Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Makeup Withdrawal: Win Polishes From the China Glaze Hunger Games Col...

Makeup Withdrawal: Win Polishes From the China Glaze Hunger Games Col...: I really wanted to have another giveaway and since the last few were unfortunately, limited to US residents I wanted to make sure that t...

February Fancies 2012

So long February - hello, March! The beginning of this month dragged on, but the last two weeks have just whizzed by. I can't believe that I'm half done my last full semester of University. Craziness will now ensue.

I called this "February Fancies" instead of "February Favorites" because the word "favorite" is so abused at the end of the month haha.... we'll switch it up a little for now...

As for my favorites, or fancies, this month, they've reflected how busy I've been lately. One of the two following scenarios are always true of me lately: 1) I value my sleep more than I value an elaborate makeup scheme on my face, or 2) I don't have the time to care about anything besides looking like an alive female in the morning.

China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy. I know I purchased this pretty late into the month, but this has been SO worn for the time I've had it, I can't imagine life without it. Seeing this on my fingers makes me SO happy. I honestly have no words for how gorgeous this polish is.

Urban Decay Primer Potion (Original). With all of the stress and craziness of this month, I've been disturbingly emotional which means that I bawl my eyes out rather frequently. UDPP has kept my makeup intact through several sporadic bouts of tears, long days at school, and sweaty minutes on the elliptical trainer.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub. Whoa, that was a mouthful. Recently my skin has been going bazerk, breaking out all over the place - which is less than a desirable look to rock. I use this when I feel my skin getting 'too oily' or like it's on the verge of more than one zit. After scrubbing this all over my face (in the evening before bed), I let it sit for a few minutes while I floss my teeth. I rinse it off and follow with my Alba Botanicals Hawaiian Hibiscus Toner and moisturizer. It keeps my breakouts minimal and at bay. And it smells so good I wanna eat it - can't go wrong with that.

Annabelle Smoothliner in Brownie. Perfect for smudging on my upper lashline when I want a polished look, yet without appearing 'overdone,' or like I spent too much time on myself. Freaking adore this pencil.

Annabelle Mono Eyeshadow in Vanilla Chilla. There is no better brow and inner corner highlight than this. The satin sheen creates a beautiful, almost natural-looking glow without looking powder-y, cake-y, or like a glitter-bomb went off on my face. And I've hit pan, in a major way... If I don't use this in my inner corner every day, something about my whole look seems 'off.'

Tarte Mineral Powder Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess. I didn't love this at all when I first got it... the shimmer in it seemed 'too much' for me. But as I've used it more and more, I've found that I really like using it on my ELF Studio Powder brush around the outside and high points of my face to create a subtle, but natural looking bronzed glow. It doesn't look as artificial as contouring with my MAC bronzer can, but creates dimension and makes me look more alive than albino.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette - Tease. I am definitely enjoying my Naked 2 palette, but lately, I've been using the shade Tease A LOT. It's just the perfect crease color for on the go. The purple-y hint really brings out the green in my eyes, and gives a subtle, yet defined look to my crease. LOOOOOVE it.

Now for a random favorite... Whoooo! We're shaking it up a little!!

Old Navy Perfect Rib-Knit Tanks. I freaking adore these. My sister and I stumbled across them on a shopping date and fell in love with their neon-esque colors (such as Pink Icing Neon 118 and Dayglow Dina). For $8 CDN, you can't really go wrong. Old Navy's also 'reformulated' their standard rib-knit tanks so that they're fitted now. The stretchy nature of the new tops does not lose its shape throughout the day like the old ones did or through the washing process, and fits to your body so you don't look like a square. Love the colors SO much, but love the fit of these even more!!

And that's about it. I loved more products this month, but I think that these definitely topped my list. I'm still playing around with other new products I've picked up, so you can bet your bottom dollar I'll have more new and exciting favorites come the end of March.

What were you loving this month? Do you have any favorites that you'd recommend?! Let me know in the comments!!

Happy March!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils

The NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils retail for approximately $4-$6 CDN and can be purchased wherever NYX Cosmetics are sold. In Canada, those places are few and far between. I know that Rexall sells them, as well as Save On Foods. And that's about it. However, NYX Cosmetics are also for purchase from, so even if you don't have access to them in person, you can still pick them out online. The Jumbo Eye Pencils are available in 28 shades, differing in shade and finish. One pencil contains 0.5 g (0.18 oz) of product.

I have these pencils in Cottage CheeseGold, and Black Bean.

Top to Bottom: Cottage Cheese, Black Bean, Gold
These pencils come in a sleek white casing with the company name, the product, and the shade printed in black on the front. The pencils are the old-school, sharpen-when-dull kind, which means that you need an oversized/jumbo pencil sharpener on hand. A little inconvenient to buy an extra sharpener if you don't already have one in this size in your collection, but it's definitely not a waste of money. The caps are translucent plastic, but very flimsy and easily broken. Two out of three of my caps have splits up the sides.

