Friday, December 22, 2006

Home for the Holidays!

Hello world! I am posting from ol' Cowtown! Yay!

So yes, I am back home for the holidays. We're having a bit of a to-do this year, such that my house has 11 people in it, 4 of whom are tweens. Should make for a fun Christmas! Sadly, this means that I won't have much time for blogging over the next few days. But I will leave you with some holiday beauty tips, courtesy of my own warped little head. (They won't make you look warped, they just came from a warped source, follow?)

One of my favourite make-up tools for creating a happenin' party look is the flat slanted eyeliner brush. (Mine is from Quo Cosmetics, but you can also find quality ones at Sephora, MAC, etc.) Dampened with a bit of water, it can turn any richly coloured eyeshadow into a dramatic eyeliner. Just press slanted bristle tips into a pigmented, jewel-toned shadow, then draw a line as close to the lashes as possible. You can make the line thick or thin depending on your look. To add more dimension to the colour, load the flat side of the brush (dry this time) with a sheer shimmery shadow in a coordinating shade, and tap lightly over the darker shade. Voila! Striking lids with a festive sparkle! I find this method especially great for enhancing Asian or almond-shaped eyes.

Want a plump, sexy pout? Dab a tiny bit of shimmer powder in a flattering shade (e.g., yellow golds for warm tones, beige gold or light pink for cool tones) on the dip of your cupid's bow, right where the lip meets skin. Repeat for the bottom lip, placing the shimmer at the fullest part of the lip line. Subtlety is key... use your pinky finger to apply to keep it softly blurred and slightly imperfect. Finally, top it all off with a bit of shimmery gloss on the fleshy centre of the bottom lip. The light will catch these parts of the lips and make them look fuller. Easy-peasy. Now go stand under that mistletoe and pucker up!

This last tip is kind of gross... but I think it's a good one. Besides, the art of beauty is not without its dark side.

Anyway, has this ever happened to you? During one of those fancy holiday shindigs, you hit the Ladies' to touch up your powder, only to realize that you have the remanents of a mini spinach quiche hopelessly wedged between your front teeth. Such a glamourous look, I know. But fret not -- the answer to your dental woes is probably already in your makeup bag. Just take one of those Clean & Clear style oil blotting sheets and use it as floss! The rubbery plastic texture means that it won't disintegrate when it gets wet, and you can stretch out the edge thin enough so that it'll slip in between your teeth. Like I said... kinda gross, but eminently helpful not only for the holidays, but also during dinner meetings, dates, conferences, etc. Because seriously, who has the foresight to carry around floss in her clutch???

Okay, that's all out of me for now. Before I go though, I'd like to point your attention to Elke's very touching post about why this beauty business isn't all just fluff and whimsy. [EDIT: Link is now fixed, sorry 'bout that] Somehow, it really helped put me in the Christmas spirit. (Admittedly, the eggnog + Kahlua I had last night also helped.) And since I negelcted to share these last week, I bring to you here the roundup of the best in beauty blogging!

Elke shares the newest way to update your look with the new smoky eye in her latest podcast. Perfect look for your next holiday party!

Lipstick, Powder 'n Paint say "Don't forget the boys this holiday!"

Mystical Beauty's Mini Review of Darshan Beauty

Hello Dollface checks out a hot new line, Napoleon Perdis

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you all have a safe, warm, and wonderful holiday season, filled with friends, family, and good food. Enjoy the festivities, see you soon!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Product Review: Awake Invention Hydro Manage Make-Up Base

Today's review is brought to you by Meg's Makeup. Go here to read a condensed version of the review, or to see what other gals thought of the product!

Whew! It feels like forever since I've been here... The Boy's come home from Scotland after a looooooong 4 months, and I've had endless piles of marking to do. So... much... marking. Note to university undergrad punks: Do not plagiarise. I know what you are up to, and I will hunt you down and rip you apart. Twice.

Fortunately, thanks to Awake's Invention Hydro Manage Make-Up Base, I can rest assured that I can have pretty, glowing skin, even while kicking cheaters' butts during my Awesome Rampage of Academic Justice (TM).

