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Perfectly Imperfect Beauty: May 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Take A Walk In My Shoes

**For full descriptions and explanations, please watch the video posted below**

Let me preface this post by saying you will NEVER see my feet in clogs. N.E.V.E.R. I don't care who designed them or how in trend they are-I hate them.

Phew! Now that I got that off my chest, I can share with you some current summer trends that I am loving! But first here are a few tips:

-Be aware of proportions and where you carry your weight


-Do not overwhelm your outfit with an overembellished shoe. Let one thing be the show piece, either the shoes or the outfit.


-Don't wear buy a pair of shoes just because they are the newest trend. If you genuinely like them and will wear them, fine. But don't feel you have to wear a certain trend if it doesn't suit your personal style.


-Experiment with colours and textures. Summer is the time to be adventurous, so stray out of your black and brown rut.

Summer Shoe Trends

1) Gladiator

Gladiator sandals and heels are distinguished by their plethora of straps and an Ancient Roman aesthetic (or what my brother refers to as "Jesus sandals"). This summer, there are many different interpretations on the style-from a more minimalistic rendition to very strappy and multicoloured. Personally, I prefer the more simplistic gladiators because they don't overwhelm my already large foot (I am a 9.5) or appear bottom heavy since I carry my length in my torso.

2) Blinged-Out Sandals: Jewels and Metallics

The perfect way to add glamour and colour for daywear. WARNING: The sun is attracted to metallics, so make sure to put sunscreen on your feet unless you want to look like a lobster all summer. The sun doesn't discriminate so protect ALL exposed skin.

3) Wedges

Easy to walk in? Check. Give you height and confidence? Check. Comfortable and versatile? Check.

a-Cork Heel Wedge

b-Wood Heel Wedge

c-Platform Wedge

d-Multi-Strap Wedge

4) Cuffed Ankles/Faux Boot Sandal

This trend should come with a disclaimer: If you are bottom heavy or lack length in your leg, opt for a slimmer cuff around the ankle as opposed to the full boot high-top.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

FOTD: Afternoon Glamour

I had a bridal shower to attend that started in the late afternoon and went into the early evening, so I wanted  a look that was a little more dramatic without doing a dark smokey eye. Anyone who knows me can attest that my go-to lip colour for events is usually red or wine coloured (I am a true vintage girl at heart). Consequently, one guest called me "Lips" for the whole party.


Face

Revlon Colour Stay Foundation in Buff
Chanel Soleil Tan #62
MAC Well Dressed blush
NARS Albatross highlighter
MAC Studio Finish Concealer
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light (as a finishing powder)

Eyes

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin
Loreal Collagen Mascara
MAC Pearl Glide Liner in Petrol Blue
**All  eye shadows from Too Faced Neutral Eye Collection. Click here for review**
Lid: Silk Teddy
Outer Corner: Push Up
Crease: Velvet Revolver and Sexpresso
Lower Lashline: Cocoa Puff
Brow Highlight: Heaven

Lips

MAC lipliner in Brick (line and fill in lips)
Stila Longwear Lip Stick in Paramou

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wear Your Stripes This Summer


The only place I will be wearing animal prints this summer is on my face. Now before you all think I have taken adventurous makeup to a new extreme, allow me to explain. I recently received the Annabelle Zebra Bronzing Pressed Powder in the mail along with the great news that it will now be added to Annabelle's  permanent line! For the past two summers this bronzer has been released as a limited edition product, but the consumer response was so enthusiastic they decided to give us a bronze glow year round!
As you have all seen, I am extremely pale. My mom sometimes jokingly calls me "the fairest one of all" as a sort of play on words from my favourite Disney movie (not in the vain sense). I have a phobia of the sun because this Italian's skin seems to have a penchent for cherry tomotoes in the sunburned skin variety. Thus, my only way of achieving beautiful sun kissed (not sun singed) skin is via bronzers.

Finding the right bronzer for your skin tone can be tricky. You really need to pay attention the the base colour of the product to make sure that it is not orange and you don't spend the summer looking like an Oompa Loompa. Also, you don't want the bronzer to be too brown or you can look like you took an extended mud bath and forgot to rinse. Bronzers with golden and rose undertones are the most universally flattering, which is exactly what Annabelle has achieved with their Zebra Bronzing Powder. Below I have swatched both the dark and light colours:
Dark Colour

Light Colour

On The Skin (not blended)
The gradient of colours in this compact make it suitable for various skin tones. Colour strips can be used alone or swirled all together to achieve the perfect bronzer shade for whatever stage of tan your skin is in.
The texture of this product is very refined, smooth which is optimum for blending the product for a natural and healthy glow (read: NOT Jersey Shore tan!)

