Monday, May 26, 2014

Loving Lately - May 2014

Another month gone and gorgeous weather is setting in at last. I haven't been using as many products on a regular basis as I usually would, but when I do, I've been reaching for these PLENTY.

Dior Diorlisse Abricot Nail range

When I say range, I mean the whole kitten kaboodle: remover, base coat, ridge filler in "Snow Pink", top coat, nail serum and nail cream (which apparently darkens with oxidization, oh well). Sounds excessive (please see title of blog), but all the products have a pleasant scent paired with ingredients that strengthen and improve the condition of nails. The serum and creme work wonders on cuticles. Can't say enough good about the serum, since it doesn't drip, dribble or make any mess at all. I've been doing less and less colour on my nails (even with summer shades galore all around me), so this is my clean, healthy nail moment and I've been enjoying it!

I used to use two different curlers because I'm actually neurotic to a point of firmly believing my eyes are that differently shaped from each other. Shu Uemura and Tweezerman were the two I used before this lash curler came my way, and I have appreciated how this curler fits both of my eyes brilliantly. It's best suited to anyone with larger eyes, less deep-set eyes, short-lashed people or almond-shaped eyes, so give it a go if you have any of the above and you'll inevitably experience less crimping and pinching than with other curlers.

I'm not a fan of Benefit's They're Real! Mascara at all, but this product was love at first application (which, albeit, was only last Wednesday...), as it is a product that delivers on its claim! This is a matte black gel liner that comes in a twist-up dispensable pen format and it does not budge at ALL once on. It's a drier texture of gel, meaning it doesn't take ages to set (anyone who battles liner transfer to their lids, PAY ATTENTION!) and it's actually waterproof so an oil-based remover is your best friend if you choose to use this liner. It is absolutely excellent for tightlining due to its waterproof nature. Cat or kitten flick enthusiasts will want to try this pen due to ease of flick creation, thanks to the AccuFlex tip. On my first try, with a group of bloggers watching, I achieved a reasonably good kitten flick with one hand, so this is a user-friendly product, without a doubt. Honestly, I don't love the removal process of this liner, but I am so keen on matte black liner that I had to let y'all know about it. It's hitting stores June 27th here in Canada, so do keep your eyes out for it. It's a fantastic product!

Mascara samples

I like being able to try mascaras before buying (who wouldn't?), so mascara samples are probably the most appealing to come across when redeeming points at Sephora or interacting with a sales associate at a counter. That's more or less how I wound up with these four! The Guerlain Maxi Lash and Dior Addict It-Lash samples were from purchases as add-on samples, the Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant sample was actually a part of Sephora's VIB Rouge Birthday Gift this year, and the YSL Faux Cils Babydoll sample was from a kind associate at the YSL counter at The Bay Yorkdale. Out of these samples, I'd probably put my money towards YSL or Guerlain full-size versions for a voluminous yet defined lash. I love that the YSL brush is nothing like the other Faux Cils brushes, and it doesn't seem to dry out as quickly, so huge props there. Guerlain Maxi Lash is a well-rounded formula that applies without clumping, allowing me to build up for clean volume.

I bounce around from sunscreen to sunscreen, because as long as I wear one, I'm not particularly fussy about which one I wear. I have been using this formula for a few weeks now and it has become a product I reach for more and more over the other sunscreens that crowd my bathroom vanity. I love the texture (not too fluid), the smell (citrusy!), and that it contains antioxidants and a bit of technology to attract and bind water in the environment to the skin to keep skin hydrated and healthy-looking. That can never hurt, am I right?

May was a real treat, as it was my birthday a couple wks ago and today marks 6 months with a pretty fantastic guy. I'm looking forward to the next few months of warmth, sunshine (with adequate SPF on hand, of course), and spending time with some great people. Hope everyone had a swell month! What've y'all been loving lately?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bronzer Bonanza!

I first came across bronzer when I was a tween, rifling through my mom's makeup drawers as per usual (Note: My cosmetic obsession started young. I drew all over my bedroom carpet with my mom's MaxFactor lipstick when I was in preschool...), and it was a Guerlain Terracotta powder, darker than anything I'd ever seen my mom apply to her face. The protective plastic round was still in place on top of the embossed Guerlain symbol, meaning my mother barely touched it. This wasn't too surprising, as being darker isn't in line with Indian cultural beauty norms or values. I, however, am first generation here in Canada, so bronzer and the idea of being tan appealed to me (thank you, media and pop culture) in a pretty serious way, and so began the amassing of bronzers. Here are some I've been applying liberally, willing warmer weather into existence -- and I think it finally worked! :)

This compact is hefty and expensive ($84 for 10 g), but this could very well be the only bronzer you need for year-round use. The powder is split into 4 quadrants (shown in "Natural Brunettes"), which I suppose you can interpret as seasons, the lightest being the shade used in winter and so forth and so on. This range used to be split into just Brunettes (warm tones) and Blondes (cool tones) with two depths for each (light aka "Natural" and medium aka "Moyen"), but last year, two new shades were added - Ebony (darker with a coral blush in one of the quadrants) and Nude (lighter and much more suited to fair skintones [not that that stopped me from buying it] with a lighter pink blush in one quadrant). Variety is there, the pigmentation is excellent and shimmer is minimal (nonexistent in the Brunette and Blonde shades, I believe). Perfect for warming up the complexion at any time of year.

My boyfriend gave this to me for my birthday after I was obsessing over its arrival at Sephora at the beginning of May (which really didn't pan out until mid-May). The motif is glaringly similar to the cover of Watch The Throne, which makes entire sense since Riccardo Tisci designed the album cover and he's the head designer of Givenchy. WTT is one of my favourite albums, so I half-wonder if I was drawn to this in a subliminal way, or if it was because I liked the powder's effect so much. Took the liberty of smushing these two together for your viewing pleasure:

This bronzer is gigantic, and at $71 for 16 g, it may seem like a big purchase, but I must point out it's a significantly better value than the permanent version of this product, which is $55 for just under 7 g. I use it as a blush-bronzer effect and it has a sheen to it (courtesy of very fine shimmer), so it's not one I'd throw on just about anywhere, but it livens up the skin in a gorgeous way. The formula is apparently a baked gel, so ...that's...something. I do like that it doesn't appear heavy or powdery on the skin and a little goes a long way. It was semi-heartbreaking to use the powder and mess up the design, but I gotta USE what I own, y'know? To not use it would be silly. This version only comes in shade #2, but the permanent version is available in 3 other shades if this one isn't your cup of tea.

I just started tinkering with a mini version of this bronzer the other day when I picked up a Sephora Sun Safety Kit. This bronzer has a matte formula that stays put nicely in warm temps that we've had for all of a few days this year, but if you're looking for something sweatproof, please direct your attention to Cargo's Swimmable products! I like the colour because it's dark enough for someone who's already medium to medium-deep (sorry, fair-skinned friends, this one isn't for you, but they do have a light/medium version), so the colour payoff is substantial. I also like the tone of this bronzer, because I do feel that natural tanning (A TOTAL NO-NO!) gives your skin a hint of red tint (which is obviously incredibly unsafe, unhealthy and dangerous), so this colour mimics that without being muddy and obviously in a much safer manner. The value is solid, at 10 g for $38, so apply as liberally as you like!

In terms of preferred brush, I've been using and enjoying the Sigma F25 tapered face brush and it's superb for both contouring (thanks to the taper) and bronzing. If you're perpetually terrified of overdoing it when applying bronzer, then opt for a duo-fibre brush (like the classic MAC 187) to make things a little more foolproof.

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