Cosmetic Proof : April 2015 | Vancouver beauty, nail art and lifestyle blog

MAKEUP | MAKE UP FOR EVER Step 1 Skin Equalizer in #3 Hydrating Primer & #6 Radiant Primer Review & Swatches

There aren’t many times that I remember to use a makeup primer. I usually wear it if I know I’m going to be wearing a full face of makeup for more than 8+ hours OR on my wedding day. Now, I don’t plan on repeating the latter anytime soon, so that leaves me with the long days! The one thing that I don’t like about primers is that “dimethicone-y feeling”. I understand that silicones are what give me perfectly flawless skin, but I still feel uneasy when I smooth typical primers over my skin. I don’t have particularly large pores to blur, so I really just want a primer that keeps things from budging (Yes, I know that a makeup setting spray can do this too). There are two things that I absolutely LOVE about the new MAKE UP FOR EVER Step Skin Equalizers*($43 CDN/30mL): they FEEL like moisturizers and there are TEN different formulations that can be used alone or in conjunction to make sure your skin’s every concern is addressed. 
 Make Up For Ever Skin Equalizer Review Swatch

The Step 1 Skin Equalizers are divided into two categories: Texture and Tone, with five of the primers designed to address issues like oil/shine, large pores, fine lines, dryness and redness and Radiance, with the other five primers aimed at boosting radiance in various skin tones. Here’s where the fun part comes in. Cocktailing! Personally, I never say no to more radiance and hydration which is exactly what the #6 Radiant Primer and #3 Hydrating Primer address. All Skin Equalizers also contain hyaluronic acid that you will often see in skincare to plump skin.

Make Up For Ever Skin Equalizer Review Swatch (2)

I know that some won’t care for this and neither does the analytical side of my brain, but the fact that these primers are coloured to match their packaging colour is tremendously appealing to the squealing little girl in me. They of course blend away to an invisible finish. I start with #3 for hydration and follow it up with #6 as I prefer radiance as my final step. Both feel so similar to moisturizers with #3 leaving my skin feeling SMOOTH, but I’m not too sure if #6 really makes my skin more radiant. I would like to believe it does! Maybe I smile a little more when I wear these primers?

Final  Verdict: I adore how light these primers feel! Even though they still have dimethicone in them, the formulation feels so much lighter than the typical pore-blurring primers. I also like that multiple skin concerns can be addressed with two primers without feeling like I’m overloading my skin before the ACTUAL makeup process has even begun! Do these primers lock my makeup in place? Yes, but I should also add that I don’t have a huge problem with makeup migration. I have been using these in conjunction with a drugstore foundation and I most recently used it starting at 6am all the way until 7pm with a flight in between. My foundation and blush were both still intact so dare I say these Skin Equalizers did their noble priming duty?

Also, today is the last day to enter my MAKE UP FOR EVER Skin Equalizer Giveaway!
MAKE UP FOR EVER Step 1 Skin Equalizers can be found at Sephora, Sephora.com and all MAKE UP FOR EVER Boutiques.

MAKEUP | Guerlain Les Tendres Meteorites Perles de Blush Angelic Radiance Review & Swatches

I feel like Spring disappears so quickly in the world of beauty as collections are planned so far in advance that even I start thinking one season ahead. II briefly touched on a few items in Guerlain’s Les Tendres Spring Collection in a post from February (here) and thought I’d feature a few products that caught my attention or were review requests from readers. From the moment you open the box, you can instantly smell that characteristic floral Guerlain scent radiating from the Meteorites Perles de Blush Angelic Radiance*($58.00 CDN/0.45oz). As you can see from the cherubic angel on the packaging, this blush is all about giving you irresistibly angelic-looking cheeks.