For the look of the day below, I drew inspiration from Whitney Port's makeup and tweaked it to make it more wearable for work.
I used the Zebra Bronzer as my only cheek colour by swirling Annabelle A-13 Pro Powder Brush (pictured above) in all the colours, tapping off the the excess, and lighlty buffing it along my cheekbones. This brush is made of natural, premium quality High Goat hair that is very soft and evenly distributes and blends the product. It is small enough to use for cheek colour, but still big enough to use on your decolletage (because bronze face and white neck is not the kind of stripes we are going for). I went for a more sheer wash colour because I wanted to make sure to keep this a day look and wanted just a healthy glow to my skin.

I also used the Zebra bronzer as my eye makeup (so versatile). I applied the lightest shade all over the lid and lightly contoured my crease with the darkest shade. The continuity from the eyes to cheek tied the look together. A little navy eyeliner (Petrol Blue pearl glide liner from MAC) and a neutral lip colour from No 7 and I was ready for work.
**Note: Hay fever=swollen eyes**

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review: CoverGirl Smokey Shadow Blast

The makeup goal for everyone woman is to create the perfect smokey eye. CoverGirl's newest additions to their Blast line is aimed towards this goal-to help women achieve a fast, easy, and seamless smokey eye in just two steps. After seeing the commercial and visuals for this new line, I wanted to try these products for myself to see if they were the answer to my smokey eye addiction.

Each end of the Shadow Blast is contoured to fit its purpose: the rounded end is for an all-over lid colour, and the pointed end is for adding definition into the crease and lashline. The ends are also labelled on the packaging to make it all the simpler for beginners (although the name of the product is not labelled, tsk tsk). You do not have to use them this way-you could just as easily use the all over shade as a definition shade and vice versa. Both ends can be used as eyeshadow bases for powder products, however, I would still use a primer underneath to extend the wear time and to minimize creasing.

The colours initially apply quite sheer and do require a few layers to build up the colour. Be sure to blend lightly or you will begin to loose the pigmentation of the shadows. They do blend quite well if you use a light hand, but I would advise just blending around the edges and not over the actual product (using your fingers works very well for this). They dry to a dewy finish that is prone to creasing so I would advise using a primer underneath.

Grade: B-
Okay for a fast and easy smokey eye, but you won't get a lot of wear time unless you use a primer or a base, and even then not the whole day. I have been using these as colour bases for other looks )as you would a MAC shadestick or NYX Jumbo Pencil).
Purple Plum

Silver Sky

Swatches


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When Is Black Not Always Black?

Carbon black, blackest black, very black, midnight black, ninja black, yada yada yada. We have seen them all-every label that makeup companies can come up with to prove that their black liner has the darkest pigment on the market. My question this week was, at the end of the day, isn't black just black? Is there really that big of a difference between all the black liners on the market claiming to darker, badder, and bolder?
The answer: Not all that is smoldering is actually black.

For this mini-experiment I took all of my black pencil liners (I excluded liquid and gel liners) and swatched them on the back of my hand in one full swipe (one stroke down and one stroke up) using the same amount of pressure. Here are the results:
From left to right:

1) MAC's Eye Kohl "Smolder"
Not only was this the second most expensive liner, it was the most disappointing. The pigment is simply not there. This would require several passes to obtain the same opacity that the other liners achieved in one full swatch. The tip was also the hardest and needed to be warmed up slightly to get the product to apply smoothly. Any tugging along the lashline can not be good long term for the delicate skin around the eyes.
Grade: C+

2) Buxom Insider Eyeliner "Onyx"
The most expensive of the liners, it was also one of the easiest to apply and offered amazing colour pay off. This liner is very smooth and creamy and requires the slightest amount of pressure to deposit dark pigment along your lashline. Just be careful not to press too hard or it can look a little cakey.
Grade: A-

3) L'Oreal Paris Infallible Never Fail 16hr Eyeliner "Carbon Black"
First let me address the issues that the tip BROKE the minute it made contact with my skin. This tip is very thin and quite fragile. I also noticed that this black has almost a maroon-brown undertone. This liner definitely failed my expectations.
Grade: C-

4) Annabelle Smudge Liner "Ohmygoth!"
The best of the bunch. The pigments in this liner are slightly darker tham those in the Buxom liner and it applies just as seamlessly. You don't have to wait for the tip of the liner to warm against the skin before getting the full colour impact because the texture is so creamy. This liner earns extra points because it is the cheapest of the bunch and has the most creative name.
Grade: A
Conclusion: The most expensive (Buxom) and the cheapest (Annabelle) liners were the best of those tested. Considering that the Annabelle liner gave the same colour pay off and ease of application as the Buxom, I think it is a no-brainer to say that I am going to stick with the budget friendly and goth-tastic Annabelle liner.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

INGLOT, Where Have You Been All My Makeup Obsessed Life?

