Recent Drugstore Acquisitions (Minus the Lip Product Buying Binge)

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Do I really need to say anything more? Although I’m pleased to report that I have been fairly in control with my purchases as of late, I have acquired a nice number of new things from the drugstore in the last month or so. I’ve been pretty reasonable when you take the semi-crazy heavy load of purchasing at Target with its liquidation sale — it’s unfortunately leaving Canada — out of the equation at least, particularly when I bought over five lip products without batting an eye. I’m leaving the majority of the lip products out for a later overview post but there were a good few other Target buys worth noting and I picked up a few things today.

Curls Unleashed Lavish in Lather Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($14.99):

I’m typically very interested in these smaller brands created for use on curlier hair but more often than not, they tend to be rather difficult (or impossible) to get a hold of in Canada and are remarkably expensive. Naturally, with Target — the only place that stocks Curls unleashed — closing down and a small discount offered on all products of the hair variety, I couldn’t resist purchasing the promising sulphate-free shampoo. It does not disappoint in the slightest. It’s gentle, being free of sulfates but it also doesn’t have silicones to provide that nourished feeling and therefore is gentle enough on the hair but provides thorough buildup removal and leaves no sort of weight in the hair. The herbal lemon and rosemary scent is all kinds of amazing, too!

Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime Primer in Blur + Redness Control ($11.99):

Eager to experience the skin smoothing and perfecting magic that primers have been touted as providing, I grabbed Maybelline’s new green-tinged redness correcting and imperfection correcting offering. I’ve been enjoying the silicone-based primer but unfortunately, I have not found the colour correction abilities to be overly potent, however, I have to say that I quite like the smoothing hydrating texture.

L’Oreal Infallible Advanced Never Fail Makeup in 603 Classic Ivory ($15.99):

I fully acknowledge that I have a monstrous foundation buying problem but the sale left me unable to resist. I’m a fan of L’Oreal in general and have wanted to try one of their foundations for ages – despite how pricey they are for drugstore – so I went for the natural-finish longwearing formula that has been regarded highly by Lisa freaking Eldridge. I find it to be more semi-matte than natural finish but I’m pleased to say that its a long-wearing base that actually works on my dry skin.

NYX Powder Blush in Cinnamon ($8.99):

Being interested in that natural rosy-cheeked effect, I’ve had my eye on a few of those matte red blushes over time so naturally, I was thrilled when I spotted the orange-red NYX beauty for the first time at my Target and it wasn’t tampered with, I couldn’t resist. It’s a nice blush to add that authentic rosy effect, but I have to admit that I haven’t fallen in love yet as it doesn’t quite provide that instant glow that I tend to find myself grabbing for.

Sonia Kashuk Dewy Luxe Lip & Cheek Balm in 02 Charmed ($9.99):

I couldn’t very well leave Target and its lovely sale without picking up something from their exclusive Sonia Kashuk line, could I? Being dry skinned and generally into that glowing life, I was intrigued by the multipurpose balm formula, especially when I spotted the true coral colour offering. It’s definitely a unique product but in a nice way. It doesn’t have the most pigmentation but it’s effortless to use and has that build ability that makes life easier; the texture feels gel-like, which is a nice departure from the potentially waxy consistency of a dewy balm product, but it also offers a bit of natural looking luminosity. The nail polish kind of applicator is actually fairly simple to use on both the cheeks and lips and I’ve found the formula to be compatible with both areas.

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Essie Cashmere Matte Nail Lacquer in Comfy in Cashmere ($8.99-11.99):

All February long, my close friend, Lauren and I, have been obsessed with the Cashmere Matte Collection from Essie so naturally I was more than pleased today when I spotted the collection after nearly a month of stalking the stores. This shade is part of the grege-y family that I adore and has that matte textured finish with kind of the most amazing blue iridescence. I’ve only just applied it so I can’t comment on longevity or anything but the formula is almost opaque in a single coat and dries like a champ, as far as I can tell. I’m very excited – can you tell?

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge ($7-8):

With the current weather lately and generally dry and lacklustre skin I’ve been going back to the damp sponge method of foundation application and my old one was falling apart, so upon spotting the beauty blender “dupe” at Lawton’s today (on sale for five dollars this week), I was not going to resist. As it’s still inside packaging, I will report back.

