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Saturday 30 April 2016

Those Unflattering, Yet Oh-So-Cool Lipstick Shades

Hi, everyone- happy weekend! A huge trend I've been noticing in the beauty world over the past couple years (in addition to the never-ending stream of contour and highlighting products), is the prevalence of "out there" lip colours. Shades of blue, green, purple, and grey used to be a rare novelty, but now they can be easily found just about everywhere (drugstore and high-end boutiques alike!). My opinion of this trend? I'm a bit torn! The vibrant makeup lover in me applauds it- why not rock a vivid turquoise lip?! Makeup is supposed to be fun! But on the other hand, many such lipsticks are just not, well... flattering. Is a beauty trend worth clinging to if it doesn' t make you feel beautiful? Let's explore. 

In addition to noticing the crazy lipstick colour upswing in the beauty aisles, it was my own gradually accumulated collection of such shades that prompted this post. After an ultra fun makeup swap with my blogger pals in February, I found myself the proud owner of several blues and greens in addition to some wild options already in my possession. I decided to round them up and have a play! 

Here are all of my out-there lipstick shades swatched on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone), after which each is modeled below! 

Makeup Revolution Lipstick in Felony
I generally find that, on its own, yellow lipstick is pretty useless. Felony included! Though I do like the sheerness of this and think it might layer over top of darker lipsticks quite well! 

NYX Macaron Lippie in Orange Blossom
I'm a sucker for an orange lipstick, but what makes this one a bit "out there" is its whitened, pastel hue. Potentially hard to pull off, but I quite like it! I imagine it looking fab during the summer with a bit of a tan. 

NYX Wicked Lippie in Risque
This one was perhaps the biggest surprise of the bunch- I actually think this rich, metallic greenish teal is quite flattering! I have yet to wear it out of the house, but I'm determined to. 

NYX Macaron Lippie in Pistachio
Gosh, I love a bold turquoise, but in a lipstick? I really can't see a point, unless I was creating a specific, editorial (Smurf?) kind of look. Perhaps I'll take on that challenge!

Inglot Mama Mia Lipstick #291
I bought this lipstick the day I defended my PhD dissertation, as a way to celebrate being brave and free! As such, it will always hold a special place in my heart, but I have not worn it out of the house since. 

OCC Lip Tar in Technopagan
This is definitely the coolest, most interesting crazy lip shade in my stash- a bold mix of purple, blue, and silver- it's quite the standout. I wore it to a David Bowie tribute concert earlier this year and felt like quite the Lady Stardust. Despite its beauty, though- I reach for it so very rarely. 

NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Stone Fox
I never thought I'd fall for an opaque grey-blue lipstick, but this one has won my heart. It's a shade just that just shouldn't work on any level, but somehow it can be pulled off! Definitely more apt to wear this one out in public than one of the more neon blue or green shades. 

NYX Macaron Lippie in Chambord
I don't know if I've ever properly tried a black lipstick (except for my witch looks from Halloweens of old), but this one was also a pleasant surprise! Something about the semi-sheer, satiny finish makes Chambord look rich, elegant, and seriously wearable.

MAC Frost Lipstick in Viva Glam Rihanna 2
I think this was the first weirdo lipstick that made its way into my stash and perhaps kicked off the industry's goal of making such shades mainstream. The cool silvery brown tone really is unique and stunning, but I never, ever reach for it. Still not sure if I can pull it off. 

H&M Beauty Cream Lipstick in Brunette Ambition
Another grey-toned brown, but much more subtle in this regard. Much more wearable than Rihanna 2 and the satin finish is very flattering! 

OCC Lip Tar in Sebastian
I have a soft spot for this Lip Tar. My boyfriend tells me it makes me look like I've made out with a snowman, but I think this unique purple-grey-taupe hue is undoubtedly beautiful. I've gotten several compliments when wearing it, so I can't be the only one who sees its appeal! 

