Monday, March 31, 2014

Guerlain Terracotta four seasons bronzer in natural brunette

I'm not a bronzer girl, every time I tried I failed miserably. I never looks quite right. I tried rimmel, bare escentuals warmth and even the famous benefit hoola with no luck. I gave them all away to girls with a more suitable skin tone. That's why I was very afraid to shell 59 euro on another experiment (I actually had gift certificates and coupon so I ended up spending 3 euros of my own money).

Guerlain is THE bronzer reference, they apparently invented it in 1984. They have a wide offering. The four seasons collection is their most expensive offering from the regular line. They come in six shades: one nude shade (created with fair skin Asian women in mind), two pink toned blonde shades, two golden toned brunette shades and one ebony shade. You need to base your decision on your overall skin tone and undertone. Ignore the hair color reference.

I spend literally weeks reading about this before taking the plunge. I was really bouncing between nude, natural blonde and natural brunette. Because nude contains a pretty unpigmented blush, and natural blonde is so pink and doesn't have much contrast between the four shades (then why bother with the four season concept you might as well by the regular terracotta and save some cash), I went for natural brunette and I'm glad I did.

The bronzer contains a generous amount of 10 grams of product that comes in a gorgeous magnetic compact with a hologram. The powder is very smooth and smell like violets. I love the idea of being able to customize my shade according to the season.

The bronzer could be used as contouring if you have strong warm undertone, but on me it ends up looking like brown stripes. I use it the way Guerlain intended it; to give me a sunkissed glow without the damage. I can use it also as a blush to tone down the redness of my cheeks when I'm wearing a low coverage foundation or tinted moisturizer or very lightly all over for a touch of warmth and then layer a fresh blush.

Even though this is a matte bronzer, it gives really a healthy glow. The powder feels so smooth and creamy and you can really blend it to your heart's content. I'm seriously impressed by this product. I really made me make peace with bronzer.
Before the bronzer (isn't that l'Oreal magic nude foundation great or what?)
after (applied more heavily than I'd normally would to see the color)
The only con I would see, except for the price of course, is the fact that it is so fragrant. If this is a bit too expensive for you, their original Terracotta is significantly less expensive and also come in blonde and brunette shades. If you can afford it this is a fantastic product.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Get ready for some seriously bright pinky coral lips with OCC lip tar in Queen

I'm really excited to be reviewing this lip tar today. I've been wanted to review it since I created the blog, but I was waiting for a camera worthy of this product.

Obsessive compulsive cosmetics is a vegan cruelty free brand from the US. They have a lot of fun products, but what really put them on the map is their lip tars. They really expended the line over the years from their regular, to metallics and lipglosses. Queen is part of the regular line which sets pretty matte on the lips. Because they are liquid you can custom mix your shade. The products are not available in European stores, but some UK sites offer the line and shipping to the EU.

Coral is not my thing, I like the color, but it seriously intimidates me. I really don't know what's gotten into me when I bought this bright coral pink lip stain. I also own another shade which is a cool pink (surprise, surprise), but since a lot of my readers are coral and warm pink lovers, I decided to start with this one.

(sorry for the bronzer overload, I was reviewing it for another post and I needed to wear a lot of it for it to be visible!)

Have you tried OCC lip tar yet? If you are into brights, chances are you will find a good match!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Essence XXXL Longlasting review regular vs matte effect

Today is a new chapter in the history of my blog. This is the last post that I will do with my cheap camera. The new posts will be done with my new and much improved camera. You will hopefully see a dramatic improvement in the quality of the pictures. My husband who use to study photography is teaching me to tame the new beast.

Anyway to close the deal on my affordable camera, I decided to go with an affordable product, namely Essence XXXL Longlasting lipgloss. Those lipglosses come in two finishes the regular shine lipgloss (03 very berry) and matte effect (in 05 velvet rose).

left mat effect in velvet rose, right shine in very berry

XXXL shine longlasting in 03 very berry
This is a standard slightly sticky lipgloss. I'm super impressed by this one. It's moisturizing, sticky but not as much as mac lipglass and it stays on my lips for about 4 hours. I will definitely pick up other shades in that formula. I don't no why they are calling this shade berry though, it is a candy blue based pink. 

