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Perfectly Imperfect Beauty: December 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

Best Beauty Products of 2010

Best Beauty Brands of the Year
Urban Decay

Best New Product of 2010
Chanel Rouge Coco Lipsticks
Urban Decay Naked Palette

Most Surprisingly Amazing Product of 2010
Makeup Forever Aqua Creme

Best High-End Mascara
Dior Show Mascara

Best Drugstore Mascara
Maybelline Falsies

Best Eyeshadow Base
Urban Decay Primer Potion

Best Cream Eyeshadow
Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow

Best Loose Eyeshadow
MAC pigments

Best Powder Eyeshadow
Urban Decay

Best Cream/Gel Eyeliner
Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner

Best Pencil Eyeliner
MAC Pearlglide Eyeliners

Best Liquid Eyeliner
High End: Lancome Liquid Eyeliner
Affordable: Annabelle Liquid Eyeliner

Best Lipgloss
Chanel Glossimer

Best Lipstick
High End: Chanel Rouge Coco
Affordable: Revlon 

Best Cheek Highlighter
NARS Copacabana
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish (assorted)

Best Lipstain
Tarte Lipsurgenece Lip Stain (regular and Matte)

Best Blush
NARS Deep Throat
Benefit Coralista

Best Cream Blush
Makeup Forever HD Blush

Best Bronzer
Rimmel Sun Shimmer Matte
Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess

Best Makeup Brushes
Sigma HD Brushes

Best Face Primer
Cover FX Clear Prep

Best Concealer
MAC Studio Finish Concealer

Best Liquid Foundation
Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation

Best Powder Foundation
Estee Lauder Double Wear Powder
Revlon Colorstay Powder Foundation

Best Setting Powder
Makeup Forever HD Powder
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural

Best Tinted Moisturizer
**mixing my liquid foundation with my moisturizer**

Best Hand Cream
Avon Moisture Therapy

Best Cuticle Cream
Go Nails Nail Cream

Best Nail Polish

Best Nail Polish Top Coat
OPI Top Coat

Best Body Scrub
Bliss Vanilla +Bergamot Body Buff

Best Face Exfoliator
H20 Sea Pure Gentle Refining Polish
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

Best Face Cleanser
Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash
H2O Sea Pure Creamy Facial Cleanser 

Best Daytime Moisturizer
Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer
Clinique Acne Solutions Clearing Moisturizer

Best Evening Moisturizer
H2O Sea Pure Deep Moisturizer

Best Makeup Remover
Marcelle Cleansing Water

Best Body Moisturizer
Body Shop Body Butter

Best Shampoo
Bumble and Bumble Creme de Coco Shampoo

Best Conditioner
Bumble and Bumble Creme de Coco Conditioner

Best Hairspray
NEXXUS Maxxiumum Super Hold Styling and Finishing Mist

Best Heat Protectant
got2b Guardian Angel Spray (for straightener and curling iron)

Best Home Spa Product
Clarisonic Plus

Best Perfume (Day)
Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue
YSL La Parisienne

Best Perfume (Evening)
Givenchy Hot Couture Eau de Parfum
Miss Dior Cherie Eau de Parfum

Best Makeup Palette
Urban Decay Naked Palette
Too Faced Neutral Eye
Too Faced Naked Eye
Lise Watier Jingle Belle Holiday Palette

Best Eyebrow Product
Benefit Instant Brow Pencil
Benefit Brow Zings Compact

Best Face Spray
Makeup Forever Mist & Fix

Best Personal Grooming Product
Tweezerman Tweezers

Best Makeup Trend
Classic Lady
Return of Lipstick


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review: Benefit Girl Meets Pearl Face Illuminator

Girl Meets Pearl is an opalescent golden pink highlighter that smells deliciously of raspberry sorbet. The undertone is more neutral than High Beam or Moon Beam so it is more universally flattering.  This is a glowing highlighter, not a sparkly one (no Twilight inspiration, hallelujah!). 

I really love the packaging (identical to That Gal Brightening Face Primer), particularly the dispenser because you can easily control how much product comes out. No wasting of this beautiful highlighter!

