The Review: Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle in Raspberry/Opal

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Being the blush lover and hoarder that I am, I was ecstatic to take advantage of November’s ‘Sephora VIB Sale‘ to pick up two blushes that I had been lusting after for months with the discounted price as justification. Now, I’ve been using both blushes a great deal and have been loving both tremendously – spoiler alert – so its about due time to get off my ass and start writing detailed posts on the loved products. The Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle in Raspberry/Opal ($33) is a whipped texture cream blush that has the easiest texture to work with out of any cream-textured blush that I’ve ever tried, blending expertly into the skin with a dab of the fingers. The blush is housed into a compact silver pot but surprisingly does contain 0.20 ounces of product, which is a nice amount.

The basic premise of this range of blushes is that they combine their Beach Tints with their famous Shimmering Skin Perfectors within the mousse product, in a way that is very reminiscent of Hourglass’s aims with their Ambient Lighting Blushes, but instead of re-creating ideal lighting conditions the shades, these pots add more obvious glow, being swirled with a more overt highlighter than Hourglass’s counterparts. More specifically, Becca markets these souffle blushes as the fusion of four different textures, “a powder to add a pop of colour, a stain to give staying power, an illuminating highlighter and a cream for a flawless finish” intended to provide flattering buildable colour with a youthful glow and soothing hydration. I would agree with these claims even though they are, as expected slightly hyberbolic. Without having any obvious shimmer in the pot, – contrary to how the flash picture below might suggest – the muted berry shade offers the most intense natural luminosity to the skin that actually does replace the need for highlighter with its champagne glow that it adds. Although I would agree with the longevity of the formula, this shade at least, begins rather sheer – which makes for a much more foolproof application – but can be built up in the nicest way. Believe it or not, I might actually find these nice and hydrating and not irritating in the least, along with being flattering on those unsightly dry patches that I’m prone to at this time of the year.

Despite how the online images seem to suggest that the Raspberry/Opal is one of the bolder offerings of the line, the warm-toned muted berry is nothing to fear even with those of fair complexions so I wouldn’t be frightened of the colour if you are on the fence. I would say that they wear for around eight hours before beginning to fade but again, I have easy skin for face products to stick to. I’m definitely interested in trying another shade in the line but I think I’m even more impressed by the glow-factor of this product and therefore am most tempted by the allure of Becca’s famous Shimmering Skin Perfectors. In a nutshell, I love the glow and ease of this blush, along with how flattering and unique the muted berry tone is across the board.

DSC_0192Recently Updated49I would appreciate it if you would ignore the random flashed-induced shine patch to the right above my eyebrow – seriously, it is irritating me beyond words. Have you tried anything from Becca?
Maggie, x.

The Review: Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Natural Beauty

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I’m fairly certain that I’m prone to obsessions and phases more than the average human being and this extends to my blogging quite a bit — I’ll be loving doing ‘Daily Face’ posts one month and then can hardly stand to do one the next. Case in point? I hadn’t been loving writing review posts as I hadn’t been inspired to do so but now I find myself in the mood to really do some reviewing action around here and the product in question is the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Natural Beauty. I do really enjoy the matte watermelon-pink shade but in all honesty, I don’t feel or understand the fanaticism that many bloggers exhibit in relation to this product; they last nicely on the skin and have nice pigmentation but I’m not in love with the slightly drier texture of the product. With those thoughts aside, I do actually kind of adore this blush. Why? The formula might not be life-changing but it has good buildable pigmentation (this quality is shown below with comparison swatches of both one and two layers) and lasts for ages but more than this the shade is a gorgeous unique one with a name that makes sense because it replicates the look of a naturally rosy flush on the cheeks despite appearing bright in the pan. I might be fair and it’s easy to use on me but it also looks great on medium skin tones, believe it or not. And when I say that it creates the look of an authentic flush, it’s infinitely more attractive than my natural flushed-face shade!