So, y'all know that I lurrrve the foundation from this line. When I saw that Meg had also sent a primer, I... well, I squealed a little bit, because the prospect of trying a new and fantastic primer excites me like that. But upon examining it, I got a bit worried. Sparkles! What's with all the sparkles in your products, Awake? Are sparkles the secret to making one look bright-tailed and bushy-eyed this holiday season? Hmmmm?

But hey. I can sparkle with the best of 'em. Bring it on, Primer.

This grey substance looks kind of like actual paint primer coming out of the tube. The similarities end there though -- it feels like a nice, light moisturizer going on. Not quite creamy, but close. It takes a couple seconds to sink in, but doesn't feel at all heavy or weird.

You step back and look in the mirror, and ... oh wow. Yikes. Gasp. Because your face is now SHINY. Like... I don't know, I imagine the Rockettes are maybe this shiny. Which is at least festive and all, I guess.

Alright G, don't panic. Let's see what happens when you put foundation on over this. I reached for my trusty Almay Smart Shade, and apply as usual, finishing off with a light dusting of loose powder.

The result? A perfect, flawless finish! The shininess got subdued to a soft glow, which made me look all healthy and well-rested and like I hadn't stayed up all night drinking Tab and forgetting to take my vitamins. Plus it was very forgiving to minor imperfections. My skin felt soft and hydrated, and my foundation stayed fresh throughout the day. I did have to blot once midday (it lets a bit more oil through than the Sephora Primer), but it truly did a great job of keeping my makeup going strong. I even got asked out once and hit on twice that day, which I swear never happens. I'm pretty sure that was all the primer's doing. They should advertise this stuff on Lavalife or something.

Using this under the Awake foundation was still pretty, but I didn't like it quite as much. A wee bit too sparkly for me. Maybe for one of those special candle-lit dinners, it would be just the thing, but for everyday, it was a titch too much.

But totally a thumbs-up on this primer -- it is especially wonderful for perking up dull, dry, winter skin. I think I like it even better than the Smashbox primer for giving a flawless look (although this won't smooth the skin as well as the Smashbox will). Hurray for Awake!

So I guess the moral of the story is that cheaters never win, and Awake's primer just may get you some action. Or at least make you look pretty, which is always good. Unless you are a cheater, of course, because all the glowy skin in the world ain't gonna help you when you're facing a grouchy Dean at your hearing for academic misconduct, capiche?

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Product Quickie: Cover Girl wants my money

Hey y'all. Too busy for a proper review today, but good news! Cover Girl's Volume Exact mascara has been spotted on Canadian soil! I saw tubes of the stuff at Shopper's Drug Mart yesterday, and somehow managed to refrain from buying it right away. (I have so! much! mascara! right now.) Besides, I want to try using my Lash Exact brush with the Rimmel Magnif'eyes mascara first, just to see what will happen. (I'm sure it will be remembered as one of the great scientific experiments of our time.)

Cover Girl has released some TruBlend colour cosmetics. There's loose powder, a loose powder blush, and a line of lipsicks. The loose powder blush has me baffled... it looks like a regular loose powder, only shimmery, and coloured. It looks quite light, so it may be better suited as a highlighter.

The lipsticks, like the rest of the TruBlend line, claim to "match 97% of all skintones!" If you say so, Cover Girl. Anyway, they all look to be sheer, wearable shades. I tested them on my hand only, but they seemed to glide on smoothly, sort of gel-like. The lavendar shade I tested was pretty, but not terribly exciting or anything. I think this stuff might all be limited edition, anyway.

The new Advanced Radiance creme (or do they call it 'whipped'? I can't recall) makeup was much more exciting. Packaged in a TruBlend Whipped-like jar, this creme foundation is less airy, and more gel like. It felt quite nice on the back of my hand, and it smells yummy, like pink grapfruit or something. (This is probably off-putting to lots of people, but I really liked it. Wonder if it's got anything to do with that study about how wearing pink-grapefruit based perfumes make you smell younger?) Anyway, I didn't pick up one of those either, since I couldn't find a shade match I was crazy about. Buff Beige seemed to be closest, but it looked maybe a tad too neutral. I shall have to investigate more!

