Monday, 31 December 2012

Nail of the Day: Illamasqua Viridian (+ 100 Followers!)

Hi, everyone! Being New Year's Eve, it's natural to reflect on the year that's passed and assess how it stacks up to other bygone years. 2012 has definitely been filled with hard work, accomplishment, and an incredible amount of fun. One exciting milestone, just recently achieved, is that this little blog has reached 100 followers! I never expected this site to pick up so much steam and I am incredibly grateful for all of my lovely and insightful readers. Couldn't have done it without you! To celebrate the 100 follower mark, I am planning an upcoming giveaway, so keep your eyes out for it in the coming weeks!

Now onto the nail polish! Today's installment features my first ever Illamasqua polish. The brand carries several unique shades, each somewhat unexpected and complex. It was hard to decide! In the end, I opted for Viridian, a deep, multifaceted, shimmer shade. 

As you can see, Viridian is a deep teal-emerald shade with subtle hints of silver and purple. It was mesmerizing to look at in the bottle! On my nails, the purple tones were nearly imperceptible, which was a bit disappointing, however the effect was still quite lovely. On me, it showed up as a deep emerald green with a subtle silvery sheen. The green hue actually made it an unexpectedly festive choice!

Here are a few more views of the polish. It's not the neatest manicure I've ever given myself, but hope you can appreciate the shade regardless!

Overall, even though Viridian didn't show up as expected (a pop of purple would have been nice!), I'm still really happy with this shade. It'll be my go-to when I want vampy nails that don't fall into the typical black-grey-burgundy categories.

Have any of you tried and loved Illamasqua nail polishes? Any favourite shades?

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope all of you have a fun, safe, and festive time tonight! And don't forget to keep an eye out for my upcoming 100 Follower Giveaway! :)

Monday, 24 December 2012

Look of the Day: Holiday Fantasy

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! Today's featured Look of the Day is one I created to be extra fun, festive, and vibrant. It centres around sparkly golden eyes, shimmery pink cheeks, and glossy cherry lips. I was happy with how it turned out!

The star product of this look is Lush Emotional Brilliance Liquid Eyeliner in Fantasy, which is a brilliant sparkly gold shade. To see a swatch of it, click here! I used it as an eyeliner underneath the eye, then as a cream shadow all over my lid. The result was a seriously dramatic gold eye! I went to the doctor's that day, and she literally had to stop the exam to say "wow, I'm mesmerized by your eye shadow!", so I guess I was successful at creating an eye-catching look!

Also key to the look is the now classic NARS Orgasm Blush (what better way to compliment sparkly, gold eyes than with the ultimate pinky-gold blush!?) and the lovely YSL Rouge Volupte Sheer Candy in Luscious Cherry, a vibrant cherry pink with fine gold shimmer. It's one of my new favourites! Because all the key features of the face were quite bold and shimmery, I kept the base quite matte and didn't use any other highlighters or accents. 

Here's a breakdown of everything I used for the look:

Foundation: Revlon ColourStay Whipped Creme Makeup in Buff
Concealer: NYX Above and Beyond Full Coverage Concealer in 03 Light
Powder: Lush Emotional Brilliance Transluscent Face Powder
Bronzer: Chanel Soliel Tan de Chanel Luminous Bronzing Powder in Sable Rose
Blush: NARS Orgasm Powder Blush

Brows: Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Ash Blonde
Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden
Eye Shadows: Lush Emotional Brilliance Liquid Liner in Fantasy (as an eye shadow blended out on the lid and as a liquid liner underneath the eye), Laura Mercier eye shadow in Sandstone (as a highlight on inner corners/brow bone), and the deep chocolate brown shade of the NARS Cordura eye shadow duo (in the crease to add definition)
Eyeliner: Revlon ColourStay Liquid Eyeliner Pen in Black
Mascara: Clinique Lash Doubling in Black

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Sheer Candy in Luscious Cherry

Here are a few more views of the look!

Over my right shoulder (your left) you can see some festive wall stickers. Penguins with Santa hats and snowflakes, to be exact! They are just some of the fun Christmas decorations that my boyfriend secretly adorned my apartment with. Like a ninja, he visited my apartment when I was out and completely turned it into a winter wonderland. It was one of the nicest and most thoughtful things ever! What a guy <3

I hope everyone has a safe, relaxing, and fun-filled holiday this week! Merry Christmas! :)

Friday, 21 December 2012

Veracious Product Review: OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet

Today's post features a product from a brand that I've been dying to try for some time. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics has long been on my makeup radar because of their unique packaging, vegan and cruelty-free ethic and, of course, their cult-status product, Lip Tars. When my local Sephora started carrying the full range of Lip Tars last month, I was incredibly stoked (do people still say 'stoked'?) to try them out!