Guerlain Limited Edition Meteorites Perles de Blush Review Swatch

SKINCARE | SEPHORA “Cleaning Me Softly” Facial Cleansing Brush & Detox It Out Charcoal Swabs

God, I love skincare. I love the creams, potions and concoctions that companies come up with and inventive ways with which to make our skin THAT MUCH BETTER. I happily use a Clarisonic, but how would a manual facial brush compare? And at just $13 for the SEPHORA Collection Cleaning Me Softly Facial Cleansing Brush* why not give it a go? This brush comes in either pink or black and is a gentle deep-cleansing brush for both the face and neck. I do tend to forget about my neck and hope that my neck doesn’t hit the age of 50 before my face does.

Sephora Cleaning Me Softly Facial Cleansing Brush Review (2)

HAIR | John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Colour Protecting Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner Review

John Frieda hair products have been in my life since I was a teenager and through a couple of beauty boxes, I was able to try (and fall in love with) one of my favourite products, the Frizz Ease Extra Strength Serum. Up until last year, I had never coloured my hair so I never gave “colour protecting” products a second glance. Well, now with my fast-fading ombre hair, I am forever determined to keep the colour intact for as long as possible! The Brilliant Brunette series does just that! There are two sets of products in this line: the Multi-Tone Enhancing Shampoo and Conditioner and the one that I have been using over the last 2 weeks, the Colour Protecting Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner. Made with crushed pearl powder and sweet almond oil, this duo is all about colour preservation and rehydrating colour-treated hair because DAMN does it ever get dry!

John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Colour Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner

John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Colour Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner (2)

The almond oil is what made me love the smell of both products and although I understand that the “stand-up” style packaging gets you EVERY last drop of product, when the bottles are fresh and full there tends to be a lot of spillage when stored in the upright position! With regards to the shampoo, I felt like I had to squeeze out a little more than I normally would to get a good lather going (yes, yes I know it’s NOT always about the bubbles), but without a certain amount I can’t really clean my hair of the hair spray, dry shampoo and texturing spray that I add to my hair for lift on a daily basis (yes, those are my hair secrets).

Final Verdict: While this duo didn’t blow my mind, my hair did feel quite hydrated. I could skip my hair oil a few nights because my ends just didn’t look like they needed the extra moisture blast. My scalp still felt a little dry at times, but my hair was totally fine. I think I’m just weird. I can’t quite tell if my colour has been preserved at all since it has only been a short amount of time, but I liked the fluidity of the formulas of both the shampoo and conditioner and will continue using them once I get my hair re-ombred. Now, THAT will probably be the true test! 

John Frieda products can be found at London Drugs, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Rexall, Jean Coutu, Shoppers Drug Mart and Lawtons.

MAKEUP LOOK |Elate Clean Cosmetics Pressed Eye Colour, Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Charm and Universal Creme in Elation Review & Swatches

Today is EARTH DAY! Last year I had a bit of a countdown of products, but wasn’t quite as organized this year so instead I wanted to feature a Canadian, all natural, vegan brand that I just recently discovered through blogger friend She’s So Eco. Natural makeup can be hit or miss as formulations that are natural AND provide pigment and texture we all love is tough. Elate Clean Cosmetics is based in BC’s capital city of Victoria whose products immediately caught my eye with their West Coast wooden accents and ethereal, yet naturally beautiful looks that were being created. You can imagine how “elated” I was when I reached out to Elate and they agreed to work with me on a makeup look for Earth Day!

Elate Clean Cosmetics Earth Day Review FOTD

Elate Clean Cosmetics Earth Day Review FOTD (9)

GIVEAWAY! | Win All 10 MAKE UP FOR EVER Skin Equalizers!

If you’re like me, you must have been sad to see the MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microperfecting Primers go (review), BUT there is some awesome news! MAKE UP FOR EVER has released TEN new primers called Step 1 Skin Equalizers that are targeted for specific skin concerns like dryness, redness, oiliness or dullness. What I love is that you don’t just have to choose one primer, you can mix and match this rainbow of primers to create the perfect canvas of skin. I will have a review up shortly of the ones that have been working best for my skin, but for now…ENJOY HAVING THE CHANCE TO WIN ALL TEN!

