Thursday, 30 August 2012

Veracious Product Review: Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation

Hi, everyone! My latest product review features one of Urban Decay's most anticipated new releases- their Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup ($45 CAD at It seems that after the massive success of their ubiquitous Naked and Naked 2 eye shadow palettes, the brand decided to expand on the "Naked" line- and a foundation was an obvious choice!

Urban Decay Promo Photo

I popped into Sephora just after the foundation's release a few weeks ago and walked out with a couple of samples of the new formula. As the foundation is rather pricey (and my skin rather finicky), I thought testing it out before committing to a full bottle was the best bet!

I wasn't sure of my perfect colour match, so I opted for samples of two shades, #1 and #2 (which I describe in more detail below). 

Here are both of the shades swatched on my arm (approximately a MAC NC15 skin tone), alongside my trusty Revlon ColourStay Liquid Foundation in Buff:

Swatches under natural lighting

Swatches under a mix of natural and artificial lighting

As you can see, #1 is a fairly close match to Revlon Buff, while #2 is slightly darker and more yellow-toned.

Here are some before and after pictures that show the Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation in action! As if I haven't posted enough makeup-less photos of myself on this blog already, here is a photo of me before applying the foundation:

And here are a couple photos of me wearing just the Urban Decay foundation. I chose shade #2 for this shoot:

And a couple shots of me wearing the foundation in the context of a complete makeup look (topped with mattifying powder and bronzer):

And now for a full breakdown of the product's claims and my impressions!

  • The Promise:  "This formula helps skin achieve a natural, illuminated and bright finish— like the beautiful skin you were born with. Naked Skin is formulated with light-diffusing spheres, transforming you to look professionally retouched. Buildable coverage allows women to customize their look. Available in a meticulously calibrated range of shades, Urban Decay’s precise shade numbering system does poetic justice to both warm tones (ending in “.0”) and cool skin tones (ending in “.5”). The finish is matte, never flat, and luminous, but not shiny." (from
A mouthful! But in short, it promises a natural, luminous, semi-matte finish with a lightweight feel, available in a wide range of shades, both cool and warm. 

  • Shades Tested: #1 ("very fair bisque shade with soft warm undertones") and #2 ("fair shade with slight yellow undertones").
  • Colour Match(es): Shade #1 was a good match for my undertones, but was slightly too pale for my subtly-tanned summer skin. I think it will be perfect for winter, though! Shade #2 (pictured on me above) was actually a pretty good match for my skin at the moment. It was slightly more yellow than my natural skin tone, but not overly so. I always prefer foundations that have yellow tones to them anyways, as they tend to cancel out the redness in my skin.
  • Texture: A thin, silky texture- not too watery, but not creamy either.
  • Application: This foundation was incredibly easy to apply. It seemed to melt right into my skin! It didn't cling to dry bits, nor did it accentuate pores. It left a dewy finish at first, but quickly dried down to semi-matte, just as described!
  • Coverage: Light to moderate, buildable coverage. Masked minor redness and unevenness, but concealer was definitely still needed on blemishes and post-acne marks.
  • Wear: This foundation wore like a dream for the first few hours- it left my skin looking natural and glowy. Not too dewy, not too flat! After 4-5 hours, however, my skin became quite shiny. This was remedied by blotting sheets and, at this stage, there was no sign of cakiness or blotchiness. At the end of the day (after 8-10 hours) the foundation had faded significantly, appearing somewhat blotchy, settling into pores and fine lines.
  • Verdict: Overall, the texture and finish of this foundation are quite lovely. I think it would be an excellent choice for those with normal/dry, normal, and normal-to-slightly oily skin looking for a foundation with decent coverage and a natural finish. I had been in the market for such a foundation for a long time (it's hard to find a moderate coverage foundation that looks natural!) and Urban Decay Naked Skin totally fits the bill for the first few hours of wear. Despite this, I don't think I can justify purchasing the full size, as it leaves my skin quite oily after only 4-5 hours. That said, I may give it another go in the wintertime when my skin is not so sebum-happy!