Tom Ford Lips and Boys in Stavros
One that isn't swatched above (how could I have forgotten it?!) is Tom Ford Stavros. The fact that an ultra luxury brand could have such success with a silver-grey-purple lipstick really demonstrates how far this trend has reached. Even the upper crust are painting their pouts in out there shades! As with some of the shades above, though- I think everything about this is lovely- but I never reach for it! 

OCC Lip Tar in Indrid
My final feature is the newest of the bunch, having joined my stash very recently at IMATS New York, and is perhaps my favourite. For me, OCC Indrid Lip Tar, a killer mix of purple, grey, and pink, is the ultimate balance between weird and wearable. It definitely makes a statement, yet doesn't seem to wash me out one bit. It's a true winner!!

Taken together, here are a few conclusions on this trend:

  • I'm happy that more alternative shades have made it to the mass market- I'm so in favour of letting your freak flag fly!
  • That said, I do not think I will be purchasing any more "out there" shades that I have any inkling will never be worn out of the house. I don't want a huge pile of blue lipsticks that never get used!
  • By the same token, I am promising myself that I will wear NYX Chambord (the best black lipstick out there?) and Risque (teal lips- who knew?) out of the house sometime this year. They are both incredibly stunning! 
  • I am now determined to find more lip shades in the vein of OCC Indrid- those that are utterly unique, yet entirely flattering.

What are your thoughts on the "out there" lipstick shade trend? Would you buy a uniquely-hued lipstick just for the novelty if you knew you'd never wear it outside the house? What's the craziest lip shade you've ever worn? Your favourite of the ones I featured?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo


Wednesday 27 April 2016

Veracious Product Review: Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencils

Hi, everyone! When it comes to trends in the beauty industry over the past few years, there are a couple standouts when it comes to lips: lipstick crayons and matte textures. In a sea of options, it really takes a lot to stand out, so I was understandably curious when Nudestix offered to send along two of their brand new Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencils** my way. I've been quite impressed with the Nudestix goodies I've tried to date (love the handy packaging and cheeky, modern aesthetic), but would these new matte pencils offer anything unique!?

Nudestix touts that their Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencils** offer smooth, creamy, non-drying matte colour that can be used as lipstick, lip liner, and/or blush. A triple threat! The formula promises to be long-wearing, comfortable, and impervious to feathering and fading. They also claim extreme pigmentation that is totally waterproof. A tall order, indeed! 

The Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencils** come in black, reusable metal tins, as with all Nudestix products. They also feature a handy mirror in the lid and an insert with full instructions. I also can't help but love the little heart graphics on these too :)

While these pencils are not twist-up, each comes with a corresponding sharpener to use once the initial nib of product is worn down. 

One of the taglines for the Intense Matte launch was "Are You Team Bold or Team Nude?", as the range offers a variety of both softer neutrals and punchier brights. The shades I received represent this battle quite well!

First we have Royal, a beautiful, balanced, classic saturated red. It's hailed as a Marilyn Monroe or a Taylor Swift red (depending on what decade your ideal icon comes from). Next we have Belle, a warm, peachy-brown mid-tone nude. It is neither too cool nor too warm, not too pale nor too muddy. I'd say it's likely to be universally flattering! 

(L-R): Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencils in Royal and Belle

Along with the Intense Matte Pencils**, I was also sent the Blur Pencil**. This clear, smoothing pencil was originally created to smooth out fine lines and pores on the complexion, but the Nudestix gals also tout it as a perfect partner to matte lipsticks, creating a smooth, priming canvas on the lips, especially when things are dry and chapped. The Intense Mattes really do apply ultra well over top!

I attempted to swatch the Blur Pencil for you, but it truly is invisible. 

Now- most importantly- onto how these products work on the face!

Here I am wearing Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil in Belle** on my cheeks as well as my lips. I've applied it directly from the pencil on my lips and used my trusty Real Techniques Stippling Brush to blend out the colour on my cheeks. While Nudestix promises that you don't need any brushes to use their products (and this is true; these do blend well with fingers), I can't help but reach for the Stippling Brush whenever using a cream blush product. 