Have you done any drugstore shopping recently?
Maggie, x.

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 Review: L’Oreal Colour Riche Eye Primer

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Unless you’re one of the rare few who neither experience problematic eyeshadow fading and creasing, I’m sure you’re well aware of the importance of an eye primer and how difficult it is to find one that works for you. This tends to be especially true at the drugstore price point but going on two months back, I spotted the L’Oreal Color Riche Eye Primer ($10 CDN) and was intrigued enough to give it a go. In short, I’m glad that I did but it’s not the ideal primer for me, as I don’t suffer from particularly discoloured lids and have creasing issues that this does not entirely address. It definitely serves to present creasing better than a traditional base while still providing the coverage and colour-boosting benefits and it has less of that emollient texture that requires a good deal of waiting before eyeshadow application (or it will slide off), but it doesn’t quite provide the results of my new favourite high-end primer, the NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base and falls ever-so-slightly short of the more affordable Nyx HD Eyeshadow Base that I adore — but this one does have that more emollient texture that can make shadows slip and slide.

One thing that I noticed upon researching this product was how vague the claims were; even when used alone, it promises to even out the tone of the lids, even without any shadow being applied over the top and to provide even richer colour when applied underneath eyeshadow with so-called flawless wear. Roughly speaking, it does those things and this is something that I don’t necessarily take lightly. The tint of the pencil is a soft peachy colour that deals with discoloration well and the pencil definitely does intensify the payoff of shadows and helps to get more flawless wear, but it does crease on me after a long day of wear or summer heat – however, this creasing is remarkably less than with lesser primers and without a primer at all.

The final verdict? I definitely recommend giving this affordable base a go if you’re looking for some coverage on your lids or you aren’t asking miracles in a primer, expecting it to last through excessive heat and general extremely oily environments.

Have you tried this primer? What’s your favourite primer?

Maggie, x.

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The Pre-Fall Haul

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I can’t completely explain it in a comprehensible way but I kind of detest the word ‘haul’ and as a result I tend to tiptoe around posts of this type and call them by another name; however I’m just going to bite the bullet and call it what it is this time. As per usual, it’s not a massive supply and this one is a bit collective and it is centred around picking things up for the upcoming school year along with the usual pick or two. If you’re anything like me, this will sound all too familiar. Because I’m paranoid about violating disclosure policies, I’m going to say now that a few affiliate links will actually appear in this post.

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It was about a month ago when I picked up my first Bath & Body Works candles and that purchase included two fall-themes options, the Cayenne Caramel and the Spiced Pumpkin Cider 3 Wick Candles. I’m new to the candle party but I do find them nice and relaxing with the ability to help boost productivity too. The second candle was a safe pick for me as I typically adore those spiced apple/pumpkin scents but the first one surprised me- cayenne
And caramel did not sound appealing but it has that nice warm spicy feel to it with a hint of caramel sweetness. Somebody stop me now.

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Before getting to the beauty bits, I’m going to share the four items that have served to update the wardrobe for fall. It’s not large enough for a school bag but I first picked up the smaller red cross-body structured bag from Forever 21 because I’ve seemed to kill all of my cross-body styles and it seemed to be the perfect everyday bag when you don’t want to carry the content of your life with you. I mentioned picking up this thin light beige slouchy sweater from Garage in last weeks ‘Daily Highlights’ post but I feel compelled to include it again here. It has a cropped cut in the front of the sweater that graduates to a longer length on the sides and has an impractical but cute peekaboo back.

More recently I finished off these little wardrobe updates with another slouchy lightweight sweater and a new pair of jeans. The H&M sweater is nothing shocking, especially considering that it was just included in my ‘Weekend Wishlist’ post. It’s quite oversized and slouchy because I picked it up in a large – the only size I could find – and it will become a staple paired with jeans and leggings. The jeans were a far more surprising purchase for me as they were from Hollister, a store that I very very rarely venture into, let alone go as far as to try something on from. Hollister had all of their jeans on sale for $27 dollars and I loved the Blake Natural Waist Jeggings so much that I had to have them instantly. Despite their name, they are more of a high-waist jean and the waist served to really suck in the stomach and they were more than flattering on my non-existent butt etc.