XXXL shine longlasting in 05 velvet rose
According to Essence website this is one of the best sellers of the brand. First, I adore the color. It's a nice satin peachy pink shade, very Angelina Jolie-esque. Unfortunately, I'm not so impressed by the formula and the smell is just nauseating. It also barely stays on my lips one hour. I would describe the texture as mousse like. I don't really get the concept to be honest, it has less staying power than regular and liquid lipstick and it's not glossy like a lip gloss.

I wouldn't describe my experience with the mat effect as a total fail, because I really fell heads over heels in love with the shade. I will probably bring it on my next shopping trip and try to find something similar in a better formula.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

L'Oreal Magic Nude liquid powder review

L'Oreal magic nude liquid powder (nude magique eau de teint in Europe) is a foundation that generated quite a lot of buzz when it got released. It's a super runny foundation that is supposed to be a dupe from Chanel vita lumière aqua and Armani maestro foundation (Armani is also owned by l'Oreal).

The texture of this foundation is really interesting it's really is like water. I also find it interesting that the European name makes a word play with perfume, because just like perfume this is loaded with alcohol, just like the high end version of this. This is probably what gives it the powdery feel.

This gives the same amount of coverage than a tinted moisturizer without the thickness or the stickiness.
I bought this in shade 110 warm ivory which was the palest shade available at the drugstore. However L'Oreal makes it in a paler shade in some countries.

Here's my bare face 

and now with magic nude

As  you can see even though the effect is subtle it does cover most of my redness. It also truly looks like skin. If you have oily skin I would recommend powdering it, when I don't powder my forehead it gets oily midday. 

Overall I really like this foundation, but I can't wear it everyday because of the alcohol content. Because it is so liquid I can wear it on top of a thick foundation. It's also quite a pricey foundation for the drugstore, around 16 euros for only 20ml. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

BareMinerals ready eyeshadow 8.0 palette in The power neutrals

In December, I made a post regarding a Sephora Canada haul that I did prior to my mother's visit. This is one of the things I picked up.

I'm pretty late in the neutral bandwagon, I do not typically wear brights, but I'm more of a pastel and muted colors woman. I heard so many raves about the ready eyeshadow from BareMinerals including from Temptalia and Wayne Goss that I figured it would be a good occasion to go neutral. This palette is pretty much of a true neutral palette it doesn't lean super warm, nor super cool.

Here's a swatch of the colors

And with flash

Don't be fooled by this picture the colors are all very pigmented, they simply do not contrast much with my fair skin.

The palette is very compact and small, but the eyeshadows contain 1g of product each which is two third of a MAC eyeshadow. They are all very pigmented and you only need to gently tap your brush in it.

Three of the shades contain shimmer and the rest are all satin or matte finish. I really do like this palette, I think this is a great options for the ladies a bit too fair for most neutral palettes and mature women. I do think they could have put a bit more contrast in there though.


  • The shades do not lean too warm
  • Highly pigmented
  • Long wearing
  • Lots of matte eyeshadow, you can do a full look without needing to add another eyeshadow from your stash
  • Good for travel
  • Not a lot of contrast in between the shades.
  • The only really dark color in there is less pigmented than the rest
  • The palette as a mirror gold finish that's always full of finger prints
  • 10$ more expensive in Canada than in the US.