Picking a shade to purchase was difficult for a couple of reasons. First, I own a ridiculous amount of lipsticks, so it can be hard to find a colour that would be unique in my collection. Second, these little gems come in so many incredible shades, it was hard to narrow it down! Ultimately, the shade I chose was Strumpet, which the brand describes as a "deep red burgundy". I was enchanted by the name (later I was reminded that a strumpet is essentially an old-fashioned british prostitute; I was still enchanted, if not more ;) and was instantly struck by the boldness of the colour!

OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet

All Lip Tars come packaged in a thick plastic sleeve that includes the tube of lip colour, a mini lip brush, and a cardboard sheet that features instructions on how to apply the product correctly.

The instructions suggest that you use the Lip Tars in conjunction with their Clear shade (which apparently acts as a base and a topping gloss); I haven't yet purchased this, but I'm curious!

Onto the swatches! In the photo below I have swatched Strumpet in a thick line straight from the tube, blended out slightly, then blended quite a bit so you can see the texture of the product and how the pigmentation changes as it is sheered out.

OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet (L-R) Straight from the tube, sheered slighted, and heavily blended

As you can see, Strumpet is a gorgeous deep pinky berry shade with slight reddish undertones. When I first tried it on, it reminded me slightly of MAC Rebel lipstick, so I decided to swatch it alongside Strumpet to show the similarities and differences between the shades. Rebel is swatched on either side of the Lip Tar swatches, acting as "bookends" so you can compare it to Strumpet in its full and sheered-down state. 

Rebel is definitely a similar shade, but it has stronger purple/violet undertones than Strumpet does. What do you think- is it worth having both?

And here are a couple of pictures of me wearing Strumpet, followed by my thoughts about the product!

Me wearing OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet


  • Incredibly pigmented! A little goes a very long way, so I can see this product lasting forever!
  • Vibrant, yet wearable shade that isn't overly warm or cool. I think this would be flattering on a majority of skin tones.
  • Extremely long-wearing! I ate a full meal (and even had a beer or two!) and my lips were still left with a nice berry stain. The colour had faded for sure, but was nowhere near disappearing!
  • Very handy that it comes with its own portable lip brush.
  • Relatively affordable. At $19 CAD this doesn't break the bank, especially since this product should last forever.
  • Vegan and cruelty-free. Always bonuses in my book!
  • Because this is very pigmented, it is easy to apply too much of the product. A tiny drop is really all you need!
  • This did dry out my lips slightly throughout the day, which isn't the most welcome effect during the cold winter months.

Overall, I am incredibly happy with this product. It really lived up to the hype, especially in terms of the incredible pigmentation and long wear. Plus I'm smitten with the shade! I was a bit disappointed in how the formula dried out my lips, which may make me a bit hesitant to wear Lip Tars frequently during the wintertime. I think these would be ideal for the humid summer months, though! There were definitely a few other Lip Tar shades that really caught my eye (especially Grandma and Super NSFW), so if I pick any more up I'll be happy to share my impressions with you!

Has anyone else given OCC Lip Tars a go? Any favourite shades?

As always, thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Veracious Product Review: Karl Lagerfeld for Shu Uemura Prestigious Bourdeax Palette

Hi, everyone! This review focuses on one of the most lovely holiday makeup products out right now. This year Shu Uemura teamed up with the legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld to create an incredibly chic, festive, and whimsical holiday makeup collection. For my impressions of the collection and a synopsis of a recent beauty event I attended, check here!

The star product from the collection (in my humble opinion) is the playful and dazzling Prestigious Bordeaux Eye and Cheek Palette. To see a look I created using this little gem, see here! 

The palette is housed in a sleek black and white box with red accents:

Though the box is chic, the design on the palette itself is more up my alley. It features the adorable "Mon Shu Girl" that Lagerfeld created as the 'face' of this campaign. She represents fun, colour, and the cheeky aesthetic of Japanese pop and anime culture. As you can see, she's sporting Lagerfeld's classic getup: a crisp, white shirt and a thin black tie. She's also decorated with the colours that are integral to this palette- rich purple eyes and vibrant coral cheeks. 

Upon opening the palette, I noticed the cutest detail- the mirror is shaped as a silhouette of the Mon Shu Girl. Quite adorable and charming! As much as I'm a sucker for quirky and feminine packaging, it really was the shades in the palette that inspired me to bring it home. 

The palette features 5 eyeshadows and one blush shade. As described on the Shu Uemura website, the palette includes a "gorgeous array of coordinated colors that revolve around rich bordeaux.silky smooth eye shadow in glamorous glitter wine and deep brown; pressed eye shadows in pale purple, soft brown, and brick gold add sensual accents to your eyes; coral rose glow-on blush for a sparkling allure on cheeks" (from

I would describe the purple shade as a deep, sparkly eggplant- very complex and unique! The brown shade is a warm, sparkly chocolate shade that can be used alone or in combination with the eggplant shade to create a glistening smokey eye. The third shade is a mid-tone lilac with subtle shimmer (not nearly as sparkly as the top two shades) and the fourth is a nearly-matte champagne-taupe that could be used to ground the look or blend out some of the darker shades. The fifth shade is an incredibly sparkly orange gold that is incredibly pigmented. A little goes a long way and it works great as an accent colour! The final shade is a warm-toned, slightly shimmery reddish-coral that should be worn sparingly- it is also quite pigmented and rich!

