from that exact day of discovery:

Anyway, I then proceeded to buy like fifteen more fuchsia lipsticks that summer because I had found My Colour. This is no longer My Colour, but it’s still a great lipstick. They haven’t made this colour in years, so I cling to my tube. (By the way, this is my second tube – the first one melted in the sun – so it’s not actually five years old. Just, like, three. Whatever.)

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiore

I’m pretty much over liquid lipstick these days, but Stila’s formula is about as good as it’s going to get for me. Fiore was a gift from my friend Kristin a few Christmases back, and she obviously knew me very well when she selected this bright pink! I actually prefer this tone on me to the OG fuchsia, Revlon Lovesick. (I’m wearing it in the picture on the sidebar! Which was taken 3 years ago the last time I lived in Glasgow, ha.) Though this is undoubtedly a bright pink, it’s a bit more muted than some of the others I have. It’s like a daytime bright pink. I don’t know what it is – there’s just something in the undertone that makes it a bit more of a reasonable colour.

Lancôme Matte Shaker in Pink Power*

Dude, I love this lipstick. Like, I’m over liquid lipsticks and I still love this one because it truly doesn’t feel like a liquid lipstick. And this is the kind of in-your-face vibrant warm fuchsia lipstick that I’m all about. It’s just so good. I think if I had to pick a single fuchsia from my collection, it would be this one. The colour is just exactly what I want, and I can’t rave about this formula enough. And this is coming from someone who just declared that she is over liquid lipsticks. I have tried enough liquid lipsticks that claim to be different to be wary, but this one actually is. (It doesn’t wear the same way as a classic liquid lipstick, either, but this particular colour stains so brilliantly that that doesn’t matter.)

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in 28

I really didn’t need to buy this lipstick, but I love it anyway. I’m not normally a sheer lipstick person, but I absolutely love the Rouge Volupté Shine formula for casual days (and travel, when comfort is of the utmost importance). Though this is definitely a bright colour, the fact that it’s sheer means that it’s not too much when I want to slap on a sheer foundation and mascara and run out the door to grab brunch. And though this is (obviously) not a long-wearing formula, it fades to an even stain, which is a bonus. Obviously, I wouldn’t call this a fuchsia, but it fits into the catch-all category of “bright pink” for me. It appears a bit warmer in photos than in person, but in real life it’s definitely pink.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 57

This is where the colour category gets a little fuzzy. In my big lipstick inventory back in the summer, I put this in the coral category, but swatched next to a bunch of true corals it looked really pink. However, here it is photographing very coral, especially compared to the true fuchsias in this post. So, apparently I can never win with this colour, but I still consider it a warm bright pink with a slight blue-y duochrome shift under some lights. That sounds kind of like something a middle schooler circa 2006 might have worn, but I promise it’s really pretty. This lipstick is pretty much a trophy for me, unfortunately – the formula’s nothing special, and I think the floral scent is truly revolting. I mean, I still wear it, but basically the only reason I don’t part with it is that it’s YSL. Which is a bad reason, I know, but that’s the way it is.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Electric Poppy

Speaking of warm pinks that are borderline coral-y but really who’s to say what is what when colours are so nebulous and subjective and can we all just agree that I’ve had a hard time trying to categorize these last few and I’m doing my best…! This one is just so gloriously playful. It’s not a serious colour at all; it’s just fun. In my experience, the Matte Revolution formula is consistent across all colours – that is, it’s creamy, comfortable, and reasonably long-wearing.

And because I feel like I’m going crazy with these warmer pinks, I went on a bit of a swatching frenzy:

L-R: YSL #28, YSL #57, Charlotte Tilbury Electric Poppy, Marc Jacobs So Sofia, Revlon Fire and Ice

Maybe you can better understand where and why I drew the line? Maybe not. The more I think about this the more I’m second-guessing myself, even though back in August I was convinced I was entirely wrong in my classifications of YSL #57 and CT Electric Poppy in the coral category. It’s a slippery thing, and the line between “warm bright pink” and “definitely coral” is hazy. At least for me. Maybe you guys are better at colour taxonomy.

I had a lot more lipsticks in this category back in the summer, but luckily I managed to trim the collection down to a more reasonable size. (Okay, there are still a lot of lipsticks here.) Even though fuchsia is no longer my go-to colour I seem to have had to do a few culls specifically targetting the excess of fuchsia in the past few years, which I guess goes to show that old habits die hard.