Here's a picture of me wearing the most of the beige and brown shades from the palette

As you can see you can make a very soft and work appropriate look with the palette. If you like colors that pacts more of a punch, Bareminerals has some really nice duos and quads. I really recommend checking the out, formula wise it's really amazing.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Birthday skincare haul

I will turn 29 on Sunday and I decided that it would be about time that I start taking care of my skin. I will get one product from a Canadian friend who is coming to visit. I ordered it on Sephora Canada the other products (All Paula's choice) are ordered from Paula's choice Netherlands

I just ordered the following products online:

Paula's Choice Resist advanced replenishing toner

I'm currently not using a toner in my routine, but I'm curious about this one. This has a PH of 5.5 and contains antioxydants. The price is €23 

Paula's Choice skin perfecting BHA 2% exfoliant 
I'm currently using Clinique turnaround concentrate as an exfoliant which I love. It contains Poly hydroxy acid and gently exfoliates the surface of the skin. Since I suffer from rosacea I decided to buy a beta hydroxy acid based exfoliant in order to exfoliate deeper in the skin and hopefully help with my rosacea. 

Peter Thomas Roth retinol fusion PM
 This contains a whooping 1.5% retinol which is one of the highest percentage you can find over the counter. I will need to progressively adjust my skin to it. I will start by twice a week and then go up. I will use this days I don't use the BHA lotion. Retinol makes skin sun sensitive and should only be used at night.

Paula's choice the nude mattes
Lastly, there has been a lot of raves on the recently released Paula's choice nude matte palette which contains 10 mattes and one shimmer eyeshadow.  I just couldn't past on it. All the reviews are rave.
€40 for 17g!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Maybelline tough as taupe color tattoo: one product, five usage

I already reviewed the color tattoo range earlier. Recently I decided to tough as taupe (permanent taupe in Europe) to my collection. Unlike the other color from the range this is a matte product. The texture is also creamier than the other colors. It's a nice medium taupe color.

I use it in five different ways:

1. Contouring shade
2. Eyeshadow base
3. Eyecrease shade
4. Eyeliner
5. Brow filer

As a contour

I apply it with my fingers under the cheek bone on my bare face before foundation like so:
You can also see my brow prior to the application on this picture

I then apply foundation on top of it

I finish the look with a ivory cream eyeshadow all over the lid. I then used permanent taupe on my crease, my brows, under the eye and above the eye as an eyeliner and I also contoured my nose with it.

Here's the finished look:

Close up on the eye
Permanent taupe used softly on the crease, brow and as a soft eyeliner. You can build up the intensity.

Overall I'm really liking this eyeshadow. It's a great product for traveling and it can be use on the fly for different purposes, the best being of course for the eyes. It's also very pigmented I had to tap the excess on the back on my hand to use it on my crease and brows.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Catrice mono eyeshadow in starlight espresso, candydate and nice ice baby

If you follow Dutch and German blogs, chances are you have seen many positive reviews about the mono eyeshadows from Catrice. Out of the range probably the most reviewed and loved shade is Starlight espresso, a medium dark taupe shade dupe of MAC copperplate.

This eyeshadow is smooth buttery and pigmented. It's the perfect shade to contour the eye and can also be used as a brow powder on cool tone brunettes. It's easy to blend and the staying power is also great.

wearing starlight espresso on the crease

I was so impressed that I went back to kruidvat and bought to of their recently released shades. I love a good pastel color and for 2.89 euros a piece I figure I could give it a shot.

nice ice baby (l) and candydate (r)

Unfortunately, Catrice doesn't offer any tester for these and I had to take a leap of faith on those one and I honestly wished I didn't and that I would stick to colors that were reviewed and approved by others.

Those are probably the worst eyeshadows I've ever tried. Candydate is especially bad, unpigmented and dry. They are invisible without a thick base underneath. I had to swatch them on a lilac corrector in order to show them to you.

candydate (l) and nice ice baby (r)

I'm really disappointed by those shades I guess I can use them as an inner corner highlight, but I was already using my MUFE midnight glow palette for that purpose (which in retrospect wasn't so bad!).
nice ice baby on a base!

I'm a fair skin lady and they really don't show up much. If you want to try Catrice eyeshadow research them first and stick to the neutral dark colors which seam to be consistently good according to most reviews I've read. 
candydate on a base again! 

Also beware they are not sealed so make sure nobody tried to test them first! I wanted to try one of the nice cream shade they had and they all were tested by some random costumer.