So nice try, Cover Girl, but my bank book wins this time. For now, anyway.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bookish is Beautiful

Friends & Family sale at Indigo, Chapters, and Coles Books. Today only! Click. Print. Shop. Enjoy!

Fine print for you lawyer-types:
Offer applies to regular price, in-stock products only and may NOT be used for discount on food & beverages, giftcards, magazines, newspapers, electronics & accessories including iPods or Virgin phones, irewards memberships, or purchases/donations to the Indigo Love of Reading Fund. No cash redemption value. Not valid in conjunction with any other offers, including irewards discount or Magic Gift Card.


Product Review: Cinema Secrets Ultimate Foundation / Concealer

More concealer-mania! I briefly mentioned Cinema Secrets' Concealer here, but a product this fab deserves a proper review.

Based in Burbank, California, the Cinema Secrets line of cosmetics is geared towards make-up artists and people in theatre (or on TV), but that doesn't mean it has to be kept a secret from you! Their Ultimate Foundation does double duty: apply it full-strength as a concealer, or sheer it out with a damp foundation brush or sponge to get a flawless but natural-looking coverage.

This creme foundation glides on effortlessly, and doesn't feel heavy or greasy like other creme bases can. It gives nice, glowy finish as a foundation, but it's not as terrific at controlling oil as I'd like, so I prefer to use it as a concealer. However, those with slightly drier skins might actually find it a perfect base for them. It blends seamlessly, concealing dark circles, spots, and redness. Powder has never once caked over this, and I can even touch up over the powder with good results.

And let's not forget the most important part of a concealer for me: the coverage is AMAZING... probably the best I've tried. This stuff can apparently cover up tattoos, and they have pictures on their site to prove it. I like to apply it with my pinky for under-eye circles -- I find this gives the most opaque, smoothest coverage. For more precise work (e.g., blemishes, or that little annoying area by the nose where the cheekbone ends and the dark circles start), I'll use a tapered concealer brush.

If you have super oily skin, or have a LOT of problems with creasing, you might want to look elsewhere. But I think this will work extremely well for most folks out there. Especially for those of you that have trouble finding a good colour match... there are over 40 shades, including a line of colour-correctors! Crazy. Their website does a great job showing & describing all the colours, but it's always best to try them out in person if you can. They don't accept returns, but just email them, and their staff can help find your perfect shade.

The foundation comes in 2 sizes (0.25oz and 0.5oz), and the smaller one cost me $22CAD. I've used it for a month and have just started to put a dent in it. Cinema Secrets makeup can be purchased direct from their website, and you may also be able to find it locally at beauty-school or theatre make-up suppliers. They have a list of distributors, but it's certainly not exhaustive. In Toronto, you can find it at Hiscott's and Industry Cosmetics (both around College & Yonge). Do a little digging around; something this good is definitely worth a bit of legwork!

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Music Review: Emilie-Claire Barlow Winter Wonderland Release Party

Hi folks! This is totally not about makeup, but even a hard-core product junkie has to wax poetic about things other than eyeshadow sometimes. So today, it's all about the most terrific concert I went to last night. I really hope I don't sound like the world's biggest & most pretentious tool writing about this, but I fear I will. Please humour me.

As you may know, I am a huge huge huge fan of Emilie-Claire Barlow, and last night, I had the pleasure of attending her Christmas concert / CD release party at Toronto's Old Mill Inn. The beautifully decorated dining room and stage set a theatrical backdrop for the show, and Ms. Barlow looked like she stepped right out of a Holt Renfrew window in her elegant red gown. The ambience was great, although the added percussion coming from the waitstaff clanging and clashing about was probably unnecessary (those poor guys were run off their feet trying to manage a very full house). But it's all part of the show... I mean, clinking ice cubes during "Little Jack Frost"... it's thematically appropriate! Festive, even!