I hope you all found this to be helpful! Have any of you tried this foundation yet? Thoughts?!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Look of the Day: Apocalyptic Mermaid

Hi, everyone! Time for another look of day:

So the mermaid part of the title may make sense immediately- this look is all about an aquatic palette of teals and corals. But "apocalyptic"? Why so dramatic? The reason I went there was because this look features several products from the Meow Cosmetics End of Days collection, which is fittingly "Available only until Doomsday"- 12/21/2012). Meow Cosmetics is a relatively small brand that specializes in top-quality mineral makeup. Most of their products sport cheeky names (many of them cat puns, which I love of course), and this collection is no different, but with a gloomier twist. Most of the shades in the End of Days collection are quite striking- vibrant, shimmery, and complex.
Overall, the current look features three of the End of Days mineral eye shadows (Hopeless, a deep, greenish teal with gold shimmer, Nostradamus, a warm bronzy-brown, and Prophecy, an ivory with subtle, multi-coloured shimmer) and a mineral blush from the regular collection- a warm pinky coral called Delusions.
I first heard of Meow Cosmetics from one of my favourite bloggers, Viola at Killer Colours. She's incredibly talented, and has featured some of the End of Days collection here and here.

Here's another picture of the look, followed by a breakdown:

The Breakdown:

Foundation: Revlon ColourStay (combo/oily formula) in Buff
Concealer: Cle de Peau in Ivory
Powder: MAC Blot in Medium
Bronzer: Hard Candy So Baked Bronzer in Hula Hula
Blush: Meow Cosmetics mineral blush in Delusions
Highlighter: Meow Cosmetics mineral eye shadow in Prophecy

Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden
Base: MAC Paint Pot in Treasure Hunt
Eye Shadows: Meow Cosmetics mineral eye shadows in Hopeless (teal shade, on outer corner and crease), Nostradamus (brown-bronze shade, blended into crease), and Prophecy (shimmery ivory-gold, as a highlight on brown bone and inner corners)
Eyeliner: Tarte SmolderEyes Clay Liner in Brown
Mascara: Clinique Lash Doubling in Black

Lip Balm: Hard Candy Tinted Lip Balm in Starfish (to go along with the mermaid theme!)

And a few more views of the look:

Have any of you ever tried products from Meow Cosmetics? Any other favourite brands of mineral makeup?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Fall 2012 Beauty Trend: Crimson, Carmine, and Mulberry Lips

For me the arrival of fall always evokes mixed feelings. On the one hand, it signals the end of summer. The days of basking in the warmth slowly dwindle, as do the joys of popsicle-eating, suntan lotion, street festivals, and the like. On the other hand, fall brings with it the most amazing scents, colours and breezes. Cooler weather, crisp, falling leaves, pumpkin pie- It's actually my most favourite time of year!

As the seasons transition, so do the beauty trends. Since my wallet doesn't have much to contribute to the new fall collections this year, I thought it would be a fun task to re-create some of the season's most striking looks using products already in my kit.

The trend I'm featuring today centers around deep, crimson lips and an otherwise nude face:

I've compiled several examples, straight off the runway, that inspired me to test out this look for myself. One of my favourite examples was the rich mulberry-stained lips at Rochas. Decidedly deep lipstick against a clean, bare canvas:

Rochas Fall 2012
Rochas Fall 2012
Rochas Fall 2012

Gucci was all about a deep burgundy lip this fall. Rich-pigmented lipstick with a hint of shine, with the rest of the face left neutral. 

Gucci Fall 2012

Gucci Fall 2012

Gucci Fall 2012

And for a more gothic and '90s-inspired take on the trend, striking crimson and black at Basso & Brooke Fall 2012:

Basso & Brooke Fall 2012
Basso & Brooke Fall 2012

And finally, carmine and wine duo-tone lips at Nina Ricci Fall 2012. As if a neutral red lipstick had been saturated by a couple glasses of merlot:

Nina Ricci Fall 2012
Nina Ricci Fall 2012

Nina Ricci Fall 2012

And here are a few more shots of my attempt at the look. It was definitely a "can't get the lighting right", "can't help but make dorky facial expressions" sort of day, but hopefully you can still get a good idea of the look I put together. The central feature was Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick in Rivoli, a deep berry-red with a satin finish. It's truly gorgeous for fall! I opted for a slightly more wearable version of the look (as I did have to wear it to school), but if I get the chance to test drive a more editorial take on the trend, I will definitely share that here too!

