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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Cutest Lipstick Ever? Balala Hello Bunny Matte Lipstick #1 from the Born Pretty Store

Hi, everyone! I thought I'd bring you a touch of cuteness on this chilly Sunday! I was lucky enough to have another chance to select some goodies from the Born Pretty Store last month, and one of my selections was driven solely by the outright adorable girliness of the packaging. Seriously, who can pass up a lipstick shaped like a bunny?!

The Balala Hello Bunny Matte Lipsticks** are housed in textured cardboard boxes that depict a cartoon-like version of the packaging inside. They also feature the shade number on top:

Upon opening the box, the cuteness emerges! The lipsticks feature plastic tubes adorned with bows, bunny ears, and expressive little faces. I haven't seen anything quite like them! And the bonus? They're a mere $3.66 USD each!

When it came to shade choice, I selected the most fun, frivolous colour in the range, which I thought would complement the packaging perfectly. I opted for Shade #1, which is a pale, pastel neon pink. 

While it looks nearly fuchsia in the tube, it definitely appears much more milky and whitened on the skin. Here it is swatched on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone):

And here's what it looks like on my lips:

... and in the context of an entire makeup look!

In terms of the formula, I have to say that I was quite impressed! It is truly pigmented and reaches full opacity in just a couple of swipes. Despite the opaque finish, it felt fairly smooth and lightweight on the lips and while it did cling slightly to dry patches, it certainly had a more comfortable feel than other high-end mattes I've tried! 

As for the shade, this isn't for the tame! As much as I love bright pinks, it's even a bit out there for my taste. That said, it's undoubtedly an ultra fun colour that is completely unique among my collection. Definitely one to reach for when you want to channel your girly side. And it looks adorable on my dresser!

Thanks again to the Born Pretty Store for sending this lovely little lipstick my way! You can stop by their site to peruse many more precious makeup goodies like this one :)

**This product was sent to me by the Born Pretty Store for review on the blog. The opinions presented in this post are completely authentic and my own!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Look of the Day: IMATS-Inspired

Hi, everyone! This week's posts have been all about my inaugural IMATS visit and this third and final installment represents a first attempt at putting my brand new IMATS-acquired makeup items to good use! I was inspired by all of the beautiful artistic looks presented at the show, so I thought I'd call on my new goodies to create a look that was wearable, but still channelled a dreamy, colourful aesthetic. It featured a variety of textures and finishes, courtesy of the top-notch pro products that IMATS allowed me to add to my kit!

For the complexion, I turned to my new Face Atelier products. My base is the beautiful Ultra Foundation in #1 Porcelain, which offers amazing coverage and a natural satin finish. It was truly a dream to apply and matched my skin's undertones perfectly! On the cheeks, I dabbed a generous helping of Face Atelier Facade in Chameleon, which is a gorgeous gel-to-powder product that blends effortlessly into the skin and offers a cool, rosy flush with a matte finish. I also massaged some of Chameleon onto my lips, which created a fantastic just-bitten look. As a contour, I dipped my Hakuhodo J5521 Tapered Highlighting brush into some of the mid- to deep taupe shades from the Kryolan Variety Eye Shadow Compact in V3 Natural, which imparted a super subtle shadow beneath my cheekbones. 

To frame the eyes, I filled in my brows with a mix of the paler taupe shades from the Kryolan Variety Eye Shadow Compact in V3 Natural. I couldn't quite achieve the perfect shade for me, but the finish and texture worked wonderfully! These would definitely double as a fab brow colour if you can make the shades work for you.

The eye colour was all about my new Yaby Pearl Paints. These babies are ultra pigmented and I did my best to blend all five shades to create dimension and shape. I started by applying Baby Sapphire (a pale, icy blue) on the inner third of my lid, blending up to the brow. I then layered Sea Turtle (a shimmery seafoam) all over the centre of my lid and added a swipe of Summer Night (a mid-tone cool blue) along the socket line. To add a touch of warmth and depth, I applied Tamarind (a warm coppery brown) on the outer third of my lid, blending it into the crease. I finished things off by smudging Purple Iris (a warm, shimmery violet) along my lower lash line for a fun pop of colour. And voila! 

Here's a closeup showing the texture of the Yaby Pearl Paints and Face Atelier Facade, followed by a full breakdown of the products used! 

