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Sunday 29 July 2012

My First Experience with Lush Emotional Brilliance!

Two days ago I finally had a chance to check out Lush's first makeup collection, Emotional Brilliance. It was released late last week, so I was chomping at the bit! I've been a dedicated Lush fan for more than 10 years, so having to wait for over a week to see their makeup offering was difficult. But I finally made it happen!

I visited the Eaton Centre Lush store in Toronto this past Friday, to find this tantalizing sign hanging in the window:

I quickly gravitated to the colour wheel, which I knew was the cornerstone of the full Emotional Brilliance experience!

Based on what I'd read about the collection, I had gleaned that the makeup line is based on the concept of colour therapy, which suggests that the colours one is drawn to speak to that person's strengths, desires, and character. A bit hokey? Sure! But did it pique my interest? Definitely!

I was quickly greeted by a friendly Lush employee who asked if I'd like a colour reading. I instantly agreed and was invited to close my eyes and clear my mind as she spun the colour wheel.

After quieting my mind (which was slightly difficult in a loud, crowded mall, but I gave it a go!) I was instructed to open my eyes and to point to the first three colours on the wheel that I was drawn to. Not necessarily my favourite colours, but rather those that appealed to me at that very moment.

The shades I selected were a bright electric blue, a vibrant fuchsia, and a shimmery golden orange. The employee turned over the colour discs to reveal the corresponding elements underneath. Turns out I'd chosen "In Charge", "Passionate", and "Vibrance" (which amazed me, given the name of this blog!).

She cheerfully explained that the first colour I'd chosen ("In Charge", the bright blue) represented one of my most important current strengths, while the second shade I'd selected ("Passionate", the fuchsia) highlighted something I needed more of in my life. Finally, she noted that the third shade I chose ("Vibrance", the orange) was something that I needed to increase in my life if I wanted to achieve the quality in the middle. Hokey? Perhaps. But since I love any type of personality test, I was intrigued. And since I don't want to psychoanalyze myself here, I'll leave it at that! :)

The results of my colour reading- "In Charge", "Passionate", and "Vibrance"

She then wrote down my three selected elements on a card, as a souvenir of my assessment...

"Power" was not part of my reading, but was a shade I was drawn to afterwards, which you'll see in a bit!

The  next step was to reveal makeup items that corresponded with my colour wheel choices. She opened up these drawers, which were full of adorable and brightly-coloured glass jars. I swooned!

She explained that the line consisted of liquid lipsticks, eye shadows, and eyeliners, all of which have a calming and moisturizing base, similar to their multi-tasking Ultra Balm.

It turns out that "In Charge" is one of their eyeliners (which makes sense, given that it is bright blue!). I swatched it on my hand and was impressed with the pigmentation, though I found the formula somewhat dry. She said that "Vibrance" was also an eyeshadow (thought I later saw it was a lipstick). I swatched it on my hand as well and fell instantly in love. What a unique golden-orange shade! "Passionate" was one of their lipsticks, which I was eager to try on my lips. The pigmentation and shade were immediately impressive (a bright fuchsia with a supremely moisturizing base? yes, please!). I have a couple pictures of me wearing it below! I was also drawn to a lipstick called "Power", a bright coral-based red. I also swatched that one, pronto!

Here are the swatches on the back of my hand:

Swatches of (L-R) In Charge, Vibrance, and Power

And here I am wearing "Passionate" lipstick. It instantly became my newest beauty crush, so I had no qualms photographing myself sporting it on a busy downtown street! I was  a bit oily "glowing" at the moment, but don't let that distract you from the lipstick's beauty!

Me wearing Lush "Vibrance" liquid lipstick


After this fun experience, I had to decide which goodies would be going home with me. Although I had a strong urge to grab several bottles, run, and not look back, my sensible (in charge?) side decided on these two lovelies:

Vibrance lipstick:

And Passionate lipstick:

And a closeup to see the shimmery nuances of each:

Lush "Vibrance" and "Passionate" liquid lipsticks

Overall my first experience with Emotional Brilliance was a ton of fun, and I feel I came home with a couple of stellar products. I'll be test-running them asap, so look out for some reviews soon! If you have any interest in the line, go check it out! Don't let the hokey-ness of the colour wheel keep you away- the colour reading is totally optional and you can ultimately test any shades that appeal to you.

