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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Frugal Find: NYX For Your Eyes Only Palette

Being a verified makeup addict, I often have dreams about stumbling into a new store and discovering a cosmetics line or product that would otherwise be beyond my reach (either via price-point or lack of accessibility). In the dream, I'm often overcome with excitement that I've found such a treasure, but then wake before the purchase is completed. Not sure what Freud would say about all of this (even my psychology background can't help me here!), but I recently had a similar real-life experience when I wandered into a Rexall in downtown Toronto, only to find a colourful display of NYX products!

NYX is a Japanese brand known for its superior quality at an affordable price. Plus, they endorse cruelty-free practices, which is a bonus! I have tested and loved a couple of their eye shadows in the past, but had no idea that NYX was available anywhere in Toronto. I was thrilled to find this treasure tucked away (literally underground, in the basement of the Atrium on Bay) and, unlike my dreams, I was able to satiate my excitement with a purchase.

The item I came home with was an eye shadow palette, generally one of my biggest makeup weaknesses. Specifically, I purchased their Mysterious Brown Eyes palette ($14.99 CAD), which features ten shades that aim to flatter us brown-eyed gals.

Here's a picture of the palette's sleek box:

And of the outside of the palette itself:

Now onto the fun stuff! Here are a few closeups of the eye shadows themselves:

Yes, my cozy blue robe makes a cameo here ;)

As you can see, there is a nice mix of neutrals and brights, lighter highlight shades and darker smoky hues. I picked up this palette not because I'm convinced that any item designed for brown eyes will work for me, but because I could see this palette being extremely versatile!

Here are swatches of the shades on my arm. I can never get the lighting right to produce clear, perfectly true-to-colour swatches, but hopefully this at least gives you an idea of what the shades are like:

And here are some pictures of a couple looks I've created with the palette so far. The first is a super neutral look, using the yellowy-gold shade as a highlight and a couple of the brown-peachy shades to contour:

And the second is a more vibrant eye look, featuring the super lovely and highly pigmented green shade in the palette:

Overall, I'm looking forward to using this palette to create may different eye looks. It truly is versatile! While a few of the eye shadows lack pigmentation, the uniqueness and vibrancy of some of the other shades (particularly the green, light gold, and deeper browns) as well as the affordable price make this palette totally worthwhile. If you have access to NYX products where you live, you should definitely check this (or the palette suited for your eye colour) out!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Pucci Fever: Guerlain by Pucci Eye Shadow Quad in Capri

I'm tickled to be writing this review, as Guerlain by Emilio Pucci Ecrin 4 Couleurs in Capri is perhaps my favourite splurge from the Spring 2012 cosmetics collections. As they have done in the past, Guerlain teamed up with the iconic design house Pucci to create a makeup collection awash with warm pinks, corals, and bronzes, evocative of springtime in the Mediterranean. While I was tempted to snatch up the whole collection, the treasure that came home with me was the eyeshadow quad.

Here it is, next to its luxe, Pucci-printed box:

Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs in Capri- Spring 2012

And a closeup of the box's interior, lined with a turquoise floral Pucci print:

Though the packaging is charming, it is of course the eye shadow itself that makes this product a standout. Here are a few closeups:

As you can see, the palette contains a sheer white with subtle shimmer, a matte, bright pink, a shimmery salmon-coral, and a deep brown with shimmer. All of the shadows have an amazing, soft texture and are a dream to apply. Super smooth! The pink, coral, and brown shades are quite heavily pigmented, while the white shade is more sheer.

Here are swatches of the individual shades:

I was a bit intimidated by the pink and coral shades at first- not because I shy away from colour, but because pink-toned eyeshadow has a tendency to give me that unrested, irritated eye look. Not flattering! Luckily, when all four shades from the palette are used in unison, the result is actually quite wearable. You could certainly wear the pink and coral shades more heavy-handedly for a greater impact, but the look I created for this post is a bit more subdued.

Here's what I did to create the look:

1) I applied a neutral champagne shade (Laura Mercier Eye Shadow in Sandstone)  all over the lid and crease to create a base for the look. I did not use the white shade from the palette for this, since it is quite sheer and better used as a highlight

2) I applied the coral shade to the inner half of my crease, gently blending up and out.

3) Next, I applied the pink shade to the outer half of my crease, blending it into the coral shade.

4) After that, I applied the brown shimmery shade from the palette to the outer corner of my eye, blending it gently into the crease, merging it with the pink and coral shades.

5) Then I applied the white shade from the palette gently to my brow bone, inner corners of the eye, and the centre of my lid.

6) Next I used the pointed end of the applicator included with the palette to apply the dark brown shade as an eyeliner, winging it out slightly.

7) Finally, I applied two coats of a volumizing mascara (Clinique High Impact Mascara in Black).

And that's it! Here are a few pictures of the final look. My camera didn't fully capture the vividness of the shades (weird, unreliable lighting that day), but hopefully this still gives you a good idea!

Mixture of natural and artificial light, no flash

With flash

Overall, this palette is a must for anyone who is a sucker for warm, summery shades or has a soft-spot for butter-soft eyeshadow. Being a fan of vibrant colour wouldn't hurt either, though as you can see from my look above, even the colour-shy could make this palette work!

Thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Luxebox, April Edition!

Last week I arrived home to find a parcel waiting for me on the porch (always the best feeling!). I excitedly opened it, to find it was the April installment of Luxebox! To read a full description of the Luxebox program and a review of my March box, see here).

As with last month, the packaging was sleek and feminine, sealed with a personalized sticker!

The Daffodil Pin was a nice touch, given that April is the Canadian Cancer Society's Awareness Month!

It also contained a detailed brochure, outlining the contents and how to use them:

Here is a closeup of everything that was inside!

The specific products enclosed were:

1) Orlane Absolute Skin Recovery Cleansing Serum for Eyes. This is a super luxe product, so they compensated by making a very small tube of it!

2) Seche Vite Top Coat. A small bottle of quick-drying clear polish.

3) Bobos Remi Professional Leave-In Conditioner. A decent-sized spray bottle of fresh-scented, shine-enhancing leave-in conditioner.

4) Pantene Auqa Light Shampoo and Conditioner. Sample sized bottles of Pantene's new weightless moisture products.

The Verdict: I was slightly disappointed in the month's LuxeBox, only because the main focus was on hair care products, which has never been my real beauty passion. I've been in the market for a new leave-in conditioner for some time, however, so the Bobos Remi one included here may fit the bill! I'm also excited to test out the Orlane eye cleansing serum, as it's always fun to sample a high-end product that would normally never make it into my clutches.

Currently, the main appeal of Luxebox is the excitement of receiving a package of beauty treats in the mail each month. In the future I will have to weigh this nerdy makeup excitement with the actual quality of the products inside and make an informed decision about whether to continue with the program. But for now, I anxiously await the May installment!

Thanks for reading! xoxo