Clinique Bonus Review!

 

Clinique Bonus Review!

Clinique Bonus Review!

 

It’s rare that I will splurge for higher end/cosmetics counter (read: non drugstore) cosmetics, but when I do, it’s often when there’s a gift with purchase full of things I think I will like, the minimum buy is low, and I can make that amount by buying things I use/will use. In this case, it was a couple of lipsticks, which will be reviewed in a later post. This Clinique Bonus included a cute makeup bag, a Chubby Lash mascara, a Chubby Stick blush in Roly Poly Rosy, a Chubby Stick eyeshadow in Lots o’ Latte, a Chubby Stick lippie in Chunk Cherry, a Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser, and a Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream. They advertised it as a full look.

The Chubby Lash mascara ($21CAD for full size) came in a cute little tube that dispenses a HUGE amount of product. The picture below is brightened so you can see the enormous amount of excess globbed on to the wand. This tube needed a much smaller opening. I had to scrape most of the mascara back off along the opening of the tube to make it usable, while not wasting product.The brush itself was also far larger than it needed to be, and I found I had a hard time not getting it all over my eyelids and surrounding area. The formula, however, was fantastic. It built up well, and barely flaked all day! The black was also nice, deep, and rich. If you can tolerate a globby, too big wand, this mascara might be for you!

Clinique Chubby Lash, Black

Clinique Chubby Lash Mascara in Jumbo Jet

 

The Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm ($27CAD for full size) came in a swivel tube larger than it needed to be for the amount it contained, but it was sturdy and it worked. The shade was a lovely, slightly warm pinkish red which blended out smoothly to a natural looking flush. No shimmer. Beautiful finish. Swatches on NC 20/25 skin. I didn’t notice any fading over the course of the day, it stays exactly where you put it, and it didn’t break me out. I quite like this blush!

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm

 

The Chubby Stick Shadow Tint For Eyes ($21CAD for full size) in Lots O’ Latte is a cool leaning taupe-ish light brown with a hint of shimmer. Goes on pale, but builds up with a few swipes. Blends out easily with a finger. The colour did fade a bit, but was still visible at the end of the day even on my oily lids (I do use my foundation as a primer, however.) I might not use it every day, but have used it very frequently as a one-and-done eye colour on days I don’t feel like fussing about with multiple powder shadows, or am pressed for time. I like it enough to consider purchasing it in other shades! But right now I’m happy with just this one.

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint in Lots O' Latte

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint in Lots O’ Latte

 

The Chubby Stick Lip Colour Balm in Chunky Cherry ($21CAD for full size) is of your standard swivel twist up lip crayon variety. The shade is a light red which is very sheer and wearable. It doesn’t last very long, but is at least moisturizing. I’d say even Revlon’s Lipbutters last longer than this, but that’s really my only complaint. I like it for a refreshing wash of colour, and it would be great for someone who wants to wear a red but is scared of the intensity. Shown below with 5 passes, then just one.

Clinique Chubby Stick Chunky Cherry

Clinique Chubby Stick Chunky Cherry

 

The cleanser I also liked. A small amount lathered well and spread around well to remove the day’s makeup. No fragrance! It did leave my skin feeling almost too clean, and I have oily skin. Someone with dry or sensitive skin would feel that this over strips your natural moisture. I like it so far as it performs well, might consider a full size purchase. Especially at bonus time….(scratch that, I just tried looking for it on their website for a full price quote in Canadian dollars, and it’s not there at the time of this post!)

Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream

Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream

The Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream is.. well.. not. There is nothing exciting or advanced in this cream’s ingredients. I don’t require a moisturizer beyond my staple Neutrogena Healthy Skin retinol treatment, so I’ve used this as nothing but a hand cream. As a hand cream, it soaks in well and leaves a nice smooth, soft finish to the skin. Non greasy. Non fragranced. Non interesting.

Lastly, the cosmetics bag has a cute cheery print of Clinique’s Chubby Stick lippes, seems well made and is roomy enough to carry what you’d probably want to take along cosmetic wise for a vacation or short trip. I like it.

clinique_bonus_bag_

All around this gift with purchase has fully impressed me, and would encourage me to purchase many of these products in full size. They picked some fantastic products for this gift with purchase! Coming up in a future post, reviews on some Clinique lipsticks, in Plum Pop and A Different Grape!

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ELF Products Only! Pale Smoky Purple Eye Look Using Only ELF Cosmetics & Tools!

ELF Cosmetics & Tools

ELF Cosmetics & Tools

I was planning on doing a simple swatch and review of this purple ELF cosmetics eyeshadow set, labeled only as “Smoky”. It then occured to me that I had enough ELF products that I would be able to do a complete eye look using ELF only products, tools and brushed included! I didn’t use everything shown above but thought I should include them in the picture just in case I did. Included in the picture above: a six pan eyeshadow set called Smoky, a liquid liner in Plum, a black mascara, an eyelash curler, two pencil liners, one in Black and one in Plum, two eyeshadow brushes, a small concealer brush I usually use for liner, a pencil sharpener that was included with the eyeliner and an eyeliner brush, all ELF products.