Have any of you tested out the line yet? What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading! :)

Thursday 26 July 2012

B Kamins Clear Skin Kit- Update

Hello, everyone! A couple of months ago I posted my preliminary review of the B Kamins Clear Skin Kit, which you can peruse here . At the article's conclusion I promised an update, so here it is! (And here is a photo of what the kit looks like, to refresh your memory!):

My initial results with the kit were promising, so I've continued with many aspects of the regimen. I used up the majority of the mini-sized products within the first 4 weeks or so, and I was quick to re-purchased the Acne Wash and the Corrective Mattifier, which I have been using in tandem with the Blemish Gel, the lone full-sized product from the original kit. Here's a picture of the two full-sized goodies that I bought:

B Kamins Corrective Mattifier and Acne Wash, full-sized

I haven't been using the products quite as regularly or aggressively as I did initially, but the results have continued to impress. For instance, I only use the Corrective Mattifier every other evening (in order to reap its exfoliating and calming benefits without overdoing it) and I typically use the Spot Treatment only at nighttime as well. I've also been using the Purifying Mask about once per week, and have just recently exhausted the mini-sized tube. The Acne Wash, however, is the one product I don't think I can live without! I continue to use it every morning and evening. It is excellent at removing makeup, no longer dries out or irritates my skin, and has kept my face looking bright and smooth. It's a total winner!

Overall, the size, number, and frequency of breakouts on my face have slowly but steadily continued to decrease. My skin is certainly less red and angry and the texture is more refined. I am not completely acne-free and am still contending with some reddish post-acne marks, but I still find the changes in my skin to be quite notable and impressive!

I could continue to tout praises, but perhaps some photos would be a better illustration!

Here are a few pictures of me from last week, wearing only moisturizer and foundation primer:

As you can see, there is less redness and are fewer bumps on my skin now. Not perfect, but definitely smoother and more even-toned. If you want to see my "before" photos, check out my initial review, which is linked at the top of this article!

And here are a couple photos of me wearing only a sheer tinted moisturizer (Chantecaille Just Skin in Bliss). As you can see, with only a thin layer of product, my skin looks near-flawless. I definitely couldn't have claimed this a couple of months ago!

Overall, I'm quite happy that I opted for the B Kamins Clear Skin Kit those weeks ago- and so is my skin! B Kamins was lovely enough to replenish my stock of the Matte Moisturizer SPF 15 and the Purifying Mask, which I intend to re-introduce to my skincare routine as needed. I was delighted by their generosity! In any future updates regarding these products, I will be committed to full disclosure of which items have been sent my way and will remain dedicated to providing only the most veracious of reviews.

Thanks for reading, everyone! xoxo

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Look of the Day: Bronze, Purple, and Pink

Hi, everyone! Sorry for my absence over the past week. I've been on a mini (much needed) holiday of sorts, relaxing and celebrating with friends and family in my hometown. The central reason for my visit was my friend's wedding this past Friday (congrats, Lisa!) and the look I'm featuring in this post is what I wore for the occasion.

The dress I wore was magenta accessorized with bronze accents, so I thought I'd opt for complementary purple and bronze eye shadow, paired with more subtle pink cheeks and lips. Here's the look!

The Breakdown:

Foundation: Revlon ColourStay Liquid (combo/oily formula) in Buff mixed with Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in #21
Concealer: Cle de Peau
Powder: MAC Blot in Medium
Bronzer: Clio Cosmetics Art Blusher #3
Blush: Sleek Flamingo

Brows: Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Ash Blonde
Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion in Original
Eye Shadows: Laura Mercier Sandstone (centre of lid and to highlight), Urban Decay Rockstar (blended in crease and outer corner), Urban Decay Mushroom (concentrated in crease for definition), Urban Decay Infamous (as an accent), MAC Amber Lights (blended into the purple shades)
Eye Liner: Revlon ColourStay Liquid Eyeliner Pen in Black
Mascara: Anna Sui Full Mascara in Black

Lips: Revlon ColourBurst Lip Butter in Peach Parfait

Bronze and purple tones are among my favourites for eye shadow, so it was fun blending them together (literally!). My beloved Urban Decay Mariposa Palette got a lot of use this time! Here are a few more pictures of the look:

And here is a picture of me celebrating at the wedding. A lovely time was had by all!


Monday 16 July 2012

My Shu Uemura Master Class Adventure!

Last month I was lucky enough to attend a Shu Uemura Masterclass at the Bloor St. Holt Renfrew in Toronto. It was a great combination of learning and play- incredibly fun and informative! This post turned out to be quite picture and text-heavy, so I'll get right to it!

The first portion of the masterclass had us in a private "classroom" where we got to experience some of the products and see a demonstration by a national Shu Uemura artist. Here are some of the goodies that were featured in the middle of our table. I wanted to play with them all!