NYX Cosmetics describes these as an eyeliner and eyeshadow all in one. With their blend of mineral oil and powder, these are said to glide on effortlessly - so as not to tug or pull at your eye when applying.

Cottage Cheese is a frosty, off-white shade. This one is really beautiful as a highlight shade, but my only gripe is that it can sometimes apply unevenly - some areas will get too much product and other areas won't get enough. This one can be 'too frosty' for me at times...

Black Bean is an intensely pigmented semi-matte black (it has a sheen, but can be blended down into a truer matte finish). This one is crazy pigmented - a little bit goes a very long way. Excellent for sultry and smokey eye looks. Love it.

Gold is a shimmery copper bronze shade. I like putting this under my Wet N' Wild Walking on Eggshells trio to intensify the shimmery bronze-y-ness of the look. Fantastic shade for the summer, but still my least reached for shade.

First off, I will just say that these pencils are ridiculously creamy and smooth. They glide over your eye with very little effort - no tugging or pulling required!!
Secondly, these are intensely pigmented. One swipe of these bad boys leaves you with unquestionable pigmentation and color. Fantastic quality.
Third, there is a color for everyone. With 28 colors to choose from, you will undoubtedly find a color that suits your personal needs and style.
Fourth, different finishes. There are mattes, shimmers, frosts, even satins, I believe.

Left to Right: Cottage Cheese, Black Bean, Gold
Left to Right: Cottage Cheese, Black Bean, Gold
While I adore these pencils, there are also some downsides. You can NOT use these pencils without first using an eyeshadow base, such as Urban Decay's Primer Potion, Too Faced's Shadow Insurance, a MAC paint pot, etc. These will crease like mad before you even make it out the door without a primer. In fact, sometimes, even when you use a primer first, these can still crease horribly if you're not very particular about your application technique. Less is more! When applying, start with very little product and blend out. If you feel that you need more, add a little bit more. Building is really important here. The less product you use, the better. Best to start off small and use more as needed, than to just glob on as much as you can and hope for the best. In addition, it is in your best interest to use a powder over top of these to lock them in place and create a vibrant eye look.

I'd call these pencils 'color bases' instead of using them as stand-alone eyeshadows or even liners. They create fantastic pigmented bases for any look, to really punch up the color intensity. I've never used them strictly as eyeliner, and I don't think I'd want to. The jumbo size would make it incredibly difficult to get a) an even line, and b) a thin line.

The other thing I dislike is the sharpening factor. It's inconvenient and messy to sharpen this huge pencil every time I need a sharp point to create the look that I want. I would prefer a twist-up pencil instead, but that's just my opinion.

I would really love to try Milk, NYX's matte white shade, but it's not for sale at my local Rexall. If I did want it badly enough, I'd purchase it from Cherry Culture online.

All-in-all, these are fantastic color bases for the price. You have a ridiculous selection to choose from, and the price tag won't break the bank. And that's why I love them. I only wish they were more available in Canada - that would be nice. And I wish the packaging was more stellar... oh well! Room for improvement!

4 out of 5 stars.
* * * *

What shades of the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil variety have you tried? Do you love them or hate them? Are there any other shades I should try??

Monday, February 27, 2012

Annabelle Lip Liner in Heatwave

I picked up this particular lip liner from Shopper's Drug Mart for about $5 CDN. This particular shade was part of a display with new products such as the Big Show lip shines. I do not know if it was limited edition or not - hopefully not, as it is a beautiful shade. You can pick up Annabelle lip liners wherever Annabelle Cosmetics are sold (WalMart, Shopper's Drug Mart, Zellers, etc.) One pencil contains 0.04 oz (1.15 g) of product.

These liners are hypoallergenic and come in 3 different formulas: regular, metallic, or waterproof. Heatwave is in the regular formula.

Heatwave is an intensely pigmented bright orange, bordering on neon. It's surprisingly wearable, however, especially for the summer months. It's a cream finish, so there aren't any crazy sparklies or glitters in it... which makes it incredibly wearable, should you decide to wear it on its own.

But seeing as though I've been on a HUGE bright/neon kick lately (neon tank tops from Old Navy.... China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy.... Wet N Wild Mega Last Lip Color in Pinkerbell...) this is definitely one of my go-to lip colors as of recently...

With flash.
No flash.
Heatwave was released with three other shades including Showgirl, and Haute Chic

With flash.
Yikes! My lips look like they're on fire!!! <3
No flash, natural light.
This liner is so smooth and applies flawlessly. The creamy texture glides over my lips, and sometimes I have to double check that I'm using an old-fashioned sharpen-when-dull pencil liner, instead of an automatic one. I've never purchased any Annabelle lip liners before Heatwave, but I'm interested in trying some more shades. Assuming the quality doesn't differ across shades, I will probably be picking up more of these in the months to come. 