Confession: I was an INGLOT snubber. *hangs head in shame* For years I have walked by their Montreal flagship store downtown with my cosmetic snob nose high in the air ever since someone (erroneously!) told me that they were a MAC copycat. Wrong, so very very wrong! INGLOT doesn't need to resort to copycatting (?) because they are innovative, high quality, affordable, and unique. After seeing INGLOT featured by two of my favourite beauty bloggers, Lollipop26 and The Gloss Goss, I decided to check my preconceived notions at the glass door and discover INGLOT for myself.

First of all, their colour range is massive (over 200 shadows) and showcased cleverly against sleek and minimalistic decor. The glass walls, black displays, and white floor allow the kaleidoscope of eye shadows, nail polishes, and lipsticks to be the centre of attention, and rightfully so. There are wide open spaces so that customers can circulate and play at their leisure without feeling crowded or fighting for access to a certain product. Everything is laid out in a welcoming "come swatch me" manner.-a beauty lovers paradise.
The INGLOT "Freedom System" is very liberating (way to point out the obvious Lydia). Customers can choose the shape (square, circle, or rectangle) of their shadows and the size of their palettes (5 or 10 slots). How it works is that you are ushered to a long, overwhelming display of sparkly goodness, given a magnetic tray and told that you can design your palette with whatever colours you wish. The shadows (there are two of each colour-one square and one circle) are magnetized so they stick to your tray as you choose and eliminate colours for the next 30 minutes (at least that is how long it took me to decide). Once you have decided, the makeup artist assembles your palette for you and shows you how to open the magnetize top (apparently some people need that explained to them. Don't quite understand how "push and slide off" requires a tutorial). The palettes are stackable and the magnets in the covers will hold them all together for easy storage and they are incredibly durable =optimal for travelling.

The makeup artist that assisted me was very honest and informed me that the palette refills are all $10.00 even thought the squares have double the amount of product than the circles; so even though you are paying $65.00 for a palette of 5 rectangles instead of $55.00 for a palette of 5 circles, you end up saving money in the long run because you have double the amount of product AND refills are the same price. Does that make sense or are there a distracting amount of numbers??

On to the best part-what I purchased! I was tempted to fall back into my neutral shade comfort zone but I am happy that I resisted and opted for more smokey tones (with one exception. You know what they say about teaching an old dog new tricks).
INGLOT shadows have bumped MAC off the pedestal of shadow supremacy in my mind. They are so soft they almost feel like cream and nearly obnoxiously pigmented. They require the slightest tap in the pan with your brush to pick up enough product to do both eyes and still have some left over. The texture and pigmentation remind me of the shadows I reviewed from Stars Makeup Haven (review here), except without the fall-out. The swatches below show one light swipe in the product.

The shimmer is so refined that you do not feel any of the grains when you are blending or lose the impact of the iridescence.

Now that I have outlined the numerous pros of INGLOT, here are the cons.

1) For such an innovative company, their names of products are completely unimaginative and, thus, not memorable. The shadows are named numerically (ex 176, 201..)

2) Once your palette is assembled, you can not see the number of your shadow so you had better write it down beforehand. You can not simply pop the colour out-you have to go into the store and have them do it for you.

3) They are addictive. I want to own them all. My bank account is bracing for impact into a red zone (not really, afterall I do possess some self-restraint.....)

In Canada, INGLOT is currently available solely in Quebec. Visit http://www.inglotcanada.com/ for a full listing of stores. For my American neighbours, INGLOT has a store in New York near Times Square. I am unsure of other locations so a Google search is in order.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Review: Too Face Neutral Eye Shadow Collection

I love this neutral eye kit by Too Faced-it is so versatile and flattering. Colours can be used on their own, or together to create any look from a clean daytime eye to a smokey bronze nighttime eye. I would be perfectly happy travelling with only this palette for a short trip because it will suit all my needs and it it is compact enough that it doesn't take up too much room.

The shadows are very smooth and pigmented (with the exception of Nude Beach, which is flaky). I was especially happy to find that there are several matte shades that help to balance out some of the metallic and glittery shades.

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Jennifer Lopez Stuns in Vogue Italia

I can not wait to get my hands on Vogue Italia. Lopez dons some beautiful pieces by fashions heavyweights and embodies Italian mistero e femminilit√†. Bellissima!