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Although the blush offers solid pigmentation, it’s easier to use because it goes on sheerer initially but can be built up with ease — no patchy clown cheeks here. This means that fairer girls do not need to be afraid of the punch that this rosy shade packs but it also will be a flattering shade on a variety of different skintones; this blush is one of the most universal ones that I own. Believe it or not, the claims as a whole are not outlandish, either. This formula is the longest lasting blush formula that I’ve ever tried, lasting 12 hours on me without fading – but keep in mind I have drier skin and my cheeks are my driest part. However, I think that the claim that the amazonian clay in the formula minimizes “oil in and around pores to balance skin” and also is “hydrating the skin naturally restoring moisture, reducing the appearance of dry, flaky skin” is pure marketing gibberish. I doubt it minimizes the oil in and around pores and it certainly doesn’t hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of flaky dry patches — when I’m dry and flaky, this formula is not the most flattering on account of its dryness. Nevertheless, the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Natural Beauty is a favourite of mine. The blush contains a generous 0.20 oz of product and retails for $26 US or $31 CDN. They are sold at a few different places but I picked mine up last summer at my local Sephora. All in all, I do really enjoy this blush but I won’t be rushing out to try other shades within the formula. I’m compelled to tell you that the foundation matched my skin way better than it appears in the below photo but let’s just pretend it isn’t an issue!DSC_0123

Have you tried any of these blushes? If so, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts!
Maggie, x.

 

The Essential: NARS Orgasm Blush

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I was fully intending to title this post “The Eternal Standby”, but then I decided that perhaps that was a tad overdramatic and would make any further posts of this kind rather difficult as my indecisive nature coupled with choosing products of that nature would be an absolute disaster. The NARS Orgasm Blush ($33 CDN)is one of those products that straddles the line of being a cult favourite and one that many (including some of those who I trust implicitly about all things beauty) dub as completely overrated but regardless of all that hoopla, it’s one that I can go through phases of using constantly and forgetting about for a while, but as soon as it is dug out again I remember why exactly I fell in love with it in the first place, regretting my neglection instantly. As it’s morning here (as I write this post and even earlier when I took pictures), the pink-leaning coral with fine golden shimmer running throughout wasn’t showing up great so I’m using a flash photo despite my qualms of how it makes my foundation look (my loved Rimmel Wake Me Up, if you’re curious — it’s not shiny in real life FYI).

This was one of my very first purchases from Sephora and was my first foray into NARS and it definitely impressed in formula even beyond the flattering hue. It’s pigmented in a buildable way, has good longevity and its texture is smooth and sits on the skin organically, bringing some subtle glow and brightness to the face. I’m shocked that being the blush hoarder that I am, I haven’t tried any more. I plan on remedying this is in the not-too-distant future…

 

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L-R: MAC Stereo Rose MSF (LE), NARS Orgasm Blush, MAC Springsheen Powder Blush
 

I’ll have you know that I was rather pleased with myself today, for actually providing a comparison swatch photo and a not altogether horrendous one at that, if you ask me. These illuminating coral blushes will forever hold a place in my heart as they seem to flatter my fair but warm-toned skin like no other but NARS Orgasm holds a special place due to its versatility. It doesn’t look outwardly coral on the cheeks but rather looks rosy in a way that outdoes traditional pink offerings and instantly brightens the face without looking obvious in the slightest. Although the shimmer particles in this one are the most noticeable of the three, it blends into the skin whilst looking invisible and has less of a metallic sheen than the others. Because of its pink-coral hue, it tends to suit both warm and cool looks and the smokiest of eyes and bold lip offerings; this is why it’s a standout in my book. If you need further convincing of my love for this, I’ve actually hit pan on this beauty. Mmhmmm.

So this was not the planned post for today but when I put on my makeup, featuring this beauty, I was overcome with inspiration — typical. I want to know your thoughts on this famous product, regardless of whether you’re on the love or hate side of things!

Maggie, x.