Swatched below are the eye liners, the pencil ones first in Plum then Black. The black didn’t stick to my waterline as I had hoped, the formula just isn’t gel like enough for that, but they still apply well to skin, and I ended up using the Plum pencil under my eye in the finished look. The Liquid liner is on the bottom, also named Plum. I quite like the liquid liner, I did a full review on the one in black, and I love it (had to buy backups, and I’m glad I did as it’s gone now!)

ELF Eye Liners in Plum and Black

ELF Eye Liners in Plum and Black

And below I have swatched the six pan palette in Smoky. Pigmentation was ok in most of them, nothing outstanding but definitely good enough to be workable for a casual look. The purple and black ones were drier than the rest, with the purple being the only really matte one in the pan. It applied better than the black. All contained sparkle in one way or another. From top to bottom we have a very frosty sheer white, a pinky lavender, the matte purple (which had sparkle in its overspray but not underneath that), a silvery, slightly lilac taupe, and impressively pigmented shimmery charcoal grey, and a not particularly well pigmented matte black with loose sparkles in the matte base. I didn’t end up using the grey or black in this lighter smoky look today.

ELF Smoky Eye Shadow 6 Pan Palette Swatches

ELF Smoky Eye Shadow 6 Pan Palette Swatches

The eyeshadows did blend just fine, and seemed to lose the heavy glitter as i blended along, which is fine with me. I did a look using the matte purple on lid, pinky lavender in crease, the taupe on inner half of lid, and the tiniest bit of the frost white in my inner corner. Although it looks black in the picture, I did use the liquid liner in Plum on my upper lid, and the pencil liner in Plum on the lower.

ELF Smoky Eye Shadow on eye

ELF Smoky Eye Shadow on eye

You can’t see the mascara very well at this angle, but I am satisfied with it’s performance. It built reasonably well in 2 coats and dried to a very soft and flexible finish. Due to this flexibility however, it didn’t hold a curl well. If you were in desperate need of mascara and only had a buck, this would do the job in a pinch. It did start to flake on me, but this might be my fault as I was continuously poking at it, being impressed with it’s flexibility.

Overall, if you don’t have particularly high performance demands, pigment wise, out of your makeup, or if you don’t like using your expensive stuff when you are only going to be out a couple hours for errands or something, I would recommend these ELF products (the eyeliner especially, which is a daily use product for me!)

Have any favourite ELF products?

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette Swatch, Review & Look!

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette

Before I found this pretty palette, I thought Pacifica only made simple, but beautiful, perfumes and candles. I did a review on some of their lighter, summery scents not too long ago. When I saw this stunning collection of colours together in this palette, and knowing my success with other Pacifica products, I decided to snap it up considering both the sale price and the fact that Pacifica products are incredibly difficult to find in my area. I checked reviews first, and there isn’t too many of them (seems it’s hard to find everywhere) but they were generally glowing, and I agree! From the box to the palette to the product itself, everything about this product is delightful.

Pacifica_Eye_Brightening_Shadow_Top

Close up of top flap

Above is a close up from the top, and below is a  picture showing the pretty front, side and back of the beautiful box. The full name of this palette as shown on the box is Pacifica Natural Minerals Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette, coconut infused mineral eye shadows. The side says “velvety coconut infused natural mineral eyeshadows” and the back has a list of the shadows in the pan, each individually named, and a full ingredient listing, which does indeed contain coconut. Remember you can click the pictures to enlarge.

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette Box

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette Box

A breakdown of the shades as listed on the back, according to Pacifica:

Skinny Dip: a matte nude base cover or lash liner. A universal highlighter.

My take: not matte. This is a satin finish peach leaning pale shell pink. I could see someone using it as a light powder base under a full shadow look, but I don’t understand why people do that. That just washes out the other shadows in my experience. As a lash liner, I couldn’t see that working, maybe a bit along the lower lash line? Not sure where they were going with that. This wouldn’t work as a “universal” highlighter, this would look odd and ashy as that on darker skin shades. Anyone medium or paler might like it as that though.

Coral Sand: a satin coral lid base or highlighter.

My take: satin finish, yes. Lid base, yes I might use this on the lid, lightly, otherwise it might look too orange on me. I can’t see this being good as a highlighter unless you resemble a pumpkin. The shade on its own is gorgeous however. Of any coppery shadows I have, I think this is the most wearable. This would make blue or green eyes look incredibly bright.

Golden: perfect gold with just the right amount of shimmer. Use on lids and/or for highlighting.

My take: strongly metallic orangey based gold. It is *really* warm. This is a bit too orange for me, the pictures make that stand out even more so. I still might wear it as a lid shade from time to time, perhaps sheered out by Skinny Dip for less impact. On its own as a lid shade, this would look stunning on tanned or darker skin shades, or as a night club or evening look. As a highlighter, I don’t know, maybe it if was applied very sheerly.