I would have to say that this lip liner almost bumps my lip liner from MAC in Dervish out of the picture. The formula is so much more luxurious than your typical liner - and the pigmentation is to die for. And the cost!? Spot on. I still think my MAC pencil has a longer wear time, but it's nothing that would be a deal breaker for me.

My only gripe with this liner is that you have to sharpen it. Ya, I know - I need to get over it. But I guess I've had one too many run-ins with my pencil sharpener vomiting its contents all over the inside of my purse or makeup bag. And for those of you who know what I'm talking about... you know what a pain it is to get pencil shavings and smeared product off your purse lining... no bueno. I would love this so much more if it were in an automatic pencil form... plus, you wouldn't waste as much product with sharpening. Sigh. I guess we can't have everything.

On a happy note, if you see this shade in your stores, pick it up. I don't know how long it'll be around for, so get it while it's hot!!! You really can't go wrong with a brilliantly pigmented tangerine liner - which will be on trend this spring! And in the meantime, check out your local Annabelle displays. I am always impressed with their new releases and collections, and am a huge fan of their products - they very rarely disappoint :)

4 out of 5 stars, for sure!
* * * *

Have you tried any of Annabelle's other lip liners?? What do you think? Have you tried one of the other new 2012 releases??

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils

The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils are available in 21 permanent shades from Sephora stores,, and anywhere Urban Decay products are sold. They retail for approximately $20 CDN, and come in 0.04 oz/1.2 g pencils.

I have mini versions of 1999BourbonStashYeyo, and Zero. I purchased them about three or four years ago in a set from Sephora for approximately $38 CDN.

1999 is a plum purple shade with tiny gold glitter. 
Bourbon is a dark chocolate brown with tiny flecks of gold glitter. 
Stash is a dark olive green shade with gold glitter. 
Yeyo is a metallic white without glitter. 
Zero is a rich matte black.

The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On eye pencils are not automatic, retractable liners. Rather, they are the traditional 'sharpen-when-they're-dull' pencils of old. Luckily, the pencils themselves are of standard size, so any standard pencil sharpener will suffice.

These pencils are very creamy and smooth. It takes little effort or pressure to apply and/or blend the product. Because they are so soft, by nature, they virtually melt and glide onto your skin, making application incredibly easy and 'tug free.'

The pigmentation of these pencils is funtabulous. If purchasing one of these pencils blindly, you will not be disappointed when you get home and swatch it. What you see in the pencil is definitely what you get on your skin. They have colors for every and any occasion, and I have yet to be disappointed by one of these liners.

Zero has long been praised as one of the 'best' matte black eyeliners to use in the waterline. I, myself, am not a huge 'water-liner' girl, but I have to admit, the reason I initially picked up this set of liners was to try the matte black shade and try a stint at lining my waterlines. I admit, the liner was incredibly pigmented (the blackest black I'd ever seen), and it had a decent amount of staying power. Unfortunately, I didn't like the water-lined look, and I didn't enjoy how after a few hours, the liner had disappeared off my waterline and had moved into my inner corner/tearduct area - not really a flattering look. It works great for tightlining, though after a few hours I've noticed that the pencil disappears once again. It's also a great black base for smoky looks. As you can see, mine is a little stub now...

Yeyo used to be one of my favorites, but with time, it's definitely lost it's punch. I used to use this under my brow bone or in the tear duct for a quick highlight. It also worked great as a colored base to amp up colors in any eye look. It's become very waxy in consistency and won't blend evenly so I'm stuck with patches of extra metallic white blotchiness wherever I apply it. Plus, it clings to even the slightest hint of dry skin you have. I've found more affordable alternatives that definitely work better than Yeyo ever did, so it's not one I'll be repurchasing in the long haul.

1999 left something to be desired for me. It's not a very 'purple'y plum, so nothing about it really stands out for me. It's one of those "ho-hum" colors that I definitely could do without, plus the glitter in it is too understated to notice, so one has to wonder why it's even there. In recent, I've found better more pigmented purples that I'd rather put on my eyes.

Bourbon is one of those colors that I really enjoy. It's a dark chocolate brown with glitter in it. When you put this on your eyes, they just pop. Not to mention that it's an excellent brown base for any warm or brown eye look you're going to do. Love, love, love this one.

Stash is probably one of my least used pencils, but for some reason I still love it. The olive green color is different - not something I regularly happen across. I don't use it very often just because I'm not quite sure how to wear it. It would also make a great base for green makeup looks. Not one of those 'must-have' colors, but if you're willing to try it, I'd say go for it!

The pencils have about 30 seconds to a minute before they set after initial application, where there is a small window for smudging and/or blending. Because of the smooth consistency of these pencils, they are easy to blend and smoke out for the perfect smoky eye OR as a colored base.

