Spring Essentials

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As fun and entertaining as the generic full-on ‘Spring Edit’ kind of posts are to read, I decided to hold off on doing one at the beginning of spring and thought that instead I would share what my essential products were over the entire duration of Spring as these longer-term favourite products tend to be left without mention around here. So these products have most likely been rambled on here before (some more than others of course) but I thought I would share these staples regardless…

When I discovered the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow ($41) in April and fell in instant love, I may have mentioned my love for it one or 224 times but considering that it hasn’t left the daily rotation stash since and I still find myself reaching for it over most of my blushes it deserved a wee bit more mention. The luminous-satin cooler-pink toned blush seems to actually kind of blur imperfections (sounds like crazytalk, huh?) while leaving the cheeks with that subdued rosy glow that seems to suit any sort of makeup combination. Considering the severity of my blush addiction, the fact that this has made its way into my top two or three blushes of all time is incredible. Who knew, a cool-pink would rise above the gorgeous corals in my books? 

Although the Diorskin Nude Skin-Glowing Makeup ($48) only made its way into the final cut of one of my monthly favourites posts, it was easily my staple foundation for Spring. With its lightweight texture and ability to blend seamlessly into the skin while offering medium coverage, the radiant satiny foundation was perfection. Unfortunately with the whole faux-tan situation, the foundation is too light for me (I have shade 11 which matches me at my palest) but prior to this it was my everyday foundation. Being radiant but not overly dewy or ‘shiny’, this fit the bill for when the weather began to warm up and my skin turned into more of a dry combination skin type, with more of a normal t-zone compared to my usual all-around dry complexion. I may have to actually pick this up in a darker shade…

Although it is a bitch to remove, especially considering that it is not a waterproof formulation, the L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara ($9-11) appears to have replaced Maybelline The Falsies in my heart as my favourite mascara over the last few months – shock-horror. The mascara produces dramatic lashes, both in the volume and length department but the separation offered by the brush keeps the lashes looking natural and defined, away from that clumpy mess. And, the separation from the brush allows this mascara to deliver for both top and bottom lashes. This mascara makes my lashes look ‘pretty amazing’, as in I’ve been complimented in real life for my lashes numerous times while wearing this one and this was while I was wearing glasses if you’re interested.

My love for the Maybelline The Buffs Colorsensational Lipstick in Nude Lust ($9 CDN) didn’t occur overnight — in fact, it’s neutral beige-almost-shadowy undertones put me off originally but over the past few months this shade has become one of my absolute go-tos with its non-drying formula that glides over dry patches, nice longevity and comfort as well as its status as a slightly darker non-ghastly nude that doesn’t pull brown. I don’t normally go for beige undertones in nude lipsticks but this one has convinced me to change my mind on that front; this is the perfect nude that can be worn on an everyday basis, regardless of whether you’re wearing a heavy smoky eye or just minimal makeup.

In general, I’m a real failure when it comes to documenting my nail polish trials and obsessions and this is evidence of one of them. I might not have always had this on my nails but the rosy-tan hue, namely the OPI Nail Polish in Tickle My France-y ($9 CDN) that I got for Christmas in the lovely Take Ten Mini Set from one of my favourite people ever, Lauren, who lets me talk her ear off about beauty products without getting annoyed, has been on my nails the most and I’ve been happy with the way they’ve looked. The formula isn’t the longest lasting ever but it does last above average on my nails and it does take a few coats to build up but the shade isn’t streaky so I can’t complain and it is pretty much foolproof, going with everything and adding some flattering warmth to my nails. I never would have expected to like this hue as it seemed kind of dull but I have to say that this amped-up neutral shade has its merits.

I mentioned the OGX Kukui Oil Frizz-Defying Curl Cream ($9-11 CDN) before in my March Favourites for good reason but as the weather has been getting warmer, I’ve fallen a little bit more in love with the lightweight but hydrating curl cream for my loose curls as it keeps them hydrated whilst keeping them as bouncy as can be and defined. I have the kind of hair that does well with glycerin-heavy lightweight curl creams as the weather gets warmer and this one delivers on that front for a bargain with a luxurious spa-like scent to boot!

I may have only discovered the Garnier Clean + Nourishing Cleansing Oil ($9-12 CDN) at the beginning of April but it’s proved its merits, joining the nightly rotation to remove makeup. Whilst it is mineral-oil heavy, – which is not necessarily a cause for concern – the slightly messy cleansing oil removes everything in seconds without irritating the skin in the slightest (and rather nourishing and soothing the skin) and when emulsified rinses clean. It’s one of those rare affordable cleansers that removes makeup and all that jazz gently (but effectively) while keeping with that luxurious feel, leaving the skin soothed even after its removal.

