Sunday, June 28, 2015

BISC Vol.10: ​What are essential makeup brushes everyone should own?

Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column Vol.10
What are essential makeup brushes everyone should own?
Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column Vol.10 Authors
RAE | Canada | the Notice: a beauty blog
I think everyone needs to own a dense foundation brush, a pinpoint concealer brush (I favour fine-tipped art brushes, or a lip brush like theMake Up For Ever 304), and at least three good eye brushes: an all-over shadow brush, a domed blending brush, and a soft angled eyeliner brush for getting right into your lashline without irritating your eyes!
My favourite brushes of the moment are the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, the Cozzette S125 and 135 (which are a dream), and, weirdly, the Essence Gel Eyeliner Brush.
DEE | Canada | How Does Dee Do It
The only brushes that I would say I ABSOLUTELY need are my eyeshadow brushes. I love my fingers/beauty blender as makeup implements for my face so don’t have any MUST-HAVE face brushes. If I must, Id say a fluffy blush brush. For eyes however, I would go with 1. a flat eyeshadow brush for all over the lids 2. a crease brush 3. a fluffy dome brush to blend 4. a pointy outer-v brush.  I’m not a slave to any brand of makeup brushes and have good luck with budget as well as high-end brands alike. I say – experiment, have fun – you’ll know when you find the RIGHT brushes for –>YOU<–!
ANGELA | Canada | Do Want Makeup
I love a good dense, domed concealer brush. I bought the Sephora Advanced Airbrush Set years ago and the round concealer brush is still my go-to. It is amazing at blending and concealing my dark circles without looking too heavy or cakey.
It’s not exactly a brush, but my beautyblender dupe is also a must! It is great for sheering out foundations for daytime makeup, and is a lifesaver when I am dealing with an eczema flareup/dry patches because it doesn’t disturb dry, irritated skin the way a brush can.
SHARI |  Philippines| The Misty Mom
I think every woman should have the MAC 217 blending brush especially if they’ve had trouble with eye makeup application. It’s my do-all eye brush. If you’ve slightly smaller eyes, maybe go a smaller/more tapered blending brush to avoid messy blending issues.
For the face, I didn’t think a tapered highlighter brush is one I would consider essential.. until now. I can apply foundation with my fingers and blush with any kind of powder brush (sometimes even my fingers, too!) but I can’t ever apply highlighter properly without a brush. My favorite is the Zoeva 105 Luxe Highlight Brush.
LILY | Malaysia | Chloe Ash
When it comes to makeup application, tools do matter. They do all the hard work for you. You can always apply foundation and concealer with your hands, and even pat on eye shadows using fingers. Blending however, is the key to makeup looking seamless and flawless. I’d say a good eye blending brush is a must. A medium sized soft blush brush is also the key to natural looking flushed cheeks. A bigger face brush for powder and bronzer is also very handy. Last but not least, if smokey eyes are your thing, always invest in a good pencil brush.
JAA | Thailand | Hello Jaa
For eye makeup, my staples include MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush (lid color), Chanel Eyeshadow Blender #19 (outer corner), MAC217 Blending Brush (crease and blending), Smashbox Crease Brush #10 (all-over blending), MAC 219 Pencil Brush (smudging), and MAC 211 Pointed Liner Brush (lining). See more.
For face makeup, my staples include Hourglass No 2 Blush/Foundation Brush (foundation), Tom Ford Bronzer Brush (setting), Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush (highlighting), NARS Ita Kabuki Brush (contouring), Tom Ford Cheek Brush and MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush (cheek color), and Real Techniques Setting Brush (concealing). See more.
[Interested in joining BISC Network? Send your request to jaa*at*]

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Essie Lapiz of Luxury + Triangle Studs

A couple weeks ago, I popped into a random Shoppers Drug Mart on a whim since I was a little early for a brow threading appointment. They were reducing their Essie stock so nail polishes were all marked down to $4.99 (!!!) I took this as a sign and decided to pick up Essie Lapiz of Luxury to fill in a certain gap in my collection. I have a lot of bold, bright blues and deep navy shades, but there is a noticeable lack of soft, periwinkle blue-type shades.

Essie Lapiz of Luxury swatch
Lapiz of Luxury kind of sits in that "blurple" territory for me. I don't know if my white balance was off or if the formulation has changed from past versions, but other swatches out there of this polish look a lot more blue. I think the photos below are a bit more colour-accurate and slightly less purply, but it still leans in that direction. Bikini So Teeny is similar but more blue.

This polish is one of those not-so-beginner-friendly formulas present in some Essie polishes. It's really runny and you need to be careful to have your nails angled slightly downwards as you paint them; the formula is so thin that it will easily flow back and flood your cuticles if your nails are angled upwards. Even with three coats, coverage is a little thin in places and you can see visible nail line if you squint.

Essie Lapiz of Luxury swatch
I recently received some gold triangle studs (also available in silver) from Born Pretty and thought they would pair nicely with the soft, milky Lapiz of Luxury. I have been wanting to use studs on my nails for forever and am so glad I finally got around to trying it. I love that it adds extra embellishment to a look with minimal effort.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Recap: London Drugs Beauty 2015

You might have heard about the recent London Drugs Beauty event, which the Vancouver beauty blogger community has been buzzing about lately. This press event showcases what's new and coming up in beauty at London Drugs and is always exciting (and exhausting!) The lighting at the event was very low and blue, so photographs were difficult. It was also really hectic so I wasn't able to photograph everything, but trust me when I say there is a lot of cool stuff either coming soon or already in stores now.

But first, let's get a drink. This rosemary-infused gin (I think?) cocktail was fun to look at and photograph because of all the smoke created by the dry ice, but it took forever to stop bubbling so I could take a drink. I ended up downing it as quickly as possible at the first opportunity just so I could have a free hand again to photograph and juggle an increasingly-heavy bag of samples.

