Friday, February 12, 2016

Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour Blush in Rose Petal Review

I've been sort of looking for the perfect product to replace my beloved Shu Uemura Blush in the shade M Pink 31. Since this favorite of mine seems to be discontinued, I haven't had much of a choice but to selectively use it while looking for another similar option. About a month ago, when I purchased the Laura Mercier Second Skin Blush in Rose Petal, it occurred to me that the texture and the shades were very similar. They are also both so soft and light it reminds me of the feel of a powder like the MAC Prep and Prime.

When I realized they were so similar in texture and feel, it occurred to me they were also very similar shades. A quick swatch later, I realized that they were in fact very similar. The Shu Uemura pulls a bit more nude/plum than the Laura Mercier blush, but still, quite similar.

I bought the Laura Mercier blush and by chance it ended up being a dupe for my favorite blush! Score!

Laura Mercier Rose Petal (left) and Shu Uemura M Pink 31 (right)

I love Laura Mercier's blush packaging. It's compact, classic and sturdy, aka, perfection for me.

Rose Petal is the perfect natural blush pink. It's pigmented, but not so pigmented that you have to be careful when applying it. I know a lot of makeup fanatics love a pigmented blush, but I prefer when I don't have to work or think too much when applying my makeup. This is why I reach for this product so often - I don't even have to think about it and I get perfectly rosy cheeks.

I own a couple more shades of Laura Mercier blushes and they are of excellent quality. If you're looking for a natural rosy flush and have light to medium skin, this will definitely suit you. However, I'd suggest some of the darker shades in this range if you have darker skin tone as this blush is quite light. At C$30, this blush isn't drugstore cheap, but totally worth the price in my opinion.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Review of the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer - Y23

Ah yes, the famed Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer. This product has gotten a lot of hype recently, and with good reason.

The Ultra HD Concealer comes in two sets of shades - the R shades that are peachier for correcting darkness on your skin, and the Y shades for general concealing. They can be used separately, or together by layering the product to completely mask any imperfection. 

I received shade Y23 for review which is a perfect match for my skin tone. Surprisingly, the concealer has an even lighter shade than that - I'm usually the lightest shade!

This concealer is incredibly pigmented. In the picture below is an example of how much you need to conceal your under-eye area. Basically, the tiniest little drop. The applicator is a plastic tip, which is nothing special in itself, but it dispenses the product very little at a time. Luckily, there isn't much of a chance of over-doing it.

The product applies beautifully - I've used it with my fingers, a synthetic concealer blending brush as well as with a Beauty Blender. I personally prefer using it with a small concealer buffing brush or the Beauty Blender. I find that using my fingers can make the product stick to my fingers rather than to my skin. The formula is a bit tacky, so my fingers can cause it to lift from my skin, especially if you are spreading the product around. Patting it lightly works perfectly fine, though, but ain't nobody got time for that. And I certainly don't have the patience. So buffing brush it is!

I've used this product to cover my dark circles and it works wonderfully, leaving a brightening effect under my eye. It leaves my skin looking like skin and not caked with product. It is worth noting that unless you have a very smooth under eye, you most likely will have to set this product with powder. I did experience a tiny bit of creasing closer to my inner corner without powdering. With powdering, I experienced no creasing - and I always set my under eye so it's not a problem for me. To test this product fully, I've also used it around my nose, my forehead and some blemishes and I'm happy to report that it works quite well. I think that in the future I'll be less inclined to use it on my blemishes simply because the formula is so thin. The concealer stayed on my skin all day without fading when set with powder.

I hope this review was helpful in deciding whether this is a product for you. If you're looking for a darkness cancelling under eye concealer, I'd suggest checking out the R range of shades, but if you're looking for more of brightening effect, with good concealing properties, I'd say this product might be for you. The product is not cheap selling at Sephora for C$32.00, so I suggest you give it a try in store before purchasing. However, with the extremely pigmented formula, this concealer will last you a long time for the price point!