Overall, from what I can see Catrice eyeshadow are hit and miss. If you are still in the lookout for a great medium dark cool crease shade, starlight espresso is a wonderful option.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Skin care: what ingredients you should seek

Skin care can be quite confusing. Don’t we all want to look young and pretty forever? Cosmetic companies are quite aware of that fact and they bombard us with false claims and one particular all-star ingredient!

The truth is, if you really want glowing skin they are more than one ingredient you should seek.
Here is without particular order ingredients you should try to add to your skin care routine:

·         Niacianamide: alternative to retinol, proven to be anti-aging and backed by science. Present in great quantity in Olay products. Check this article of the beauty brains about it: here

·         Retinol: This is present in the animal form of the vitamin A. There are different forms of retinoids available over the counter but this is the only one that has been proven to work. Some dermatologist can prescribe rethinoic acid which gives result faster than retinol, but is also more irritating. A study says “Amongst various anti-aging agents, retinoids are the most promising agents that are available for the treatment of aging”. Source here

·         Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C): Vitamin C is proven to stimulate the production of collagen. It can minimize fine lines, scars and wrinkles.  This is a great article about it and other skin care ingredients here

·         Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA): they come in different forms, lactic acid, glycolic acid, malic acid… This is use a a chemical exfoliant and it also provides hydratation to dry skin. This is also great for sun damaged skin. It exfoliates the top layers of the skin and can improve skin thickness and firmness. More on that here: here

·         Beta hydroxyl acid (salicylic acid): This is another chemical exfoliant. BHA is liposoluble and AHA is water soluble. This is why BHA is better for oily skin since it penetrates the pore better and his advice for oily skin with blackheads and whiteheads. Results are usually seen after six months of daily exposure. Do not expect and overnight result! Source: here

·         Full spectrum (both UVA and UVB) sunscreen. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are good options. They are a sunblock meaning that they repel the UV rays and are suitable for sensitive skin since they do not penetrate the bloodstream. here

I hope once again this was helpful! I'm currently testing some products in those different categories, I will get back to you soon with a full review.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Get it while you still can: MAC pro eyeshadow in Aqua and bottle green

bottle green (l) and aqua (r)

I just heard that MAC is probably going to discontinue those two awesome shades. If you want to own any of those two shades they are still available as of today. Both of those eyeshadow are exclusive to MAC online and MAC pro store.

Aqua is a light aqua matte shade and they texture feels creamy and blendable. This eyeshadow might be slightly too creamy and the staying power is average. (But the color is so pretty and hard to find, especially in matte shade)

Bottle green feels a bit dryer to the touch but is more pigmented and has an awesome staying power. It also has a matte finish. What I really like about this shade it that it can look more grey or more green depending on how much you blend it.

wearing aqua with bottle green lightly applied on the crease and bottom lash line

wearing more bottle green, which makes the shade appear more teal and less gray

Overall I think those are quite pretty and unique shades. If you can only buy one, I would recommend bottle green. It looks lovely with gray, beige, blues, green and even better with antique gold shades. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Product review: L'Oreal infallible eyeshadow in hourglass beige and permanent kaki

I decided to take a break from skin care posts and go back to a make up review for today. There is actually quite a lot of products that I bought and haven't reviewed yet.

The l'Oreal infallible eyeshadow is a cream-powder hybrid very similar to Armani eyes to kill or Chanel illusion d'ombre. These eyeshadows are on the pricey side for the drugstore at around 13 euros for 3.5g. They come in a plastic container with a screw cap and they have a little lid inside to keep the powder pressed.

I swatched all of the shades available last time I was at Inno and they are all very shimmery or pearly. I wouldn't recommend these eyeshadows for mature eyelids. I chose permanent kaki (I know weird spelling) a nice moss green with a golden reflection and hourglass beige a champagne color.

The pigmentation of both shade is great and the staying power is also great. The reason why I'm not so crazy about them is that I find the formula a bit gimmicky and unpractical. The texture is very slippery and can be a bit hard to work with. To get a similar finish I much prefer a regular eyeshadow like mac eyeshadows in the veluxe pearl finish or Inglot in the pearl finish. I also prefer a real cream shadow over this texture which tend to stick better to the lid.  I don't find that the result is worth the trouble.