Urchin: iridescent jeweled purple with gold tones. Perfect for lining and crease.

My take: this isn’t iridescent in the sense that it colour shifts. It absolutely does have a bit of a metallic sheen to it and it is the most beautiful purple shadow I own by a wide margin. All of my purples lean blue, other than this one. This one leans red. I am always enamoured with the deep burgundyish purples, and of course they always make it look like I’ve been punched in the eye due to the red base. This one, however, has the perfect amount of red to seem rich and brown to keep it a bit more neutral. Urchin is a perfect alternative in an ocean of too red freshly bruised burgundy and too blue candy coated grape shadows.

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening shadows have a lovely texture. Very soft and smooth, creamy to apply and blend. I fond the pigmentation to be wonderful as well. I haven’t done a full on endurance test of these shadows yet but judging by their application and texture they would wear as well as or better than a higher end drugstore shadow. I actually find they apply similarly to my Urban Decay shadows from the Naked 2 palette (which I find to be good but not at all worth the hype or cost), but not as well as my Wet n’ Wild shadows, say from Comfort Zone (which I intend to do a post on eventually) or Silent Treatment.

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette  Swatches

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette Swatches

I did a look with all four of these shadows but with the purple Urchin as the focus. I used Skinny Dip on the brow and in the inner corner, Coral Sand through the crease, Urchin all over the lid, and just a small amount of Golden in the inner tear duct area, which I think might have been too much but I really wanted to see what all four looked like together. The package claims that these shadows brighten the eyes and I would say they lived up to that claim.

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette on Eye

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette on Eye

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette on Eye

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Eye Shadow Palette on Eye

Something about these shadows used together reminds me of an exotic vacation! I’ve never had makeup give me that impression before. Classic, romantic, dramatic, basic, natural, sure, but never have I had makeup scream “VACATION!” like this one did. If you’re planning an exotic holiday, try this palette, you could easily do day and night looks with it! EDIT: Urchin is a perfect match for Maybelline Eye Studio gel liner in Eggplant!

Pacifica products are 100% Vegan, cruelty free, contain no phthalates , talc, parabens, or petroleum.  A portion of proceeds of Pacifica products support clean water, although it does not go into detail as to how. These eyeshadows were made in the US and the palette is a huge 0.25oz or 7g. So that would be 1.75g per shadow pot. For comparison, a MAC eye shadow is smaller at 1.5g. A Wet n’ Wild single pan is slightly smaller at 1.7g. Single eye shadows within an Urban Decay Naked palette are only 1.3g. This Pacifica palette is an all around fantastic deal! If you can manage to find these anywhere, try them, you won’t be disappointed!

You are so pretty!

You are so pretty!

Enjoy your weekend!

Stila Gold Glow, a Shimmery Summer Eyeshadow/Bronzer, Swatches & Eye Look!

Stila Gold Glow

Stila Gold Glow

I’ve had this eyeshadow pan for ages but I only seem to think to use it when warmer weather hits. This Stila Gold Glow is a refill baked on a terracotta disk, intended to go inside a round case with a clear twist off lid that apparently sells for an atrocious $37. If I remember correctly, I managed to nab this, along with a Bronze Glow refill buddy (I’ll do that one later), for $12 including shipping from ebay a few years ago. Much more manageable!

Stila Gold Glow is a trio of shades including a beautiful metallic gold, a warm satiny golden brown, and a shimmery ivory shade. The ivory part has a bit too much sparkle in it for me to want to use as a brow bone highlight, but I do like it in the inner corner, and alone on the lid with a strong berry lip. Some swatches in indoor lighting, shade from sun, and flash.

Stila Gold Glow Swatches

Stila Gold Glow Swatches

The texture of these is similar to most baked eyeshadows in that they are somewhat dry but silky and blendable. The advertise them to be used both dry and wet, however you can use any eyeshadow like that. I use these without an eyeshadow primer as I find that actually makes wear worse for me, my regular foundation does just fine as a base. Shown on my eye here with the gold on the lid, the brown in crease, and the highlighter in inner corner with a tiny bit on brow bone. The photo below includes the rest of the products used for this look, including Clarins Wonder Perfect Mascara (sample size, black) and Milani Liquif’eye liner in brown.

Stila Gold Glow on eye

Stila Gold Glow on eye

Stila Gold Glow, Clarins Wonder Perfect Mascara, Milani Liquif'Eye Liner

Stila Gold Glow, Clarins Wonder Perfect Mascara, Milani Liquif’Eye Liner

I find these last fairly well all day, even in the heat. They do fade in intensity a small amount, but the effect is still nice as it sort of melds with your skin somewhat for a nice glowy summer look. I do like these, but I would never pay their regular retail price for them. Although they are nice, I find these to be more in line with a better quality drugstore eyeshadow, which is around the price I paid. The amount of product you get is huge as well, so this will (and has) last me a long time. They also say you can use this as a bronzer, but I think that would be too shimmery for me. I will stick to using this as eyeshadow!