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DSC_0416In my day out shopping with friends, we went all over, so of course I couldn’t help but checking out both major drugstores and ending up with more than a few items. First up, I hit up Lawton’s and ended up with six items, all but one of which were on sale. L’Oreal was on for 40% off and I was tempted to try out loads more but I was good and picked up the L’Oreal Glossy Balm in Ginger Candy ($6), a flattering and comfortable peachy nude and the typically-my-lips-but-better L’Oreal Collection Privee Lipstick in Eva’s Nude ($5). These both have impressed me as comfortable and flattering everyday lip options so I’m fairly proud of myself. There was quite a sale going on with La Roche-Posay, with most things on sale for more than the usual dollar or two off and I took the opportunity to try out the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP ($12.50) because it looked promising for eczema-ridden legs with its high niacinamide and shea butter content. I’m liking it thus far. 

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Then I found myself in the nail-care aisle with my polish-savvy best pal, Lauren and somehow ended up buying three items there. First off, I spotted the Sally Hansen Kwick-Off Moisturizing Nail Polish Remover ($5) and I couldn’t resist replacing my used-up pot with this one – it’s seriously amazing. Before heading through the cash, I noticed that Essie was on sale and I was compelled to pick up the gorgeous On A Silver Platter Nail Lacquer ($7), a gorgeous antiqued silver shimmer with cobalt glitter running throughout and the No Chips Ahead Top Coat ($7).

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I might not have spent much less at Shopper’s Drugmart, but I did come away with only two products, neither of which would be considered typically affordable drugstore products. Frustrated with my drier-than-dry lips, I went to pick up the pot of Rêve de Miel® Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm, but it was unfortunately out of stock so I went for the $9 stick format of the Rêve de Miel® Lip Moisturizing Stick in its place. Thus far, I can say it’s a nice balm but it’s not a rich and nourishing treat like I had heard the pot formula to be. The big purchase of the stop was in the high end section and was a palette that I somehow justified to myself as completely realistic as I hadn’t bought a palette in a while but I know it wasn’t strictly essential. The palette was the Smashbox ‘Photo Op – Cherry Smoke’ Eyeshadow Palette Cherry Smoke that contains eight smooth and pigmented warm autumnal eyeshadows for $39 US or $44 CDN. I’ve tried the palette out and it is fantastic, as the below evidence might indicate. I would return it to ease my guilty conscience if it wasn’t so beautiful and amazing.

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What have you picked up lately?
Maggie, x.

Five of the Best Beauty Bargains

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Rather than introducing you to yet another affordable beauty product that I hold in high regard as of now, I thought that I would give a roundup of the affordable products that I’ve been relying on and valuing heavily at the moment. I can’t promise that what I say about these products and the products themselves won’t have appeared around here times before, however. Isn’t a little repetition a good thing?

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L’Oreal Glam Bronze Mono in 04 Universal Sun ($15 CDN)– full post here

I can’t even. Honestly this newer bronzer release has blown me away and I haven’t been able to stray from the smooth-textured blend able soft-matte bronzer for long since picking it up. The formula is pigmented but easy to work with and doesn’t sit on the skin stiffly and unnaturally like most powders do and rather glides on creamily. These come in a variety of shades but I’ve only tried this medium-toned warm bronzer with reddish undertones and I love the colour for adding natural bronziness to my face whilst being able to add a bit of shadow to the cheekbones because it’s not orange-y in the slightest. I swear this bronzer is easy to use and builds like a dream and will never betray you by looking chalky or muddy. I’ll stop now… You’re welcome.

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Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser ($9-11 CDN)

This is definitely one of the unsung heroes of my personal assortment of beauty products, both in the sense that I don’t feel that others rave about the prowess of the product enough and that I don’t give it the credit it deserves on a frequent basis. It’s basically the gentlest cream cleanser in existence that not only doesn’t include detergents and therefore doesn’t strip or irritate the skin but also nourishes the skin. It’s only downside is that it’s not one that removes makeup well in the slightest. However, it’s a great second cleanser or morning cleanser that easily rinses clean.

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Annabelle Smoothliner in Black ($6-7 CDN)

Even without putting the wallet-friendly price into consideration, this is among the very best liners that I’ve ever tried and it’s my favourite for using on the top waterline because it does not transfer to the lower lashline or budge. However, it’s not absolutely perfect because the creamy texture ensures that it needs to be sharpened frequently (if not, it comes out really unevenly) and therefore the product goes quickly. With this aside, the waterproof formula is creamy rather than waxy and stays put for ages. The shade is a richly pigmented black and it also can be smudged nicely as long as you work quickly. In short, I love this liner and will repurchase it after I use it up which shouldn’t be too far into the future.