Wearing permanent kaki 

Are the infallible eyeshadows beautiful? Yes
Are they pigmented? Yes
Do they have good staying power? Yes
Can you achieve a similar look faster with either a traditional powder eyeshadow or a cream eyeshadow? Oh yes!

I think honestly this is the latest fad, a bit like the lip butter fad and the twist up pencil lip product. We will probably keep seeing everybody doing this till the fad is over. If you want to try them I would recommend the mid-toned eyeshadows most of them would work great as a stand-alone eyeshadow (like I did with the permanent kaki)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Skin care: buzz words and what ingredients to avoid for acne prone and sensitive skin

The beauty world is loaded with false promises and pseudo-scientific claims. Here are two words for example:

Hypoallergenic: It does not mean much actually. There are no standards for using that word. It just claims that the cosmetic company makes. Don’t be fooled.

Natural ingredients: Natural doesn’t mean better. Lead is natural, mercury is natural… A lot of those natural ingredient take quite a lot of energy to produce as well, sometimes even more so than so called “synthetic” products. If you don’t believe me go check a video on how they produce those natural oils like grape seed oil. You will be chocked.

If you really want to improve your skin start reading ingredients and avoid the following.

All essential oils especially cinnamon, bergamot, lavender, mint and all the citrus oils.
Most plant extracts
Witch hazel
Alcohol Denat
Ethyl alcohol
Coconut oil (great for your hair but it is highly comedogenic and can cause acne)
Sodium lauryl sulfate (not to be confused with sodium laureth sulfate which is safe when rinsed out)
Bismuth oxychloride
Most ingredients that finish by “ol” and “al” like eugenol those are usually fragrant extracts
Sodium silicate
Dimethyl ether

Of course depending on your skin type some plants extracts and some fragrance might be fine for you. The problem with fragrance is that we don't know exactly what they putted in there some fragrance might be quite irritating and others completely fine.

I hope that was helpful next skin care article, I will talk about ingredients you should try to include in your routine.

Friday, March 7, 2014

10 things you should know about skin care

Anybody that has seen any of my close-up make up less pictures, can tell that I suffer from a mild form of rosacea.  This is why I tend to to keep myself informed on skin care.
Two websites that I really like for that purpose are the following

The beauty brains are chemist that analyse composition of cosmetics. I learnt a lot there, especially about hair care. They answer myths about parabens, silicones and sulfates. It’s really a must read.

Paula’s choice is the website of Paula Begoun. She does have her own line of skin care and makeup but her advice and reviews about other brands are really good. They analyse ingredient list, PH and they point out irritating ingredients. 

Ten things you should know about skin care 

1.       Ingredients loose efficacy when they are in a tub. Buy your skin care from a bottle or a tube. 

2.       It’s safe to use chemical exfoliants, anti-oxydant and retinol at the same time. 

3.       Mineral oil and petrolatum are completely safe ingredients.

4.       Parabens are well tolerated by most skins. 

5.       Alcohol and alcohol denat is very irritating for the skin.

6.       Cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol are fatty alcohols and are in fact good the skin. 

7.       You can take anti-age products at any age. You can’t mend wrinkles but you surely can slow down the process. 

8.       Scrubs are very irritating on a lot of skin types. Look for chemical exfoliants that contain one of the following ingredients: alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) is good for dry and sun damaged skin, salicylic acid (BHA or beta hydroxyl acid) is good for clogged pores and acne prone skin. Lactic acid is a form of AHA. If you can’t stand AHA and BHA look for PHA (Polyhydroxy acid) which is a milder form.

9.       A SPF of more than 30 is not necessary. You don’t need to pay more for SPF 50 sun blocks. 

10.   A lot of natural brands contain ingredients that are very irritating for the skin, perfume water, different extracts and essential oils. If you want to go for natural brands for ethical reasons, read closely the ingredient list and test the PH if you can! Avoid bar soap at any cost.