Make Up For Ever Skin Equalizer Giveaway

Terms of the Giveaway

  • Open to CANADA ONLY
  • Giveaway ends on April 30th, 2015 at 11:59pm
  • The winner will have 48 hours to reply once they are contacted.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

NAILS | Red Carpet Manicure *Cinderella Collection* “Well, Aren’t We Lovely” LED Gel Nail Polish Swatch and Cuticle Tattoos

Gel polish. I don’t often do gel polish manicures because I like to change my nail colour 2-3x per week, but when I will decide to do them is when I KNOW I won’t have the time to paint them. I knew that I would be traveling a fair bit this week and next for work so I knew I wanted a manicure that would leave me looking put together 24-7 even though my brain was far from it (I am a stressful flyer)! Cinderella-themed beauty collections have captured our hearts/wallets this season so when I saw the shades and names of Red Carpet Manicure’s limited edition Cinderella Collection, I was enchanted IMMEDIATELY. I have used RCM polishes before, most recently for Christmas (here) and can never get over the shine and longevity of the manicure.

Well, Aren’t We Lovely, is a hot pink creme that just makes me happy looking at it. It fits the spring/summer sunshine we’re experiencing here in Vancouver and I just love how rich the colour is. Yes, I know there are a ton of “regular” polishes out there that look like this, but there is something special about a gel polish…*gazes off into the distance*…

Red Carpet Manicure - Well, Aren't We Lovely Swatch Review

Red Carpet Manicure - Well, Aren't We Lovely Swatch Review (6)

MAKEUP | MAKE UP FOR EVER Mist & Fix Makeup Setting Spray Review

Is it just me or have we been obsessed with makeup sprays for pretty much all of 2014? Although I’ve heard that the ULTIMATE setting spray is HAIRSPRAY, I start to panic when even a little bit gets in my mouth or my eyes so I cannot imagine how sticky it must feel! MAKE UP FOR EVER’s Mist & Fix*($34.00/125mL or $14.00/30mL) is a re-launch of a cult favourite with an “O2 Skin Complex” that promises to oxygenate the skin and make it appear more radiant without adding shine. Mist & Fix is alcohol-free, like most setting sprays, and suitable for even sensitive skin types.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Mist and Fix Review

#NYCBeautyPro | New York Color Cosmetics House of Flying Daggers – Inspired Makeup Look

This month’s challenge involved choosing a fictional movie character and recreating their look. Is it odd that I could only think of cartoon characters? Often enough, when it comes to my face, I only really identify with women of Asian decent when it comes to makeup looks. Don’t get me wrong, I love the looks of all faces, but for recreation I would prefer to choose a face with features similar to my own because I KNOW that the look will translate better. I don’t have the eyelashes or the surface area on my eyelids to do some of the eye looks out there and boy do I wish I did! This is why I tend to like nail art because everyone’s nails are the same. Someone could be 4ft or 6ft tall, black or white and nails never change!

For this month’s #NYCBeautyPro Challenge, I went to the beautiful Zhang Ziyi in the movie House of Flying Daggers. I loved this movie for its colour and well…daggers. I loved the fight scenes and I loved the elegance of Zhang Ziyi’s look. Flawless pale skin, illuminated eyes and kiss of death red lips. Her look was simple, yet striking. Then again, she was supposed to be blind in the movie so maybe being heavily made up wasn’t a priority.

April NYC Beauty Pro Challenge New York Color Makeup Look

SKINCARE REVIEW | Odacite – Fresh, Luxurious and Shipped From the Lab to Your Door!

Just because I work for another skincare company does not mean I will be excluding myself from trying other brands and sharing my honest to goodness experiences! I love the science of skincare and will never lose that spirit of discovery when it comes to any brand so let us partake in some new skincare shall we? Odacite (play on the French word “audacity”) was founded by Valerie Grandury after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. In an effort to detoxify her environment, she changed her diet and of course, her skincare regime. Try as she might, the products she came across never had manufacture dates which made her wonder how long the active ingredients would retain their efficacy thus giving rise to the “freshiency date”, batching products without the need for any synthetic preservatives and shipping right to your door. Places like The Detox Market that carry Odacite, refrigerate their products on site to ensure freshness. Also, the liquid base of all Odacite products is never water, but fresh, organic aloe vera juice which I thought was super cool.

