Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

I think I'm starting to get over the BB cream craze... saw this classic tinted moisturizer as a 100 point perk on Sephora and thought, hey... everyone loved this before the BB/CC/DDs came along, let's give it a try?

This came in the shade "Nude" (was the only option). It goes on looking like it may be a bit too yellow or light for my skintone but then oxidizes, and actually becomes a shade darker than my skintone. 

In the swatch blended out above, you can see it just catches the bounced flash ever so slightly more than the surrounding skin. I like the effect on my face. Doesn't look like makeup at all (I'm starting to not be able to say this of BB creams, some of them can look quite heavy...), and gives me a nice glow. Unfortunately because it oxidizes a shade too dark for me it contrasts with my neck and chest (and my chest is several shades lighter than my face right now even without this).  Maybe I can start putting bronzer on my neck and chest... =P

Otherwise, this feels moisturizing on my face, and certainly doesn't accentuate my dry patches (which some BB creams do on me). It doesn't have all those skincare benefits some BBs tote, but hey, I got my skincare for that. Me = happy camper with this one!

Do you still love BB creams or have you found yourself getting back to your tinted moisturizers? Let me know your favs!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: Face Atelier Lip Liners in Tango and Sweet

I'm not a big lip liner person, so please take this review with a grain of salt as I don't have that much experience with different brands.  I recently bought some lip liners from Face Atelier, one to base red lipsticks and one to base pink ones. 

Tango - the swatch on the left, is a gorgeous matte strawberry red. It is super creamy, goes on easily and blends like a dream. Red lipsticks go over it easily but I have also worn it alone with gloss over top as the color is that gorgeous.
photo from

Sweet - the swatch on the right, is a matte neutral pink. I was somewhat with this one as it is not nearly as creamy and takes a much harder hand to apply. If you look closely at the swatch above, it does not smooth over the skin as much as Tango (and I had to press quite hard to make that swatch). The color is fine, and works fine as a base, but I just don't like the feel and application of it.

photo from

Overall, I have mixed feelings about these lip liners. If I just had Tango, I would have said they are amazing and recommended them whole-heartedly. However, the formula of Sweet doesn't measure up. This is an unfortunate inconsistency as it makes me unsure about whether to buy more...will the next color be amazing like Tango or be defunct like Sweet...  Guess that's the problem with ordering online. I think I will go to Blur Makeup Room at some point to test out more colors in person.

Which are your favorite lip liners? I'm looking to try other brands!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

B.Kamins Brightening Mask First Impression

Quickie review today... I left this mask at the bottom of my samples pile (it had come in a previous Topbox), and finally while going through my "stock" decided to try it out 4 days ago. This is a 1st impression...but I am IMPRESSED.

This mask is clay-like, and dries down quite quickly. As directed, I smoothed it over my wet face and let it dry 5 minutes. It tingled like mad (I do have sensitive skin) but not in a painful way like some other masks have felt.  It was quite easy to then wipe off with a warm cloth and then rinse off with warm water.

The result: WOA. My skin felt smooth, fine lines were gone, pores looked cleaner and smaller, and my face overall looked much brighter and more even. My hyperpigmentation spots were also much lighter. I was seriously shocked as I've never seen a product do this! Best of all it didn't even feel that drying.

So here's the kicker...I moisturized and went to bed thinking this effect is going to be gone tomorrow like with most mask effects. The next morning, my skin still looked much better than usual. So much so I didn`t even feel the need for my usual tinted moisturizer so I skipped out. Even more surprisingly, my T-zone was also not as oily as it normally is throughout the day. This effect is continuing even today (with or without makeup)! (Day 4 now...)

Even more shocking, the patches of eczema I always have in my cheeks are also improved! I`m beyond shocked.

Ok, so that`s all I gotta say for this. I`m going to keep using it and update with a full review at a later time, but so far, I would highly recommend this! (or at least to similar skin-types as me, oily t-zone with very dry and sensitive skin otherwise).

If you have tried this mask before let me know what you thought of it!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Joe Fresh Tinted Lip Balm Review

I love me some tinted lip balm... I have never bought anything cosmetic related from Joe Fresh before (if you've not heard of this brand they tend to be associated with Loblaws but do have their own stores). I walked by the section one day and my eyes landed on these super cutely packaged tinted lip balms.

They come in a variety of shades of course, and I chose "coral".

I didn't know Joe Fresh cosmetics was made in Taiwan! 

The twist-cap packaging is actually very similar to the Sugar tints, but of course it's plastic rather than metal.

As you can see from the photo above, "coral" turned out to be more like candy pink. It's actually very sheer so I didn't bother with a swatch photo. 

Overall, it felt moisturizing, but is a more tacky formulation (think opposite of Sugar, which is very creamy and slippery). I LOVE the smell, which is citrus-grapefruity.  Unfortunately this does have to be reapplied fairly often to maintain that balmy feeling (keep in mind I have very dry lips). Hey, for $4 though...can't do much wrong here.