The Glide On eye pencils are incredibly long-wearing and long-lasting. Once they're on, they're not going anywhere. This makes them ideal to use as colored bases over-top-of or in-place-of eyeshadow primer. My eyelids are not incredibly oily, so I haven't had any issues with creasing when I use these pencils alone in place of my regular eyeshadow primer, but you may want to air on the side of caution and use a primer before applying these pencils as a colored base.

Left to right: 1999BourbonStashYeyoZero
While these are excellent investments, they are exceptionally pricey. We're not all made out of money, and I feel that for the price, I can find cheaper alternatives that work relatively the same, or I can invest more money on an eyeliner pencil that works better (i.e., Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Eyeliner).

Overall, I don't see myself repurchasing any of these pencils. I don't really regret the purchase, but I think that I can find more affordable dupes in my drugstore. There are definitely some pencils I'd love to try from the 24/7 Glide On collection, like Electric or Flipside, but I don't know that I'd go out of my way to purchase them without good cause.

4 out of 5 stars.
* * * *

What do you think of the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils? What's your favorite color??

Friday, February 24, 2012

L'Oreal Voluminous Original Mascara

This mascara retails for approximately $8-$11 CDN, depending where you're buying it from. It can be purchased anywhere L'Oreal Paris cosmetics are sold. It is only sold in the shades Black and Blackest Black

According to L'Oreal Paris, this mascara is supposed to build lashes up to 5 times their natural thickness. It's supposed to be a flake-free, smudge-free, and clump-free formula that leaves lashes soft instead of crunchy.

This product comes packaged in a sleek, matte gray tube with a shiny gold handle. The brush is your typical old-school fiber bristled brush. It has a long wand, which was a shocking contrast to the more recent releases from mascara companies with shorter wands to allow for more precision. Overall, the packaging isn't stunning, but it most certainly is not hideous. It wouldn't be a deal breaker for me.

The actual mascara itself is very black and very wet upon first opening. Not the greatest combination with a fiber-bristle brush, if you ask me.

When I first purchased it, I really really hated this mascara. It was incredibly wet and clumped on my lashes terribly, as well as transferring to my upper lid and ruining my eyeshadow... every time. I gave it several chances to cooperate, but nothing - I couldn't keep using it, so I put it away.

A few days ago, I did a makeup look that required some pretty serious volume in the lash department. I hesitantly reached for this one, thinking that maybe my opinion would've changed. And surprisingly, it did.

I have heard more recently that L'Oreal mascaras typically need a few weeks to dry out before being considered 'usable.' I would definitely agree with this statement. My mascara is significantly 'drier' - creating intense volume instead of spidery wet clumps. If you're looking for a lengthening mascara, you are not going to find it here. While I do have long lashes, this mascara does not do anything to add length or definition to my lashes. This is strictly a volumizing mascara - the intense thickness at your lash line creates the illusion of oodles of lashes. It is, hands down, the best volumizing mascara I've ever used. 

Naked lashes.
Note: I am not wearing false lashes.
But I do have Annabelle Smoothliner in Brownie, and
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil in Zero smudged on my upper lash line.

Pigmentation has never been an issue in my mascara endeavours - I don't really care if it's brown-black or black. So long as it makes my lashes show up on my eyeball. But as far as black mascaras go, this one does not disappoint.

I have had no issues with smudging or flaking - which is a definite plus. Of course, this does remove easily with makeup remover and a wash cloth, but throughout a regular day of wear-and-tear, it doesn't budge.

On the one hand, I really love this mascara for its volumizing properties. It gives me the illusion of false lashes without making them feel heavy or crunchy. I don't know that I get 5 times the volume - in fact, I'm not sure at all how you'd be able to measure that or tell, nevertheless, I find myself reaching more and more for this tube over my Maybelline Volum'Express One by One recently; however, some elements of this product get me down.

The price tag. Other brands sell cheaper mascaras.
The fact that I can't use it right when I buy it. It's a pain to have to wait a few weeks before getting the result you want with your mascara. I can buy a Maybelline mascara and use it five minutes after I buy it and get the effect I want - who wants to buy their mascara only to wait to use it?
It's only available in black shades. While black is a great color for a more sultry 'night' look, it's not necessarily the color I want on my lashes every day. I'd probably get over my other two gripes if this was available in brown-black.

Overall, this is a better-than-mediocre mascara. It's not so amazing that you have to drop everything and run out and get it now... but it's not one that you should entirely pass over, especially if you love volumizing black mascaras. Or if you're a L'Oreal junkie.

I will give this a 3 out of 5 - only because I despise having to wait for my mascara to decide to work.
* * *

What's your favorite L'Oreal mascara? Do you have any good alternative volumizing mascaras that you'd recommend??

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nicole by OPI Nail Polish in Kim-pletely in Love

I purchased this from my local London Drugs for $9.99 CDN (minus GST), however, these polishes can be purchased wherever Nicole by OPI is sold. One bottle contains 15 mL (0.05 fl oz) of product. This particular color is part of the Kardashian Kolor collection from Nicole by OPI that was released for the holiday season of 2011.