But let's get to the music. Though her recent Christmas release is scrumptiliciously excellent, it cannot compare to seeing this talented singer live. From the jolly rolling "Sleigh Ride" to the flirtatious "Santa Baby" and the quietly sublime "Christmas Time Is Here", Barlow captured the best of the holiday spirit during her 2 sets. Her rendition of "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" was a highlight... soulful, sexy, and uncontrived, one would have to have a heart of stone to say no to her wistful plea. Her technical chops cannot be denied either... a pitch-perfect interpretation of Judy Tate's "Angel's Lullaby" (can you count the key changes?) and her repartee with the tenor sax during the title track "Winter Wonderland" showed that she's got substance and style.

Some of you may be familiar with Barlow & Marc Jordan's duet, "Baby it's Cold Outside", which was released as a single last Christmas. Our sold-out crowd saw a super special appearance by Jordan, who was a bit of a surprise for me. I'd never seen him live before, but on the track, his voice is subdued and smokey, like the nap of velvet rubbed the wrong way. On stage though, he had a more edgy, raspy tone. It was well suited to the playful mood of the song, which included one of the most entertaining moments of the night as the two singers started dancing during the instrumental solos.

Oh, the instruments! Barlow's band is always top notch, but tonight, they were phenomenal. Nancy Walker on piano was especially on fire, and Kelly Jefferson's inventive tenor solo on Bob Dorough's dizzyingly fast "I've Got Just About Everything I Need" tumbled about, almost careening away from the rest of the band, only to be pulled back into synchrony as you held on for dear life. This is how live jazz should be! Also amazing were Reg Schwager on guitar, Kieran Overs on bass, and Mark Kelso on drums... you can hear their fine work on the Winter Wonderland CD, and I really hope we get to hear even more of them on upcoming albums.

To cap off the evening, we got a preview of Barlow's potential future studio material. If last night's execution of "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "Lady Be Good" is any indication, Barlow may be returning to the swinging style of her first 3 albums in future offerings. The former tune shows off her wonderful range, control and clarity (especially in the upper registers), as well as her soon-to-be-famous style of vocalese. The latter is an Ella Fitzgerald classic, and Ella herself would've been wowed by Barlow's free-flowing, racing, but seemingly-effortless scat solo. (It was actually a vocalese, but the words came out so fast and tight that it might as well be a scat. Except harder.)

Okay, so clearly, I enjoyed the show oh so very much. Don't worry if you missed out though, because JazzFM ("Canada's Premier Jazz Station!") recorded the whole shebazz, and will be broadcasting it on-air and online Dec. 23rd at 11 AM and Christmas Eve (at... um, some other time. I missed it.) Even if you already have her album (which I of course highly recommend... get a copy for everyone you like!), give the broadcast a listen. Barlow's live shows have an air of excitement and intimacy that even the best studio equipment cannot record, plus you get to hear her be all charming and personable with the audience. And she has a blog, so you know she's extra-cool. Goooooo ECB!

[EDIT: Oh lucky you, Toronto... not only can you hear her concert on the radio, you can see her live! For FREE! Barlow will be doing a bunch of in-store performances & signings at the Indigo bookstore on Bay & Bloor this week and the next, you can see a schedule of her appearances on her myspace page.]

Alrighty! Thanks for reading through my enthusiastic rave if you did... tomorrow will be back to your regularly scheduled blog programming. It'll be a good one too, promise!

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Product Review: Magic of Aloe Proto-Collagen Moisturizer

Today's review is brought to you by Meg's Makeup. Go here to read a condensed version of the review, or to see what other gals thought of the product!

You have no idea how difficult it was for me not to start this post off with an cheery "Aloe aloe m'lovelies, an' 'ow are we today?". Oh wait... did I just? Drat.

I must admit that I've never been big on the aloe-vera band wagon. I've heard about all the magical things it purportedly does... from soothing cuts and bug bites, to helping sunburns and irritated skin. Apparently, part of the aloe plant may even cure puppy cancer! (Yes, seriously.) And sure, it's probably in a lot of my creams and crappe already, but a mainly-aloe product? Seemed kind of boring.

So, when I received Magic of Aloe's Proto-Collagen Moisturizer, I kind of skipped over it in my excitement over the rest of the package.