Odacite Review The Detox Market (2)

BATH & BODY | L’Occitane Shea Ultra Rich Body Scrub Review

 I have mentioned on many occasions throughout this blog how much I love the L’Occitane Shea Butter collection both for its scent and moisturizing properties. This scent has been in my life since a L’Occitane store opened up close to my old work in 2011 and from there it was all over for me and my wallet. I started with the hand cream, moved on to the face and now, the BODY. I am an exfoliant fiend when it comes to my skin and on average I go through about one body scrub/month! I knew I would love the L’Occitane Shea Ultra Rich Body Scrub* ($48.00 CDN/200mL) just from the description and once I had scooped it out into my trembling hands I was sure I would love it!

L'Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Scrub

Using walnut shell powder and shea butter, this is a very creamy scrub. The walnut bits are fairly dispersed so while this isn’t an overly gritty scrub like others I have used from other brands, it does keep skin feeling smooth and free of blemishes (Yes, body blemishes!). This is a scrub intended for very dry skin so having a gritty scrub probably isn’t ideal anyway and the smell is of course just HEAVENLY.

L'Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Scrub (2)

Final Verdict: I felt like I was putting on moisturizer in the shower when using this scrub. I forget to do this a lot, but this scrub really worked best for me when applied to dry skin. Sometimes applying a a gritty scrub to dry skin can feel a little uncomfortable, but because this is shea butter-based, it feels positively luxurious! I still had to use moisturizer after my shower, but was able to skip less dry areas like my arms and torso and moisturize just my legs. You also do not need very much as this is so creamy, it just glides across your skin allowing for maximum surface area coverage. Efficiency. I love it. I have had this for over a month and I haven’t even gotten to the halfway point in the jar which is HUGE. Usually I power through 200mL like nobody’s business!

The Shea Ultra Rich Body Scrub can be found at all L’Occitane boutiques and online stores.

NAILS | OPI Infinite Shine Swatches in Girl Without Limits + Stamping Nail Art

I am absolutely craptastic at nail stamping which is why I prefer to freehand everything when it comes to nail art. I can never get that rolling motion right so even though I have everything one could possibly need for stamping, I rarely pick them up. I am ONLY sharing this stamping post with you all because it is a marked improvement from some of the stamping posts I have done in the past. Using my brand new “squishy” stamper, I was finally able to pick up patterns mostly in full from my Born Pretty #03 Stamping Plate*. You have no idea how terrified I get when it’s time to stamp that design down on my nails. I am not someone that enjoys redoing nails or makeup looks so it HAS to be right the first time. I still missed some stars this time, but I hope this is the beginning of some better stamping nail art to share with all of you!

OPI Stars and Cats Stamping with Born Pretty Plate 03 Review

MAKEUP LOOK | “Strawberry Chocolate”-Inspired with Guerlain Écrin 1 Couleur Long Lasting Eyeshadow Silky Powder in Pink Pong Review & Swatches

When it comes to playing with makeup, I love going with “wild” colours because they are so much more fun to look at in photos and on camera. Sometimes when I have a neutral colour, I think that I will just bore you all with my “mundane, everyday look”, but the other day I realized that I ALWAYS wear neutrals when I’m working or out for lunch with girls (unless everyone is a beauty blogger, then you can bring out whatever colours you’re “testing” for the week and everyone will understand).