The Breakdown:

Foundation: Face Atelier Ultra Foundation in #1 Porcelain
Concealer: BeneFit Fake-Up in Light (under eyes) and MAC Select Cover-Up NC20 (on blemishes and redness)
Powder: Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot (lightly on t-zone)

Highlight: BeneFit Watt's Up (on cheekbones)

Blush: Face Atelier Facade in Chameleon

Contour: Mix of the deeper taupe shades from the Kryolan Variety Eye Shadow Compact in V3 Natural

Brows: Mix of the lighter taupe shades from the Kryolan 
Variety Eye Shadow Compact in V3 Natural
Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion Original Formula
Eye Shadows: Yaby Pearl Paints in Baby Sapphire (on inner corner, blended up to brow bone), Sea Turtle (packed on the centre of the lid), Summer Night (on the crease), Tamarind (on outer third of the lid and blended into the crease) and Purple Iris (along lower lash line)

Eyeliner: Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Stone Fox
Mascara: BeneFit They're Real!

Face Atelier Facade in Chameleon

And a few more shots of the look:

My first stab at these new products was really a pleasure! The professional inspiration behind these brands was readily apparent from the get go. The textures are highly pigmented, yet effortlessly blendable, the shades are unique, and the wear time was top-notch. It was fun to play with these cheery hues while channelling my inner makeup artist and feeling like a bit of a pro. Can't ask for much more!

I'm planning to write more in-depth reviews of the Yaby, Face Atelier, Hakuhodo, and Kryolan goodies from my IMATS haul, so watch out for those soon!

Have a wonderful weekend :)

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

IMATS Toronto Haul!

Hi, everyone! If you peeked at my last post, you'll know that I attended IMATS last weekend, which was a killer experience! I got to completely unleash my love of makeup artistry, learn about some amazing products, and geek out with my fellow beauty bloggers. While I wanted to snag all of the liquid latex, fake blood, and grease paints, I had to bite the bullet and realize that a career in special effects makeup artistry just isn't in my immediate future. So, instead, I tried to purchase professional, hard-to-find products that I could easily incorporate into my daily  makeup bag. 

I lugged everything home in my big, glossy IMATS bag and quickly sprawled it out so I could properly ogle. 

The first brand that drew me in was Yaby, a makeup artist-driven, Canadian line. I'd heard fantastic things about the pigmentation and staying powder of their eye shadows. Their rep Ashley (who also did the makeup for my beautiful cousin's wedding- hi, Ashley!) immediately directed me to Yaby's Pearl Paints, tiny, but potent little pans of colour. They offer a creamy powder formula, extreme pigmentation, and are also waterproof and vegan-friendly. 

After a serious swatch-a-thon, I chose five shades, which, I have to say, have some of the best names on the market. I selected Summer Night (a cool, mid-tone shimmery blue), Sea Turtle (a frosty seafoam green), Baby Sapphire (a metallic ice blue), Tamarind (a warm, coppery brown), and Purple Iris (a warm shimmery violet). I also snagged a Stackable Set 5-pan Palette to house them. It's cute and compact, and can also be expanded with additional layers if I want to add more products in the future. Handy! 

I was also thrilled to see Face Atelier at the show, which is another fab Canadian line I'd heard nothing but good things about. As if my excitement weren't enough, Face Atelier was truly offering the deal of the day- a full size foundation plus cheek colour for $45 (which is two dollars less than the foundation alone!). 

The star of the line is their Ultra Foundation and I was colour matched to shade #1 Porcelain. This base promises to be highly pigmented, long-wearing, and buildable, with a natural, satin finish that allows skin to breathe. Because of the sophisticated silicones in the formula, Face Atelier touts that no primer or setting powder are required! The foundation is oil-free, fragrance-free, and non-comodegenic and is designed to be "moisture, heat, and sebum-resistant" (from That's quite the tall order! Though I've tried it out already and can truthfully say it's all that and a bag of chips! I also was given a generous sample of their Ultra Foundation in Zero Minus, a white-toned base that can be mixed into other foundations to adjust the hue. Very cool! 

The Face Atelier rep then directed my attention to their Facades. Housed in tiny plastic tubes, I originally though they were lip glosses. But after a quick demo, I realized they were so much  more! The Facades are silicone-based, gel-to powder formula lip and cheek colours that offer translucent, streak and crease-free matte colour. The texture was truly unique! I opted for Chameleon, a vivid cherry pink. 