Here are swatches of the 5 shadows and the blush:

And here's a quick photo of the look I created using the palette. So festive and sparkly!

Overall, I've really been loving this palette, especially now that the holiday season is upon us and festive eye looks go with the territory! All of the shades are incredibly soft and pigmented and the detail and cuteness of the packaging can't be beat! Also, the applicators included with the palette (a double-ended sponge applicator and a double-ended brush) are actually quite functional. I used them to create the look I featured above! 

The only downsides are that, because half of the shades are quite sparkly, this is definitley not the most versatile of palettes out there. Also, I really wish the blush pan were bigger- it's quite hard to apply a light coating of the blush when a tiny brush has to be used. Any large blush brushes would pick up the eye shades in the process as well! I solved this by applying the blush with the small brush included and then blending like crazy with a larger brush. The result was still quite a bold cheek, but the smooth texture of the product at least allowed for an even application in the end. Phew!

I am heading home for the holidays tomorrow and will definitely be bringing this lovely palette with me. Though I'll probably be spending most of my time in my PJs eating Christmas cookies, this palette will be in my arsenal when a little festive glam is in order!

What are some of your favourite products from this year's holiday collections?

Friday, 14 December 2012

Veracious Product Review: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed

Several months ago, I entered Sephora with the goal of a quick makeup touch-up. In particular, my cheeks were looking somewhat bland and I wanted to add a bit of colour to my face while still keeping things relatively neutral. I stumbled upon Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed and was in love at first swipe! It appeared to be the perfect go-with-anything neutral that still packed a bit of a colour punch. Right up my alley!

Because I wasn't in the market to buy a blush that day (technically, I should never be since I already own a billion), I left it on the shelf. In the meantime, I've heard so many bloggers rave about this shade (wow, I must have really been onto something!, I thought), so when Sephora finally had its 20% off sale last month, I was quick to finally snatch this baby up!

Here's a photo of it, followed by a review and my impressions:

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed

This line of blushes, touted for high pigmentation and long-wear (12 hours!) comes in a transparent plastic box that provides a few details about the product.

You can read that the blush is formulated without mineral oil, parabens, and other synthetic no-nos and it is super handy and thoughtful that the ingredients are listed clearly on the back for anyone interested!

The packaging also boasts that the formula is rich with natural elements, including Vitamins E and C and, of course, Amazonian Clay. Tarte is also a cruelty-free makeup line (PETA-approved), which is always a bonus in my books!

The compact itself is sleek and, well, compact, with cute detailing on the front. It's also nice that the shade of the compact matches the colour of the blush inside. Handy!

Here's another look at the product itself:

As I hinted at earlier, the shade is truly an incredibly versatile neutral; it goes with most every makeup look and would suit most skin tones, however it is still quite pigmented and pronounced. On me, it appears as a slightly brown-toned, warm pink with very subtle plummy undertones. I also pick up soft peachy tones in the blush as well (perhaps the warm tones in the blush reacting with my warm-ish skin tone?), so overall I really find it to be the ultimate balance of pink, brown, plum, and peach. Who knew such a versatile shade could be so complex!?

Here are swatches of the blush (L) swatched heavily and (R) more lightly:

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed swatched (L) heavily and (R) lightly 

And here are a few photos of me wearing the blush. I layered it on quite a bit that day, partially to fully demonstrate the shade and partially because I just like wearing lots of blush! :)

Me wearing Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed

Overall, I'm in love with the formula of this blush (smooth, pigmented (but buildable), truly long-wearing, and easy to apply) and this shade is a particular winner. I also own Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Blissful (a matte peachy-coral) and have been super pleased with that option as well. Can't wait to try more from this line, as I have been thoroughly impressed so far!

Do any of you own and love this shade? Any other favourite blushes from this line? Any other swoon-worthy Tarte products in your collection?

Thanks for reading! :)

Monday, 10 December 2012

Lush Emotional Brilliance Eyeliner and Eye Shadow Swatches

Hi, everyone! A couple months ago I reviewed several of the Lush Emotional Brilliance Liquid Lipsticks and got a great response (they really are lovely!), so I thought I'd share with you some of the unique liquid liners and eye shadows that the Lush Emotional Brilliance line has to offer. (Also, you can check out this link if you'd like to read about my initial impressions of and in-store experiences with the Lush Emotional Brilliance line. It was really fun!)