Luminous Skin Lineup

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It’s not a rare occasion when I ramble on and on about luminous skin, as my skin is rather dry and dull and I’m constantly looking to remedy that but I know not everyone is looking for that all-out dewiness, however, from talking to my friends in real life I know that everyone wants a little bit of luminosity in their life regardless of their skin condition and I thought I’d share an edited selection of my favourites for different concerns. Annnnnnnd, it appears to be completely on trend for this spring.
Benefit Girl Meets Pearl ($36 CDN)

If you, like many, suffer from an oily t-zone, the idea of radiance in any capacity probably makes you want to vomit because you know that it will only make your skin concerns worse. Regardless of the condition of our skin, we all seem to suffer from some winter dullness this time of year and this is a good option for hesitant gals who live in constant fear of any sort of shine on the face in any capacity that want to ease into the slightly glowier territory. Because the subtle golden-pink liquid highlighter can be strategically placed on top of makeup, you don’t have to worry about the luminosity highlighting areas that you don’t want to be highlighted and to control what areas have that luminosity. This is a nice natural-looking highlighter for all though. I love it and if you can stomach the price tag you will too. Also it can be mixed with a heavier-coverage foundation for a little bit of added luminosity without sacrificing on the longevity front.

Diorskin Nude Skin-Glowing Makeup ($48 CDN)

Radiant foundations have seemed to be having their moment as of late but some of them are intimidatingly glowy and sheer and can contain shimmer but this is my foundation of choice with a radiant but not overtly dewy foundation with a weightless consistency offering medium coverage that is just a touch glowier than a natural finish. Although this hasn’t made its way into a favourites post, I have been really enjoying this lately and I think it would be especially great for someone with combination skin who is looking to add life to their face without sacrificing longevity and getting the dreaded oily t-zone quickly. If only it didn’t have such high alcohol content. For reference, I wear the shade 11 Cream which matches my winter fair-but-not-overly-so skin with somewhat yellow undertones. And this is like the only foundation with sunscreen that does not irritate my skin (I tend to be sensitive to chemical sunscreens) while still not flashing-back.

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation ($11-12 CDN)

I know I’m late on the bandwagon with this one but I hadn’t picked it up in the past because I thought it was a sheerer foundation that offered a demi-matte or natural finish and I tend to prefer dewier foundations of that variety but after I had my Lilly Pebbles watching marathon and saw that she found it to be moisturizing and illuminating and then I saw it on sale – I was sold. It goes on quite sheer with a small amount but with a moderate amount and a buffing brush, it offers medium coverage that glides over the usual dry patches and looks invisible on the skin even close up. It’s a really new addition for me but I’ve been obsessed lately. This offers slightly less coverage than the Dior and is more luminous but it does not have any sheen or reflective particles like say Rimmel Wake Me Up but rather looks like hydrated skin. For reference, I wear 130 Shell which is an impressive match for my skin but it is not quite as fair as the Dior. It seems to have great shade offerings for fair skin which I can definitely appreciate – and it caters to both warm and cool undertones. And it neither contains fragrance or alcohol…

MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Powder ($30 CDN)

I used to think that powders were the equivalent of the devil’s reincarnate, making the skin look dry and dull, powdery and making their makeup look obvious and clinging to any hint of dryness on the skin but this powder has changed my mind on that. It’s a sheerer powder that does all that powders should do – taking down excess shine, smoothing out texture and reducing the appearance of pores – without removing luminosity from the skin. This powder has more of a natural finish rather than a matte one which is impressive. It’s dare I say invisible on the skin.

Laura Mercier Radiance Primer ($24/40 CDN)

I will admit that I picked this up as a Sephora 100 Point Perk as it contained an impressive amount of product (0.5 oz) but I’m contemplating purchasing it when I run out. Although I wouldn’t say it actually helps with the longevity of makeup or pores or anything, it’s a really gentle formula that weightlessly hydrates the skin while bringing a refined glow to the skin and helping foundation to glide on more smoothly.