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DSC_0205From the top: L’Oreal Universal Sun, Maybelline Deep Bronze, Maybelline Pink Rose

Maybelline Master Hi-Light Light-Boosting Blush/Bronzer in 20 Pink Rose/ 60 Deep Bronze ($14-16 CDN) full post here

I’ve raved about the Deep Bronze shade time and time again as a gorgeous rosy copper blush (rather than its intended use) and that love has not wavered in the slightest and since having such success with that shade, I picked up the true rosy pink shade (Pink Rose) and have been enjoying that shade as well. They’re not the cheapest but the texture and formula of these powders is so gorgeous that they are truly a bargain; the shimmer is so fine that it reads like a glowy sheen, the pigmentation is on-point and lasts as such and they blend seamlessly into the skin like the most finely-milled of products. I highly recommend trying at least one of these.

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Rimmel Colour Rush Intense Colour Balm in Lady Marmalade ($7-8 CDN)

This is definitely the newest product (to me) of the bunch but I’ve worn it a good amount and it has been so impressive; it may just be my favourite of the balm pencils, at the drugstore at least. The true pinky-coral hue doesn’t lean so warm that it tends to pull out the yellow in the teeth and goes over dry patches like a champ, actually hydrating along the way with the balm quality but it also served so stain my lips after wearing it for an hour or two — the colour lasted for six hours through a snack and a small meal. It seems to both be comfortable to wear and effortless while still providing on the longevity front, at least if you leave it on the lips for long enough to set.

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What’s your favourite budget buy at the moment?
Maggie, x.

Beauty Thoughts: The Verdict

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Even for those of us in the blogging world that are neither sent the newest releases constantly nor are able to shell out recklessly for them, there are many beauty products that fall through the cracks after they are initially purchased — some will be granted reviews, some will be mentioned in passing but there are so many products left untalked about. I’m hoping to talk about some of the untalked about here without being incessantly wordy and detailed – hope being the key word here. By the way, these are exclusively products of the drugstore variety.

L’Oreal Miss Manga Mascara ($9-11 CDN)

I’m usually such a L’Oreal mascara fan and I’ve heard such great things about their latest mascara offering from my most trusted of sources, but for me this mascara is far too wet and much too clumpy for my liking. Although I have only had this for a short amount of time, I can safely say that I dislike it; however, I fully expect that I will dislike it less as it dries out but I’m not expecting miracles. Also, in typical L’Oreal fashion, it is difficult to remove despite not being a waterproof formulation.

Revlon Age Defying Firming + Lifting Makeup ($18 CDN)

Now I certainly did not go for this foundation offering to combat wrinkles (I’m merely 20) but as a foundation, I’m not wholeheartedly impressed with this one and I wouldn’t expect anything miraculous if wrinkles are your concern here. The funny thing is that I can’t say anything particularly bad about this longwearing medium-buildable coverage foundation but it lacked the quality of blending seamlessly into the skin and making the skin look smoother, radiant and improved rather than merely covering the skin itself. It has a satin finish, as well, and it doesn’t cling to dry patches particularly but it doesn’t leave the skin looking radiant or brightened. The shame is that my colour match was pretty good — Bare Buff, the second lightest shade in the range suited my moderately fair skin with warm beige-yellow undertones nicely. Plus, it’s not the cheapest thing out there.

Revlon Matte Balm in 230 Complex ($9-10 CDN)

I’ve said before that I was actually rather disappointed in Revlon’s matte balm offering, finding it slightly drying on the lips with the potent mint sensation and less than flattering over dry patches, but after everyone has raved about them and I’ve seen the gorgeous colour selection, I had to pick up another shade … for testing purposes, obviously. Unfortunately, I wasn’t any more impressed with the formula when I picked up this lovely peachy nude shade which was rather disappointing as I love the warm-toned flattering darker nude hue. They do wear on the lips for a long time, though. I’m still curious if the darker shades are more flattering on the lips as both of the shades I’ve tried are on the lighter side of things and their bold range is amazing – any thoughts?