When I finally did get around to trying it, it was the thick of summer, and the lotion, despite being light in texture, felt a bit greasy somehow. A bit icky. So it got pushed to the back of my "creams and crappe" bin. But now that winter is nipping insistently at my nose, toes, and other non-rhyming body parts, I thought that I would give it another try.

Whooo boy, am I ever glad I did! My skin is moving from the normal-to-oily to normal-and-slighly-dry range, and the Proto-Collagen Moisturizer is like a much needed drink of water. It no longer feels greasy -- while it doesn't have the "matte" feel of HappyDerm, it sinks in quickly and leaves a soft, smooth finish. The scent is a bit strange... it smells quite like aloe gel, actually. But this just means that it's not scented, and so would likely be good for sensitive skins. Anyway, the smell doesn't linger, but the fresh & moisturized feeling does.

This soothing lotion can be used around the eye area with no problems. It doesn't exacerbate blemishes either... in fact, it even seems to be clearing them up a bit. Primers and foundations go over this just fine.

My biggest gripe with this is that it has no SPF, and I have to use other products with sun protection in them during the day. But it's a minor inconvenience... night or day, this light-weight yet moisturizing lotion is a solid bet. Thanks again to Meg for helping me keep my winter skin supple!

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

I don't usually do this....

While I love clothes and boots and baubles as much as the next girl, I tend to let the many excellent fashion blogs out there talk about the hot trends and "it" items of the season. But I am really very excited about these gloves I bought yesterday, and so I thought I'd rave about them a bit.

If you are an obsessive blog reader like me, you no doubt have noticed the prevalence of short, wide sleeves on jackets and coats this season. Très stylish, yes, but frostbitten arms are no fun. So those in the know advocate long sleek gloves that go all the way up your arm, both as an of-the-moment accessory, and out of pure necessity. Allow me to demonstrate:

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Of course, the girl on the left is wearing Chanel couture, and if you are the type to wear Chanel couture, I'm pretty sure you get driven everywhere in a limo with heated seats and are carried into parties and such in a mink-lined, climate-controlled pod with a champagne-stocked mini fridge. So, not so much worried about cold. But I digress...

Now, all my coats have full-length sleeves, but that doesn't mean I can't live out my Breakfast at Tiffany's fantasies underneath them. Elbow-length gloves? Hello! All over that. Except I tend to be TERRIBLE with my gloves, and lose, tear, or otherwise maim them with distressing regularity. $100 leather gloves, no matter how gorgeous (and believe me, I've seen some gorgeous ones) just weren't going to hapen for me.

So I was super excited to find black elbow length fleece gloves at Jacob*. Measuring just over 18 inches long, these are slim and lightweight, and have a slight gathering at the wrist to help it hug your arm. Even though they are fleece (because, come on, BABIES wear fleece) I feel strangely badass when I have them on, like I should be on a fast motorbike, ripping away to go kick butt and take names. Okay, so they might look a bit silly with a nice evening dress, but gosh darn it, my forearms have never been cozier or warmer. Besides, at $18 CAD, I won't feel like such a tool when I eventually lose them, or spill coffee on them, like I just did. Dammit.

Enough of me rambling about gloves. If you're looking to get your daily beauty-blog fix, why not check out some of these excellent posts?

Come join the conversation at eBeautyDaily about the Victoria's Secret models and fashion show.

Get the goods on color correcting makeup at Makeup Minute. tells us that December is natural perfume month.

Elke's latest Podcast gives you tips and tricks on getting the perfect red lip on for your upcoming Holiday Party.

Lipstick, Powder n Paint chat with Maureen Kelly from Tarte as part of the Top Women in Focus series.

Bon Bons in the Bath gives you a peek into the showers of our favorite beauty bloggers!

Well, that's all for me today, hope you're all enjoying your weekends!

* I wish I could post a picture for you, dear readers. But alas, I cannot find one of good likeness, not even after 45 pages of Google image hits. I tried, blog. I really did. I'm sorry.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Prouct Review: Rimmel Magnif'eyes Mascara

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Cover Girl's Lash Exact Mascara. Clump free and non-smudging, it leaves lashes separated & defined -- a very natural, pretty look. However, it is not a va-va-voom mascara. It does not give a whole lot of volume or drama. It will not give you heavy, sooty lashes that beckon your beau(s) to come hither with nary a flicker.