I found the that the best way to apply this highlighter is to pat it (NOT RUB) lightly into your skin with your fingers. It also works well with a fluffy blending or duo fibre brush, but I would avoid using a foundation brush. The texture is smooth and lightly whipped and devoid of flaky glitter. Once it is applied to the skin, it dries relatively quickly so you are not left wet looking skin. 

Can be used:

  • Mixed in with your foundation for an all over dewy luminosity 
  • Applied to the high planes of the face for strategic highlighting
  • used on a natural face for a healthy glow


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Guest Blogger for Annabelle Cosmetics!!

Check out my first guest blogging post on the Annabelle Cosmetics Blog!

All About Eve(ning): Military Couture

I am having a love affair with Burberry, particularly their ingenuity behind the military couture trend. I am enamoured with the structure, tailoring, silhouette, and detail of the garments, and do not get me started on the coats! It’s no secret that many women have a weakness for men in uniform, so why not let us capitalize on the military appeal and rock the look ourselves?

As a real woman with a very real budget, unfortunately, I cannot run out and restock my wardrobe every time a new trend hits the racks. What I can do (aside from integrating a few affordable pieces and accessories) is interpret the trend through my makeup routine. I am not saying to draw war paint stripes on your face or go black ops and plunge your head into a vat of opaque black pigment. Instead, look at the colour palette and pick the colours and textures that appeal to your the most.

Personally, I was inspired by the metallic buttons, olive green and khaki fatigues, and anything related to the navy (any excuse to wear a red lip). Here are some looks I created to pay homage to this trend:
1.  Button Me Up

Just like polished gold and gleaming brass buttons catch the light’s refection, this shimmery gold look with draw attention straight to your eyes, where it belongs.

What I Used:
Eyecolour Crème in Inca (gold colour as a base), Custom Quad Eyeshadow in Gold Digger (lid, lower lashline and inner corner), Custom Quad Eyeshadow in Bronzed Idol (outer corner and crease), Custom Quad Eyeshadow in Helium (brow highlight), Liquid Eyeliner in Espresso, Mascara,Rouge Velours Lipstick in Sand Beige

2.  Camouflage Homage

This camouflage green look won’t make you blend in, despite the name!

What I Used:
Custom Quad Eyeshadow in Toxic Garden (lid), Custom Quad Eyeshadow in Acid Reflec (inner corner),Custom Quad Eyeshadow in Ebony (outer corner and crease), Olive Chrome Liquid Eyeliner, Mascara, Rouge Metallic Lipstick in Magnétique

3.  Desert Ops:

For this look, I aimed for simple neutrals with a dewy texture (as if brought on from the heat of the desert).

What I Used:

4.  Navy Lady

When I think of the navy, I recall crisp blue uniforms with brass buttons and patriotic red. I combined all of these components for a bold evening look.

What I Used:
Custom Quad Eyeshadow in Bronzed Idol (lid), Custom Quad Eyeshadow in Lagoon (outer corner, crease and lower lashline), Custom Quad Eyeshadow in Indigo Glow (to blend), Mascara,Rouge Metallic Lipstick in Mauve Rocks

Review: Benefit Bella Bamba vs Coarlista

Confession: Before this moment, I had never owned Benefit's icon Coralista blush. I know. Shock, horror. What kind of beauty commentator doesn't have this staple in their collection? After using it these past two days, I have chastised myself for dragging my feet and not purchasing it sooner. I had somehow gotten it in my head that it was too similar to Benefit's Sugar Bomb (which I have had for a while). WRONG. Completely different.

The intensity of the colour is perfect and it leaves your skin with a healthy glow (read: no obnoxious shimmer). The shade is soft corally pink that mimics the natural flush of your cheeks. The powder is very finely milled which means it applies like a dream. Coralista is easy to blend and has impressive staying power. For me, this is a more natural and flattering alternative to NARS Orgasasm. 

Part of the Benefit novelty is the cute vintage packaging. In the past, Benefits powders have all come with a removable top, but with the newest addition Bella Bamba, the top is now a folding lid. Personally, I prefer the new packaging because the magnet in the lid ensures that it won't open during travel. On the other hand, Bella Bamba has significantly less product in the box but retails at the same price as Coralista. 