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Revlon Colorstay Concealer ($10-12 CDN)

Believe it or not, I am actually moving into the territory of products that I actually wholeheartedly like. Despite not being among the fairest of the fair, I have great difficulty finding concealers of the drugstore variety that are neither too pink, too orange, too yellow while not being too dark but the beige undertones of 02 Light suit my skin like a champ for concealing blemishes and redness on my face. I find the liquid concealer too dry for use underneath my eyes but it’s ideal to quickly cover blemishes and redness as it doesn’t budge or show/highlight dry patches.

Rimmel Lasting Finish By Kate Matte Lipstick in 111 Kiss of Life ($7-8 CDN)

From owning the bold berry-hued 107 that unfortunately doesn’t suit me, pulling rather fuchsia on me in an unflattering manner, I already knew that I loved the formula of this pigmented, semi-matte lipstick;it  manages to both last on my lips for about six hours and neither dry my lips out or cling to my dry lips unattractively. This shade is a bold scarlet hue with subtlest of an orange lean to its otherwise neutral base and has to be among my favourite bold lip shades ever — its formula merely boosts the appeal.

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Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts on them?
Maggie, x.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revlon Grow Luscious Bold Lacquer Mascara

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I promise that I don’t adore every single mascara that I try, despite how things have appeared around here lately, it’s just that I’ve had very good luck in recent months in terms of picking up gems — first my staple Maybelline The Falsies, next the new love of mine, L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess and finally this one, the Revlon Grow Luscious Bold Lacquer Mascara. This mascara retails for the pretty standard $9 dollar pricetag and I have to say that it’s a really great mascara but it isn’t the be all and end all for me due to my preferences. As I’ve said before, I naturally have long and pretty curled dark lashes and I preliminarily look for volume and tend to favour drier formulas — because of this, the formula of this one is too wet for my liking. With this in mind, it’s much less of a wet formula than the hyped L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara and I prefer it as a result. It’s large brush is made of natural bristles and although I haven’t used it in a while, the mascara reminds me so much of an old mascara love of mine, the Benefit BadGal Lash Mascara and in a good way. The natural bristle brush ensures that on days like today when my eyes are sore and itchy (hayfever, woo), the brush does not feel like it’s jabbing into my eyeballs.

The mascara provides a good deal of volume, enough to be impressive on that front whilst not being the most volumizing mascara in the world. However, the mascara does not advertise to be, considering that it’s marketed as a volume and length mascara – on these terms it delivers. It’s really lengthening at the same time without verging into spider-lash territory. It doesn’t provide much separation or curl, though. It doesn’t flake or do anything else as annoying in my experience but actually removes fairly easily with my Bioderma and doesn’t cling to my lashes for dear life. This is a nice thing, by the way.

The bottom line? This is a really great mascara for volume and length that removes without much difficulty but it’s not so life changing that I will have to buy another tube as soon as this one dries out. And here are the before and after shots…

 

Recently Updated17From no mascara to close up with mascara, followed by a zoomed-out shot
 
What’s your current favourite mascara?
Maggie, x.

 

The Beauty Bargain #5: Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain

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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:

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

The Beauty Bargain: The Summery Bright Lip

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Honestly I’ve wanted to begin this rather generic beauty blogger series but I’ve been angsting over creating a name that wouldn’t just be copying every other beauty blogger alive but I’m forcing myself to get over the drama and contemplation, going with the unoriginal The Beauty Bargain as I title to begin to share with you these affordable products that perform as well if not better than their higher end counterparts. The first product in question to begin this whole series – I actually do plan on making this a regular thing – is the Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer in Stellar ($7-8 CDN), a glossy (but not overly so) vibrant coral liquid lipstick that stays put on the lips for ages even for those of us who might not necessarily be the neatest eaters for a good six hours without feeling heavy or sticky at the least.

I know I’m rather late to the party on this popular lip product but honestly I picked this one up at the end of the fall last year, wanting to try the formula that I had heard such great things about without truly realizing that it was not a seasonally-appropriate shade in the slightest. You know how I feel about corals, but I know bold coral lips are not a seasonless essential for the masses so I held off on sharing my love for this one until now. I haven’t gone for any other shades in the range as none of them have popped out at me as shades that suit me and that I don’t already own duplicates of so I can’t comment on that front but judging by the following of these, I believe its safe to assume that the formula is fantastic around the board. In my eyes there’s only one real downside to the formula, the creamy texture’s tendency to slip and slide before setting into their more satin finish, sliding onto your teeth if you’re not careful – but others might object to the candy-scent but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest, especially in comparison with those artificial floral scents that lipsticks of the drugstore tend to have.

