Better together: Stila Spirit, Wet N Wild Comfort Zone, and Urban Decay Naked Basics

Posted on June 24, 2016 under Reviews

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I really like self-contained, do-it-all palettes. I know some people get annoyed having so many similar shades scattered across palettes, but I don’t like to have to hunt through multiple palettes or singles to be able to create one complete look. An ideal palette, for me, would have an off-white highlight shade, a light matte transition shade, and a medium matte crease shade along with many fancy, special colours. (I can do without a matte black.) Most of my palettes – the LORAC Pro, Stila In The Light, Naked 3 – have everything I need in one place.

But I have two palettes that I really, really like that just don’t work on their own: Stila Eyes are the Window – Spirit, and the iconic Wet N Wild Comfort Zone. These palettes are almost perfect for me. They’re both neutral with some twists. I don’t wear much in the way of truly bright shadows, but I like slightly interesting neutral to neutral-ish shades. Both palettes deliver these.

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I will say that the Stila palette is slightly underwhelming when looked at as a whole. Some of the shades are a bit too similar, and the two matte shades, Chinois (an off-white) and Puppy (a light taupe), don’t have great colour payoff. There is no darker matte crease colour, and Puppy is light enough that it would either be a subtle transition shade on someone fair or just straight up not work in the crease at all on anyone darker than about a light-medium skin tone.

stila-spirit-swatches

However, some of the shades in the palette are gorgeous and different from things I have in my more standard neutral palettes. In particular, I love the shades Jezebel (a very orange-y copper), Slate (a taupe-y grey with an almost duochrome-like quality; looks pure grey in the pan), Pewter (a grey-blue), and Pigalle (a medium burgundy). When I use this palette I’m mostly reaching for those colours, because I don’t have them in other palettes. (It is worth noting for interested parties that it does contain the beauty blogger staple Kitten, which I already own in the now-discontinued In The Light palette.)

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The Wet N Wild Comfort Zone palette was a more recent purchase. I don’t often to go to Walmart (despite having one in the mall that’s a 10-minute walk from my house) so I’m able to resist the Wet N Wild hype most of the time. However, a few weeks ago I was in Walmart, and here we are now. To be honest, I bought it mainly for two shades, the right eyelid colour (which is somewhere between a lime and an olive, leaning more towards the olive side), and, of course, the blue-brown duochrome. To be honest, at $4.67 I won’t be mad if I only ever touch those two colours.

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I also swatched a random shade from the left side of the palette for some reason.

Like the Stila palette, the Comfort Zone is not a standalone palette for me. It has a lot of gorgeous shades, but they’re all super shimmery, and there’s not much in the way of highlighting shades for my skintone. (That browbone shade on the left is quite a bit darker than my skin, though it would look lovely on other people, I’m sure!)

Enter the palette that fixes all “nice but not totally functional” palettes: Urban Decay Naked Basics. Like others, I do love Naked Basics for its extreme ease and its travel-friendliness. I’ve probably worn my go-to Naked Basics look (Venus all over the lid, Naked 2 in the crease, Faint on the outer corners) more times than any other look. And, obviously, its size and the durability of its packaging makes it an excellent contender for travel. But where it really shines for me is its ability to complete any look. It has all-over lid shades, a shimmery highlight shade, a transition shade, a deeper crease shade, and even a black. Barely a day goes by that I don’t at least use Naked 2, which is the perfect light transition/crease shade for my skintone.

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When I first got this palette (a gift from Aisling, like many items in my makeup collection), it did not particularly excite me. But it’s proven to be an absolute workhorse. It makes all of my other palettes so much more usable as well as containing enough shades to make several of its own looks. Is it particularly thrilling? No, none of the colours are. But when paired with other palettes, especially those that aren’t complete in their own right, it’s practically indispensable. The Stila and Wet N Wild palettes make this utilitarian guy more exciting; Naked Basics makes palettes with a dearth of practical shades usable. They are perfect together.

There are two major downsides to the Naked Basics palette. First, I find the shades Foxy and Walk of Shame to be too similar; another brown would have made it that much more usable for me. As it is, I barely touch Foxy (I don’t like its yellow tone as much). Second, this is a palette that is more suited to fairer skintones. Naked 2, for example, would definitely not be anywhere close to a crease colour on many people, leaving only Faint (which is still pretty light, comparatively) or Crave (which is a straight-up black and not what everyone wants in their crease). The Naked 2 Basics seems to solve my first issue somewhat, but still skews a bit light. (Though less so!)

Sometimes it really is those boring products that get the most love. I don’t get excited when I look at this palette, but I use it every day and it’s automatically included in my travel makeup bag no matter what. Another lesson: I should probably stop buying palettes with funky colours just because they’re pretty. (That does not stop me from wanting the ABH Modern Renaissance palette with every bone in my body.)

Some Drugstore Favourites

Posted on February 18, 2016 under Favourites

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This month over on Canadian Beauty Bloggers, the theme is Budget Beauty. Although I obviously like to indulge in higher end purchases, my love for makeup started at the drugstore. I’ve really slowed down on my makeup spending in the past year, but I’m always popping my head into the drugstore aisles just to see what’s new. These days more than ever, there’s some good stuff for great prices (although drugstore prices do seem to be going up). So here’s a collection of some of my tried and true, all time favourite drugstore products.

Face Products

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Sleek Blushes perform so well – they are pigmented and blendable and come in some really gorgeous colours. Flushed, a deep reddish berry, is my favourite at this time of year, but in the summer I always reach for Guipure, a warm pink with gold shimmer. Sleek isn’t available in stores in North America, but they do ship worldwide!

Staying in the UK, Topshop makeup in general has impressed me, but the Glow Highlighter in Polished is one of my favourite makeup products ever. If you’re looking for the perfect pearly, iridescent, slightly unnatural highlighter, this is the one for you. Again, this product can be purchased online!

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder is a staple in my makeup bag; it does the job and it’s dirt cheap. Another boring yet essential product is L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable Concealer, which does a remarkably good job at concealing my undereye circles without feeling heavy. It’s good on blemishes in a pinch, too.

Eye Products

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I probably don’t need to mention this, but Maybelline Color Tattoos are the drugstore cream shadow, as far as I’m concerned. (I picked up one of the new stick versions and I’m very excited to put it to the test!)

I’ve also probably talked the Wet N Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio in Silent Treatment to death, but the fact is that it’s the only drugstore powder eyeshadow I ever use. Quality-wise, it far surpasses its $2.99 price point, and that taupe-y purple eyelid colour is one of my favourites of all time. (It’s also a very on-trend colour, which can be yours for the cost of a coffee!)

Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Eye Definer is a great twist-up eyeliner option. It’s easy to use, very pigmented, and stays put as well as anything else I’ve tried. For more colourful options, I love the Annabelle Kohl Eyeliners – for a wooden pencil I find them very smooth, and the colour range is great.

Lip Products

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Ahh, I know a thing or two about lip products. The Maybelline Color Sensation Creamy Matte Lipsticks are probably the best matte lip colour I’ve found at the drugstore (perhaps excluding liquid lipsticks), though depending on the shade the Revlon Matte Balms come close. (Sultry is my favourite.) In terms of regular (non-matte) lipsticks, I will adore the Rimmel Lasting Finish By Kate Moss line forever. They’re so comfortable, creamy, and opaque. One of the matte shades is pictured above, and though I do like the matte line I think the regular line (in the black tubes) is superior.

Lip liner-wise, Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Lip Liner is one of my favourite formulas; I regularly use Red Diva, East End Snob, and Enchantment. (I’ve been through quite a few East End Snobs!) When it comes to UK brands, it doesn’t get much cheaper than Collection, and their Lip Definers are great. If only I could get my hands on more colours while in Canada!

Of course, my makeup collection comprises many more drgustore products than I’ve featured here – but these are the best of the best, in my opinion. NYX has finally come to Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix, so I anticipate a frenzy of testing on my part in the near future. Stay tuned!

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!