Bella Bamba is a mid-toned pink with gold shimmer. It is the perfect pop of pink to the cheeks and can be   sheered out or built up depending on your preference. The texture is almost identical to Coralista but that is were the similarities end. Benefit describes Bella Bamba as a 3D blush, and I take that to mean the colour livens up your complexion and the shimmer gives your skin a glow as opposed to a matte texture. 

The colours are so different that the easiest thing to say is that they are BOTH must-have cheek products. You could own only these two blushes and you would be set for life. 


"Benefit" From Boxing Week Sales

You won't catch me near a mall on Boxing Day, but the day after...well, that's a different story. Most stores carry their Boxing Day sales throughout the week anyways, so I would rather maintain my sanity and hit the stores during the calm after the storm.

The bulk of my Boxing Week "hauling" (someone really needs to come up with a better term than hauling) is compromised of Benefit products. I was downtown Vancouver and Holt Renfrew carries different Benefit Creaseless Creams than Sephora (and vice versa) and they are all the same price. There are still a few shades that I don't have but they aren't must-haves or completely unique shades so I will skip them (for now). My new shades are:
  • Gossip (Holt Renfrew)
  • Purple Snap (Sephora)
  • Samba-Dy Loves Me (Holt Renfrew)
  • Sippin' N Dippin' (Holt Renfrew)

Comparison and Dupes

In the jar, Sippin' N Dippin' looks very similar to MAC's Rubenesque and Let Me Pop pain pots, but when they are swatched it is much more opaque and the consistency/texture is far superior to the MAC paint pots.

I will review the rest of the products in individual posts otherwise this will reach manuscript length. 

What exciting finds did you pick up over Boxing Week?


Faces of Christmas

After I posted Rebekah's Christmas "Face of the Day" I got a few requests to see what I slapped on my face over the holidays. Ask and you shall receive:

The Eve of Christmas Eve (family dinner downtown)

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation
MAC Studio Finish Concealer
Makeup Forever HD Powder
NARS Orgasm Blush

MAC Chilled On Ice Paint Pot (inner third of lid)
MAC Vintage Selection Paint Pot (middle and outer lid)
Dior Show Mascara


MAC Burgundy Lip Liner
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned
MAC Bubble Lounge Lipgelee

Christmas Eve

**Click to enlarge and see detail**

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation
MAC Studio Finish Concealer
MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural
ELF Studio Line Blush in Blushing Rose

Dior Show Mascara
Benefit Pluming for Gold Creaseless Cream (as a base)
Lise Watier Jingle Belle Palette (review and pictures here)
  • Gold (lid)
  • Aubergine (outer corner and crease)
  • Magenta (blended lightly over aubergine for dimensionality)
  • Green (along lower lashline)
Dior Rouge Dior #976 Prune Daisy


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Miracle: "Will You Do My Makeup?"

A Christmas miracle! My sister let me do her makeup Christmas evening! Actually, she asked me to do her makeup. In order to fully appreciate the uniqueness of this opportunity, you must understand that Rebekah is very picky about her makeup, so it was quite an honour that she would ask me to pretty her up on the biggest day of the year. 

What I Used


MAC Mineralize Satin Finish Foundation in NC30
Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer 
E.L.F. Studio Line Blush in Blushing Rose
Dior Amber Diamond Highlighter


Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow in Birthday Suit (as a base)
Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink
Loreal Double Extend Mascara
  • Chocolate Brown Pigment (lid)
  • Dark Soul Pigment(outer corner, crease, outer lower lashline)
  • Sunnydaze Pigment (inner corner)
  • Naked Pigment (brow bone highlight)
  • Woodwinked Eye Shadow (lower lashline)


MAC Patisserie Lipsticks
MAC Bubble Lounge Lipgelee


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and all your loved one!


Lydia (and Noah)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Overview: Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows

After I wrote my previous post glorifying the Benefit Femme Metale kit, I decided I would pen (actually, type) a proper ode to my favourite cream shadows. I purchased two more limited edition creams from Sephora last week so I thought now would be a great time to get my swatch on!