* I have received this product for consideration, but my opinions are always my own. I am not being compensated for this review and I always strive to review products with honesty.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Too Faced Love Flush Blush Wardrobe Palette Review

A blush palette, guys. I just couldn't say no. If you're a bit of a beauty addict like me, you know these don't come around too often. Nars do them a few times a year, and Urban Decay just came out with one. But at a  C$45 price point, this palette is a steal compared to those two.

Let's take a moment to acknowledge the packaging. To be completely honest, I hate it. It's really not my style at all - if I had it my way, all makeup packaging would be simple and black à la Lorac Pro Palette. But obviously, this style is suited to some as its been getting rave reviews. To each their own. And packaging obviously doesn't affect the product inside, so it's a small gripe.

For all the complaining I'm doing about the look of the packaging, the palette is sturdy, easy to store, and slim. So it's very functional!

The palette comes with 6 shades. In fact, those 6 shades are the only 6 shades available of their Love Flush Long Lasting 16-Hour Blush - how cool is it that you get to try all of them in one compact palette!?

The pans are quite small. So if you're used to dipping a large fluffy brush to apply blush, you might find this inconvenient. I use my now discontinued Nars blush brush and it fits perfectly so it's not a problem for me.

The shades are (with Sephora shade descriptions):
Love Hangover - Warm Pink
Baby Love - Soft Dusty Nude with Gold Sparkle
I Will Always Love You - Gilded Peach
How Deep is Your Love - Watermelon Pink
Justify My Love - Bright Pink with Fine Gold Sparkle
Your Love is King - Plummy Rose

The swatches look a bit muted, but these blushes pack a serious punch on the cheek. A tiny amount is plenty - these are very pigmented. The blushes are very blendable and look smooth on the cheek. I'm not usually much of a fan of shimmery blush because I find it can emphasize pores on my skin, but the shimmery blushes in this palette look amazing on. The shimmer is subtle enough to not be too visible, but give a light glow to the skin.

My faves? Baby Love and Your Love is King. Baby Love is the perfect light flush of color to add with a heavier eye look. And I've been wearing Your Love is King pretty much non stop with a perfected skin/no eye makeup look with lots of mascara. It gives my cheeks a pretty, healthy flush of color. I absolutely love it. Love Hangover is also a lovely coral/pink shade that goes with anything. Honestly, all the shades are amazing, you really can't go wrong with any of them.

If you can get your hands on this (it's sold out right now on the Canadian Sephora website) I definitely recommend this palette. I'm quite picky when it comes to blush and these are simply lovely. The amazing thing about this palette is that since these blushes are part of the permanent Too Faced collection, you can just repurchase your favorite blush once you've finished it in this palette.

Have you tried the Too Faced blushes?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2015 Makeup Favorites and Decluttering

This is a little late, I'll admit, but  I thought it would be fun to take a look at my favorite and most used makeup products of 2015.

Honestly, 2015 was not the year I bought many cosmetics and beauty products. In fact, the only pieces I purchased were (mostly) bits for my wedding makeup. In 2015, I started appreciating what makes a product be exceptional. Instead of breezing through products to test them out, I really took my time to use up things. Which leads us to today - the most tested and true favorites I've ever done!

Where would I be without my trusty Bourgeois Healthy Mix Powder. My Shoppers Drug Mart was out of my shade, so I thought I'd give the Rimmel Stay Matte another try and I was sadly disappointing. Nothing compares. I don't know what it is about the Healthy Mix Powder, but it is truly perfect for my skin. It doesn't appear powdery on the skin, it applies so beautifully and leaves my skin matte. Standout blushes for me this year were my trusty Tarte Exposed Blush, which, to be honest, is probably expired, and my Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Plum Pop. While Tarte's Exposed is the perfect pinky nude, goes with everything, blush, Clinique's Plum Pop is the perfect healthy flush needed with a more minimal makeup look. Both got a ton of use in 2015.

I took serious care of my brows in 2015. A makeup artist suggested I grow them out a little at a NYE party last year, and I took that to heart. To keep them in check, I've used the Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows and the Clinique Just Browsing Brush-On Styling Mousse. I think I re-purchased both about 3-4 times during the year which indicates a true beauty staple!