So I was intrigued when I saw Rimmel's new Magif'eyes Mascara. It claims to "boost volume and length to the limit", while providing separation and control. The brush was like that of Lash Exact's, with plastic, spikey-looking bristles. A badass mascara that would be as clump-free as Lash Exact? I had to try it.

Okay, first and foremost, this is NOT clump free. It's not terrible, but while Lash Exact separates with very little effort, Magnif'eyes can leave small clumps on the lash, and make lashes stick together, especially if you use a heavy hand. I think this is due to the brush... the bristles are not as "sharp", and they are of varying lengths. Maybe this helps in the volume department, but it doesn't do much for separation.

But! There are many redeeming qualities. This baby does give my lashes that sooty darkness that was missing from Lash Exact, and lengthens a lot better too. It also adds much more volume, enough so that if I pair this with a dark shadow (or liquid) liner, I end up with what might be called "Geisha Eyes". (Wouldn't THAT be a great name for a mascara!)

Magnif'eyes also holds a curl well, and stays put rather tenaciously. My regular cleanser alone won't cut it -- I have to use an eye-makeup remover to get it off. A teeny bit of smudging sometimes, but it's far better than any other volumizing mascara I've tried. To me, this is a great thing. When I want big drama lashes, it's usually because I'm going out on the town or doing something fabulous*, and my mascara needs to keep up.

So, moderate clumping issues aside, I quite like this one. If you use a light hand and keep the lash comb handy, even the clumping thing isn't a huge deal. I'll be really interested to check out Max Factor's Volume Couture and Cover Girl's Volume Exact Mascaras (because you know they are the same company, with the same ingredients in the same products, right?). We probably won't see them in Canada until well into the new year, but if they do what Magnif'eyes does, but with less clumping, it may well become my daily favourite!

[Note: I'm pretty sure I first heard about Volume Exact from Yummy411's review. Reading it again now just makes me want to try it more!]

* Please note that "fabulous" for a grad student often means Cranium parties. Humdingers is my secret super-power.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Sephora List

Okay, so I recently had a dear friend ask me for my list of Sephora must-haves. This prompted a lot of thought... there's just so much stuff in that store! And I personally think that the best part about Sephora is that you can try any and everything, and their sales staff aren't pushy or desperate. Plus, their awesome return policy means that it's virtually risk free for you to try a product.

But, philosophizing does not a useful list make. And so without further ado... My Sephora List! (with links to reviews if I have 'em)

Oscar Blandi Jasmine Oil Serum -- this thin shine serum makes my hair straighter than anything, and smells expensive. Which it is. But defiinitely try it, even if it's just to see what all the hype is about.

Frederic Fekkai Glossing Cream (travel size) -- the olive oil in the formula smooths hair, and the almost-imperceptible gold flecks in the cream give the best shine I've seen yet. Plus, it smells like Kenneth Cole Black, except not so manly. The trial size is only $11 CAD, and is perfect for travelling or tossing in your handbag. It is salvation for the in-flight frizzies!

Any of those fancy foundations you've read about. Dior? Channel? ERA? Bare Escentuals? Pick one and go!

Smashbox PhotoFinish Primer (travel size) -- either in the original clear version, or one of the colour-correcting ones, this cult-favourite can't be missed. The litte tube will last you about 2-3 months with daily use.

Sephora Professionnel Perfection Makeup Base -- Not slick like the Smashbox, but has little pearlized particles that give you a subtle (not shiny) glow. Foundation goes on smoothly, and skin feels very soft after using this. Fantastic for giving a boost to dull winter skin.

Make Up Forever Lift and Full Cover concealers (liquids) -- Lift is the sheerer of the two, and supposedly tightens the undereye area. Coverage is pretty darn good... I've seen better, but only from creme concealers. $26 CAD for a big 0.5 oz tube that lets you dispense the perfect amount. Full Cover is a bit outrageous in price, but I've heard amazing things about its coverage and texture (non-caking!). Haven't tried it myself, but it's most definitely on the list!