Do you have a favourite summer eye look?

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Almay Pure Blends Eyeshadows in Sage & Lavender, Swatches!

Almay Pure Blends Eyeshadow

Almay Pure Blends Eyeshadow

These Almay single shadows came out years ago, but weren’t ever launched in my area in Canada. I saw reviews and swatches for them on US sites ages ago and have wanted them ever since. I gave up when I learned they were long discontinued. And then, in a strange twist, I found them in my local discounter. I’m not sure where this place gets their salvage stock, but I am so grateful. I’ve managed to find things I would never normally, at almost negligible prices! These were $2.50!

The entire line of these are soft, muted shades that wouldn’t be too unusual to find in nature. In fact the whole line’s marketing is based on trying to look pure and natural. They boast that the product is 98.2% natural which in effect means squat (it’s not regulated). It also is labeled to be hypoallergenic which is equally as meaningless (also not regulated). Thats aside, I do like the packaging, stiff cardboard covered in paper. There is a window of plastic over the center so you can see the shades, and it has a magnetic closure. Being flat, light, and perfectly square, these would store tidily. Click for larger pictures.

Almay Pure Blends Eyeshadow, Back

Almay Pure Blends Eyeshadow, Back

Sage is a pale, muted sage green with shimmer. Thankfully it remains mostly neutral instead of leaning too warm. It also has a bit of a metallic golden flash to it, very interesting and unexpected from this tiny single shadow. Somehow looks almost mint green on my eye in some lights.

Lavender is again muted, a pale shimmery lavender. It looks pinkish in some lights and has a silvery pale metallic look. It also leans a bit taupe and is again thankfully neutral. Some swatches of both under flash and sun.

Almay Pure Blends Eyeshadow

Almay Pure Blends Eyeshadow

Almay Pure Blends Eyeshadow Swatches, Sage, Lavender

Almay Pure Blends Eyeshadow Swatches, Sage, Lavender

The texture of both of these are soft and buttery smooth, and they apply like a dream. The texture reminds me of a light application of the good Wet n’ Wild eyeshadows. Reading old reviews about these shadows, they complain of lack of pigment. Look at those swatches above. That was one swipe down my arm with no base, just bare skin. Do they look unpigmented to you? They don’t to me. These are pale, natural looking, neutral shades, which is pretty much what they advertised. I’m not sure what those who were complaining about lack of pigment were expecting. I see some beautifully smooth pale neutral shades. I can’t wait to pair these with some matte brown definition in the crease.

I’ve worn these all day today, a hot summer day. They haven’t budged and are wearing comfortably. These are a generous 2.25g/0.09oz (almost twice as much as MAC’s eyeshadows, for comparison). Sad these are discontinued, but glad to have finally tried them at such a low price! Better late than never I guess!

Essence Party All Night & Get Ready Eyeshadow Swatch & Review!

Essence Eyeshadows

Essence Eyeshadows

I saw a decent review of these recently, citing that they were dupes for some things, and thought I should check them out next time I was near a Shoppers Drug Mart. I found these on for $2.50 apiece and thought I’d try out two of the more neutral ones. These eyeshadows must have really wanted me to have them, as they rang up for $1.24 for one, then $0.62 for the next! Both the checkout lady and I were confused as there was no sale, nor clearance marked anywhere. I was too surprised to think to grab more at the time, I wish I had! If you’re in Canada, and near a Shoppers (I’m not sure where it’s sold outside of Canada, sorry) check it out, you never know.

Essence Party All Night, Get Ready

Essence Party All Night, Get Ready

Essence Party All Night, Get Ready

Essence Party All Night, Get Ready

I picked up Essence Party All Night 35 (a shimmery metallic taupe) and Get Ready 09 (a more satin finish cocoa brown). These have just the tiniest, super faint rose scent. It’s barely perceptible. You would have to be super sensitive to scent to smell it (I am). I am in no way saying this is fragranced to the point it would bother anyone. I can only smell it in the compact, not on my face. And I can barely smell it in the compact! But it’s there.

Starting with Essence Party All Night! The names are obviously geared to young teenagers, I hope they don’t mind I’ve bought up all their makeup. This shade is marked as a metallic, which it is, but not harshly so. On the lid it blends out to a lovely shimmery taupe. I find it blends into my skin tone well and enhances it in a pretty but subtle way. The texture is soft, smooth, incredibly blendable. I wore this all day (with Get Ready in the crease) and it lasted. All day. And this was a hot day, full of shopping and running around. I don’t wear eyeshadow primer, so far it hasn’t worked for me well, so that was just this eyeshadow, over my regular foundation. For this price, I am super impressed. If you are looking for an awesome, everyday, shimmery neutral taupe that would look great with everything, try this. You won’t be disappointed.