I have dry skin, to state the obvious but since the weather has become warmer and such, my forehead and t-zone have began to itch closer to behaving like a more normal skin type and the lightweight and fast-absorbing REN Evercalm/Hydracalm Global Protection Day Cream ($54 CDN) has been ideal for soothing the skin and providing hydration without feeling heavy. Although this moisturizer is not necessarily holy-grail material, I think its brilliant on someone with even combination skin to hydrate and soothe without feeling heavy or promoting shininess.

What have your spring essentials been?

Maggie, x.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Medley #12

4kdkDlX4SUmbxrM+Lm%Crg

(1) Loving this overly-hyped blush from Hourglass (2) Sometimes I also have feelings for hair products, particularly when they work for my not super-curly but more-than-wavy-hair (3) Results of the hair-experiment featuring the DevaCurl Set It Up And Above (4) Coffee and I are in a committed relationship (5) Sometimes the weather acts like its springy self and I can wear flats without my feet turning blue (6) My day today… not unlike rest of the week (7) Hourglass Ethereal Glow in action… again, during said hair experiment

If you’ve glanced at just about any of my posts in the last week or two, I’m sure you’re well aware that that entity that we pretend is never going to exist called the exam period has begun. Monday was the last day of classes and it was a gorgeous day at that, then there were two spectacularly unproductive days “off” and thus the exam period officially begun and I survived my first exam. Well, I couldn’t write by hand until the next day but that’s kind of typical for these “short” essay exams…. So pretty much, I have one exam down and four to go but the more pressing matters seem to be this final research paper situation I have going on throughout the exam period. So, on Monday I have two research papers due and an exam later that night that I haven’t even thought about studying for yet. And two exams on Thursday that I’m only beginning to admit are actually happening. You may be wondering to yourself why I’m sitting here (on my bed if you’re curious) and writing this post when my time would clearly be best spent elsewhere, but blogging is good for the sanity of the soul and I’ve had a fortunately productive thirty-six hours – props to you, coffee.

I technically could have included one of my current obsessions, the luxurious-err-expensive Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow ($41 CDN) in last week’s post as I picked it up last Thursday, motivated by the promise of free samples and all that jazz at Sephora but I had done a burst of drugstore shopping earlier in the week that I had thoughts on to mention here and I wanted to be sure I wasn’t just loving that shopping high that turns into buyer’s remorse and suddenly can turn into feelings of self-hatred. Being an English student, I should be horrified by my use of clauses in that last sentence but if I have to edit another sentence for clarity and whatnot, I may hurl my psychology textbook out through my window. But it’s a cool-toned blush that is actually really flattering on me, brightening the face without any sort of shimmer.

I’m sure many of you — and certainly if you have that wave/curl thing in your hair — have heard about that whole Curly-Girl shebang and although  I haven’t talked about it much on the blog here, – but have deliberated on it an exhausting number of times in the head – I am somewhat of a follower of the whole routine. If you’re interested in some actual description and mountains full of info on it, head on over to naturallycurly.com, as I frequently do. I have that kind of hair that is wavier than wavy hair but not quite curly in that ringlet sense with much tighter curls in the bottom half of my hair and the ends in general that refuse to do anything other than i’s naturally tangly mess limp-but-crazy thing. I have that kind of hair that is sort of fine in texture and therefore can hang kind of limply in sections but has an insane quantity of hair that cumulatively has its own mind and in the cooler seasons I tend to suffer from blahh hair, despite following sort-of following the method – I avoid sulfates and that has been amazing but I just limit my silicone use to the kind that are either water-soluble or don’t build up in the hair for the most part.  If you have hair like mine, I’m sure you’re aware of how finicky it can be with products but also that products are necessary. Yesterday morning, the inspiration struck me to actually address that birds nest on my head and wash it – my hair doesn’t need to be washed too frequently – and I did the whole shebang, scrunching my wet hair with some good old standard holding product (mousse but uninteresting) but then deciding to go for the DevaCurl Set It Up And Above ($27 CDN) paste that I’d had for a while and liked but wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about, twisting my hair into ringlets – I remember that technique being helpful before – with a good deal of the product and then pinning up the top sections of my hair to relieve the weight of the sections with bobby-pins, although duckbill clips would have been ideal. It wasn’t miraculous or anything but it resulted in the best hair I’ve had for ages and I’d but it down to the strange paste product and the whole routine. If you were curious, the chopped off portion in the picture above would show you how cute the upper portions of my hair looked while drying. My hair had actual life and texture to it even higher up in it. It was awesome. I hope this paragraph resembles some form of English but I can’t be too sure. Not sorry. Just annoyed at my typical self.

