The Beauty Bargain |Annabelle A-14 Angle Brush

DSC_1378DSC_1377I don’t know about you, but for me there are few makeup products that are as unenticing to invest in as makeup brushes, despite how much of a difference they can make to makeup application. I might not always admit it, but brushes can make such a difference to how your makeup looks and the ease of application and it’s very exciting when you find comparable brushes on an actually affordable budget. And before you assume otherwise, I am actually talking about a brush not made by Real Techniques and it’s a bit more affordable too!

A few months ago, I was perusing the aisles of Shoppers Drugmart and somehow I ended up at the cash register with the Annabelle A-14 Angle Brush ($7-8 CDN) and while I may have felt a bit of buyers remorse then, I don’t have any sort of regret now. I bought it because of my intense love for my pricy MAC 266 Small Angle Brush – a lovely offering from MAC that does unfortunately set you back $24 dollars – and desire for a second one because of its versatility in my daily makeup routine. Brushes in this format are my staples for filling in my eyebrows with power but I also adore them for either gel or using eyeshadow as liner and I was getting frustrated about having to clean the brush after each use so I’m pleased to admit that while I wouldn’t call this more affordable offering a complete dupe, it’s extremely comparable in both shape and quality, working effectively to fill in eyebrows with powder – and it’s nice with the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade that I’m currently testing out – and line the eyes like its more expensive counterpart. The only difference between the two brushes is that the head on the Annabelle A-14 is a hair larger and not quite as dramatically angled… see for yourself below, if you’re interested, though:

DSC_1381 I’m disappointed to say that while the Canadian brand has a website that ships both here and to the US affordably with their products — they’re only available locally here in Canada — they’ve conveniently left their brushes off their website. I am not pleased in the slightest with this news, I’ll have you know. Nevertheless, if you have access to Annabelle, I would definitely recommend checking out their brush line with this one in particular.

What’s your current favourite beauty bargain?
Maggie, x.

The Beauty Bargain | L’Oreal Collection Exclusive Lipstick in Doutzen’s Pure Red


I’m free and I’m hella excited about this recent change in status that came about as a result of finishing exams and final papers yesterday right before noon. You wouldn’t believe how excited I am to get back into blogging as I’ve been wanting to and to actually sleep like a somewhat functional human being.

Around a month ago, I began to spot the new red range from the L’Oreal Collection Exclusive Lipstick Range popping up on UK beauty blogs and I’ve been counting the days till I could spot these on Canadian shores. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I only had to wait a month, spotting the range on a late night perusal of Shopper’s Drugmart. The full-on name of the product and shade is rather long but I’ll include it for the sake of specificity and whatnot – it’s the L’Oreal Collection Exclusive Lipstick in Doutzen’s Pure Red ($11-12 CDN). The formula of this lipstick is equally as great as the ones from the nude range, if not even better, creamy in texture and pigmented with a cream finish. It lasts on the lips without highlighting any sort of dryness or contributing to any sort of dry lip situation and has that comfort I adore. More than this, I’ve fallen in love with the shade and I have to say that I find the bright tomato red shade flattering on my fair but warm-toned skin.


L'Oreal Collection Exclusive Doutzen's Pure Red Lipstick
L’Oreal Collection Exclusive Doutzen’s Pure Red Lipstick

I’ve worn this a good few times since picking the lipstick up and I plan on wearing it loads more especially because its ideal for that festive but laid-back bold lip vibe that I’ve been enjoying as of late – particularly with a cozy sweater and that whole situation. The only negatives that I can think of is that its not the longest-lasting formula in the world, it’s about as expensive as drugstore makeup can go and that L’Oreal artificial floral scent that we’ve all come to experience at least at one time in our lives.

Have you tried any of the L’Oreal Collection Exclusive/Privee Lipsticks?
Maggie, x.


The Beauty Bargain #5: Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain



To tell you the truth, I used to think that the whole “the simplest things in life make me the happiest” was bullshit but as I sit down at the table, wearing clothing that would be acceptable to wear to the gym, enjoying the feel of my makeupless face and being thankful that it’s not boiling hot today, I sort of get it. I haven’t gone all out of character on you, I promise, though, as I’m here at least talking about all things makeup-wise. The product in question? The Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Milan Moment ($14-16 CDN). I’ve more than hinted in a few posts that I’ve been loving this offering and now the time has come that I feel confident to provide a (glowing) review of the rather expensive liquid lip-stains.

