The Monthly Roundup #8: July 2014

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I might moan and groan about those superficial daily life struggles more often than not but it’s not expected for those to be taken 100% seriously to account for my life, however, there is no exaggerating when I say that July was not a good month; it didn’t start off on a positive note and it ended on a wholeheartedly negative one. But, I’m moving on. Wait, I lied because I have to address the sad truth that it’s not particularly upsetting that school will be starting up again in a little over a month – there’s something comforting in the monotony of that routine. Is anybody with me on that one?

1. The Beauty Bargain #4: L’Oreal Glam Bronze Mono in 04 Universal Sun
In short, where I managed to articulate my love for this red-toned bronzer in a somewhat satisfactory fashion, covering all the bases. I was also rather pleased with the photo shown above, considering my truly amateur skillset.
2. My Go-To Spring/Summer Lipsticks
Again, where I was actually pleasantly surprised at the quality of the pictures in said post but also made the effort to narrow down my favourite lip products and showcase them on my lips – without going overboard.
3. Beauty Thoughts: The Verdict
Where I tried a new post format that involved simply giving my thoughts on a handful of products and was pleased with the result and varying lot. I might expect more of these to come – thoughts?
4. The Essentials with Laura
Surprisingly where I brought another face and perspective to my little corner of the internet and was able to share her favourite products with you. I hope it felt refreshing.
5. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
As one might expect, where I gathered my honest thoughts and provided a detailed account of them on this hyped luxury buy. When I say detailed, I’m not exaggerating…
What were your highlights?
Maggie, x.



The Beauty Bargain #4: L’Oreal Glam Bronze Mono in 04 Universal Sun




There are three things that I’m compelled to disclose in this post, aside from the usual details and general ooh-ing and ahh-ing. One, I acknowledge that it is a stretch to call the drugstore bronzing powder a bargain as it does retail for $15 dollars but it’s so fabulous and high quality that I had to. Two, I have only had the product in my possession for three days or so but the love was instant so I feel confident that its praise here is neither premature nor impulsive. And three, it began with an error in beauty-related recollection which very rarely happens. After hearing Amelia Liana praise this product for sculpting and bronzing the face at once, I had been on the lookout for the L’Oreal release here in Canada and I suspect that I was so excited to find them in Shopper’s that I bought a different shade than the one she was raving about – one that was more of a traditional bronze hue with subtle red undertones and warmth and clearly not suited as well for contouring – but I’ve fallen in love with this shade nevertheless. This seems to be getting rather confusing but bear with me. I had intended to pick up the L’Oreal Glam Bronze Mono in 06 Golden Bronze but ended up grabbing L’Oreal Glam Bronze Mono in 04 Universal Sun instead but I’m not altogether too unhappy about my mistake seeing as I’ve fallen for both the formula and the true bronze hue of the shade.

DSC_0737 Swatched with the lightest hand in comparison to NYC Sunny, which is the bottom shade, applied with a heavier hand

It’s the formula of this bronzer that strikes me as incredible. Not that price is consistently a sound indicator of a product, this bronzing powder feels expensive and even more than that, luxurious, with the smooth finely-milled texture that one would expect of a Dior or Chanel product — much in the same way that I feel about their more recent mineral powder that is housed in similar packaging. The pigmentation is definitely impressive and therefore this bronzer would actually be suitable for darker skin tones, seeing as it can actually be built up far more than how I would wear it but at the same time it remains blendable and sits seamlessly on the skin (even on drier patches). I wore this the other day when I was out and about, walking around in the sweltering and muggy heat and it was ten hours before it even began to fade; while I might not believe the claim that the beta-carotene and Vitamin E in the formulation enhances a tan and “prolongs a sun-kissed glow”, the product definitely is a matte long-wearing bronzer as they say — er well kind of. In the sense of there being shimmer or sheen within the powder, the bronzer is definitely matte but it doesn’t look flat on the skin but rather has a velvety kind of finish that can add shape as well as add that bronze-y hue to the skin.

As I have been with a good number of L’Oreal’s releases in the last year or so, I am impressed with the compact packaging. It’s not say as sleek as NYC Sunny, the packaging is more durable and more attractive without adding significant bulkiness. I like the bronzy rounded square packaging and more than that, I’m a fan of the small hidden mirror beneath that comes with the not altogether horrible brush — the brush can be used to add some shape to the face, I would assume. I particularly enjoy the mirror being hidden beneath because then the powder does not get the mirror dirty.

Above, I acknowledged the rather high pricepoint (for the drugstore) of this product but it really is a bargain when you take the quality of the product and the sheer quantity that you receive into account. You may be paying $15 CDN for this bronzer but you are getting 9 grams or 0.32 ounces, which is actually rather economical per ounce, coming in at $46.90 per ounce, whereas a higher end bronzer such as NARS Laguna tends comes in at the signficantly heftier price tag of $153.60 per ounce. The L’Oreal Glam Bronze Mono in 04 Universal Sunmight be rather new to me but it was one of those products that impressed me upon my first use and I doubt I will be putting it down anytime soon. And here I am wearing a very-light application of the bronzer – with admittedly out-of-control hair:


Happy Thursday! I’m serious when I want to hear your thoughts so I’m leaving you with two questions: (1) Have you tried any of these new L’Oreal Monos? (2) What is your favourite drugstore bronzer?
Maggie, x.

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



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!)


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.