Kim-pletely in Love is a milky cool-toned light pink with blue, purple and green shimmer throughout. It has a sheer to medium pigmentation. Two or three generous coats will give you a decent opacity, while four or five coats will give you maximum opacity.

Here you can see a bit of the blue/green shimmer.

I was intrigued by this blog post on the Kardashian Kolor polishes, and knew immediately that I had to have this one. I was still lacking my holy grail pink polish, and after reading several other reviews and looking at a plethora of swatches, I felt confident that this color could be the answer to my dreams.

Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

When applying this in my dimly lit basement suite, I was thoroughly disappointed. Not only did it not appear to be showing up on my nails, but it looked like every other light pink polish I'd ever tried - not to mention the glitter wasn't even noticeable... or so I thought. When I went upstairs to get supper, I realized that the lighting in my basement left A LOT to be desired... the color is soft and subtle, yes. But the pigmentation and the tone of the pink are simply beautiful, and give me a manicure unlike any other polish I've ever had or used.
4 coats of Kim-pletely in Love with 1 coat of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

While the microglitter isn't visible from afar, it gives the prettiest blue-y green cast to the polish in certain lights, which makes it truly unique. It is SUCH a wearable, every day color, I'm considering buying a back-up bottle.

The application on this polish is fantastic. It's so incredibly smooth that application is a breeze. I have no issues with streaking or blotchiness as the polish dries. While the polish is somewhat sheer in nature, a few coats of this will get you a seamless finish. This polish dries SO fast for me... it rivals my Orly polishs in drying time, which I thoroughly appreciate.

If you have an opportunity to purchase this polish (should you be able to find any left at your local drugstore) I highly recommend picking it up. It's definitely one of those colors you will come back to time-and-time again when you're looking for a soft, feminine, every day color.

Definitely a 5 out of 5.
* * * * *

Which of the Nicole by OPI Kardashian Kolors do you love? What's your 'holy grail' pink polish? Let me know in the comments!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NOTD: China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy

I purchased this 14 mL (0.5 fl oz) bottle from my local Chatters salon for $6.99 CDN (before GST).

China Glaze's Flip Flop Fantasy released with the Poolside Collection in summer 2010.

Base: Sally Hansen Advanced Hard as Nails Natural  (1 coat)
Color: China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy (4 coats)
Top Coat: Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat (1 coat)
The neon quality of this polish isn't really evident here...
Flip Flop Fantasy is a neon coral pink shade. Very summer appropriate. The consistency of this polish leaves a little to be desired. It's thin, but it's thick...It's very pigmented, but it goes on somewhat streaky and patchy, and it definitely takes a good 3 strategic coats to get an even finish. It has a semi-matte finish - making it necessary to use a glossy topcoat if you love gettin' your shine on.

Against my very yellow tank top.
Whoa, neon much?
Flash on a white door.
No flash, in a darkened room.
In some lights, after application, this polish doesn't give a completely smooth and polished finished look. The streakiness is very evident in some lights as opposed to others. Fortunately (at least to me), under most lights the brilliance of the neon-ness camoflauges the imperfections to the naked eye. This is one of those manicures you don't want to be waving directly in someone's face.

I have such a love/hate relationship with this polish. My sister and I got manicures last summer (pre-wedding) and we both got this color. And oh my goodness, was it outrageous (in a good way!) I loved the bright neon coral pink and how it just seemed to glow on my fingernails. At the same time, I despised the streaky application.

I didn't realize that Flip Flop Fantasy was still for purchase until yesterday, when I happened upon it at my local salon. The $7 price tag was exceptionally ideal as well, so I snatched it up. I haven't found any other polish that rivals this one in color. It's simply too beautiful to pass up. Especially for summer.

I have yet to perfect my technique with this color. Perhaps certain base coats would help the application go more smoothly, thus leaving me with a less blotchy and streaky finished product.

All-in-all, the application of this polish is not enough to stop me from wearing it. Especially today. I just feel in a 'summer' mood... and nothing is going to dampen my spirit.

I'd have to say that this is one of my favorite nail polishes of all time... and I know that's saying something considered the gripes I have with it :) But sometimes you can't help it...

Overall, I give this polish 4 out of 5 stars. If not for the less-than-perfect finish, this would've received 5 stars...
* * * *

Have you guys tried this polish? What do you think? Have you found any comparable dupes? Let me know in the comments!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams

I purchased these off of for $4.50 each. I decided to try two at first - Amsterdam and Istanbul. My purchases arrived approximately 10 days after I ordered - taking into consideration the slowness surrounding Christmas and Boxing Day.