Have you tried any new lip balms recently? Let me know what your favorite is!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz - Review + Comparison Swatches

I've been looking to try new brow products since my beloved YSL pencil is getting stubby (not cuz I don't love the YSL, it has made HG status - see full review here), but hey, whatever excuse for trying more stuff right :)

ABH is a brand that is mostly known for brow products, and I remember first hearing about them when their brow stencils came out (unfortunately the shapes didn't quite work for my asian brows). The brow wiz is a thin-mechanical-pencil-like product, which you twist up for more as it gets used up.

The tip is quite thin, and right away I was pleased with one thing: I don't need to sharpen this! EVER!

I chose the shade Medium Ash as I wanted something a bit more warm and brown for the summer. 

It comes with a spoolie to blend as with most brow pencils.  This spoolie is quite small, but precise.

Below is are comparison swatches to some of the other brow pencils I have used in the past. As I'm getting older I like the lighter pencils as I find the darker grey/black aging on me.

The Brow Wiz in Medium Ash is of course a brown pencil, but it actually doesn't look unnaturally brown (if you're asian you will know what I mean!).  I have long stopped using the Shiseido Deep Brown for this very reason (though I think that pencil will look great if you have colored your hair brown, but it doesn't work for my black hair).  Surprisingly, the brow wiz fills in my brows, gives it a light brown tinge, but without the artificial brown brow look I was getting with Shiseido.

The formula is much less waxy (ie. harder pencil tip) compared to Shiseido and YSL.  This allows me to draw on hairs in a natural way, and when blended it maintains that look. The Shiseido is much softer and waxier, and when blended out loses the individual-hair look and becomes a sort of darkly pigmented block of a brow (which is actually amazing for outdoor photography when the sunlight can otherwise make my brows disappear, but not so much for everyday!).  YSL doesn't do this despite it being soft, as the shade is a nice neutral grey which blends seamlessly right into my natural hairs.

Have you tried the Brow Wiz by ABH? What did you think? For me, this is a keeper for the summer and I'll enjoy using it, but I don't think it's good enough to top the YSL.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

YSL Eyebrow Pencil Final Review

The YSL Dessin Des Sourcils Eyebrow Pencil in 04 - "Ash"

A perfect grey with the slightest hint of shimmer...

Advertised for blondes and those with grey hair, it actually turned out to be an amazing natural daily shade for me (I'm Asian with grey-black eyebrows).

So this little stubby is all I have left now... This is actually the first time I have used up any cosmetic pencil this much (yes, including all brow, lip, eye...). I love trying out new things and am always moving on to something else, but this one kept me on the hook and kept me coming back... that fact in itself says something! 

I have yet to find something that is more natural on me than this! There are others that can give a more defined look when I want that, but for day-to-day, this always wins. 

So my final review on this? I am definitely repurchasing, and it's now my HG eyebrow pencil for "naturally beautiful" brows! (I'm still a little shy about posting parts of my face when I work up the nerve I will post a brow swatch/routine with this pencil =P)

What's your HG brow product? Share with me in the comments!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Review: Face Atelier Lip Putty and Lip Rx

 Face Atelier is one of my favorite pro brands. Their products work, customer service is great, and they use minimalistic-functional packaging. Today I'm reviewing their lip-care products, the Lip Putty, and Lip Rx.

Lip Putty is advertised to moisturize and fill in lip lines/wrinkles to give lip color a smooth surface and prevent bleeding. It certainly does that and is a great lip primer. I recommend putting this on at the beginning of your makeup routine, then when you're ready to do lips (usually last), wipe off the excess product and apply your usual lip color.  I find doing the wipe helps leave the thin layer needed to act as a primer, as too much of this product can make lip colors appear more faded.

This product leaves my lips moisturized, smooth, and makes my lip color go on more smoothly (doesn't cling to any annoying dry flakes, which I'm very prone to). I love it so much I have 2 backups already...

Next is the Lip Rx, which are essentially tinted lip balms. They come 3 colors (I have 2 of them). The one I don't have is called "Naked", and I gather from the website it is a sheer sheen.  The one above is called "Prim Rose", and is a sheer dark raspberry color. The texture is unlike the Lip Putty (which is more smooth), and is more "tacky".  

This is "Sahara", which is a bronze-tinted nude shade.

Swatched on the arm: Left - Sahara; Right - Prim Rose

These shades are actually quite sheer but buildable, what you see above took about 3-4 swipes to build.

Lip Swatches: my bare lip (as you can see, very dry and lots of lines! I also have a bad habit of biting my lips >.< )

With Sahara:

With Prim Rose

I find Sahara a bit more pigmented on me with more swipes, but both colors are very natural looking. They are great for tossing in your purse and you don't need a mirror to apply them (they're sheer enough if you go outside your lip line a little it won't show!).