Aside from the fabulous pigmentation, longevity (i.e. wearing off evenly) and comfort of the lip lacquer, Rimmel Apocalips in Stellar is remarkable in it’s non-drying formula that glides over dry patches and uneven texture in the lips, especially considering the bold nature of the lipstick. If you’re looking for a comfortable long-wearing formula that applies precisely without loads of effort or skill on your part, I recommend this offering and I definitely recommend this shade if you’re after something bold but unlike the standard bold fuschias and reds.

This really doesn't showcase my application skills at their finest but I promise it looks much better in real life...
This really doesn’t showcase my application skills at their finest but I promise it looks much better in real life…

Have you tried any of these Rimmel Lip Lacquers?

Maggie, x.

Drugstore (Makeup) Essentials #2

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So I was feeling a wee bit nostalgic and strangely sentimental – sue me. An all around beauty product drugstore staples post was my first post ever, right after I discovered these fantastic beauty products that didn’t break the bank and since then I’ve tried um lots more, shall we say and I always like reading these posts so I thought a post with my budget-friendly staple products was in order as I haven’t been giving some of these workhorses as much credit as they deserve. As I’ve said many times before, in Canada drugstore makeup doesn’t tend to be nearly as affordable as it is in the states so I’m sure for many of you these hero products will be even more affordable, but price aside these are all fantastic products I always come back to. And I easily could have included 72835 products more…

Real Techniques Core Collection ($19-22 CDN):

I’m actually aware that everybody and their pet iguana declares their loved for this affordable hyped-up brush set but after spotting the set for the first time this summer, these four brushes have made their way into my daily makeup routine, so they are kind of a ridiculous bargain considering their quality. Everyone’s favourite, the buffing brush, was my first love from the set, initially seducing me with its ability to buff foundation into the skin to help it blend seamlessly, but I’m tempted to say that I now love the three other includes brushes as much; the contour brush is amazing for its intended use, namely sculpting the face efficiently, the pointed foundation brush blends concealer underneath the eyes like a dream and the detailer brush is responsible for my newfound ability to do Lisa-Eldridge-Induced pinpoint concealing.

Annabelle Smoothliner in Brownie ($7 CDN):

I’m pretty sure this is one of the few beauty bits that ever existed that are easier to get ahold of in Canada and that is rather pleasing, I must say — but I know that Americans at least can order from the website for reasonable shipping rates on the already reasonably-priced brand. This is easily the best affordable liner that I’ve ever tried but it’s up there among the best liners I’ve ever tried regardless of price as well and it’s the first non-black liner that I’ve found worked. It has that kind of creamy, long-wearing and pigmented formula that I had hoped the cult-favourite Rimmel Scandaleyes had but most certainly did not. The shade is also spectacular as it’s a rich deep brown that adds adequate definition unlike the other brown liners that I’ve tried in the past.

L’Oreal True Match Mineral Pressed Powder ($14-16 CDN):

While I wouldn’t say that it’s an exact dupe – oh how I hate that word – for the MAC Studio Careblend, it’s very similar – the only difference is the more minimal coverage and decreased longevity – and I’ve been hugely impressed with this as a girl who doesn’t really like powderiness and is looking for a non-powdery powder. It is one of those soft powders that I adore unlike the typically powder-y powders that cling to my dry patches and take away all life from the face. Although it blurs imperfections in the way that powders do, it has more of a natural velvet kind of finish and doesn’t take all luminosity out of the skin. But like many L’Oreal products, it’s not actually all that affordable…

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation ($11-12 CDN):

So a review of this luminous foundation is long overdue and I do plan on getting one done in the general near future but in short, I’m still loving this one. This is one of those foundation  that under ideal skin conditions – ahem, by skin isn’t in one of its tantrum phases – is undetectable on the skin while offering light coverage that is easily built up to medium with the help of the buffing brush. I believe I wear the third lightest shade, Shell, that is a really good match, particularly undertone-wise as it leans on the warmer side of things without being so yellow and in my humble opinion the shade range does cater to us fairer-skinned ladies. It’s luminosity is nowhere on the questionable greasy side of things but in my opinion, unless you have skin that’s as dry as the desert, some powdering – of the t-zone at least – is optimal. I’ve read from others that the finish on this beaut is a natural satin one but in my opinion its glowier than that and not in a bad way.