Benefit Bo-ing and Time Balm's The Balm concealers -- If you prefer a solid concealer, definitely check these out. Bo-ing is another cult favourite, although the price point is a tiny bit too high for me to have tried it yet (it's only a matter of time though...).

If I wasn't already swimming in concealers, I would have certainly picked up The Balm by now. I've heard from others that it can be a bit dry, but it felt smooth enough on my wrist, and the coverage looks very impressive. $22 is not that much to pay for a great concealer.


I'm currently infatuated with the Bourjois line. It's decently priced, and the glosses are of great quality. The new Dr. Glamour lipsticks feel sooo smooth & moisturizing, but alas, I could not find a shade that I loved. Maybe you'll have better luck!

Smith's Rosebud Salve -- Ok, I know everyone and their dog already knows about this, but the Strawberry version is my go-to bedside balm. (Warm it up a bit with your finger first for smoother application) They've recently released a mint version, which feels more fluid and looks like it would give a glossier look.

Don't forget Sephora's own line of glosses. I have their quad palette in Shades of Mauve, and they're great basic glosses. Colours are sheer and pretty, texture is nice and non-drying, and there's a gentle vanilla scent to seal the deal. I got mine on sale, so I can't remember the price exactly, but it was cheap! (Pass on their Super Shield lip balm though... it's basically Vaseline with SPF. Which is fine, but you don't need to be paying their price for that.)

Too Faced Quickie Chronicles (The Fabulous Flirt pictured) -- these sets, uniquely packaged to look like old-school dime-store novels, come with 3 shadows, 4 lip colours, and a blush. Every season, they release limited edition palettes capturing the best of the season's trends. Mini versions of these (2 shadows, 2 lip, 1 blush) are also offered for some of the collections. If you find one where you like all or most of the shades, they can be an economical way to try out new and hot colours.

I am kind of going palette crazy over here. I can't stop looking at them. Pop Beauty's Poppette palettes caught my eye with their pretty, sleek, metal cases. I also considered Lola's Go Lightly (cool & gadgety), Hard Candy's Take Out Make Up Kit (beyond adorable, and has everything down to TWO concealers).

But in the end, I decided to go with Sephora Piiink's My Disco Chiiic Palette. Despite their insistent use of too many i's in their product names (which makes it sound so ridiiiiculous in my head) and the fact that the line is sort of targeted at 14-year old girls, this palette is just about perfect. 10 powder shadows, 2 cream shadows, 2 blushes, 1 bronzer, 1 highlighter, 7 lip products, and a mascara, all for a cool $35 CAD! The shades are all cool enough for my tastes, and there's enough variety in there to create everything from work-appropriate looks to evening party makeup. The My Preciiious Palette is equally lovely (conjured-up images of Gollum notwithstanding), with shades on the warmer side of the spectrum.


Again, take advantage here and try them all! But be sure to give all the Demeter perfumes a sniff -- they are just plain fun. My personal favourites include Laundromat, Green Tea, and Pink Grapefruit. And if you happen to fall in love with one, they're only $25 CAD for a full sized bottle. Not sure how other Sephoras work, but all the stores in Toronto have the Demeters split up in the Men's and Women's sections. I think a lot of the "Men's" scents are the more interesting ones, like Leather, or Mesquite, or Rubber. Weird, but great to experience.

Stella McCartney Stella Eau de Parfum Roll On -- this sophisticated rose scent is warm and classic without being musty, and I think it's perfect for work or play. It's feminine, without being wimpy or overly sweet. The roll-on version is portable, looks sleek, and will only set you back $12 CAD. I keep wanting to buy it, but the stores can't seem to keep it in stock!

If you prefer a sharper, greener floral scent, sniff out Stila's Jade Blossom (available in a roll-on or solid scent). And for those that crave variety, how freakin' cute are these Stacked Style Bon-Bons? 3 fruity scents (2 mini-vials each) packaged like candies in a tin. Adorable. (FYI, Blogdorf Goodman recently posted a handy breakdown of some other offerings from Stacked Style.)