Thanks for reading, everyone! Look out for more Fall beauty trend posts in the coming weeks!
What are some of your favourite fall makeup looks? Any that you would love to see re-created here?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Look of the Day: Light Years Ahead

Hi, everyone! It's time for another Look of the Day. This one centers around one of my favourite new products, MAC's Mineralize Skinfinish in Light Year

Part of the Heavenly Creatures collection released last month, Light Year is a highlighter that is both beautiful to look at and gorgeous on the skin. I mean, there are very few products out there that look like a nebula but also give your cheeks a lovely glow! :)

MAC Minerlize Skinfinish in Light Year

The base of Light Year is a mildly shimmery, pale pinky-peach shade, which is amped up with swirls of rose and bronze. When blended together, the effect is a highly reflective golden peachy-pink. Applied lightly, it gives a dewy, shimmery glow to the skin without any trace of chunky glitter. Applied more densely, it is almost as pigmented as a blush on my fair skin. You can also apply the different shades separately to give more specific effects. The bronze swirls make for a lovely warm eye shadow!

In the current look, I've applied Light Year rather heavily along my cheekbones and more lightly on my temples and down the bridge of my nose. I've also used it on my eyes- the light pinky-peach as a wash all over my lid, brow bones, and inner corners, and a mixture of the darker bronze and rose shades in the crease. Here's a list of everything I used:

The Breakdown:

Foundation: Revlon ColourStay Liquid (Combo/Oily Formula) on Buff mixed with Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer in Bliss
Concealer: Cle de Peau in Ivory
Powder: MAC Blot in Medium
Bronzer: Hard Candy So Baked Bronzer in Hula Hula

Highlighter: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Light Year
Blush: Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Blissful (lightly on apples of cheeks only- rest of the cheek colour is Light Year working its wonders!)

Brows: Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Ash Blonde
Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion in Original
Eye Shadows: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Light Year (pale peach/pink as a wash and a highlight, bronze and pink shades on crease and outer corner), MAC Mulch eye shadow (buffed into the crease to add depth)
Eyeliner: Revlon ColourStay Liquid Eyeliner Pen in Black
Mascara: Clinique Lash Doubling in Black

Lips: Dior Addict Lipstick in Bobo

Here are a couple photos of the look under artificial light:

And a few more under natural light (sunlight): 

And that's it! This has been one of my favourite looks for summer so far- light and glowy, with a kick!

Did anyone else pick up some goodies from the MAC Heavenly Creatures collection? What are some of your all-time favourite Mineralize Skinfinishes (MSFs)?

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

My Summer Shower

As I've been perusing more and more beauty blogs lately, I've been increasingly enchanted by posts that give the reader an intimate "peek" into the blogger's collections, storage, and current favourites. Tags like "what's in my handbag" and "what's on my night table" always seem to draw me in. Perhaps it's a purely voyeuristic indulgence (I'm super nosy!), or maybe it's that I trust the opinions of the lovely bloggers I follow, so I'm eager to see what interesting goodies they recommend!

My first stab at this type of post gives you a peek into my shower! Normally I'd blush at this prospect, but luckily you'll only be getting a view of my current summertime shower products :)

Here they are:

As you can see, I'm enjoying a mixture of mid- and low-end products, with a decidedly green motif!

I seem to turn to light, fresh, invigorating scents and textures during the warmer months- and this summer has been incredibly hot! All of these items have been working in tandem to keep my hair soft and clean and my skin supple and lightly scented.

Here's another view, followed by a breakdown!

1) Lush "Grass" Shower Gel- I find this scent so intoxicating! The fairly potent wheatgrass and neroli aroma (I love neroli!) is great at waking me up in the morning and making me feel earthy and fresh. I even use it as a shampoo sometimes, alternating it with my trusty Aveda Camomile Shampoo (not pictured). Despite the strong scent, it only leaves a light fragrance on my body afterwards, which is great!

2) B Kamins Acne Wash- If you've been reading my blog lately you'll know that this is a current obsession of mine (you can see mentions of it here and here ). It has been doing wonders at keeping my skin clear, smooth, and minimizing oil without stripping the skin, which is so essential for summer!

3) Live Clean Exotic Nectar Argan Oil Conditioning Mask- This is a brand that I discovered relatively recently- I love that it's entirely earth, animal, and wallet-friendly! I consider my hair to be combination (can be oily at the roots, but dry at the ends), so I like to use a mask once per week (everywhere except my roots) to keep my hair moisturized. This one smells lovely and leaves my hair looking smooth without the use of tons of synthetic ingredients. Bonus!