From left to right: Liquid Eyeliners in Independent, Motivation, and Fantasy; Cream Eye Shadows in Focus, Happiness, and Lifted

My current Emotional Brilliance collection features three liquid liners and three cream shadows. The formula really varies from shade to shade (some are matte, others are quite shimmery), but each is highly pigmented and quite easy to apply. Each also contains a built in applicator attached to the lid; a thin, precise brush for the eyeliners and doe foot applicators for the eye shadows. They are all quite smooth and creamy at first but vary in the way they set. You can tell this by the swatches below; check them out!

(L-R) Liquid Eyeliners in Independent, Motivation, and Fantasy; Cream Eye Shadows in Focus, Happiness, and Lifted

Independent is a deep black with subtle silver shimmer that dries down to an opaque, matte finish. 
Motivation is a a deep blueish-green (somewhere between teal and turquoise) with beautiful gold and green shimmer. Dries down to a subtlely-sparkly vibrant finish.
Fantasy is a true yellow-gold shade packed with gold and tiny multicoloured shimmer and glitter. This is the most sheer and sparkly of the three liners that I have.

Focus is a semi-sheer frosty silver-blue shade with subtle silver, purple, and green shimmer. More of a duo-chrome finish than a simple shimmer. Very cool-toned. 
Happiness is a semi-sheer, bold orange copper with fine gold and copper shimmer. Very warm-toned.
Lifted is a vibrant lemon yellow that is shimmer free and dries down completely matte. Less opaque than the liquid liners, but less sheer than the other cream shadows in my collection.

Here are a few more pretty pictures to look at!

(L-R) Liquid Eyeliners in Independent, Motivation, and Fantasy; Cream Eye Shadows in Focus, Happiness, and Lifted

In natural light

Overall, I'm very impressed with the uniqueness of these shades. They are so beautiful and definitely not typical! I haven't worn them all yet, so I won't comment on factors like wear and longevity at this point (another post, for sure!), but for now I'm definitely happy to have these goodies in my collection!

Have any of you tested out any of the Lush Emotional Brilliance eye products yet? Any of the shades above really speaking to you?

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Look of the Day: Prestigious Bordeaux

Hi, everyone! Today's look of the day is bold and festive, with shimmer and sparkle galore! Definitely not an everyday type of look, but one that could definitely be flaunted for a holiday party or any special occasion when  you want some extra drama and glamour. Who doesn't want to feel feminine and sparkly once in a while? ;)

The star of this look is Shu Uemura's Prestigious Bordeaux Palette from the new Karl Lagerfeld for Shu Uemura Holiday collection. I recently attended a beauty event to celebrate the release of the collection, which you can read about here! The palette consists of 5 lovely, festively shimmery shadows and 1 warm-toned blush and is excellent for creating a dramatic, holiday look. I'll be reviewing the palette very soon, so you'll be able to see some pictures and swatches of this fantastic little gem!

In the meantime, here's one tease of a photo, followed by another view of the look and a breakdown of what I used.

Karl Lagerfeld for Shu Uemura Prestigious Bordeaux Palette (Holiday 2012)

I usually don't photograph with flash, but I found that the flash really picked up on the shimmer, dimension, and texture of the eye shadows, so the first few photos are shot that way.

Here is a list of the products I used to create the look:

The Breakdown:

oundation: Shu Uemera Face Architect Smoothing Fluid Foundation #784

Concealer: Cle de Peau Concealer in Ivory
Powder: MAC Blot Powder in Medium
Bronzer: Hard Candy So Baked Bronzer in Hula Hula
Blush: Shu Uemura Glow On Blush in Coral Rose (from the Prestigious Bordeaux Palette)
Highlighter: Shu Uemura Eye Shadow in IR911

Brows: Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Ash Blonde
Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden
Eye Shadows: All from the Shu Uemura Prestigious Bordeaux Palette: shimmery lilac shade on the centre of the lid, shimmery deep eggplant shade in crease, shimmery deep brown shade in outer corner and blended up into the crease, and sparkly orange-gold shade in inner corners. I also used the deep brown shade softly along the top lashline and Shu Eye Shadow IR911 (not from to the palette) on the brow bone.
Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Bourbon 
Mascara: Clinique Lash Doubling in Black

Lips: MAC Viva Glam V Lipstick

And here are a few more pictures of the look... 

And a few pictures without the flash. These more unforgivingly display the stress-related breakouts I had at the time (thanks, grad school!), but pay no attention to the spots. All eyes on the pretty makeup! ;)

And that's it! What are some of your favourite festive looks for the holiday season? I definitely plan on posting some more festive, holiday-inspired makeup looks, and I'm open to requests! :) Has anybody else tested out the Karl Lagerfeld Shu Uermura collection?

As always, thanks for reading! :) xoxo