Essence Party All Night

Essence Party All Night

Essence Get Ready is a cooler leaning cocoa brown shade. I like that it isn’t too warm a shade. This one is marked as a shimmer, but on swatches and on the lid it is more of a satin, nearing a matte. I like using this in the crease so far, but might try it alone as a simple brown smoky eye some time now that I know the lasting power is pretty good. It is also soft and blends out nicely, however not quite as well as Party All Night. It has slightly less pigment. This is probably for the best as this might apply far too much colour too quickly and as a result be hard to blend out if it was as pigmented as Party All Night. I do like this especially as it is a cooler toned cocoa brown. I would probably rebuy, especially if I could grab it as cheap as I did this time!

Essence Get Ready

Essence Get Ready

 

Here they are swatched, in shade and flash. NC 20/25 skin. Party All Night on top, Get Ready beneath.

Essence Party All Night, Get Ready Swatched

Essence Party All Night, Get Ready Swatched

And here is a super simple eye looking using only these two eyeshadows and mascara. Party All Night on lid, Get Ready in the crease. Both were run under the eye and blended to line. A beautiful, easy, fast, perfect for everyday look.

Essence Party All Night, Get Ready on eye

Essence Party All Night, Get Ready on eye

Overall, yes I’d recommend these. Cost is great, wear time is great, texture and shades are great! I don’t mind the packaging, it’s sturdy enough for my needs. They are unlikely to break if dropped on my carpet but I can see how someone might have issues dropping them on hardwood or tile. I’m planning a future post to compare these to other shadows for dupes, both higher and lower end.

Worth mentioning, the overspray on Party All Night makes it look far more glittery than it actually is. Here is a shot to show the contrast between the unused portion with glitter overspray, and the used under portion. You’ll see it’s quite different. Don’t be fooled by the super shiny presentation! It’s far more pretty and subtle, I promise!

Essence Party All Night, Under Overspray

Essence Party All Night, Under Overspray

Essence single eyeshadows are a huge 0.08oz/2.5g and are available for $2.50 (or less!)

Sephora Order/Prize Opening! (and a word of caution)

Sephora_Order_BoxLast month I was the lucky prize winner of a giveaway from the wonderfully generous Rebecca at lastcontrast! The prize was a $50 US gift certificate for Sephora which I gladly put towards this order. I am relieved I was able to use it for this order, as Sephora sure did give me a hard time about it. If you want to get straight to the goods, please skip ahead to the picture below. If you want to be aware of the behaviour of companies you may be buying from and are selective about where your beauty products are sourced, please read on.

I had a write up ready to go regarding their refusal to honor this gift certificate as I was in Canada. I will summarize here. I had it from them in writing that they were keeping the cash for it and not providing any goods or refund to the original buyer. Obviously, this refusal to provide a solution was completely unacceptable.  Over the course of my numerous carefully worded, polite emails, I did the work for them with suggestions and workarounds (six in total) that I know companies should be capable of from my 20 years in customer service myself. I begged for my concerns to be brought to management (on multiple occasions) or at least to someone with the authority to assist me. All I got in response were canned answers from whoever had the misfortune of getting to reply to my email, and by their replies I could tell no one was reading my concerns. As I had given up, and they clearly didn’t even bother trying to actually assist me, I allowed myself to be upset. I sent them an email stating as such and that my write up regarding their blatant refusal to assist after taking someone’s cash would be made available to them via links on any social media I could find including my blog and their Facebook pages for public review.

And what do you know. Unexpectedly, I got a call. A CALL, and they left me a message. Not an email. Someone, only after my upset email, decided to help me. Evidently they decided to honor my gift certificate as a refund to my card after my order had shipped (presumably so I couldn’t back out at that point). This workaround was similar to one of my suggested solutions. Incidentally, I’m still waiting for this refund but they swear it’s gone through on their end. I’ll believe it when I see it, and if I don’t I will issue a chargeback, as I do have it (in writing again) that they were to apply said refund. I am disappointed that my polite calls and emails were brushed off and ignored, but the snarky, upset one that promised to share their willingness to swindle customers with the public got their attention. I think it says a lot about the difference between Canadian and US culture. The only thing that kept them from blatant theft was the threat of me telling everyone about it. Keep that in mind when you’re dealing with Sephora in the future, if you’re particular about where your beauty dollars are spent.

 

ON TO THE GOODIES!

Sephora_Order_Numbered

 

I will quickly go over the haul as numbered. I will do more thorough reviews as the products are used, would be far too much to go into here!

1) Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette – the reason I placed the order in the first place. I have wanted this for a very long time but wouldn’t ever allow myself to spend that ($64 Can) on a beauty product. The gift card prize was the only way this could have ever happened. I haven’t used them all yet but so far “Pistol” is my favourite! This no longer comes with a lip gloss, which is a pity.

2) Tocca Florence Travel Fragrance Duo – contains a hand creme and a roller ball fragrance. A light fresh white floral that leans green.