Oh wow. I... I use a lot of stuff, don't I? I mean, I don't use it all at once, obviously, but still. But the products ARE very good, and if you're going to spend the cash, you might as well get the good stuff, right? Anyway, these are my must-haves and must-trys when visiting a Sephora... what are yours?

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Product Review: Bourjois Effet 3D Lipgloss

Today's review is brought to you by Meg's Makeup. Go here to read a condensed version of the review, or to see what other gals thought of the product!

Meg's gettin' lippy on me, y'all, and kindly sent over Cat Cosmetic's Buck Naked lip liner, ad the new Bourjois Effet 3D Mobile High Shine Lip Gloss Cell Charm Accessory. Whew, what a mouthful! Maybe she knew that after lip gloss, my cell phone is my must-have-or-else-I-hyperventilate item. Or maybe she somehow guessed my strange love of all things miniature. Either way, I was thrilled to see the products sitting in my mailbox.

First up, the Cat Cosmetics lip liner. I'm not really a liner girl, but I did like the consistency of this one. It glided on smoothly, and the twist-up mechanism means you don't have to worry about a sharpener. (Am I the only one who wears her liners down to the nub, and the gets all confused when it feels horrible and scratchy?) Sadly, the nude colour was too brown/orange for me, but it looks like it would work for those who like warm shades.

The real winner was the Bourjois gloss. My cell phone doesn't have a place to attach the lanyard, but it doesn't matter, the gloss still rocks. It's moisturizing and smooth, with just the right amount of colour and shine. The shade, Beige Théoric, has just enough pink to go awesomely well with my skintone. It's all, "Hey baby, I make this nude lip thing look gooood".

I love using the mini gloss over Bourjois' rose coloured lip stain, or on its own. The tiny size means I can bring it anywhere, and the brush tip (SO much better than the felt doe-foot applicators!) make precise touch-ups a breeze. I've got the full-sized versions of the glosses in Cassis Tropique and Framboise Energetic, and they all have the same sweet scent, plush texture, and great staying power.

Granted, the Bourjois glosses are not exactly super cheap at about $20 CAD, but if you've got a few extra bucks to spend, I do think these are an excellent choice. Plus they'd make a great stocking stuffer for any lucky gal on your Christmas list!

[Edit: I should clarify... the full sized gloss is $20, the mini is about $12, I think.]


Friday, December 01, 2006

Product Review: Bourjois Bons Baisers de Paris Lip Stain Pens

Okay, I'll try to be short and sweet today (for once), there's Christmas shopping to be done!

You all know that I love lipgloss to manic levels. But, even I must admit their faults -- while they look all sparkly and shiny and pretty, they sure as heck aren't going to last you through a round of festive cocktails or holiday nibbles. And really, when you're trying to charm that cute guy who works in accounting during your office Christmas party*, you need those smackers to be bringing their A-game, dammit!

Which is why I'm loving these lip stain pens from Bourjois.

All you have to do is swipe on the stain from the felt-marker-like tip, give it a few seconds to set, and you've got a lovely flush of colour that'll last through happy hour and then some. Rose Préféré (pictured) gives a fresh, youthful pinky colour. Very pretty and natural-looking. Framboise Bonheur is darker berry pink. It looks cool on paper and in the package, but somehow turn a bit brickish on my lips. I don't like it as much as the rose shade, but it does work as a great base under darker glosses.

These lip stains are not drying, and feel like water going on. I have found that the colour tends to come out of the side of the tip rather than the tip itself, but this is no biggie. Application is a snap. (Speaking of snaps though, don't open these one-handed. I tried once, and the whole tip snapped off accidentally. Fortunately, the store let me swap for a new one)

You can pair these with lipstick, lipgloss, or even under plain ol' lipbalm, and the slim sticks will fit in all but the tiniest of clutches. Most importantly, you'll be able to spend more time chatting up the Accounting Adonis, instead of running to the Ladies' every 15 mins to touch up your gloss. I'll expect an invite to the wedding.

[EDIT: Apparently, I love these so much that I posted the review 3 times. Whoops.]

* Or, in my case, try to use it to dazzle, blind, or otherwise distract your supervisor so he doesn't ask the dreaded "So.... how's that thesis coming along?"