Annabelle is releasing a number of new eye products with a special focus on 2-in-1 convenience. There's a brow pencil/highlighter duo, a double-ended EyeInk liquid liner with one ultrafine end and one thicker end, and a kohl duo. There's also a new take on their EyeInk liquid eyeliner, now available in a double-ended version with a corrector on one end to erase mistakes and smudges.

Annabelle Smokey Nudes Eyeshadow Palette
Annabelle will also be introducing their take on the ever-popular nude eyeshadow palette with their Smokey Nudes palette, which includes ten shimmery shades to feed your neutral shadow addiction.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette

Although contouring has been the new makeup trend for a little while now, there hasn't really been much in the way of affordable drugstore contour products. Enter the much-anticipated NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette, which landed at London Drugs earlier this month (along with a few other contouring products; there's a draw to win the full range from London Drugs right now!) With four powder highlight shades and four powder contour shades for $27.99 CAD--that's less than $4 per shade!--I thought this had potential to be a dream product for a makeup lover on a budget.

NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette review, swatches
The eight pans are a decent 2.7 g each, roughly the diameter and weight of an Annabelle blush or double the weight of a MAC eyeshadow. Each pan has a small divot next to it so that the pan can be easily popped out and thrown in your favourite magnetic palette. The black palette case isn't the sturdiest but it doesn't feel super flimsy either; I've dropped it a few times and it held up fine. However, after I tried to re-shoot some product photos, I noticed that the clear cover has actually scratched up pretty easily. I wouldn't have noticed otherwise and it's hardly the kind of product I'd throw in my purse, so the durability is not a dealbreaker here.

NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette review, swatches
Just looking at the contouring shades included had me worried: they're awfully similar and lean warmer than I personally prefer. This is disappointing considering that NYX actually makes one of my favourite contouring products, the blush in Taupe.

The shade names are not listed on the palette, but they are given on the NYX website as (from left to right, top row) Ice Queen, Soft Light, Cream, Nectar, then (bottom row) Tan, Toffee, Sculpt, and Hollow.

NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette review, swatches
Ice Queen does not have as much of a base colour, but has a strong pearly, silver shimmer. Soft Light is a matte, very pale ivory-beige (NYX calls it "nude" but on my skin tone, it's practically white.) Cream is a matte pale yellow. Nectar is a shimmery champagne-peach; it's very similar to MAC Naked, except slightly pinker and less shimmery. Of all the highlight shades, Nectar is the only one I gravitated towards as a highlighter on my NC20-ish skin--Ice Queen and Soft Light are too pale, although Cream might work as a matte brow highlighter.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

LFW Nail Art: Marchesa Spring 2015

I can't believe it's been so long since my last nail post! This will be a quick one as I still have a big contour product post to write.

I've been a longtime fan of Marchesa--I love the romance and embellished-but-not-too-embellished look that is a mainstay for this line. (Here's a throwback moment for you: I'm still hoarding the Revlon by Marchesa nail art strips.) It was only a matter of time before I tackled one of the collections in a runway nail art post.

The inspiration - Spring 2015 ready to wear:
image source: Style
It was instant love for me. I'm totally into the metallic hints and the abstract florals. My translation:

Fashion week nail art: Marchesa Spring 2015
I used OPI Alpine Snow, with one layer of white crelly OPI Funny Bunny on top to create a softer white base. I used Orly Luxe to place some random dry-brush strokes and draw a few leaves and stems. The floral blobs are Orly Artificial Sweetener and another, darker pink I can't remember, sorry!

Fashion week nail art: Marchesa Spring 2015
Honestly I had very mixed feelings about this one as I didn't feel like the translation was a super-success. The pinks I used should have been a little more coral-leaning and eh, I dunno. Surprisingly I received a lot of compliments from friends on this one though, so I grew to like it a little more lol!

Fashion week nail art: Marchesa Spring 2015
I did this some time ago, when I was playing with new nail shapes and decided to try an almond/baby stiletto look. I am frigging obsessed with this shape right now and currently have a slightly longer version going on at the moment. I often post out of order (not necessarily going chronologically in order of what I photographed) so you'll probably see a lot of nail posts over the next few months going back and forth between this shape and my usual squoval.

Hope you're having a great weekend! There will be some pretty neat posts in the coming week, please stay tuned ;)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Lotion & Treatment Oil

Happy Wednesday! I've recently finished doing my rewrite exam (yes, rewrite *sob*..) I am catching up on my review posts. I'm really excited about today's post because it features two products from Clinique's newest skin care line, Turnaround. This line promises to restore hydration and smoothness for all skin types. I know when you picture Clinique, you probably think of the iconic yellow Dramatically Different lotion, but the brand has way more to offer than that. I've been telling everybody that Clinique has really been stepping up and offering amazing new products on both the skin care and makeup front, and the Turnaround Revitalizing Lotion and Turnaround Revitalizing Treatment Oil are no exception.

Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Lotion & Treatment Oil Review
Turnaround Revitalizing Lotion (left) is modeled after the step common in Asian skin care, the watery "essence" or lotion that comes after toner but before serum or moisturizer. Sitting somewhere between water and a gel, it is definitely thinner than the average lotion you might picture on the drugstore shelf, but thicker than a toner.

Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Lotion Review
This bottle has a weighty cap that gives a satisfying click when you twist it open or closed, so you know it's secured tightly. What's also cool is that the mouth of the tube has a special bit attached so you need to give one firm shake to dispense one drop. You can hold the bottle totally upside down and not a single drop will come out until you shake. It may sound like a hassle, but I actually really like this feature--it means you'll never pour out more than you need. That's really good considering I only need a few drops for my entire face!

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