As you can see, Belle is a perfect, balanced nude with my complexion, defining my lips and adding a subtle peachy warmth to my cheeks. 

Now here I am wearing Belle** on the lips and adding Royal** on the apples of my cheeks. I'm all for making red shades wearable, and was pleasantly surprised that Royal's saturated red hue did work on the cheeks! Yes, you do have to use an ultra light hand (I did go a touch overboard here), but it's totally doable. 

Finally, here is Royal on the lips! It really is an incredibly beautiful, flattering, classic red! It joined the ranks of my favourites instantly. I mean, seriously- reds don't get much more gorgeous than this! 

So it's clear that I think both shades are pretty, but how does this new formula perform? Here's a breakdown of the ups and downs of the Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencils:

  • The pigmentation of these pencils is truly impressive! Full coverage in one swipe
  • The texture is quite smooth, so these apply easily without dragging or tugging
  • These feel incredibly light and slightly creamy on the lips- extremely comfortable compared with other matte lipstick formulas I've tried
  • These are about 90% matte, which make them a truer matte finish than many other recent "matte" releases that are much more satin-like, yet still allow for a flattering, non-drying effect
  • The wear time on these are great! Even after a full meal, there is very minimal fading at the center of the mouth
  • The pencil format allows for precise, foolproof application
  • These are vegan and cruelty-free (as with all Nudestix products)!

  • You have to use a very light hand when using the bolder shades from this range as blush- the intense pigmentation means over-use is not forgiving! 
  • These pencils have to be sharpened, which is slightly more high maintenance than a twist-up design
  • At $28 CAD, these definitely lean towards the higher-end side of things, but a little goes a long way and the formula truly is comparable with other high-end options of there

As you can tell, I'm way impressed by these! These matte pencils from Nudestix are definitely on par with other long-term faves, like the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils, and the fact that the Nudestix can also double as a blush (thanks to the slightly softer texture) really is icing on the cake! The pigmentation is tops, the texture is smooth and comfortable, and the wear time is formidable. And although I'm clearly a Team Bold sort of gal (and am 100% smitten with Royal), I have to say that Belle might be the prettiest matte nude shade I've tried. Lighter matte neutrals can really tend to wash me out, but Belle keeps me looking fresh and alive. I absolutely cannot wait to try more shades from this range! Also, the Blur Pencil proved to be a very nice primer for the matte lip shades- I've been using it quite a bit! 

I was lucky enough to attend a recent press event with the creator and faces behind Nudestix, Jenny, Taylor, and Ally Frankel, where we chatted about some amazing new products and social initiatives. Look out for more news on that soon! 

Have you tried anything from Nudestix? Are you a Team Bold  or a Team Nude lipstick kind of gal/guy? Are you a sucker for lipstick/blush crayons like I am?

Have a wonderful day! xo

**These products were sent to me as PR samples for consideration and review. All expressed opinions are 100% authentic and my own

Sunday 24 April 2016

Revisiting the Bite Beauty Lip Lab!

Hi, everyone! If you've been reading the blog for a while, you'll know that I was lucky enough to visit the Bite Beauty Lip Lab for the first time last June, where I had the opportunity to create my own custom lipstick. A truly dreamy experience! For those who are unfamiliar, Bite Beauty is a Canadian brand that focuses on rich, pigmented, moisturizing lip products that are completely non-toxic and food grade. They are among the best lipsticks I've ever tried, so when I first heard about this magical Lip Lab, I knew I would have to visit at some point. Indeed, the Lip Lab is any lipstick addict's mothership, as it allows you to sit down with a consultant and create the lip colour of your dreams, from the shade, finish, scent, and even the packaging!

Given how happy I was with my first experience, I was beyond excited when we revisited the lab earlier this month during our IMATS New York trip. 

The lab is quite a small space, as one would expect from Manhattan's cozy, bustling SoHo neighbourhood. Making a reservation is definitely recommended, essentially required during busier times of the week. But once your spots are held, the quaint, narrow shop is able to serve your needs perfectly!  