Just released a few days ago, Guerlain Écrin 1 Couleur Long Lasting Eyeshadow Silky Powder ($36.00 CDN) is best described as a “soft and sensorial” powder that glides easily over the eyelid for a beautifully even film of colour. I received a lab sample of the colour Pink Pong* and didn’t think I could make this shade work since metallic finishes never seem to work for me, but I started thinking about dessert, then fruit which led to this…

Guerlain Ecrin 1 Couleur Pink Pong Review Swatches Makeup Look

Guerlain Ecrin 1 Couleur Pink Pong Review Swatches Makeup Look (2)

MAKEUP LOOK | SST Cosmetics #Facetime Collection Review & Swatches

We all have favourite makeup companies that we revisit for new collections, colours and products, but I tend to make an exception when I get introduced to new Canadian makeup companies because that’s the kind of patriot I am. SST Cosmetics is aptly named after makeup artist and founder Sharon Sharpe-Titus and is a Canadian company focused on creating quality colour cosmetics without any harsh ingredients that will make any gal look nothing short of fabulous! What caught my attention about SST’s newest makeup collection was the humour behind it. The #Facetime Collection is all about hashtags, products worth tweeting about and looking Facetime ready in a flash! As a child of the early 80s, I still find it so fascinating that social media and technology dictate so much of our lives that now there is even a makeup collection with a hashtag in its name! Though I digress, I am an Android user so I don’t specifically use Facetime, but I have been on many Skype sessions where I do feel the urge to make myself look just a little better for the camera. For the purposes of this particular collection, I didn’t style my hair and tried to put a decent look together in 5 minutes for my “phone call”!

SST Cosmetics Facetime Collection Review Swatch (2)

SST Cosmetics Facetime Collection Review Swatch

NAIL ART | Lovin’ Some Pineapples with OPI – Pineapples Have Peelings Too!

I love pineapples. Hate cutting them, but love eating and painting them! Following up with my last OPI Hawaii Collection post (here), I bring you OPI – Pineapples Have Peelings Too!* In classic OPI naming scheme, this glitter is quite an interesting one in that it’s a metallic, golden yellow with multi-coloured hex glitter. I am wearing two coats with top coat in all photos below. I do wish yellow shades looked better on me, but I think the pineapples help, don’t you?

OPI - Pineapples Have Peelings Too! Swatch Review Pineapple Nail Art

MAKEUP REVIEW | Guerlain Meteorites Baby Glow SPF 25 PA++ Swatches in #2 Light and #3 Medium

I am brand new to the concept of Guerlain’s Meteorites. I have never had the long illustrious love affair that many beauty lovers have had with it and I am currently surrounded by much literature about what it all means, but from what I gather, it all started in 1987 when Guerlain came up with a loose powder in the form of multi-coloured pearls that made skin appear luminous without looking overdone. This concept gave rise to primers, powders, blushes and now a sheer foundation infused with the same “meteorific” glow. Meteorites Baby Glow* ($60.00 CDN/30mL) is a “light-revealing sheer makeup anti-fatigue effect glow” that acts as a luminous veil on the skin while evening out and unifying the skin’s complexion. I love that there is SPF ready to go in this formulation and I am grateful that my skin isn’t one to react to SPF as I know a number of friends who are quite sensitive to it.

Guerlain Meteorites Baby Glow Light Revealing Sheer Makeup Anti Fatigue Effect Baby Glow Review Swatches (2)

EVENT | Where the Magic Happens: Tata Harper Farm (VERY PICTURE HEAVY!)

This post has been a long time coming, but many of you know that a few weeks back I had the opportunity to visit the farm where ALL Tata Harper skincare products are produced, batched and formulated. Skincare has an incredibly special place in my lipstick-filled heart and what makes this company special to me is the TRULY 100% natural formulations and the artisanal story and science behind each product. The words “natural” and “organic” are used very loosely now with regards to food and beauty products so what I love about Tata Harper products are that they have gone above and beyond to set themselves apart and add transparency to what “natural” truly means. Having each product certified by Eco Cert, the American Vegan and Vegetarian Associations as well as being made without a single drop of synthetics is already HUGE when it comes to skincare.

Wondering where this magical farm is? It’s in Vermont. Canadians, do not be ashamed to whip out your Google Maps because that’s what I had to do! Located in the east, in the Maritimes of the United States and home to apparently some of the best maple syrup and skiing out there (although my Montreal-born hubby disagrees with the maple syrup point)! The flight to Vermont was far from direct and while I failed to mention the people at Tata Harper that I was afraid of flying, seeing the farm was well-worth the week of apprehension.