4) TRESemme Naturals Vibrantly Smooth Conditioner- I've been using TRESemme hair care products for years, as they claim to be a cruelty-free company and because you get a lot of product for your money. The bottles are huge! This conditioner is a great option for summer. It moisturizes lightly without weighing things down with silicones. And it smells fresh and fruity! Silicone-free hair products tend to leave my hair feeling dry and tangled, but somehow this one does the job nicely!

5) Bic Soleil Razor- Nothing outstanding about this one, but I love the bright colour!

6) Villainess Paradise Misplaced Luxury Soap- I picked up this soap a little while back and was intoxicated by the complex coconutty scent. The soap itself is relatively non-drying and has some scrubby bits if I want a bit of extra exfoliation. I also love that Villainess is a relatively small business dedicated to ethical practices. (Their website can be found here). 

I picked up this soap at Jacob and Sebastian, one of my favourite independent shops for lovely skin care and bath goodies. The service is super friendly and they stock a range of otherwise difficult to find brands. You should check them out if you're ever in downtown Toronto!

7) Mario Badescu Strawberry Tonic Mask- This is another treat that I picked up at Jacob and Sebastian some months ago. It was a lifesaver during the wintertime, but I used it recently so it made it into the shot! It's labelled as being suitable for combination, oily, and sensitive skin (my skin type exactly!) and it smells like fresh strawberries so it was hard to pass up! Although it's a clay-based mask, it actually leaves my skin feeling quite fresh and moisturized afterwards. Plus the fruit acids gently exfoliate, so my skin always looks a touch brighter afterwards. A nice treat, indeed!

8) Lush "Whoosh" Shower Jelly- And finally, one more zingy treat from Lush! The shower jellies are equally fun and daunting to use (you have to pinch of a chunk of the wobbly goo and smoosh it into your shower poof- wow lots of weird words in that sentence!) but this one is worth the extra work because its smell is completely invigorating! Scented with lime, grapefruit, and rosemary, this never fails to perk me up. I could probably walk around with my nose nestled in the pot of it all day, but for the sake of not looking like a right weirdo, I resist! :)

And that's it! Hope you've enjoyed this peek behind my shower curtain.

What are some of your favourite summer bath and shower products?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Hi, everyone! I'm hoping that it is just my end of things messing up, but from my view on Blogger it appears that my past 20 some odd posts have been re-published tonight. This happened when I tried to publish my newest post, which isn't even showing up!

If any of my Blogger followers read this, could you let me know if you're seeing it this way as well?

Anyways, my sincere apologies to all of my Blogger followers whose home pages are being inundated with my previous posts! I'm trying to remedy this- thanks for understanding.

And here's a link to my newest post that should have been the only one popping up last night!

-Jen xoxo

Look of the Day: French Fries and Cherry Popsicles

Hey, everyone! I present to you my latest "look of the day":

French Fries and Cherry Popsicles Look of the Day

Why the yummy-sounding, yet completely random title, you may ask? Essentially, the sweet and savoury moniker was hatched from the central aspects of this look. The base of the eye look is NYX's Jumbo Eye Pencil in French Fries, aptly named due to its golden brown, glistening hue. And the look I created for the lips was one emulating that elusive "just ate a cherry popsicle" flush that is so fun during the summertime. So that's it- cherry lips and french fry eyes!

And here are the two products that inspired me to create the look:

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in French Fries and Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Glossy Tint Lip Sheen in Manic Pink

And this is the finished product!

The Breakdown

Foundation: MAC Pro Longwear NC20 (using a sample of this; not sure it's quite the right shade for me!)
Concealer: Cle de Peau in Ivory
Powder: MAC Blot in Medium
Bronzer: Chanel Luminous Bronzer Powder in Amber Rose
Blush: Sleek Flamingo

Brows: Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Ash Blonde
Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion in Original
Eye Shadows: NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in French Fries (as base on lid, outer corner, and crease), MAC Amber Lights (on lid and crease as an accent), Laura Mercier Sandstone (on brow bone and inner corner)
Eyeliner: Tarte SmolderEyes Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eyeliner in Brown
Mascara: Clinique Lash Doubling in Black

Lip balm: Hevea Blackberry and Chamomile (worked wonderfully as a base for the lip colour)
Lip colour: Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Glossy Tint Lip Sheen in Manic Pink

And a few more shots of the look:

It was definitely a fun look to create and wear- sultry, but still summery! 

What are some of your favourite looks for summer?