Benefit Rockateur Boxed Powder ($36 CDN)

For some reason when thinking about glow-inducing products, I tend to forget about blushes but blushes like these sometimes are the easiest  way to get that luminosity. Although it’s not cheap, this finely-milled warm rusty rose blush reads as glowy skin as it’s not overtly shimmery. I swear this brings instant life to the face without reading as makeup.

Maybelline Master Highlight in Deep Bronze ($12-16 CDN)

A few weeks back, I was going on and on about my newfound love for this and this has not changed. At a more affordable cost, this “bronzer” – I use it as a blush – has that smooth and subtly luminous texture, imparting a warm-toned rosy copper glow to the cheeks.

Going for the believable glow: wearing the Laura Mercier Primer, Dior Foundation, Benefit highlighter and a light dusting of the powder in the t-zone
Going for the believable glow: wearing the Laura Mercier Primer, Dior Foundation, Benefit highlighter and a light dusting of the powder in the t-zone

Do you love the luminous look? What products do you go for when you want to look glowy?

Maggie, x.

Makeup Additions #2

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Things have been a little hectic here and I apologize for neglecting the blog but I’ll spare you from rambling on about the craziness of university life as I’m sure you can fill it in for yourself if you so desire. It’s been snow-central this week so my product selections might have been inspired by the whole snowed-in motif that’s been going on here. These aren’t all necessarily brand spankin’ new products but these are the products that have been added into the daily rotation…

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette ($62 CDN)

So almost a month after my wishlist post and two months waiting since it came out, I finally picked this up and let me say that I am really enjoying it. There are a few shades with a glittery tendency that are difficult to work with (Trick, Buzz and Dust) a la Sidecar from the original palettes but they are light enough that I don’t find it to be a problem and these shades are very usable. Although this palette focuses more on lighter shades, there is a good variety of shades with different depth to create cohesive makeup looks unlike many palettes. At first I was wary of this palette because I expected it to be icier pinks but the shades are warm with a rosiness to it and on my warm-toned skin, both interesting and flattering. It seems really versatile thus far and I’m impressed despite all the hype. And there are three matte shades although they call one a satin and they are divine – the cream-coloured Strange, the light mauve-taupe Limit and the medium-dark rosy brown Nooner. I would expect this to be featured in daily face posts and a review soon.

wearing Strange, Limit, Nooner, Buzz & Blackheart
wearing Strange, Limit, Nooner, Buzz & Blackheart

Bourjois Sweet Cherry Cream Blush ($20 CDN)

It’s nice that Bourjois is available here in Canada but it’s annoying how much more expensive it is here than in the UK but this is a worthwhile purchase nevertheless. There isn’t a huge amount of product in the warm rosy pink pot (like the product) it’s a buildable formula that sets like a powder. In my experience this is longlasting with sheer but buildable colour payoff that blends seamlessly into the skin. It isn’t powdery-looking and flat but it doesn’t have any sort of shimmer in it either.

the cream blush in action with regular application
the cream blush in action with regular application
the blush built up
the blush built up

 

L’Oreal Super Blendable Crayon Concealer ($12-15 CDN)

I must apologize in advance for the state of my concealer (which is in W 1-2-3 if you’re interested) but it came broken inside the package and I wasn’t going to pay for a new one. It’s somewhat emollient but not overly so and provides nice buildable coverage that looks like skin and does not tend to highlight dry patches and stays put. I actually like this for undereyes and blemishes and I don’t feel that way about all concealers but it’s not the fullest coverage concealer out there.

Have you tried any of these? What have you added to your routine recently?

