Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pics from this week

I've been quite busy this week since our move is next week, so I just thought I'd write a quick post with pics from my week - some are cellphone pics, so not the best quality:
Hubby took a day off work to help pick up some supplies for the basement between our errands we were able to sneak in a quick lunch date at a restaurant near the lake - so refreshing. It was perfect weather for dining outside. Of course I had to have a frothy cappuccino (my main course was a salmon burger, but I forgot to take a pic).
I purchased this rose quartz ring from a jewelry stall. Love how big the stone is...I would have loved a yellow or green stone, but this was the only ring in my size...I will keep checking back to see what she gets in stock. This ring was only $10 and is really well made.
Love these gold sandals I bought at Payless - I adore Payless, their shoes are cheap, comfy and don't show wear and tear. I've worn these every day this week - even walked through gravel in the playground - but no damage done! These were on sale for less than $25 (Payless in the US is SO much cheaper than in Canada - these sandals are on sale for $14.99 on the Payless website). Gold accessories are perfect for summer.
I purchased this orange bag from Femme de Carriere. I've walked by it countless times at the mall - and I loved how chubby and orange it looked. It finally went on sale (from $85 to $59) so I picked it up, but I'm not 100% happy with it. Sadly, it's a final sale, so there is nothing I can do about it! There are two reasons I'm not happy with it - the first is that it is very soft and slouchy - so it doesn't really hold its chubby shape when being carried :-( It looks more like this:
Secondly, even though it was on sale, I still think it is too expensive for what it is - it's not really worth $59. Guess I've learned my lesson...test drive ALL bags with my stuff in it before committing to buy it. Here's a picture of the mustard version of my bag (on the second model from the left)
While I was at the mall, I also bought the Aveda Clove conditioner - it is supposed to deposit colour to add warmth to brownish hair. I'm getting a bit bored with my hair, so I thought I would try this out and see how it looks.
My hair is currently bra-strap length. I've never grown it longer than this...because every time it gets this long, it starts bugging me, so I cut it off to shoulder-length. I challenged myself to let my hair grow until November - (just to see how long it can grow) but I'm not sure I can wait that long. Here's how long it is now:
Have you ever grown your hair really long? Do you like Payless shoes?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My favourite & most-used make-up brushes

I'm really passionate about using good make-up brushes - they make SUCH a difference in make-up application. Even average make-up can look amazing when applied with the right brushes.  I'm always writing down the names of highly-reviewed brushes - and often have to talk myself out of making too many purchases (there is a limit to the number of face brushes you can use - no matter how soft and fluffy!) In this post I thought I would share my most-used make-up brushes and describe what I use each brush for:
1) Sephora Professionnel Mineral Powder brush #45 ($26) - I use this soft synthetic brush to buff in my mineral foundation. It blends powder in seamlessly, so there is never any caking. I think this must be the softest face brush I've ever tried - it feels so lovely on my skin! The only drawback is that it is not great at covering active breakouts - it can leave flaky patches around problem areas. Luckily my skin is pretty clear now, so this is not an issue for me. However, when my skin was acting up, I had to apply mineral foundation using BE's Handy Buki brush (more on this below), and then I would swirl this brush over my skin to leave a glowy finish.

2) MAC 129 Blush Brush ($34)- This is my oldest and most favourite make-up brush - I've had it for 11 years! It is the BEST blush brush I've ever used - you will never get "clown cheeks" with this blush - it always deposits a natural flush of colour. However, this brush sheds...a lot! I've stopped using it with cream blushes because I got tired of picking hairs out of the blush container (and leaving huge craters in the product...not pretty!)

3) The Body Shop Blusher Brush ($24) - I use this brush to apply cream blushes since it does not shed. It has soft synthetic bristles and does a pretty good job of applying a diffuse wash of colour. However, it is not as amazing as the MAC 129 brush, so I still use the 129 to blend in the cream blush after applying it with this brush.

4) Bare Escentuals Maximum Coverage Concealer Brush ($20) - This brush was a gift from my sister. She uses hers with Bare Escentuals concealer - and it looks amazing. It provides long-lasting and brightening coverage under her eyes. I'm currently using up my Everyday Minerals concealer (which is not as good as the BE one). Still, this brush applies product evenly and seamlessly - I can't wait to see how well it performs once I buy the BE concealer.

5) MAC 187 Duo Fibre brush SE (Full-size is $42) - I got this brush in a Special Edition (SE) brush set. The SE brushes are not as good as the full-size brushes - they are not hand-made and are often less dense. Although I'd love a full-size one eventually, the SE brush is currently adequate for my needs. I use it to apply highlighter on my cheekbones - the white synthetic bristles lightly pick up a small amount of product so that my cheeks look glowy, but not like a frosty disco ball. This brush is also popular for stippling on liquid foundation, but I don't use it for that purpose.
6) ELF Studio Eyeshadow "C" brush ($3) - I use this brush to apply a light wash of color over my eyelid. Despite its cheap price, this brush is really well-made. I also own the MAC 239 flat shader brush, but prefer this ELF brush as it is wider and applies color better.