Pictures of the packaging will follow soon. In Canada, it's Family Day - and as such, the hubby and I are spending today with our parents and siblings. We have to be up early in order to get ready and drive all the way across the city to see them... I just haven't had a spare moment to take pictures of the tubes... for now - swatches will have to suffice ;)

Left to Right: Amsterdam, Istanbul
Amsterdam is a cream red - more on the blue-red side, though in the picture it looks a bit more orange-y in the picture. I suppose depending on the level of application you could make this look as sheer or as pigmented as you want - and depending on that, it could look more cool or more warm, depending on your skin tone and the pigmentation of your lips. Either way. For me, this seems like a more 'true red' of all the reds that I own. I don't wear red lip products very often, but when I do they tend to lean more on the orange-side of red; however, this color is incredibly wearable, despite its intense pigmentation.

Istanbul is a cream peachy pink in the tube, but more of a creamy light rose pink on the lips. For me, Istanbul is a bit lighter than my natural lip color, but still within the same family. It's a lovely color for the spring and summer, though it is wearable all year round. The application of Istanbul is perfect, just because of the light pigmentation - it doesn't appear 'fake' on my lips... it's just a perfect nude pink.

The product comes in a sturdy plastic tube with a velvet matte black wand. The wand is relatively stubby, as the product containers are not very large, but the short wand allows for greater precision in applying the cream to your lips. The actual applicator is a doe foot, but it is a decent size - big enough to coat your entire lip, yet small enough to be precise. In addition, the 'sponginess' is relatively minimal, reducing the waste of product being absorbed into the applicator.

These lip creams apply very smoothly, like silk. They are exceptionally pigmented and creamy. They smell very much like a vanilla cupcake/cake batter, though there is no actual flavor to the product.

Upon first application, the product applies very much like a thick, creamy lipgloss. It spreads smoothly and easily across the lips. It is very pigmented and only requires one application for complete and total coverage. The doe foot applicator is easily used for precision application, especially in regards to outlining the lips.

These are somewhat buildable. It's kind of hard to build them while they're wet, after initial application, just because you end up pushing the existing color around more than depositing more color, but with a little effort it's manageable to get a really even opaque finish.

In order to make the application as smooth as possible, one's lips must be prepped. Make sure that your lips are fully moisturized and exfoliated before using this product. Because of the matte texture of the lip creams, it will cling to and exacerbate any dry patches on your lips. Before applying, I had a thick chapstick on my lips for a few hours. I blotted it off before applying though, to help the lip cream adhere.

As the lip cream sets, it goes from a liquid creme finish to almost a powdery finish. As a result of the texture of the formula and the way this product dries, it can be rather drying. A way to counteract this effect, is to allow the lip cream to dry on your lips and then top it with a lipgloss or a light application of a chapstick. Note that applying a lipgloss or a chapstick will take away from the matte finish of the lip cream.Also, I've applied a very thin coat of a thick chapstick underneath before applying, and this helps save your lips a little. The finish is the same, and the longevity doesn't seem to be affected by this method.

Also, the matte finish and the drying effect of these lip creams, allows them to wear for a lot longer than your average lipstick. They are not everlasting, but they are very persistent. Adding a lipgloss or a chapstick on top will inhibit the long wearing-ness of the product, however, if you'd rather have a long wearing lip color and put up with the drying effect, you might want to skip on adding a lipgloss or chapstick on top.

My only real gripe with these lip creams is the tendency to go awry really easily. For example, if you're not PERFECTLY precise with the applicator, it's incredibly noticeable... and because of the consistency and method of application, sometimes (as a little evident in the pictures above) these lip creams can be a little uneven and/or splotchy. If you have the time to perfect your application, this won't be a problem - but for girls on the go, this definitely isn't going to be very functional.

I'd like to try a few more of these - Milan, Antwerp, Addis Ababa...

OH! Also, I've heard that some people have tried using these as blushes. If you apply them and blend them out really well before they dry, you're supposed to get a beautiful, matte stained cheek color. I, personally, haven't tried it. But it's worth mentioning. If you purchase one of these and you can't stand them on your lips, it's worth giving a try on your cheeks!

I really love these. The colors (at least the ones I have) are beautiful - incredibly pigmented and a great deal. The wear time is quite incredible, and the matte finish is SO beautiful. The downside is the drying nature of the product, but if it's a huge problem for you - make sure you top it off with a lip gloss, and prep your lips before application. These are absolutely fantastic, and I would definitely recommend you guys to try them out!

3.5 out of 5 stars.
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Have you guys tried the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams? Which colors are your favorite?? Do you have any recommendations??

Friday, February 17, 2012

Annabelle Smoothliners

Annabelle Smoothliners are available wherever Annabelle cosmetics are sold. I can find them at my local WalMart, Zellers, Superstore, and Shoppers Drug Mart. The Smoothliners retail for approximately $6-$8 CDN, depending on which of these stores you purchase them from. There are currently seven shades available in the permanent collection: BlackBronzeBrownieGunmetalJadeMeteorite and Metal Daze. Each pencil contains 0.04 oz/1.2 g of product.