 

 

MAC Recommendations #1: The Basics

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I don’t think that MAC is by any means the be all and end all of makeup but they are among my favourite brands and they were the company that kindled my makeup love and I might have slightly sentimental feelings toward the cosmetic store. Somehow I haven’t talked about the brand very much considering how often I use the products on a daily basis. From forcing my friends who are not beauty-obsessed into conversations about MAC and later-on trips, I know that many find the store extremely intimidating (moreso than any other high-end brand) and I can understand that but there are some real treasures there and quite often their products are very economical – not that much more expensive than drugstore and at a fraction of the price of Sephora brands without sacrificing quality whatsoever. I don’t have a massive collection of MAC makeup but MAC is easily the brand that I own the most makeup of and I thought I’d attempt to challenge myself into giving my five ten recommendations: here goes…

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1. MAC Powder Blush in Harmony ($21/25 CDN)

If this isn’t the first post you’ve read of mine I’m confident that this hardly needs any explanation. It’s considered to be a blush by MAC (and it might be nice as one on dark skin) but it’s the ideal contour for fair and medium skin. It’s slightly warm toned but the rosy brown does not have any of the oranginess of a bronzer so it’s able to add shape and definition to the face looking natural while still adding some flattering warmth to the face. If you are darker than medium in colouring or find this difficult to show up, I know Blunt is equally as nice and if you’re lighter it should suit you. I do know that those with cooler-toned skin that’s as fair or even fairer than mine can find Harmony slightly red-toned and I’ve heard that Prism and Cubic are good alternatives. These are all matte obviously. Coincidentally these are all fabulous matte shades to use in the crease as well, even though they’re not marketed as eye shadow.

top: Dazzlelight, Vex, All That Glitters bottom: Coquette, Charcoal Brown, Satin Taupe
top: Dazzlelight, Vex, All That Glitters
bottom: Coquette, Charcoal Brown, Satin Taupe

2. MAC Eyeshadow in Coquette ($12/18 CDN)

I have naturally unruly and large but sparse brows and there’s nothing like a matte eyeshadow that fills them in in a natural manner. I used MAC Charcoal Brown for ages which I still do really like but recently I discovered Coquette which is slightly cooler toned and looks like a gross khaki grey in the pan but fills in the brows without looking red, giving a natural appearance to them. The formula is great in these shadows (Coquette is technically a satin but it’s matte on) and they also are great for adding depth in the crease. I would reccomend Charcoal Brown for warmer brunettes, Omega for blondes and I’ve heard Brun is great for darker brunettes. This shadow is that workhorse product that may not seem super-exciting but is functional and worth the money. 

3. MAC Eyeshadow in All That Glitters ($12/18 CDN)

This veluxe pearl eyeshadow is buttery, easy to work with and pigmented and is that perfect everyday lid shade that is neither too light or too dark – a shimmery but not glittery golden-peach shade that can’t be duplicated. I’ve been through two of these in the past and went without it for ages and now that I’ve picked it up it’s what was missing from my life. It’s a fairly universal shade but the cooler-toned fair skinned might find it to be slightly too coppery and I’ve heard that they favour the lighter pink-champagne Naked Lunch and on darker skin, Woodwinked can be a better option.

shown in Light
shown in Light

4. MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Powder ($32 CDN)

This might be a shocking product inclusion as I’m not a powder kind of girl but I’ve rekindled my love for this and this is easily my favourite powder of all time. It doesn’t have much coverage to it but it has enough to even out the skin when worn alone and sets the skin without looking matte and losing all of it’s glow. It gets rid of excess shine without being completely matte and its finely milled-texture sits nicely on the skin without clinging to dry patches. Anyone on the drier side of things would enjoy this but I know that those needing more oil control adore MAC Studio Fix Powder, which has more coverage to it and might not look quite as seamless but it’s a great powder nevertheless. I wear the lightest shade in the powder but Studio Fix has a much wider shade selection.

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5. MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Stereo Rose ($35 CDN)

If you’re looking for a glow to your cheeks and particularly if you’re looking for a gorgeous highlight, these cult favourite products that tend to be released as limited edition items in the abundant collections are an offering to consider. I know that some can complain about the frostier shades of these can highlight larger pores for some but that can be remedied with a pore smoothing primer, or powder but I don’t have this issue and I didn’t even when I had more of a true combination skin years ago. I adore the infamous Stereo Rose that is limited edition but will be appearing as a repromote in the upcoming spring collection and I recommend it if this sounds good to you. This is one of the darker offerings, acting as more of a highlight-blush duo in one product – it has nice pigmentation, fabulous texture and has that sheen without being frosty. It’s a coppery pink-coral, I’d say. For lighter skin-tones it works as a highlighting blush of sorts and I know it works for darker ladies as well as a highlighter. On my warm-leaning skin this is an instantly brightening shade that is perfect when you only have a few minutes to slap on some makeup before heading out the door. I haven’t tried them personally but there are also some permanent options that I’ve heard so much about – Soft and Gentle is supposed to be a great champagne-peach shade that is a versatile highlighter.