I was like a kid in a candy store!

And speaking of candy, there was an amazing selection of treats to nibble on during the demonstration. All the savoury options had meat in them, so I stuck with the desserts ;) They were to die for!

And a few other pictures of the various product set-ups around the room:

There was a quick video introducing us "students" to the brand, and then they turned the room over to Patricia Lee, one of Shu Uemura's national makeup artists.

Patricia demonstrated the use of both skin care and makeup products on a lovely model, giving us helpful tips and tricks along the way. This model is actually featured on the Shu Uemura website (she's in the top photo here); Patricia did her makeup for that shoot as well!

For our workshop, Partricia showed us how the skin care (including the ever-famous Cleansing Oils) can give a healthy glow to the skin and stressed the importance of proper application (e.g., using a sponge to apply the UV Underbase Mousse primer evenly and a brush to give the Face Architect Foundation a flawless finish). Here are a couple pictures of Patricia working her magic:

Following the makeup demonstration portion of the event, we were led downstairs to the Shu counter to play. We were each assigned to a makeup artist who customized a skin care routine and makeup look for us, according to our skin types and makeup tastes. I got to work with the lovely Megan, a makeup artist and sales associate at the Shu Uemura counter at Holts. She was the one who signed me up for this event in the first place (plus she's a sweetheart), so I was happy to have her make me over!

Here are some pictures of the counter. So many fabulous colours!

When I sat down in Megan's chair, I already had on base makeup and brows. I kept it simple so that she could work with a (nearly) bare canvas. Here's a picture of me beforehand:

Megan started with  my eyes, opting for a palette of blues. I don't often use navy on my eyes, but she was inspired so I let her do her thing! I wish I had taken note of the exact products she used on me; since I didn't I can offer a complete list, but I can do my best to describe them and offer pictures.

Here are some of the eyeshadows she used on me. Shu offers several blue-toned shadows, including ME Soft Blue 655, IR Medium Blue 675, ME Medium Blue 686, and P Dark Blue 696. Yes, all the shades are numbered rather than named, which makes them a bit harder to remember, but here is some photo evidence at least:

To complete my eye look, Megan also tightlined my eyes (i.e., applied liner right at the base of my lashes, on top and bottom) using Painting Liner, a cream liner, in Black. She also applied a couple coats of their new mascara, Ultimate Natural Mascara, in Black. She further defined my brows using Hard Formula pencil in Seal Brown (this stuff seriously rocks!) and highlighted my cheek bones using one of their new glitter eye shadows in G Gold. Megan also applied the glittery gold shadow as a highlight under my eye and on my brown bones. She applied a mid-tone, matte peachy pink blush to the apples of my cheeks (she didn't tell me the number, but it was likely Glow On Blush in M Soft Coral 345), and finished with a sheer pinky coral gloss. I can't find a gloss on their website that looks similar, but it was definitely a part of their Gloss Unlimited line. 

And here are some shots of the final look! Yes, I was that crazy person taking photos of myself on Bloor Street (a crowded downtown Toronto street) at rush hour. Oh well, natural sunlight showed the look of well! I hate that my skin was so broken out at the time, but hopefully you can look around it and just admire the pretty makeup :)

And, of course, I didn't leave the event empty-handed. I purchased three items, and received another full-sized product as a gift! Here's a picture of my haul:

Sadie was very excited about it! :)

Specifically, I purchased Blush Brush #20 (which Megan used on me- it was excellent!):

UV Under Base Mousse, a super lightweight primer with SPF 30 (in beautiful limited edition packaging):

Skin Purifier- High Performance Balancing Cleaning Oil Advanced Formula, likewise in beautiful limited edition packaging:

And I received a full-sized face cream as a free gift! Specifically, I scored a pot of Red:Juvenus Vitalizing Retexturizing Cream, which is aimed at nourishing and smoothing skin dealing with the first signs of ageing. It contains pomegranate, lycopene, and other skin-loving ingredients. My skin has been adoring it so far as a night cream!

I'm  not going to review each of these products now (this post is way too long already!), but I'll say that I've been totally impressed with the performance of each of the items so far. Totally worth the money!

I was recently reminded that Shu Uemura is owned by L'Oreal (and thus offers less-than-stellar animal testing policies), so I will do my best to limit my Shu purchases in the future. But for now I will enjoy the treats that I came home with and, more importantly, revel in all of the new skills, tricks, and tips that I picked up during the workshop!

Thanks so much for reading! xoxo