3) Smashbox Full Exposure Eye Shadow Sample – 10 shades, 5 shimmer, 5 matte. Single use sample portions.

4) Sephora’s Niche Fragrance Sampler – includes Maison Martin Beach Walk, Tocca Simone, Tokyo Milk Dark Tainted Love,  Nest Midnight Fleur, Clean Skin, and Atelier Orange Sanguine (the topmost left in the waxed paper wrap there is a post card and a sample vial. Most beautifully presented sampler I have ever seen.) There is also a Juicy Couture La La sample but this was not included with the niche sampler, but for this list purpose, and for my later review they will be grouped together.

5) Tarte Flush Cheek Stain – a deluxe sample, from redeemed points Sephora gave me for my “inconvenience” while they were still declining to honor the gift certificate. An impressive amount for a sample. This could last for a few weeks worth of daily uses at least!

6) Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium/Deep matte bronzer. Smells of chocolate, lovely. Also a points redemption as above. Also an impressive amount for a sample, this is the size of a large single pan eye shadow.

7) Make Up For Ever HD Powder sample – a tiny amount of powder on a card.

8) Urban Decay Primer Potion samples (x2 as one was with the palette) – 4 different types of their Primer Potion line, says there is to be a weeks worth of each within the packet. I’m particularly interested in the “anti-aging” one as I’d not heard of it before. I’m still not completely sold on the idea of needing one product to make another work as it should without assistance.

9) Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet – another points redemption as a deluxe sized sample. I admit to liking this far more than I thought I would. It’s simple but lovely.

10) Make Up For Ever “Happy Birthday” deluxe sample pack – contains a mini lipstick in N9 and a mini mascara in Smoky Extravagant. Added this to my order as it was available for free as my birthday is this month.

I would like to once again thank Rebecca at lastcontrast for her generous prize. I would have never had the opportunity to try these high end products otherwise. The out of pocket expense for the large list above was only $25 Canadian (I had to make it $75 for the free shipping as I’d rather the amount go towards product than ship costs)! Pretty good haul I think! 🙂

There was something missing from this order. I had selected that it be accompanied with the magnetic closure Sephora “gift box”, I was looking forward to using it for more attractive photographic purposes for this and all upcoming blog posts regarding the contents of this order. I sent them off another email to ask them about it. I found my order confirmation email where the words “gift box” were right there in black and white for their easy reference, and used it for my reply. I got an email back, immediately. They had the nerve to state that I had not included it on my order. Yes, even though it was stated right there. On the same page. On the order confirmation. Just a few inches down. I replied to them stating the obvious, that it is right there on the same page, but I don’t expect a reply at this point. I don’t understand why they didn’t send it, would have been a ton of free advertising as it would have been used in many of the photos for each of the upcoming reviews on all these products. What a missed opportunity for them, shame! EDIT: they sent back another email (was even from the same rep) saying they added 25 points to my account. Seeing as you need at least 100 to get anything I don’t know how this is satisfactory, but again the loss is really theirs – me as a customer and the free advertising they would have received.)

Although I will thoroughly enjoy using and trying out these products, and I am more than grateful for the prize, I am not sure I would ever order from Sephora again. They refuse to let their e-gift certificates to be used in Canada (why? That’s a huge market they’re just shutting out!) and their customer service is at best farcical and at worst dismissive and grossly incompetent. In the future, if I find the need for a high end beauty product, I will see if it is available from *any* other Canadian retailer first, such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Murale, London Drugs, any department store or even order directly from the product’s company website if need be. I don’t think I would ever put myself through ordering online with Sephora again. I am not close enough to a brick and mortar Sephora store for it to be much of a concern as to whether or not I’d go in to buy there.

EDIT: Unbelievably, I have even more disastrous service stories regarding this same order, they failed to refund me as promised and refused to explain why! Full story at the bottom of the post, here.

I did a quick search and there are some seriously horrifying Sephora customer service stories out there! Anyone else have one? I’d be interested to hear it! Also if anyone has any favourite looks with the Naked 2 palette they would like to share I’d be very interested in that as well!

 

Enjoy your week!

Maybelline Golden Halo Swatch & Review!

Maybelline Golden Halo

Maybelline Golden Halo

Hi! I haven’t done an eyeshadow post in a long while, and although I should have some others coming up soon (pending delinquent Sephora order) I wanted to start with something golden and summery! I have a few golds, and ultimately I’d like to review them all then compare at the end.

Maybelline Golden Halo 270S is from their Expert Wear Modern Metallics line. I haven’t had the opportunity to try any other offerings from the line but I hear Chai Latte is pretty popular. I managed to grab this one for just over $1 when the store I was at had them on clearance, presumably to make room for the repackaged eyeshadows. I haven’t yet tried anything from the repackaged line so I am unable to say if they are of the same formula, so I will only speak for this one. The packaging version I have has narrower tapered ends, the newer ones are squared off all around.