Benefit is the company that first turned me on to cream eyeshadows and they have remained my favourite despite growing competition in the market. Their texture is unrivaled in its buttery smoothness and easy blendabilty. The consistency of these products does not change from one shade to another-you can always expect the same feel, which is not the case with other brands. These creams are glittery without having abrasive chunks of sparkle that clump. They promise to be long wearing and crease proof and they certainly deliver. I have yet to have one of them even begin to dry out and I have had them for a year. I love that they can be layered, mixed, sheered out or built up to achieve any look you want. 

My New Hues

Sephora has four exclusive colours that were recently added to the regular range. From what I am hearing these aren't limited edition but they are still selling like hot cakes. My local Sephora only had 2 of the 4 in stock (missing were Ice Shot and Purple Snap). I was able to procure Silver Spoon and Tidal Wave:

Steady Favourites

My everyday work makeup needs to be low maintenance yet still chic...well, chic isn't an occupational requirement, but it is my requirement. I don't have time to touch up my makeup at lunch time so these are often my first choice in shadows; I know that they won't smudge, migrate beneath my eyes or rub off a few hours in to the day.  

Here are my tried and true favourites (missing are Get Figgy and Stiletto which are finished):

**click to enlarge**


Benefit Femme Metale-Precious Metal Eye Kit

This holiday's best gift/product/bang for your buck is hands down the Benefit Femme Metale kit. It is valued at $117 BUT is selling for only $38.00! Included are 3 full size limited edition Creaseless Cream Shadows and 3 large sample sized eyeliner pencils (which can double as eyeshadows). This is a great deal considering that Creaseless Cream Shadows retail for $24 CAD each.

What's Included:

-Creaseless Cream Shadows in Taupe-Aztic, Plum-Ing For Gold, and Platinum

-Eyeliners in Blinged, Gem-N-Eye, and Steel Her Date

My Thougts

The Creaseless Creams are have a lighter consistency than the permanent line but the same smoothness and ease of application. I haves used them alone and as bases and they do not budge all day. Once they dry they are pretty much adhered to your skin. The colours are universally flattering and different enough from the creams in the permanent line to make this a great buy. The metal shimmer is very refined and not at all obnoxious.

The liners are probably the softest and creamiest I have ever used. These, in my mind, are a duo function product as they work just as well as shadows as they do liners. They look great worn in precise line, smudged out, or all over the lid. They are more glittery/metallic than the creams so they add a little more pizazz to your evening looks.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Seeing Double? Louise Young Eye Shadow Palette vs Becca Cosmetics

The beloved Pixiwoo sisters announced on their channel that Louise Young (of the makeup brush empire), has released a glorious eye shadow palette. Anything recommended by Nick or Sam is guaranteed to be stellar and if Louise's brushes are any indication, her makeup line is going to have luscious textures and longevity.

The palette is now on the Louise Young website (here) and when I saw it, I had an odd sense of deja vu:
After a day a light bulb went off and I pulled up the Becca Cosmetics website and, voila! A VERY similar palette with the colours arranged in a slightly different order:
Am I seeing double or is it simply a trick of the eye? Has anyone seen both of these palettes in person? Granted I cannot comment on the similarities of the actual shadows, but my curiosity is certainly piqued. The Louise Young Palette retails for £30.00 (approx $60 CAD) and the Becca Avalon palette retails for  £55.00 ($65.00 on the Canadian site). 


MAC Cham-Pale Collection

Hauls for MAC's Cham-Pale Collection began to pop-up around the blogosophere over the past two days even though the collection is not "officially" being released in North America until December 26th. I wanted to avoid Boxing Day mayhem at all costs so I called up my MAC Pro to see if they had the collection on display yet. MAC Pros tend to release new colour collections a week before they are put on the website.

On my wishlist I originally had just two of the paint pots (I am going through a cream shadow phase thanks to Benefit), but a few other products in this collection caught me eye. When I saw the product swatches online I thought I was going to pass on most of this collection because it looked too pale and too glittery, but I have found ways to make it work for me.
My Choices:

1) Paint Pots: All very glittery and apply more sheer than the permanent paint pots. The texture is very creamy and once they dry they won't budge. I did full and blended out swatches of each colour.
  • Dangerous Cuvee: frosted grayish silver with a periwinkle hue
  • