Tuesday, 28 February 2012

L'Oreal Magic Smooth Souffle blush

I don't know about anyone else, but I've been into cream/stick or mousse blushes lately. I guess it's because it's winter and my skin has been much drier than it normally is, so piling on a lot of different powders doesn't help. I had bought one of the Maybelline Dream Mousse blushes (in Peach Satin) maybe a year ago, but at the time my skin was more oily and the sheen just made me look greasier. When I went back to it this winter, the texture was not as easy to work with: it wasn't as light and the texture had become somewhat grainy, so it wasn't as easy to blend. I heard these were being discontinued, so when I saw the new L'Oreal Souffle blushes, I thought maybe it was time to try something new!

I have the shade Celestial, which is a nice soft peachy-pink colour. I swatched this shade in the store and the texture felt really smooth, plus I'm a sucker for peachy blushes, so I picked it up. I have to say, this blush is so incredibly easy to blend on the skin. The texture is so light, but the colour is concentrated enough that you don't need much at all to get a nice flush in the cheeks. Funny thing, before I actually wore it on my face, I swatched it on my hand (when I got it home) and my hand had a bunch of shimmer on it. But I don't notice any shimmer on my face when I wear this blush. In fact, the finish is more matte than anything (though I can't be sure if all the shades are similar in finish).

Which brings me to the aspects of this product that may not be for everyone. If you're looking for that dewy finish on the skin, this blush isn't really going to accomplish that. I have a couple of cream stick blushes (Josie Maran and NYC) that give a dewy look to the cheeks, so if that's the look I'm going for I turn to them instead. The L'Oreal Souffle also may not be the most long-wearing blush either. I guess that has to do with the light texture (or maybe it's just because I get oil breakthrough throughout the day), but I don't think this is going to wear from morning til late. The one other drawback to the product was the price: I paid $15.99 for it at my local drugstore. I realize it's a new product, so I'm assuming the price will go down eventually (and I'm sure it's much cheaper in the US), but $16 for a drugstore blush is pushing it. Maybe it's so high because of the packaging; the glass container is nice, but a little unnecessarily bulky for the amount of product it contains (which is 0.3 fl oz/9 ml).

Despite a few drawbacks, I still really like this product, and will likely buy another shade if I can find it for a fairer price. The best thing about this blush is how easy it is to apply and blend. For that reason, I love to use it when I don't want to spend much time getting ready. I think it's great for anyone who's looking for a quick and easy way to wake up the face!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Maybelline The Colossal Volum'Express mascara

I decided to give this mascara a shot, based on suggestions from some of the ladies on the Makeup Geek forum. I didn't really need a new mascara, since I've been in love with L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black for about a year now. But I wanted to branch out and start trying new drugstore mascaras. My philosophy with mascara is that there's no point (for me) to pay $20-30 every few months for high end mascara when I would much rather use that money to save up for something else that I really want. I wear mascara every day, so buying Diorshow or Bad Gal every two or three months got to be a little much. And really, there are great affordable mascaras out there, so why not try them out?

When I originally bought The Colossal, I found the formul to be pretty wet. I think I used it maybe twice and then threw it in a drawer where it was forgotten for a while. Not long ago, I decided to give it a fair shot so I started using it more often. The formula had dried a bit, which made it better (in my opinion), since it wasn't weighing down my lashes. It gives decent volume, but I find it's more lengthening and since it's dried it holds curl much better. The formula definitely isn't as thick as Voluminous, so I don't have to scrape the brush off before applying. The brush itself is a traditional type: not rubber, fairly small with lots of bristles. It is a bit wider than the Voluminous brush, and I think the extra bristles give good definition. I've been wearing it more during the day, when I don't wear much eye makeup.

The one problem I have with this mascara is the scent... It smells so strong! And I'm not usually overly fussy about scents in my makeup, but for some reason this mascara's overwhelming, strange scent really gets to me. I can't even really describe the smell; my boyfriend thought it was some kind of natural ingredient. Whatever the case, it's kind of a deal-breaker for me, which is too bad because it really is not a bad mascara. I'll definitely be sticking with my Voluminous Carbon Black, and I'm also thinking about picking up Almay's Get Up and Grow mascara to try out next. I'll let you know my thoughts on that one once I give it a try! Thanks for reading!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Covergirl Natureluxe Gloss Balm

Not sure how many of you have tried these, but I got one for Christmas and I initially really liked the colour. The shade I have is Sandstone (per emilynoel83's review), and it is a nice subtle pink colour. The scent is not unpleasant (to me, at least)... Kind of vanilla-ish with a hint of coconut sunscreen scent (this product does contain SPF 15). It actually looks quite nice on me, and I have trouble with lip colour because my lipline is very blurry and undefined. I had asked for the Glossbalm for Christmas because I hadn't been able to find the Revlon Lip Butters anywhere in Canada at the time (although they were blowing up in the States), so I figured this would be the next best thing. I tend to have pretty dry lips, compounded by the fact that I lick them all the time. So lipstick is not really my best friend, as it wears off very quickly... I tend to stick to balms and glosses more than anything, because it's not as big a deal to keep reapplying. I thought to kill two (or three!) birds with one stone, I would start using lip balms with a punch of colour.

Unfortunately, CG's version didn't make the cut for me. While the colour is pretty, the glitter in the formula makes my lips feel gritty and uncomfortable. Did I mention that I also frequently blot my lips together? That feeling of glitter every time I do is just unpleasant for me. So if anyone else is not a fan of gritty glitter in their lip products, I'd stay away from this particular balm. I'm not sure if all the shades contain glitter... If not, the product may be worth going for! However, i managed to find the Revlon Lip Butters and went for a few of those instead. They pack a good punch of colour and manage to be pretty moisturizing, and those with shimmer still manage to have a smooth texture. Just my two cents! (For reference, I hope to do more comparisons of similar products whenever possible... I find it helpful, especially since so many brands are coming out with comparable products in order to remain competitive.)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Makeup Geek eyeshadow refills

I've been following Marlena of Makeup Geek on YouTube and on her website for the past year, and she has done an excellent job of turning her makeup addiction into a successful business.  She is a fantastic makeup artist and her tutorials, which range from basic beginner techniques to advanced dramatic looks, are easy to follow.  She also has a sweet demeanor that makes her a pleasure to watch.

Although Marlena started out using using mainly MAC products in her tutorials, she soon branched out and began giving inexpensive alternatives for her viewers to "get the look for less". She now makes an effort to use a variety of different brands, both high-end and drugstore, to create gorgeous makeup looks (and always gives low-cost dupes for any pricey products she may use).  I think this strategy has allowed her tutorials to remain accessible to a wide audience.  She also runs a store on her website, which provides access to the inexpensive alternatives she lists (and ships worldwide).

I have been taking advantage of the Makeup Geek store since I started watching Marlena's tutorials, since there are many brands or certain products that are not readily available in Canada.  I was incredibly excited when Marlena announced that she was launching her own Makeup Geek makeup line in the Fall of 2011.  Since she is so honest with her product reviews, and is clearly a stickler for quality products (regardless of the price), I knew that she would be especially particular about the quality of her own line.  The other bonus is that she wanted to make her products more affordable for those of us who cannot justify spending MAC or other high-end prices for great products.  Her recently released MUG eyeshadow refill pans are now used as the dupes for the high-end products she uses in some of her tutorials.

So far, 51 shades of the Makeup Geek eyeshadow pans have been released.  There are still more shades in the works, and the shadows will eventually be released in compact form as well.  The refill pans fit into MAC palettes (though they would need a magnet attached to the back) or any comparable palettes, and they also magnetize (on their own) into Z palettes.   I have purchased 31 shades so far, and I have not been disappointed by their texture or pigmentation.  They are incredibly smooth and easy to work with, and the colours are vibrant and beautiful.  I will include swatches of the shades I have (you can also find swatches of all shades on the Makeup Geek store site):

Left to right: Moondust, Mercury, Shimma Shimma
Ice Queen, White Lies, Corrupt, Galaxy

Left to right: Ocean Breeze, Shimmermint, Poison
Ivy, Dirty Martini, Envy
Left to right: Purple Rain, Sensuous, Twilight, Chickadee,
Burlesque, Cupcake, Neptune, Peacock, Sea Mist,
 Duchess, Wisteria, Unexpected
Left to right: Cocoa Bear, Glamorous, Latte, Preppy,
Purely Naked, Mocha, Bada-Bing
All 51 shades are currently available at http://www.makeupgeek.com/store/  for $5.99 each.  Z palettes are also available in the store as a convenient option for customizable palettes.  As I mentioned previously, the store also offers worldwide shipping for very affordable prices.  Makeup Geek lipsticks, lipglosses, and blushes are also in the works, and should be released in the coming months.  Congratulations to Marlena and her Makeup Geek team on putting out an excellent product and keep up the good work!