Maybelline Golden Halo

Maybelline Golden Halo

The formula on this one really surprised me. I expected a drier, grainier finish. But what I got was super smooth, pigmented and blendable. The golden shade is somewhat brassy or coppery on me in some lighting, but appears more of a neutral gold with slight green leanings in others. I didn’t need to try very hard to get the intense pigment on these swatches! Here it is in a few different lightings.

Maybelline Golden Halo

Maybelline Golden Halo

I tried this on alone (no other eyeshadow) with a tiny bit of mascara. It looks like I had something else in the crease, but I didn’t. That’s just the same shadow blended lightly through the crease and my own deep set eye socket shadow showing up there, making it look dark. I just used the sponge applicator it came with as it seemed to do the job well as it was so buttery soft. It was far more well blended in person, the shimmer in it reflected the camera flash in a way that gave it a harder edge in photos.

Maybelline Golden Halo

Maybelline Golden Halo

Maybelline Golden Halo

Maybelline Golden Halo

This lasted all day on me with very minimal creasing and still looked fresh when it came time to take it off! If you’re looking for a golden shadow for summer on a budget, try this one out. Bear in mind it’s slight orangey leanings might make it more suited to warm toned skin. I’d like to try more of these singles out, but I don’t think I’ll catch a sale like that again!

Have a great weekend!

Brown & Blue Eye Look with Almay Smoky for Blues, Swatch & Review!

Almay Smoky Eye for Blues

Almay Smoky Eye for Blues

Almay has had this particular palette in various incarnations for years. I had one some time around the early 00’s in a different layout, it was 3 equal sized rectangular pots. It was so long ago I can’t even remember how I used to apply it, but when I was given one of it’s latest incarnations I thought I’d give it a go again.

Almay intense i-color smoky-i for blues is still a 3 pan palette, only now the darkest blue is a large pan at the bottom. In a previous version it was laid out differently with the dark blue in the middle. Current palette, from top to bottom

-a pale, frosty, silvery, icy blue

-a warm medium brown with golden and copper shimmery flecks

-a metallic navy blue with matching blue shimmer inside

Almay Smoky Eye for Blues

Almay Smoky Eye for Blues Swatch

The back of the package advises you to apply the dark blue all over lid, the brown in crease, and to use the pale blue as brow and inner corner highlight. Admittedly I did try that out first on a trial run just to see how it would look on me, but I can’t say it worked out well, it was just way too much blue on my large lid. Click pics for a larger size!

Almay Smoky Eye for Blues Back

Almay Smoky Eye for Blues Back

 

I wanted to work out a more wearable daytime look and improvised. Included in the look I tried today is the Almay palette, Wet n Wild Brulee, the discontinued and unwieldy to use but unique L’Oreal HIP Kohl Eyeliner in Navy and my impossible to find likely discontinued Maybelline Full n Soft in Black.

Stuff.

Stuff.

I used the brown shade on my lid, the pearly pale blue on my inner corner, and the darker blue in my crease and outer corner. Brulee is on my brow bone as I don’t like putting frosty shades there. The HIP liner is in my waterline and on top lid. The shadows textures were smooth, easy to apply and blend and wore comfortably. Shortly after application however, I noticed the same issue I’ve had with my other Almay palettes in that the pigments fade drastically, and fast. In the pictures below, a lot of shadow is applied yet the end result is more subtle than you would expect. The darker blue in particular applied with a far more matte finish than as shown in swatch and in pan.

Almay Smoky Eye for Blues on eye

Almay Smoky Eye for Blues on eye

Almay Smoky Eye for Blues on eye

Almay Smoky Eye for Blues on eye

Overall I could still make this work for day as it fades to a less dramatic hue, and it still blends well and adds dimension.  This would probably look nice on a day I was wearing a dark brown or navy top.

I can’t apply blue eyeshadow without thinking of this iconic example! No one could wear it better than Elizabeth Taylor!

 

Enjoy your day!

 

Lancome Bienfait UV SPF 50 Ultra Fluid Texture Facial Sunscreen (and GWP) Review

Lancome Bienfait UV SPF50

Lancome Bienfait UV SPF50

“Bien Fait” is french for “well done”. Did Lancome aptly name this facial sunscreen offering? Well, almost. Perhaps they could have more accurately named this sub brand “Presque”. I’ve been using this product for quite some time now (over a year), and  now that it’s almost gone I feel I’ve accumulated enough experience and information for a thorough, fair review. This was a rare treat for me, as I almost never go higher end for cosmetic products. My local pharmacy was offering a gift with $35 Lancome purchase, and I happened to be there specifically in the market for a facial sunscreen. Lancome’s Beinfait UV SPF 50 was exactly $35 at the time, and the free gift was pretty good! Inside a pretty (and by now well used) purple make up bag was a moisturizer, mascara, bronzer, eyeshadow, lipstick, make up remover, and I think a serum of some sort which is by now long gone. It was a ton of stuff! The eyeshadow itself was the clincher, I loved the shades. It was an afterthought to gather up the GWP for a photo, but after realizing I had most of it left in various states of use I figured I should!