Have you tried any of the products here? I would also love to have any recommendations!

Maybelline Master Hi-Light By FaceStudio Hi-Lighting Bronzer in 60 Deep Bronze

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Generally drugstore blushes do not entice me in my frequent sweep of the cosmetics aisle as they’re one of the few products that I don’t have a drugstore favourite of. Even the hyped Milani blushes do not compare to my MAC, NARS and Benefit favourites. I’m pleased to admit that I found a radiance boosting cheek product in those very aisles that does impress me, and this is it.

These mosaic blushes and bronzers come with a great deal of product (0.31 oz) and feature a good-sized mirror and a questionably flimsy blush in the compartment beneath the product itself. Both in Canada and the US, this product is fairly expensive for a drugstore offering; it seems to retail for $7-10 US and $12-16 CDN depending on where you pick them up. There are six shades in all (four blushes and two bronzers) and I picked up the darkest shade of the latter offering, Deep Bronze.

The mosaic design of Deep Bronze features a matte chocolate brown, a shimmery bronze, a satiny rosy burgundy and a golden champagne in sections that allow you to to control the colour by concentrating the product you pick up from certain areas of the product. In short, the general colour I seem to get is a luminous copper-leaning warm rosy bronze. I use this as a blush but it’s just as easily a shimmery bronzer. I also use a smaller brush focusing on the lighter colours and am able to get a nice highlight out of the product as well and this shade is remarkably different than the blended shade. I find this to be incredibly versatile – can you tell I’ve fallen in love?

light vs heavy swatch
light vs heavy swatch
comparison to MAC Stereo Rose (center) and Milani Red Vino (left)
comparison to MAC Stereo Rose (center) and Milani Red Vino (left)

 

The formulation of the blush-bronzer-hybrid struck me as remarkable upon my first use and my opinion hasn’t changed in the least since then. It’s pigmented, finely-milled and luminous, transferring as a sheen more than a shimmer or frost. While still being quite blendable and versatile in the colour intensity, Deep Bronze has better-than-good longevity. This strikes me as a less frosty version of a MAC Mineralize Skinfinish with slightly better longevity and pigmentation in a traditional powder form at a fraction of the price.

Maybelline markets the highlighting bronzer with the tagline, “our multi-tonal bronzer palette highlights skin and softly contours cheeks for an instantly defined glow” and now that I’ve been using this product for weeks, I can say that I agree with reservations – the highlighting is a given but the contouring is so difficult to achieve due to the size of the different blocks of colour and mosaic products like these get muddled after a few uses, making it difficult to pick up any product without shimmer. Nevertheless, this is a fantastic product. On my dry skin, the product wore for 9-10 hours without fading which is similar to my favourite high-end blushes. Summary: colour me impressed.

If like me, you want your cheeks to look luminous but not artificial, these seem to be the happy medium. This could suit fair to quite deep skintones by the virtue of the pigmentation although it might be difficult to pull of on those on the fairer end of the spectrum with cool undertones. I’m warm-toned for reference.

the blush/bronzer worn sheerly using a stippling brush
the blush/bronzer worn sheerly using a stippling brush
worn more full on (but can be built up much more than this!)
worn more full on (but can be built up much more than this!)

Overview

Pigmentation: 10/10

Texture: 9.5/10

Longevity: 9/10

Packaging: 8/10

Overall Value:  9.5/10

Total: 46/50= 92% or A+

Have you tried these?

Maggie, x.