NYC Smooth Skin Bronzer in Sunny ($3 CDN):

What would a drugstore post of mine be if I didn’t throw in another reference to how much more ridiculously expensive drugstore makeup is here compared to the US? There are very few beauty products that are as inexpensive as this that you can buy in Walmart, Target and the traditional drugstores so it’s particularly impressive that for a toonie and a loonie or less, you can pick up this bronzer. Regardless of price, it’s one of my favourites, that is, it’s better than high-end that I’ve tried and it’s matte while having a smooth blendable texture. I know I’m in the minority of fair-skinned girls on this one as it is so warm and can verge on the orangey spectrum of things but on my neutral-to-warm skin, it isn’t problematic in the slightest and unless you’re extremely cool-toned and fair, I would be tempted to give it a go.

Maybelline Colorsensational ‘The Buffs’ Lipstick in Nude Lust ($9-10 CDN):

When I mentioned this before it my review of the two lipsticks from the new line of nudes, the lighter but much-peachier in undertone Blushing Beige received more appreciation from me but as time has gone on Nude Lust, with its slightly more flattering formula and slightly deeper tone with more of a beige-y hue to it has become a favourite of mine. The lipstick formula reminds me of an improved-upon MAC Cremesheen, as it has the same creaminess with good longevity but is a smoother texture that’s more hydrating and much more comfortable on the lips. I would have to posit this lipstick as halfway in between the true typical nude offering, MAC Creme d’Nude and the somewhat-nudey-my-lips-but-better offering, Patisserie; it has true nude undertones and isn’t so pale that it needs to be worn with a full-on smoky eye to be flattering without looking brown on my pale lips. It has a play-doh scent but I don’t mind it so much as it’s not overpowering.

L’Oreal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black ($9-11 CDN):

So this product pick probably has your eyes rolling if you’ve been following me for a while, but I had to mention it considering it didn’t make its way into my first post of its kind and it is the epitome of what this kind of post is about. In the last six months since I’ve picked the felt-tip inky liner, I don’t think I’ve ever used it less than 4 times a week. It still remains nice and wet despite its frequent use, I’m pleased to report, but it isn’t so wet that it ever smudges and makes a mess. It’s pretty much a precise and easy to use brush that quickly can produce those thin everyday kitten flicks for those with less dextrous hands like mine.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic ($8.50 – 10 CDN):

In an ideal world where I did not seem to misplace lip crayons at the most inopportune moments, the product mentioned here would be the Revlon Lacquer Balm in Enticing but in that place called the real world, I appear to have lost said lip product and so I’m going with the similar but slightly lighter-rustier red Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic which I like only the tiniest bit of an imperceptible smidgen less because it’s not quite as hydrating with the more obvious cooling-mint sensation that can irritate the sensitive lips (boo) but at the same time has ridiculous good wearing power and is comfortable to wear and doesn’t show hideously chapped patches on your lips.

Bourjois Cream Blush in 04 Sweet Cherry ($20 CDN):

I know, I know, this isn’t actually exactly budget-friendly in Canada but it is in the UK for certain – I’m jealous of all of you who live there, by the way – but it is still more affordable than anything resembling higher end and is generally fantastic so I’m counting it here. For a true cream blush, this creamy-but-not-wet-feeling texture is much easier to work with than say the very creamy and emollient Bobbi Brown Pot Rouges without setting to that cream-powder finish that kind of negates the point of cream blush for me. I should mention two slight downsides to the product, however; not a ton of product comes in the compact product and it has that typical heavy and perfume-y scent. I have the deepest shade in the range because in the lighting I was working with the others looked deceptively sheer and light and I’m a fan of it nevertheless, despite its less exciting neutral rosy deep pink shade.

Sooo this turned into one of my marathon posts but I’m telling myself — and I mostly believe it — that it is completely acceptable and concise because it’s not an abstract tangent on a single product but instead one of my essential picks posts. What are some of your drugstore essential products?

Maggie, x.