The space was as fresh and welcoming as I remembered, with larger-than-life lipstick graphics on the wall, trays and shelves of freshly molded pigments, and wallpaper plastered with the names of Bite's popular lipstick shades. 

A few of the other girls were up first this time around, so I watched the process unfold. There are spaces for three customers to work at a time, each sitting across from a Lip Lab consultant with a tray of lipstick pigments between you. 

The consultants first provide you with makeup remover to erase any existing product, then give you a swipe of Bite's deliciously-scented lip scrub to even out your lips (which helps them receive colour better!). Afterwards, they pass you a touch of Bite's cult favourite Lip Mask, essentially an ultra-moisturizing lip balm that leaves lips feeling so smooth and luscious. 

This visit to the Lip Lab was extra special for me, as my goal of the appointment was to create my wedding lipstick! After much consideration and some feedback from you, I've decided to go with a berry lipstick on my big day. Bright and colourful, while still being wedding appropriate, and utterly perfect for a Fall wedding! 

Sitting down, I knew exactly what I wanted- a matte berry that was neither too red nor too deep and vampy. Something rich and balanced, vibrant, but not neon. My lovely consultant quickly went to work!

The first shade she created was utterly beautiful, but a bit more red than what I was going for. She totally got my drift and went about concocting a second mix. 

On the second try, she got it absolutely perfect! To create the shade, she used a mix of Quince, Rose Cuvee, Red 307, and Scarlet pigments. Here I am wearing it- smiling ear to ear! 

For the formula, I actually opted for the No Finish finish, which is essentially matter than matte (as Bite's typical matte is more of a satin). I thought that would be perfectly long-wearing for the wedding! Given the berry hue of the lipstick, I chose a Wildberry + Mint scent- fresh and fruity! 

Once the shade is concocted, it is warmed, melted, and mixed to create a paint-like liquid. 

It's then poured into a mold and put on ice to set!

For the packaging, I selected the tube with the pointed cap. Although my lipstick never wears down this way (the lids are meant to emulate the different ways our lipsticks shape as we use them), but I liked the design!!

And here we have it- my fresh new beautiful baby! Seriously- lipstick doesn't get newer than this!!

Here I am wearing it under store lighting: 

... And in sunlight just outside of the lab...

... and finally, sporting it proudly back at home! I had brief thoughts that it might be bad luck to wear my wedding lipstick before the big day, but it's too pretty of a shade to let sit idle for the next 6 months! 

A neat finishing touch is that the Lip Lab stores your created lipsticks on file, in case you ever need a backup tube made. Given my plethora of lipsticks this will probably never be necessary, but it's a neat and handy feature nonetheless! 

My second trip to the Bite Beauty Lip Lab certainly did not disappoint in any way. My consultant was super friendly and receptive, the shade turned out exactly as hoped, and it was fun to visit with friends this time around! I can't imagine ever visiting New York without stopping in :)

Have you ever visited the Lip Lab? What kind of shade would you create?

Thanks for stopping by! xo

Thursday 21 April 2016

Canadian Beauty Bloggers Take Manhattan!

Hi, everyone! If you've seen my last few posts, you'll know that I was recently in NYC with a group of my beauty blogger buddies. I've shared with you some coverage from the IMATS New York trade show, including a geeky meeting with my makeup artist idol, Lisa Eldridge, and an overview of the haul of goodies I picked up at the show. But let's not forget that IMATS was not our sole activity! We were in Manhattan for three days and, as you may know, there is nothing I love more than being in the Big Apple. To honour my love affair with New York and the amazing time I had with Julie, Chelle, Laura, Shawna, and Elaine, here is a photo diary of our whirlwind weekend! 

We arrived in Manhattan early Friday afternoon after a bit of a shaky flight in (*barf*) and, after re-orienting ourselves and filling our bellies, I decided to branch off for some solo exploration. Our hotel was in Chelsea, an area of New York I've never stayed. So I embarked on a tour of the area! 