These are not to be confused with Annabelle's Metallic Kohl eyeliners or Smudgeliners. They're always located very closely together in the displays, so it's very easy to grab the wrong one and head home with it. I've never made this mistake, but I always check and double-check to make sure I've got the right one :)

I have three of the Smoothliners: one in Bronze, another in Brownie, and the last in Urban Jungle, which was a limited edition shade from the Jungle Belle collection of summer 2011.

Top to Bottom: Brownie, Bronze, Urban Jungle
Bronze is a warm bronze shade with copper glitter.

Annabelle Smoothliner in Bronze
Brownie is an intensely pigmented medium matte brown.

Annabelle Smoothliner in Brownie
Urban Jungle is an almost metallic teal, leaning slightly more on the green side of teal than the blue.
Annabelle Smoothliner in Urban Jungle
These eyeliners are not automatic, retractable pencils, but rather, are the 'old-school' pencil eyeliners that one must sharpen with a pencil sharpener. They are regular sized, so you don't need to worry about finding a sharpener with an oversized (jumbo) sharpener. I don't particularly love the sharpening aspect of these pencils, but I can see how this design works a lot better with these creamy pencils to achieve precision in your application. Definitely not a deal breaker.

These pencils are intensely pigmented, waterproof and smudgeproof (after drying/setting). They are incredibly creamy and smooth. Like these things will literally melt onto your skin at first touch...They glide effortlessly on the skin without tugging or pulling. After applying them, they blend super easily. I find that sometimes it's easy to get a little heavy handed though and blend Bronze (almost) right off your skin - so some caution must be exercised in the smudging department. Brownie blends the best of the three... and stays incredibly pigmented after blending... that's why I love it.

Left to Right: Brownie (unblended, blended), Urban Jungle (unblended, blended),
Bronze (unblended, blended)

I have not personally used these liners in the waterline, so I couldn't really speak to their 'waterproof' qualities. Though I do know that they are incredibly long wearing and resistant to tears.

They're very pigmented in the stick, but the color payoff on the skin is amazing. What you see, is quite literally, what you get.

It's very easy to use these as colored bases, by applying them with your finger or brush, or even straight to your eye, and then blending out, to create a beautiful colored base for your eyeshadow looks. I've done this several times and I really enjoy the extra pop of color this method gives me. Depending on how oily your eyelids are, however, you may want to apply a primer (such as Urban Decay's Primer Potion) underneath before smoothing this liner across your lids. While they do claim to be waterproof and smudgeproof, this liner may not be able to withstand some people's oily eyelids.

I find these to be a very comparable dupe to Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils. They're an affordable alternative to the $20 pencils by Urban Decay. So if you're looking for something with a similar texture, pigmentation, and wear, you may want to check these out before investing in the more expensive high-end alternative.

I love these pencils and want to get more. I only wish they had a larger color selection available. In the meantime, I always keep my eyes open for the new collection displays - just in case they release another limited edition Smoothliner. 

My favorite is Urban Jungle, and I cringe when I think about the day when my beloved teal pencil will be no more... However, Brownie is my favorite 'everyday' liner because it's matte and brown. It goes with every look and is pigmented to show up even over top of darker brown smokey looks.

My only wish is that these were available in more colors. Wouldn't it be lovely if they came out with a matte white!? A creamy nude shade!? A brilliant purple!? Oh the possibilities, Annabelle.

Definitely 5 out of 5 stars.
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What colors have you tried from the Annabelle Smoothliners? Do you have any favorites??

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wet N Wild Mega Last Lip Colors

I have purchased my Mega Last lip colors from WalMart for $3.77 CDN (minus GST) a piece, but you can buy these wherever Wet N Wild products are sold. There are 26 colors available in this line overall, but I only have 7 of them: Just Peachy (903C), Smokin' Hot Pink (905D), Wine Room (906D), Mauve Outta Here (907C), Coral-ine (909D), Pinkerbell (968) and 24 Carrot Gold (969). The last two, Pinkerbell and 24 Carrot Gold, are the newest additions to the Mega Last collection. I was positive that I had Rosebud (904B) too, but I can't seem to find it anywhere... bummer.

Left to Right: Just Peachy (903C), Smokin' Hot Pink (905D), Wine Room (906D),
Mauve Outta Here (907C), Coral-ine (909D), Pinkerbell (968), 24 Carrot Gold (969)
Left to Right: Just Peachy (903C), Smokin' Hot Pink (905D), Wine Room (906D), Mauve Outta Here (907C)
Left to Right: Coral-ine (909D), Pinkerbell (968), 24 Carrot Gold (969)
According to Wet N Wild, the Mega Last lip sticks boast a semi-matte creme finish with a 4-hour wear time. They are "made with hydrating skin care ingredients: hyaluronic microspheres [which] provide extraordinary adhesion to lips, an exclusive polymer complex [which] offers cushion-like feel and texture, and natural marine plant extracts Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamins A & E help smooth lips."