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Jewel in Sigma's Crown-The F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

The Sigma F80 (formerly referred to as the SS197) Flat Top Synthetic Kabuki Brush. Yes, I know that wasn't a sentence, but the name warrants its own stand-alone sentence. If anyone DARED take this brush away from me, I would beam them into submission with it. This brush is officially my favourite, never to be replaced, foundation brush. EVER. And if you know how fickle my brush loyalty is, you know what a grand statement that truly is.

After hearing Youtubers and beauty bloggers alike rave about this brush, I could resist no longer and placed an order for my very own and I have never been more grateful for peer pressure. This brush is velvety smooth, incredibly dense, shed proof, and the perfect size. In short, it gives a flawless airbrush finish the helps to cover all imperfections seamlessly.

I use this brush by applying my foundation to the back of my hand and stipling the brush into the product to heat it up and distribute it along the bristles. Because this brush is so dense, the product does not get absorbed into Never Never Land where it will never make contact with your face. Instead, it equally distributes along bristles so when you stiple and blend with the brush, it applies smoothly and without streaking.
Since I mentioned that I ordered this brush, I have received some questions on how it compares to a former favourite, Elf Studio Line Tapered Powder Brush, as well as the MAC 130 (which I think was limited edition, but may be resurrected as most MAC brushes are).
Firstly, here is how they compare in price points (strangely the price point decreases as the brush top size increases):

Sigma: $16.00 US (which works out to approximately $20.00 CAD with exchange/customs)
Elf Studio Line: $3.00 (approx $4.50 CAD)
MAC: $45.50 CAD

The Sigma beats out all competition in terms of density and softness. Below I have pictured myself trying to seperate the bristles while exerting the same amount of light force (a nod back to my high school physics experiments). As you can see, Sigma bristles barely show a gap, closely followed by the Elf Studio Line Brush. The hands down loser of this experiment was the MAC 130.

I deduced that the closest cousin to the Sigma F80 is the Elf Studio Line brush but it still does not deliver the quality finish that the Sigma one does.
I  have however found another Sigma brush that has the same density, softness, albeit different function. Introducing the Sigma F80's chubbier sibling, the Sigma Hollywood Glamour Retractable Kabuki Brush. It has a more rounded brush head that is ideal for mineral or setting powders. All in all, a match made in Sigma Heaven.

I like to use the Sigma F80 with my Revlon Colourstay Foundation and then the Sigma Retractable Kabuki with my MAC MSF Natural as a setting powder.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

FOTD and Review: Annabelle "Painted Love"

**FOTD=Face of The Day**

Today I arrived home to find a package full of fun goodies from Annabelle Cosmetics, which they generously sent me to review. After ripping open the package with abandon, my eyes were immediately riveted on the new spring eyeshadow colours from the collection "Painted Love," and I couldn't resist playing with them. Keep in mind that I had been working all day so my foundation and hair are not at their best, but this FOTD was all about getting aquainted with these new colours.

From Left to Right: Toxic Garden, Nymphet, Helium, Pinked

The four colours are packaged individually but come with a fun, graffiti inspired compact that is perfect for travelling. Also, because all the shadows are the same standard sizes, you can interchange them with colours from the permanent line (and they are also the same size as MAC shadows and this quad is only $5.49).


The colours are very fresh and vibrant. They are all fairly pigmented and very easy to blend and build up to be more high impact. They are all quite shimmery which means that the consistency is not super smooth, but they are not rough, crumbly, or grainy by any means. In fact, I found them incredibly easy to work with (which is why this evening at the pharmacy I bought four colours from the permanent line. But that is for another post.) Of the four from Painted Love, my favourite without a doubt is Toxic Garden.

My one gripe is that the shadows do not have the names on the bottom of the pans so I had to remember to list the names on a sticker on the back of the quad.

These shadows are limited edition for Spring/Summer and retail for $4.49 each (at least at Pharmaprix).

Face of the Day
 Eyes
Lid: Humid
Crease: Nymphet
Inner Corner: Toxic Garden
Upper Lashline: Pinked
Lashes: L'Oreal Telescopic (stay tuned for a review)

Face (applied in the morning so already wearing off)
Revlon Colourstay Foundation in Buff
MAC Studio Cover Concealer in NC20
Bobbi Brown Cream Concealer (set with Benefit Powderflage under the eyes)
Rimmel Natural Bronzer (stay tuned for review)
MAC Breathe of Plum Blush
MAC Porcelain Pink MSF as cheekbone highlight
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light (as setting powder)

Lips
Chanel Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle


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