July 2013 Favourite Products


1. Bumble and Bumble Texture (Un)dressing Creme is one of those products that oddly enough seems to suit all (or at least most) hair textures – from the straightest to curly, fine to thick. It is a thick and whitish sticky putty-like substance that defines curls, provides medium hold, controls frizz moderately (but not like a gel) and gives beachy textyre without drying it out. I can use this product in my wavy-curly hair wet for that beachy look (with no other products) but I love to use it to refresh my hair after a few days particularly in dampened hair; this is a godsend for me because I only wash my hair twice a week so anything that will help my hair look defined and volumized is amazing in my book.

2. Lately there’s been a whole lot of cleansing balm hype and hoopla (particularly after Caroline Hirons pretty much proclaimed them as the next messiah) and I spotted Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm (which coincidentally was free of mineral-oil) at my local Shoppers for under ten dollars CDN so was compelled to pick it up. It is marketed as part of the dry/very-dry skin range, if anyone was curious. I wouldn’t say that it’s a balm cleanser, as its name suggests, I’d say its more of a cleansing milk. It’s very similar to Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser except that it contains fragrance (boo), removes makeup a little better (but not fantastically) and contains oil (which is a plus in my book but might not be in others). Fortunately, I do not find it irritating and I would agree with the claim that it is not only very hydrating but does not strip the skin whatsoever. If anyone is curious, I did not include this in my skincare post because I’ve only been using it since the start of this month.

3. I really tried not to do this but I couldn’t resist; I have only owned this for twenty-or-so days but I’ve worn Skin79 Snail Nutrition BB Cream every day since I’ve gotten it and miraculously it doesn’t break me out or irritate my skin. I plan on writing a detailed review soon so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet (but I’ll most likely fail). It’s one shade oxidizes to a fair to light neutral tone, provides light-feeling medium buildable coverage and looks almost imperceptible on the skin. It has SPF 45 and contains Snail Secretion Filtrate (not sure how I feel about that…) as well as providing a long lasting natural-dewy coverage that holds up well in heat.

4. Upon reviewing my previous posts, I have come to the realization that I have a tendency to gushing about the same products over and over, so it’s no surprise that I’m including Tarte Natural Beauty Amazonian Clay Blush after my “Top 5 Blushes” post. It’s a matte bright water-melon pink blush that gives a nice bright flush wit fairly good pigmentation (it’s not as scary as it appears in the pan). This is the longest lasting blush that I’ve ever tried, hardly even fading after the 12 hour mark. I believe that this is a fairly unique colour, but don’t mark my words. I’m now intrigued to try this formulation in different colours…

5. Everyone has that makeup product that they have that love-hate relationship with (or so it seems) and for me this product is MAC Woodwinked eye shadow. I’m onto my third pan of this eye shadow but it can go months untouched. The texture is really easy to work with, smooth and pigmented, however I find the shade difficult to wear unless I have a bit of colour. As everyone I’m sure has heard before it is a very warm-toned medium gold shade with some brown in it that I find pulls orange-toned when I blend it (which is why I prefer it when I have some colour on my fair skin). Because of its orangey-gold undertones, this is a particularly flattering shade on blue eyes. I don’t find this shade to be particularly versatile – I tend to only wear it as a lid colour.

6. I think MAC’s matte eyeshadows are some of the best. MAC Charcoal Brown eye shadow is the only one I’ve personally owned but I’ve tried others. I use this shade daily to fill in my brows and I find that it’s the perfect no-fiss crease shade. It has nice pigmentation, longevity and texture. It is a matte slightly cool toned medium brown.

7. I’ve had MAC Sable eye shadow for well over a year and I’ve always passed it off as MAC Satin Taupe’s warmer and plummier less-attractive sister but I’ve pulled it out and kept it on rotation for when I want to look nice and wear eye shadow but don’t want to have to think about it. It has the same great finish/texture as most
(but not all) of MAC’s eye shadows and is a shimmery plummy-bronze colour that I like to wear in the outer v – I swear I’ve worn it like 20 days this month! It’s extremely similar to UD Toasted if anyone is curious. This medium-dark shade is also a nice lid colour.

8. One of my first posts on this blog was my review of MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Powder and although it was a powder I thought was exceptionally good, I didn’t find myself reaching for it all that much but that changed this month. I wear this product in Light which is a fairly neutral pale colour for reference. This powder has a relatively non-powdery look and provides sheer coverage. It’s sheerness comes in handy for setting foundation without adding to the heavy appearance on the skin but I also find it sort of buildable for pretty much invisible light coverage on its own when I’m having good skin days. This wore for over six hours on its own without fading which I thought was rather nice but keep in mind that with my dry skin skin products do tend to stay put for obscene amounts of time.

9. This is completely expected and unsurprising but with the warm weather and all, I’ve been really getting into using Rimmel Natural Bronzer in Sun Glow. It has a nice texture, good longevity, decent pigmentation although it is a nice light shade for my fair skin. I enjoy that it is matte (although sometimes I swear I see a sheen running through it but my eyes could be playing tricks on me) so it can be used to contour as well as to add colour to the skin in a natural-looking way and is not orangey. I would say that this is a warm-toned light golden bronzer. Too bad that it has horrendous packaging…

10. For someone with an unhealthy makeup obsession, I hate reapplying my makeup and as a result I spent a lot of my time dreading lip products because they require frequent reapplication. I got a sample size of Benefit Benetint with my 500 point perk from Sephora and it seems to be the answer to my prayers. It is somewhat drying on the lips but it is a stain that lasts a long time and is a flattering rosy colour.

Any favourites to share? X