This is my natural lip color. Not crazy pigmented.
Just Peachy (903C) is a paled peach. Probably my least favorite of all the ones I own and the least flattering to my skin tone.
Wet N Wild Mega Last Lip Color in Just Peachy (903C)
Haha. Try to ignore the piece of brownie attached to my face...
Smokin' Hot Pink (905D) is a bright medium-toned pink. A great alternative if you're wanting a bold pop of color but don't want to go with your traditional red lip.
Wet N Wild Mega Last Lip Color in Smokin' Hot Pink (905D)
Wine Room (906D) is a medium berry wine color. Just a bit deeper than my own lip color. A great 'every day' color.
Wet N Wild Mega Last Lip Color in Wine Room (906D)
Mauve Outta Here (907C) is a medium purpled-pink. Another great one!
Wet N Wild Mega Last Lip Color in Mauve Outta Here  (907C)
Coral-ine (909D) is a bright orange-red. This is the color that started me buying these lipsticks in the first place. It is my favorite red lip color of all time. Love it!
Wet N Wild Mega Last Lip Color in Coral-ine (909D)
Pinkerbell (968) is a bright coral pink shade. To me, it looks almost neon on my lips. I love it! Great color for the summer. Oh my gosh... isn't this just a fun-freaking-tabulous color?!
Wet N Wild Mega Last Lip Color in Pinkerbell (968)
24 Carrot Gold (969) is a medium orange coral shade. Another great shade for summer.
Wet N Wild Mega Last Lip Color in 24 Carrot Gold (969)
Where to start with these? Umm... They're FUN-freaking-TABULOUS.

Things I like...
Numero uno. The pigmentation. One swipe and you're pretty much set. What you see in the tube is a completely accurate representation of what color is going to transfer to your lips.
Numero dos. The price. Can you go wrong with $3.77? I mean, even if you pick up a color you hate, you weren't out that much money... 
Numero tres. The color selection. There is a color for anyone and everyone. Nudes, browns, pinks, purples, berries, reds, oranges, brights, darks, vampy shades... There are 26 colors after all - there IS something for everyone.
Numero cuatro. Matte. How difficult is it to find a GOOD matte lipstick formula? Very. And Wet N Wild has pretty much nailed it. They are not drying - they're creamy and glide across the lips like a dream.
Numero cinco. Lasting power. These suckers last forever. If you don't eat, drink or kiss people - these will last you until the cows come home. Because of the thick matte formula, they're not going to budge easily without regular wear-and-tear.
Numero seis. Creamy. These things are SO smooth. They just glide over your lips so easily. They're so creamy that they have a bit of a shine to them after application. Hence the sheen in the pictures...

Things I dislike...
Numero uno. The craptacular packaging. I guess in this sense, you get what you pay for. These 'bullets' are SO rickety and flimsy. I don't know if I have a single lipstick that hasn't come dislodged from the base and smushed up on the lid during transit. The lipstick will twist around in the base with movement. The lid will pop off the lipstick if it gets jostled around too much. Oye, nothing good to say about the packaging. Fix it, Wet N Wild and you will have a winning product.
Numero dos. The inability to swatch these babies in the store. At least in my area, Wet N Wild products are not swatchable, so you better have done your research before you decide to buy these lipsticks on a whim. Once they're open, you can't take them back - so that leaves a very small window for error.
Numero tres. Pigmentation. For those people who aren't huge fans of semi-matte cream finishes, you will HATE these. You will not get a sheer wash of color. There are no shimmers or glitters or lustres. So if that's what you're looking for, you're going to want to top these with a gloss or layer them with another lipstick. Personally, I don't find this to be a problem at all, but for my readers... I can understand how it could be.
Numero cuatro. Heavy feeling. While these aren't by any means drying, they are heavy. Especially if you put two or three layers of color on - you are going to feel these on your lips. 
Numero cinco. These can stain your lips a little. The pigmentation, especially on the reds and pinks, can be so much that it leaves an afterglow of color after it's rubbed off. No worries though, it removes with makeup remover (or soap!) and water.

My favorites are: Coral-inePinkerbell24 Carrot Gold and Smokin' Hot Pink.

These are funtabulous. If you're looking for a semi-matte lip stick that's affordable and has a color selection that you'll be able to find what you're looking for in... I recommend these entirely. You may not want to pack them around with you in your purse if they're going to get tossed around a lot - this can jar the lipstick loose from the base, but it's an easy fix. Still - affordable, pigmented, long-wearing. What more could we ask for? Oh. That's right. Better packaging. *sigh de la sigh* You win some, you lose some.

4 out of 5 stars.
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Have you tried the WNW Mega Last Lip Colors? Which shades are your favorite? Do you have another affordable lip stick alternative from the drugstore? Let us know!!