This week was that weird mix of wholly-unproductive days with days that reeked of productivity and somehow this resulted in six blog posts happening: last weeks post of this variety was late because I felt like I was dying last Sunday but I think that’s excusable and I did manage to type out five others…. (1) Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush review, (2) an ode to my fave limited-edition Color Tattoo, (3) the Liebster Award post (4) a review for the L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess and (5) my beauty-based guide for surviving this time of year.

How was your week?

Maggie, x.

P.S. Sorry for the longest ramble ever on hair without information actually being given……..

 

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow

IMG_6629

IMG_6617

Very much like the powders of the same name, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes were a seemingly indulgent product that looked enticing but I was convinced that they were simply an expensive over-hyped product that would not change my life with their $41 price tag. But somehow I ended up with my first Hourglass purchase ever in my possession after I picked up a few things — I showed some impressive restraint, I must add — at the Sephora sale that began last week; I’m a blush hoarder and I hadn’t been too crazy on the buying front with them lately so I figured I would take advantage of the discount with a blush rather than another overpriced eyeshadow palette that I didn’t need at all. With my usual skepticism, I went over as one does with a beauty obsession of mine and began to swatch the blushes on the back of my hand and I was impressed, not by some sort of crazy pigmentation and inventive colours but because they had that texture that I live for, that soft powdery kind of feel that may annoy some but always ensures that they glide over the skin like a dream, blending into it rather than sitting on the top.  And contrary to what I had heard from the general blogosphere consensus, the blushes offered medium but buildable pigmentation that is just as flattering built up.

I’ve said before that I have issues with those cool-toned pink shades that seem to be gorgeous on everyone, offering that illuminating quality that never quite happens on me – take MAC Well Dressed for instance — so I decided to try out the cooler-toned pale pink in the range to see if I could get that whole pale pink flush going on, rather than going for another safe coral blush that I own way too many of by anyone’s standards. You can probably guess that the shade I picked up was Ethereal Glow,which claimed to be “a cool pink blush infused with Ethereal Light for moonlit luminosity”. You’ve probably heard this before but these blushes are marbelized combinations of the corresponding powder and a blush to provide the same effect as the powders (that I haven’t tried) provide.

The reflective rose-gold packaging looks expensive but it does not house all that much product. Despite the somewhat tragic price point, these blushes only have 0.15 ounces of product inside. However the product inside is beyond impressive. Presumably with the aid of the powders that the blush is infused with, it provides that luminosity to the cheeks that quickly brightens the face while remaining almost matte without any sort of obvious shimmer that highlights imperfections and textural problems. It has a satin finish, I’d say, with its gorgeous subtle sheen that actually does seem to give that soft-focus effect simultaneously. Despite its lack of shimmer particles, it does not require an additional highlighter, strangely enough.

The texture and formula of the blush is at least as impressive on the cheeks, blending effortlessly with the skin while providing that subtle blurring effect. While the blush is a cool-toned paler pink (but not as pale or quite as cool-toned as MAC Well Dressed), it’s flattering on me in ways that no cool-toned pale blushes have been before. It adds that rosy glow to the face that I’m always going on about, except without the obvious warmth of the corals I usually go for. While you might notice it shows up on my face not quite as cool-toned as it appears in the pan, my warm undertones do this with any sort of blush shade and this is as cool-toned as blushes will show up on me. Shown below is the swatch comparisons (from L-R), a light application of the blush, a moderate application of the blush and a heavy application of MAC Well Dressed. The swatches don’t do this blush justice; this should be noted.