Next up was a stop by the Kryolan counter. Kryolan is a well-established professional brand that I was so happy to spot in the IMATS lineup. They had a truly impressive selection of neon-hued cream pigments, but I took the more practical route and gravitated towards their ultra versatile eye shadow palettes. As my collection is seriously lacking in matte shadows (I'm a shimmer fiend), I grabbed their Variety Eye Shadow Compact in V3 Natural, a stunning and comprehensive lineup of 18 matte shades. Kryolan touts that these shadows offer a creamy powder, long-wearing formula with a sheer, but buildable, finish. 

Isn't it a thing of beauty? It seriously contains every shade of matte neutral you could ever want. And since Kryolan was offering a 30% discount on the day, I got it for a steal!

My final picks of the day were definitely the most luxurious. I had heard nothing but raves for Hakuhodo brushes, from beauty bloggers and makeup artists alike. Every time I mentioned Hakuhodo to someone at the show, they instantly swooned. The brushes are quite pricey, indeed, but I zoned in some of their smaller face brushes that didn't completely break the bank.

My main mission was to find a high-quality contour brush and my ultimate pick was the J5521 Tapered Highlighting Brush. It's a rounded brush with a pointed, tapered tip for added control. It's designed for both contouring and highlighting, so it's quite the multi-tasker. And it's sooo soft! My second pick was perhaps the cutest little buffing brush I've ever seen! The J528 Highlighter Brush C is a mini flat-topped kabuki style brush that's super densely packed for moderate to full coverage. I think it would be perfect to create a more dramatic contour or to build up ultra sheer cheek colour. The Hakuhodo rep said that it's also ideal for blending out foundation after initial application, which I'm dying to test out!

Overall, I am so, so happy with my IMATS picks! Among a packed hall teaming with colour, tools, and gadgets, I think I really honed in on the brands and products that I've truly been lusting after and that will quickly take center stage in my stash. And I actually (almost) stuck to my budget, which was an accomplishment given that there was temptation everywhere I looked! 

What are your top picks from makeup artist/pro brands? Have you tried anything from Yaby, Face Atelier, Kryolan, or Hakuhodo? Have I tempted you with anything here?

Thanks for reading! :)

Monday, 24 November 2014

Finding Makeup Mecca: My First IMATS Experience!

Hi, everyone! If there's any solace in the fact that I have a hectic Monday ahead, it's that I can look back on this past weekend as one for the (makeup-related) record books. Not only did I meet Sam and Nic from Pixiwoo at a Real Techniques Event on Friday night, Saturday marked my very first attendance at IMATS, the International Makeup Artist Trade Show. 

IMATS is an annual event held in select international cities, with Toronto being a prime stop on the tour. I actually can't tell you why I haven't attended the show in the past, as makeup artistry has been passion of mine for years, but it seems like several factors intersected perfectly this year and I was finally able to make it! I was lucky enough to obtain a bad ass boss blogger press pass for the event, which allowed me to skip the massive line and attend for free. That really did feel like an achievement and made the day extra special! 

I arrived just after the show's opening at 8:30am and the crowds of voracious makeup fanatics were already pouring in. The massive, bustling room was equal parts thrilling and intimidating, but I came armed with a folded, yet geek-worthy map of the vendor layout, so I had a loose game plan from the get-go. 

My first stop was the Blur Makeup Room table, which was presenting a handful of amazing, hard-to-find makeup artist brands. It was Yaby that initially piqued my attention, as I'd heard great things about their tiny, yet potent eye shadows. 

You can see the Yaby shadows below- so many killer colours to choose from! I oped for the shades in the left-hand panel, which were their ultra-saturated Pearl Paint shadows. I snagged five of these bright little babies, as well as a handy little palette in which to house them.

You can see that I went on quite the swatching spree in order to arrive at my choices! 

Blur Makeup Room was also stocking a great selection of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tars and pencils, but luckily I was able to resist. New lipsticks were not on the agenda! They were lovely to look through, though. 

My next stop was certainly my most luxe on the circuit. I'd heard nothing but phenomenal things about Hakuhodo makeup brushes, from makeup artists and beauty bloggers alike. They are otherwise impossible to get here in Toronto, so this was my chance! 

The extensive range was displayed proudly on seemingly vast shelves, which allowed you to hold and feel the brushes for yourselves. Let me tell you, they are the softest brushes you will ever stroke! 