7) MAC 217 Blending brush ($22.50) - This brush is the perfect size for applying color in my eyelid crease. I just lightly dip it in brown eyeshadow and swipe it back and forth across my crease. It's very soft and easy to clean.

8) ELF Studio Small Angled brush ($3) - This is my back-up gel liner brush - I use it to press gel liner on to my lash line. I actually preferred the shape of the Coastal Scents angled brush, but its casing was bad quality and it cracked after a couple months of use.

9) ELF Studio Angled Eyeliner brush ($3) - This is my main eyeliner brush and I love it. The bent-head makes it easy to apply eyeliner along your lashline, and something about its shape makes applying winged eyeliner easier and more natural looking.

10) MAC 219SE Pencil brush (full size $24.50) - Another SE brush, this is perfect shape for applying a shimmery colour in the inner corner of your eye. I find the bristles a little scratchy - maybe they are softer in the full-size version? Still - it gets the job done - it applies the colour densely so that it stays in place all day.

Special mentions
- Brush Guard ($5.50) - with my acne-prone skin, I have to wash my brushes frequently. This product makes drying brushes SO easy - and it reshapes the bristles so that they look new. After investing in good quality brushes, it makes sense to take good care of them. (Previously reviewed here).
- Bare Escentuals Handy Buki brush ($20) - this brush is the ONLY brush I use to apply mineral powder over blemishes. All the other brushes I tried (including kabukis from Everyday Minerals and Coastal Scents) cake up around pimples and makes the skin around it look flaky. It has natural hair bristles and feels scratchy on the skin, so I only use it when I need it (i.e. when I break out).
- Sigma Brush roll ($20) - I store all my brushes in here and it works perfectly for me. While some people display their brushes in cups, I prefer to keep mine covered and protected from dust. Since all the brushes I use fit in this case, I just unroll it next to my caboodle, apply my make-up and then roll-it away. Another plus: the synthetic surface makes it easy to wipe clean and keep sanitary.

What is your favourite make-up brush? Do you use any of the brushes I mentioned?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Drugstore make-up better than Department store make-up?

When it comes to make-up I like a bargain as much as the next person...but I don't mind spending top dollar to buy the best of the best. In fact, I like splurging on make-up, as I feel pampered when I'm using high-end products. So I was quite surprised that 2 cult beauty products failed to impress me...and discovered that I PREFERRED the drugstore versions!

The first product was this Dior duo from Sephora:
Diorshow and Diorshow Blackout Mascara Duo from Sephora: US$ 19
Diorshow mascara (along with Lancome Hypnose and YSL Faux Cils) are *THE* gold standard of mascaras - the one that all other mascaras are compared to. It is meant to deliver dramatic and lush lashes. I tried it and was not impressed AT showed up on my lashes but it was not the most thickening or long-lasting mascara I've used. Even after layering it with the Diorshow Blackout, it was nothing special. Diorshow has often been compared to Covergirl Lashblast mascara - and that is exactly how I found it - I would definitely not splash out the extra money for this.
Maybelline Volum Express The Falsies in Very Black around US$6 at Walmart
I think the main reason I was unimpressed with the Diorshow mascara was because I was mentally comparing it to THE BEST MASCARA I'VE EVER USED! Can you tell how much I love Falsies mascara? I've raved about it previously here. I love the brush shape and the formula - it leaves me with thick curly lashes which last ALL day. You get dramatic results from the first coat...I would pay Diorshow prices for this mascara in a heartbeat - the results are THAT amazing.
Shu Uemura eyelash curler: CAD$ 24 at Sephora
The next cult favourite that failed to impress me was the famous Shu Uemura lash curler. To be fair, it wasn't inferior to my current lash just provided the SAME effect....After all the hype, I expected it to be magical...but it wasn't.
Revlon Eyelash curler: US$ 3.99
My previous curler was the Revlon one - I purchased it after reading Jemma Kidd's (the UK make-up artist) rave about it. I've used it for years, and it provides a great curl that stays all day (when locked in with the right mascara). If I had to do a blind test between these 2 curlers, I would be hard-pressed to tell the difference in performance! The Shu Uemura curler's mechanism might be fractionally smoother, but the Revlon curler opens wider (so it's easier to bring it close to the root of your lashes). The curve of the curlers are the same, though the Shu Uemera's clamps are placed at a slight angle.
Comparison pic of my curlers: Revlon (left) and Shu Uemura (right)
 There are a lot of products where high-end make-up trumps drugstore make-up (like my Chanel lipliner that I'm LOVING)..but in other cases, despite the lower price, drugstore make-up is actually superior to department store make-up.

What drugstore make-up have you found that is better than its department store counterpart? Do you understand the hype behind Diorshow mascara and Shu Uemura lash curlers?


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