IMG_6633

While still being pale, the blush stays on all day on me but this isn’t such an amazing feat given the kind of skin that I have been blessed with that holds onto face product like cement. However, pale shades do have this tendency to disappear on me after a few hours and I’m pleased to report that it isn’t the case with this one. Because I crave the definition from a contouring shade on a daily basis, I am wearing MAC Harmony through the hollows of my cheekbones for reference. And because I did a slightly built-up (but not that much) application above I wanted to include photos of more of a minimal application:

IMG_6589

Despite what one might expect considering the price and hype of this blush, it has not left my life forever altered but it has moved its way to the top of the ranks of this blush lovers favourites and that is quite an honour. The soft-focus effect that these provide with their lack of shimmer coupled with the luminosity they impart make them a standout for me and I might actually consider picking another one of these up for their full price on account of the stunning formula. And I’ve got an itch to actually try one of the original powders that pain me to think about forking fifty dollars over for… I didn’t believe in that whole magical soft-focus effect that brings a gorgeous glow kind of thing before purchasing these but I have to say its true. My bank account is cringing as I write this, let me tell you. Considering that I picked up the lightest shade and was impressed with the quality, I suspect that the rest of the lineup is to die for considering my personal struggles with pale pinks.

Oh and this might seem obvious but I think this shade would only be a standout on fair to maybe light-medium kind of skin but the darker options have the rest of the spectrum covered I presume.  I wrote just under a thousand words about a blush but I can’t find it in me to even be sheepish about it!

Have you tried any of these blushes or even the original Ambient Lighting Powders. If you haven’t will you?

Maggie, x.

 

 

 

The Daily Face #11

IMG_6476
I noticed that for once, I didn’t give one of these posts a subtitle after the colon, in case you were driving yourself insane with philosophical questions of intention; I just couldn’t give this an exciting name, as it doesn’t differ from the norm too much — you can hardly call wearing a shade that isn’t champagne over the lids and going for a new blush that in fact is not coral deviating. I’m coming down with a cold, fatigue and crankiness in all — more on this in an upcoming post, I’ll bet — and can’t really be bothered to think about what I’m doing or spend excessive amounts of time doing it so it’s simply a brightening but simple kind of affair. And it has an exciting and hyped new blush purchase to be discussed…….
FACE: Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in 100 Ivory, MUFE 5 Concealer Cream Palette in 1, MAC Powder Blush in Harmony, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow, MAC Eyeshadow in Coquette (not pictured and in the brows as alwaaaays)
EYES: NYX HD Eyeshadow Base, MAC Prolongwear Paint Pot in Layin’ Low, L’Oreal Colour Riche Eye Shadow in Sultry Seductress, Lancome Le Crayon Khol in Black Ebony, L’Oreal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black, L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara
LIPS: MAC Lipstick in Patisserie

With the unfortunate cold coming on, my face has been a bit irritated with those unsightly eczema-bumps on my forehead and on the sides of my cheeks, so I went for the failsafe Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation, which provides medium coverage with minimal product and just seems to work. With the whole said bumps situation, I did the whole spot concealing thing with the handy MUFE Concealer Palette and thanks to the creamy texture, was able to double up the same product (in the lighter shade) underneath the eyes.

So, yesterday was the first day of the Sephora sale and despite not being initially convinced that the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes were overrated, I had a peek at the testers and was compelled to give on ago on account of their smooth texture and the 15% discount on the steep $41 dollar pricetag. Instead of going for my usual coral that I tend to love universally, I went for the cooler-toned pink, Ethereal Glow, and trying it for the first time, I’m impressed. It’s not as cool toned as say Well Dressed, but it is on the cooler end of things and has good payoff despite its light shade. Obviously I will have to report back.

Having heavy-lidded eyes that have a lot more creases than the average eye, I suffer from creasing on my lids despite not being oily and lately I’ve been pleased with today’s duo, the Nyx primer and the MAC Layin’ Low Paint-Pot. After trying out the L’Oreal Sultry Seductress Quad yesterday and being instantly impressed with the variety and quality of the shades, I picked it up again without thinking. Rather than going for the pearly shade across the lids, I kept it in the inner corner and wore the Satin-Taupe-esque shimmery taupe shade across the lids and blended upwards a bit and it was nice – slightly darker than my usual without being dramatic. The dark purply shade was too stunning to resist and I put it in the outer corner as one does.

I’ve been in a lashy mood of sorts lately, constantly going for the budget-friendly L’Oreal Lineur Intense for the kitten flick and going for the dramatic mascara from the same brand – I’ve been enjoying this mascara as it’s dried up slightly (like I typically do) and I’ve gotten loads of compliments about my eyelashes when I’ve used it lately so it must be doing its job. I’ve been going for the no-fuss Lancome Le Crayon Khol for lashline definition, but I was feeling like something even more lash-focused so I lined my inner rims as well.

With the whole coming down with a cold situation, my lips aren’t looking their best and I did what I always do what this happens – went for the my-lips-but-better shade MAC Patisserie.

IMG_6465

IMG_6487

What makeup have you been reaching for as of late?

Maggie, x.