As for lips, I pretty much only used my Nars Dolce Vita lipstick (a classic) and as of September, my Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Rush. The Rush shade was actually my wedding lipstick - it was the perfect pinky-mauve to add a bit of color to my lips without being too obvious. I loved it. Another well used product in 2015 was the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid. I got a travel sized version and used it all year, weirdly enough, on my cupid's bow. It gives the illusion of fuller lips!

Finally, in my list of most used products of 2015 is my Tarte CC Undereye Corrector in Light Medium and the L'Oreal Infaillible Pro-Matte Foundation. I bought the concealer it in the summer when I was looking for something to cover up/correct my dark circles for the wedding and while it's a bit dark for me, it blends beautifully and looks great under my eyes. Definitely a stand out product. If you haven't tried out the ever so popular L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation yet, give it a go, you won't regret it. I never thought I'd like a drugstore foundation (how snobby does that sound!) but this foundation is amazing. It gives the smoothest most natural satiny matte finish. And it's so cheap!

This month, I've also taken the time to seriously de-clutter my makeup stash. Of course, I know I could de-clutter even more, but for now, I'm happy with how things are. My mom was able to receive products she enjoys (you're welcome mom) and I'm finding a bit of breathing room in there. I realized I do not own one single (non-expired) nude blush. And my lipsticks... I got rid of a lot. A lot of them were just too old to even salvage.

I was having a conversation about makeup with my husband, telling him that I got rid of a lot of makeup because it had expired. He looked at me with a shocked face and said "makeup expires?!". After that conversation, it dawned on me, yeah, makeup expires. Why acquire tons of makeup when there's no possible way to use it up? Of course, the whole point of makeup is to have fun, and to make yourself feel more confident, enhance your own natural beauty. But I think 2016 is the year where I will keep that in mind that makeup expires. I don't want to ever throw away makeup like I did this past month. It's so wasteful.

I hope that you found this post interesting. I'd love to hear what your 2015 favorites were! Please leave a comment below or tweet me @smallthingslife!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Palette - A Review

I'm not going to lie - I've had my eye on this palette the moment I heard it was coming out. It's pretty hard to resist - pretty packaging, smooth matte shades, and let's face it, I'm so amused by the word Tartelette that that even swayed me.

Tarte came out with the original Tartelette palette in late 2014 and it consists of only matte shades. Sadly, even with its great reviews, it wasn't enough for me to buy it because I felt I had enough matte shadows in my makeup spread. However, with the Tartelette in Bloom making its debut, featuring three shimmery shades, I just had to give it a try.

First off, this palettes smells amazing. A lot like sweet... chocolate? Yeah, chocolate. It's nice, but honestly, I personally would rather my eyelids smelled of nothing. It's just strange - why would you want anything scented on your face? Luckily, the smell dissipates and I can't smell it on my face after application.

Hello gorgeous packaging. The palette is well designed - the shadows are neatly placed in the palette in rows.

There is a huge mirror in the palette which is super convenient for travel.

The matte shades are buttery smooth. They didn't swatch too well on my arm for some reason as they look a bit patchy, but they seriously blend amazingly on the lid. Jetsetter, Smarty Pants and Sweetheart are excellent crease shades. The darker shades, Smokeshow, Activist, and Leader as so pigmented and pack a serious punch - you need a light hand with these. The shimmery shades... I'm not going to lie, I was disappointed. This morning, I tried applying Firecracker all over my lid and got a ton of fallout. When I tried tapping off the excess off the brush, it left me with barely any shadow on my brush. Same goes with Funny Girl. Rocker however applies beautifully. If you had your heart set on the shimmery shades like I was, maybe you're better off with the original Tartelette palette because they're a bit of a miss.

Overall, I'm happy with the quality of these shadows. They last well on my lids all day (with a base of course) and the matte shades are perfect. At C$54.00, it's not the deal of the century, but still a decent price for a solid product. 8/10