This is my first time doing lip swatches, hope you found them helpful! If you have tried these let me know what you think or what your favorite lip care products are!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Make Up For Ever HD Powder Review

This is the infamous white powder that has been creating a big fuss due to celebrities being photographed with white powder on their face.

(eg. The beautiful Angelia Jolie... personally this doesn't mar her beauty at all!)


This is a pure silica powder product that was originally designed for HD filming (and that it works great for that!) by blurring all the little imperfections that show up so well on HD film. It however was not designed for flash photography, which leads to that ghastly white flashback.

All that information is super important for the industry MUA, as its use really depends on the job. Those working on TV/film love this, those doing editorial photography not so much.

For the non-MUA consumer however, what does this information translate to?

To start with, the same principle applies. If you are going to an event where flash photography is happening (ie. special event/wedding guest), I would just avoid this.  Yes there are ways to cut that flashback down with setting spray or by just using a super light hand, but why have that nagging "what if it flashes back" in the back of your head when there are sooooooo many other great powders out there that don't do this?! (ie. "traditional" pigment powders)

If you're being HD filmed (which is rare if not never for the average person), and at the same time not being photographed, then go ahead this will be great!

What about in person day to day? It does blur imperfections and keep oil at bay, however many other traditional powders does this just as well.

Overall, MUAs need to have this product in their kit (especially in TV/film) but I would suggest that for everyday looks for the consumer, to just stick to the good old traditional powders (there was nothing wrong with them before...why change a good thing!). 

How do you feel about these HD powders? Feel free to disagree with me and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Too Faced 3-Way Eye Liner Review

This is actually more of an "empties" review since I've had this about a year now and it's dried up! This liner was considered very "innovative" when it first came out as it's unique, as you see, it's got a 3-pronged tip and was advertised to be great for tightlining (lining the base of the lashes). It recommends you wiggle the tip between the lashes and dot the skin right at the root.

First off, the formula. It's quite smudgeproof once set when swatched. Unfortunately my oily lids outdid themselves and managed to smudge this by end of the day when I wear it. If you don't have oily lids though, this is gonna be as smudgeproof for you as it gets without going into a waterproof formula.

The color as you can see is black with a slight sheen. It's not the most black I've ever used, but black enough.

Finally, the 3-prong idea...sounded great in theory...but in reality when I used it to "dot" in between my lashes, I looked very there were black dots drawn on my ash line...unnatural black dots that did not translate to thicker lashes.  So I ended up using this like any old pen liner. For that it did the job! Though so would have a regular pen liner...

Overall, now that I'm done with this...I will not repurchase.

Have you tried this? What did you think?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tom Ford Eye Color Quad - Cognac Sable

Oh Tom Ford...why did it take you so long to come to Canada... 

Ok, so it's been here a little over 6 months now, but I'm finally reviewing my first Tom Ford purchase because I was undecided whether it was worth the money and thus whether or not to recommend it. 

Tom Ford's cosmetic line landed in Holt Renfrew in Toronto in October 2013, and when I finally got around to checking out the counter downtown a month later, it was already packed and busy and limited edition products were all sold out. So I ended up buying another "oldie but goodie", which is an eyeshadow quad that has been much talked and blogged about.

As with most luxe cosmetics, a velvety pouch is a must...

One thing I do have to credit Tom Ford for, is the packaging. It's very simple, yet sophisticated, not at all overly done, just simply...nice.

It is also one of the most reflective cases I've seen, now you get to see what camera I use for all my photos :)

Opening view of Cognac Sable... it comes with a protective plastic film. I was surprised that the little sponges also came with a little blending brush. This could be very useful when travelling if I've forgotten my brushes...

Here's a closeup... The upper right coppery-shimmer shade is gorgeous on the lid to glam up your look. The other 3 work great for an everyday natural eye or the darkest shade can be smoked out for a night out.

The shadows perform effortlessly with minimal fallout (the copper-shimmer shade does have a bit of fallout, so pat it on rather than "brush" it on). 

There's so many swatches already of this palette on various blogs that I won't bother adding to what's already out there. This post is just adding my opinion to the masses, that my wallet now hates me because I am in love with ridiculously expensive cosmetics! This bugger costs $85 CDN and is the most expensive eyeshadow quad I've ever bought, beating the Dior and Armani by about $20...and I want more...sigh... maybe I need to enter cosmetic rehab soon... it worth it? To be honest, I like the "feeling" of using this product more than the actual performance. Don't get me wrong, the performance is great, but I'm not sure that it out-performs Dior or Armani shadows at ~$20 less. The packaging is certainly better... so in the end, if you care about that "feeling" or the packaging, go for it you're gonna love it! If not, and your main focus is on shadow performance and value...then you will probably want to stick with other options (especially if you're starting out as an MUA, this is not kit-friendly due to price alone...unless you plan on having celebrity clients perhaps =P).
What's the most expensive color cosmetic you've ever bought?