Lancome GWP

Lancome GWP

Included in the gift makeup bag (that I remember):

-Star Bronzer Natural Glow in 01 Lumiere (not bad, a bit sparkly for day)

-Definicils Precious Cells Mascara in Black (beat up from living in my purse makeup bag, smells like roses, it’s gloppy but ok)

-Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover (also smells like roses, don’t find it any more effective than any other dual layer remover)

-Renergie Lift Volumetry Volumetric Lifting and Reshaping Cream, because apparently creams can do that (nope). I don’t use this on my face as I don’t like jar packaging as I find it unsanitary to continually dip your fingers in and put it on your face. I put this away in a bed side drawer and sometimes use as hand cream when I remember.

-Color Design Cream Lipstick in Natural Beauty (perhaps someone else’s natural beauty, as this is too warm/brown for me on it’s own, nice texture and pigment though – reminds me of the 90’s)

-Color Design Sensational Effects Eye Shadow quad with Pink Pearls (matte), Lavender Girl (shimmer), Clock Strikes 12 (matte) and Sultry Mauve (Matte). I quite like these and often wear it to interviews.

Below are swatches in varying lights, from top to bottom Star Bronzer Lumiere, Pink Pearls, Lavender Girl, Sultry Mauve, Clock Strikes 12, then the Natural Beauty Lipstick.

Lancome_Swatch1

Lancome_Swatch2

Lancome Natural Beauty

Lancome Natural Beauty

Lancome Natural Beauty

Lancome Natural Beauty

Back to the actual product I intended to review! Lancome Bienfait UV SPF 50 Ultra Fluid Texture Facial Sunscreen claims to be a quick absorbing. oil free, non comedogenic water resistant broad spectrum UVA/UVB protective sunscreen. Oil free, I guess so. Quick absorbing? Eh, not really. I found I was left with a thin layer of sheen, and I used oil absorbing sheets to pull that off my face before make up application so I wouldn’t be a greasy mess. I’m unable to quantify if it is water resistant as I don’t generally go splashing about after I apply my make up for the day. Non comedogenic? Perhaps for some, but I feel this irritated my skin somewhat, causing a few smaller cysctic acne type breakouts that I have’t gotten since I stopped using this sunscreen, so there goes that claim. As far as effective UVA/UVB coverage goes, well the ingredient list shows the right amount of the right chemicals to make that claim true, so at least there’s that. There is a piece of plastic in the bottle that rattles when you shake it, these are in most of this type of sunscreen bottles I’ve found. The bottle top includes a nice little nozzle/pour spout thing, presumably to keep it from getting everywhere, because…

Lancome_Beinfait_UV_SPF50_nozzle

Lancome_Beinfait_UV_SPF50_swatch

…application itself was a bit slippery due to the very liquid nature of the product. It was downright runny. Although this does in fact aid in spreading it around your face, it doesn’t help you from keeping it out of areas you do not wish it, such as your eyes! The smell is very strong, and typical of sunscreen scent. Once on, it does burn my skin on a more sensitive day, and the fumes bother my eyes. I will attribute this to the deal breaker ingredient: ALCOHOL. Why, Lancome? I could have put up with the runny texture, and I don’t mind blotting before make up application, but alcohol, in this high of a concentration (I can smell it!) in a leave on product? No no no! I could also blame the skin irritation and strong smell on the alcohol as well. The alcohol content in leave on products causes dryness, free radical damage and irritation. I would think such a well known long standing cosmetics company would know as much. Presumably it was added for the thin, fast drying feel.

I told myself I’d use this til it ran out and never repurchase. The alcohol alone is a deal breaker, especially in a product that doesn’t contain any antioxidants or skin communicating ingredients to mitigate the free radical damage it causes on it’s own. I can’t see why someone would want to pay more for a high end product that will do more harm than good to their skin. I only paid $35 for this (and it’s free gifts), and from what I can see they have raised the cost on this to something around $10 more for this same sub par formulation. To me this is unfathomable. Now that I’ve reached the tail end of this product I will be glad to see the back of it. It would not be worth the repurchase even at the lower cost and free gift I got it at! You can do better Lancome! Will be leaving my sunscreen product needs in the hands of Olay and Neutrogena from now on!

Full ingredient listing as follows:

Active: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (5%), Oxybenzone (6%), Other: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Alcohol Denatured, Silica, Dicaprylyl Ether, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate. Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Nylon-12, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Lauryl PEG.PPG-18/18 Methicone, Sodium Chloride, Caprylyl Glycol, Methylparaben, Poly C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Disodium EDTA, Dodecene, Poloxamer

NOPE.

NOPE.

 

Just remembered, I forgot to post my standard negative review haiku.

Were I looking for
Greasy skin and alcohol
I’d go to a prom

 

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