Tata Harper Open Lab Event Review (23)

HAIR | Live Clean Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner Review

Coconut oil has been the talk of the town for the last couple of years now that many of us are trying to “live cleaner” (haha, I said it) when it comes to diet and cosmetic product usage. I, myself, have started cooking with coconut oil and have been amazed at how flavourful food can be with it! We just did a chicken stir fry last night with coconut oil and it tasted amazing! Coconut oil is something that can practically be used for ANYTHING and although I am not quite ready to use it raw in my hair, I am willing to try it in a more “civilized” manner in the form of shampoo and conditioner. After using Live Clean’s Age Resist line for all of February and enjoying it (review), I moved on to the new Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner* ($6.99 CDN each) which contains nothing other than coconut oil along with Vitamin C, E, Provitamin B5 and milk and rice proteins to gently cleanse, while hydrating hair.   

Live Clean Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner Review Live Clean Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner Review (2)

Compared to the Age Resist line, the Coconut Milk S & C were MUCH lighter in consistency and I didn’t have to take extra precautions when it came to thoroughly rinsing my hair. I don’t normally like the scent of coconut thanks to Banana Boat sunscreen, but this was very subtle and not at all overwhelming.

Final Verdict: Switching from Age Resist to Coconut Milk, I didn’t really notice much of a change in my actual hair. When it came to my scalp, I did notice some of the dryness come back which made me think that the Age Resist line hydrated my scalp a bit more. You have seen my hair in makeup posts from the past month so you can tell that my hair has been just as shiny and healthy as before. Just because of the way my scalp is now, I don’t believe the Coconut Milk line will be enough for me :-( 

NAIL ART | Psychedelic Spring Flowers with Wet n Wild Wildshine Nail Polishes

We are officially in the throes of Spring here in Vancouver and although I still feel the urge to wear a fuzzy sweater, I can now forego the winter coat and pair off an outfit with ballet flats instead of boots. After my recent discovery of Wet n Wild Wildshine polishes (here), I thought it might be appropriate to pay them a proper tribute and use them as many as I could in one manicure. Flowers are pretty much the gateway drug into nail art for the season. From here, it’s Easter, cherry blossoms, watercolour and of course MORE FLOWERS!

April

Spring Flowers Wet n Wild Review Swatches
I started off with 2 coats of Putting on Airs*, an opaque baby blue, and then created flowers randomly on my nails using a dotting tool and the shades Tickled Pink* and Who Is Ultraviolet?* While the polish is still fairly wet, center some gold nail art studs for your flower centers or pistils, for you plant biologists. I used two different sizes of studs since the small ones looked silly with the larger flowers. Then, topcoat your design!

Edit: If you plan on applying the smaller nail art studs close to the edge of your nails, be careful when eating…or you might  inadvertently ingest one…ahem…as was the case yesterday for me.

MAKEUP LOOK | MAC Cosmetics Bao Bao Wan Veluxe Pearl Fusion Shadow Review & Swatches

MAC,  you need to stop with these limited edition releases. There is a reason why I never used to even peruse the MAC counters because of releases like the MAC Toledo Collection, Cinderella and now Bao Bao Wan. Bao Bao Wan is HUGE in Asia which is why this collection jumped out at me right away because I’m Asian hence the colours MUST work for me, right? The Bao Bao Wan collection has some stunning lipsticks and nail lacquers, but today we’re going to feast our eyes on the Veluxe Pearl Fusion Shadow*($52.50 CDN), that is all shimmer baby! I had fun with this one fo sho!

MAC Cosmetics Bao Bao Wan Veluxe Pearl Fusion Eyeshadow Palette Review Swatches

MAC Cosmetics Bao Bao Wan Veluxe Pearl Fusion Eyeshadow Palette Review Swatches (3)