The texture and formula was what initially impressed me and after use, it still strikes me as the standout attributes of the product. I’m not a lip-gloss girl and these looked like a long-wearing gloss-stain hybrid so I was nervous about the stickiness factor — I’m pleased to report there is no stickiness in sight. The nondescript-smelling liquid lip-stains glide onto the lips without highlighting dry patches in the slightest, with a somewhat glossy balm texture that reminds me of the L’Oreal L’Extraordinaire Liquid Lipsticks – with increased longevity, of course. Upon initial application (and until three hours where the stain only remains), the lips feel soothed, a bit hydrated and as comfortable as can be. Strictly speaking, the formula isn’t drying but it can be slightly on my sensitive chapped lips after the balm has worn off and the stain has been left for hours (without any balm application or reapplication) but unlike every other product that has this quality, they do not irritate my lips in the slightest and a wee bit of balm brings them back into health afterwards.

While these are flattering on my sore chapped lips and are remarkable in that aspect, they do apply sheerly at first, requiring some building up and can be a bit streaky or patchy at first, so they’re not infallible in formula. Also, the product itself isn’t a longwearing one but it’s the stain that the product leaves behind that is long-lasting; the glossy balm texture lasts about 3-4 hours on my lips with a little bit of eating and/or drinking but won’t last a meal or anything, but the even stain that the product leaves behind after being left on the lips lasts ages and ages. Unlike many lip products, my lips don’t feel raw after the stain is only left and the stain is even around my lips. They are low maintenance and because of this, I’ve found this one ideal as an everyday kind of shade. I’ve only tried the Milan Moment shade, which is a neutral-toned muted tangerine colour but the shade range is intensive with 11 or 12 shades in total, spanning from nudes into vampier hues. This shade is a unique one, adding a slight bit of brightness to the lips without being bold in the slightest — it’s about the lightest shade that could actually stain my pale lips — and flatters my warm undertones without being unflattering on the teeth. I’d say that stain lasts five to six hours, also, but if you’re looking for the longest lasting and most intense stain in the world, I don’t think these are for you. I think these are ideal for a low-maintenance staining lip colour that feels comfortable and hydrating on the lips instead of drying them out beyond belief. I definitely have my eye on more of these. I haven’t included a swatch photo of the shade in this post but I swatched it here, in my Summer Edit. And here I am, wearing it again here:


Have you tried these yet? If not, do you plan on trying these?
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.

The Beauty Bargain: The “True Nude” Lipstick



Following the usual theme here at beautylitandramblings, I really intended to bring you the second post in this series much sooner than this but obviously I agonized over what product deserved to be featured next and got distracted – at least I’m honest with myself. Like future-editions-to-come, I’m talking about a product that I’ve reviewed before but I believe still deserved its own mention in this new category of affordable beauty purchases. While the Maybelline ‘The Buffs’ Colorsensational Lipstick in Blushing Beige ($9 CDN)is a little bit too pale and too much of a true nude to be one of those less-traditional nude shades with more colour to them that can be even flattering with even the most minimal makeup (a la MAC Patisserie) but nevertheless, it’s the ideal shade to pair with an authentic smoky eye for that classic vibe.

I’m sure I said this in the initial review here, but I’m mentioning how similar (yet improved) this shade is to the classic MAC Creme d’Nude yet again; it’s not quite as pale and has a much more forgiving and flattering formula on the lips but has that same strong peachy undertone that keeps things from looking ghastly or washed-out in the slightest. However, the scent is not nearly as nice as instead of that classic vanilla scent, you have to deal with that play-doh one but I don’t mind too much. The smooth formula doesn’t dry out my sensitive lips either and lasts for a good amount of time. If I were a lip-liner kind of girl (read: if I had the ideal my-lips-but-nicer shade in my possession), I would be tempted to go for it to add some definition back between the lips and the skin but it’s not completely necessary, if you ask me. And as one might expect, this warm-toned nude is not going to provide any teeth-whitening sort of favours.

P.S. I’m in shock that I managed to write this post without going overboard, actually hitting at just 300 words. I’m aware of my issues with rambling and concision…

What’s your favourite affordable drugstore lip?
Maggie, x.