I was thrilled to walk away with two smaller-sized face brushes that didn't set me back too much. Their largest powder brushes are upwards of $100, but luckily I was able to leave those soft, heavenly pieces of art tools on the shelves ;)

Next on the agenda was Face Atelier, which I'd also heard raves about on several occasions. They were offering the best deal of the show, in my opinion, allowing you to pick up one full-sized foundation plus one full-sized cheek product for $45, $2 less than the cost of the foundation itself. Yes, please! 

The makeup artists at the Face Atelier booth were extremely helpful and friendly, taking time to colour match me to their Ultra Foundation and demonstrate the beauty of their unique cream-to-powder Facade cheek and lip colours. I was totally impressed with both and snagged on of each for a steal!

While I stopped at numerous other booths, some too crowded to properly peruse, the final stop of consequence (read: where I bought something) was the Kryolan counter. Kryolan is another ultra popular makeup artist brand that I'd been wanting to check out for years. Was thrilled that they were at the show! 

Their booth boasted countless creams and pigments from flesh-tone to neon, as well as an impressive selection of versatile palettes. I was most drawn to their contour palette (half of which is displayed below, on the left), as well as to their 18-pan shadow palettes. I snagged one of the lovelies shown below; you can check out my upcoming haul post to find out which! 

Despite the focus up this post till now, IMATS certainly is not all about shopping; it also celebrates the art, design, and transformative power of makeup, which remains so inspiring and mesmerizing to me. There were some incredible body art and special effects makeup demonstrations going on throughout the hall, which were truly amazing to watch! 

And as with all of the makeup events I've attended of late, the experience was definitely augmented by the opportunity to spend time with like-minded beauty enthusiasts that I'm lucky enough to call friends. I bumped into at least ten other Toronto-based beauty bloggers at the show (many of whom I was able to enable shop with for a while), which made the event all the more fun and interactive! 

Here's a shot of me with Jenn- her blue lips were totally killer! 

Overall, my first IMATS experience was a raging success! While a lingering cold and related fuzziness dampened me slightly, I was still able to take in the lively atmosphere, hit up all the vendors on my list, discover some new, amazing products, and hang out with my best makeup buds. Couldn't have asked for much more! 

I will most definitely be attending the event again next year and am eager to make it an annual tradition. A yearly pilgrimage to my makeup mecca, if you will!

Have any of you ever attended an IMATS show? What are your must-have makeup artist brands or products?

Thanks for stopping by! 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

That Time I Met Sam and Nic from Pixiwoo!

Hi, everyone! I'll keep this one short and sweet, as I'm off to IMATS momentarily (yay!), but I had to share with you the amazing experience I had last night. I was lucky enough to be invited to a Real Techniques Roadshow event where I got to meet Sam and Nic in the flesh!

I have been watching these lovely, talented ladies on their Pixiwoo Youtube channel for years and have been a serious advocate of their Real Techniques makeup brushes since they launched in Canada earlier last year. As someone who has been ever-passionate about makeup and always looking to expand my makeup artistry skills, these ladies have been a serious inspiration!

A group of fellow bloggers and I were invited to the event by FarleyCo, one of the Canadian distributors of Real Techniques. It was held in the private dining area of the Joey Eaton Centre restaurant, which was quite the chic, sleek, locale! 

There were Real Techniques brushes arranged artfully around the room, as well as a delicious selection of treats and beverages. 

But the first thing that caught my eye upon entering the venue was that Sam and Nic had already begun meeting the crowd, eagerly posing for photos with all of the guests. I might have jumped or did a little dance when I actually spotted them; although I knew they'd be in attendance, it was still quite the surreal, exciting moment!

I had a nice little chat with the ladies before our photo op, and they were as warm and sweet as they seem in their videos. They actually complimented my blush and highlighter, which pretty much made my life! 

After photo ops and hors d'oeurves, the ladies sat down for a Q and A session with the crowd. They shared with us the development of the Real Techniques line, as well as how they built their YouTube channel into the powerhouse it is today.

Not only was it a thrill to meet Sam and Nic, it was a pleasure, as always, to spend the evening with my fellow bloggers. We got to fangirl up a storm and chat about makeup over a glass of wine. Does it get any better than that? :)

The 4 Jen(n)s unite!

Overall, the event was an incredible opportunity to rub elbows with two of my makeup idols as well as my like-minded makeup-obsessed friends. I have to send out a huge thank you to FarleyCo for the invitation!