My first stop was the beautiful, iconic Flatiron building, which I had never before seen in person! 

My wanderings around Chelsea also took me past an amazing old fire station from the late 1800s...

.... some fabulous architecture and lots of blooming trees!

I also had a first-time visit to the Hotel Chelsea, a New York landmark due to the fact that countless artists and musicians have stayed and created there. It was a key character in Patti Smith's Just Kids, one of my favourite books of the past few years, as well as a former home to Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Arthur C. Clarke, to name a few!

Friday night brought us a delicious dinner at Belgian restaurant Markt, where I treated myself to a flight of fantastic Belgian beers. No regrets!! 

Saturday morning was all about IMATS, after which we were huuuuungry! We opted for some serious, cheap, delicious New York Pizza. There was an amazing place just a block away from the hotel, where two huge slices and a pop was $5. Yes, please! The perfect way to take a break from my dairy-free diet ;)

Afterwards, we checked out some drugstore makeup at CVS, explored a dreamy designer vintage store (where we weren't allowed to take pictures, boo), and peeked into some store windows near our hotel, like this neat mannequin store. 

After a serious post-IMATS/pizza nap/coma, we got ready for a night out! I played with some new goodies from IMATS, including the Violet Voss Holy Grail eye shadow palette, and Besame Lipstick in Carmine. A perfect combination! 

Before dinner, we stopped into a Ricky's NYC location, a fun and colourful makeup supply store where some of the gals found some amazing deals. 

We headed down to Greenwich Village, with a pre-dinner play around Washington Square Park. That nook of the city always feels like home to me! 

Dinner connected us with some incredible Mexican food at Toloache. The guacamole was to die for, as was my fried cactus (yes, cactus!) and mushroom and truffle quesadilla. Probably the best  Mexican food I've had since actually being in Mexico! 

We were joined by a few of Chelle's lovely friends for dinner, after which we went back to one of their apartments for drinks and chats. The view from her apartment was beyond breathtaking and completely envy-inducing. Truly dreamy! 

We capped off our Saturday night with a drag show at Lips Bar in Midtown. A bit of a tourist trap, to be sure, but still involved some laughs, dramatic makeup, and perhaps the cheapest glass of whiskey in Manhattan ;)

Sunday morning brought two heavenly things- lots of sunshine and bagels!!

We popped into Chelsea's Brooklyn Bagel, where there was an intense lineup and an equally intense selection of bagels and spreads. 

I opted for a toasted everything bagel with kalamata feta cream cheese. It was 100% the best bagel I've ever eaten! Still daydreaming about it ;)

After breakfast we slipped into full tourist mode. We came out at Columbus Circle for some exploration of Central Park! 

The sun was shining and the park was crowded with happy tourists and New Yorkers soaking in the warmth. We really couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day! 

Hi pretty pony!

We then headed south down Fifth Avenue, where we admired St. Patrick's Cathedral, popped into Sak's 5th Avenue (the original), and got to see some ice skaters in Rockefeller Center! 

We then headed back to Chelsea, where the Highline was the main attraction! The Highline is a raised former railway track that gives some amazing views of the city. The path was bustling and the trees were blossoming. So lovely! 

We then made our way back down to Greenwich Village and SoHo, where we had lots of fun at the Bite Beauty Lip Lab (more details in my next post!!), after which we headed down to the Financial District to see the World Trade Center Memorial and do a bit of shopping at Century 21

Finally, we popped back out near the Flatiron Building once again, where we also got a great view of the Empire State Building. Classic New York City! 

Overall, I could not have asked for a better visit to NYC! We saw so much of the city, the weather cooperated, and the company was fantastic! Cannot wait to go back :)

If you'd like to see some video coverage from our trip, check out Chelle's vlog here and Laura's vlog, here!

Have you ever visited New York City? Do you love it as much as I do? Favourite things to do in the city?

Have a wonderful week!!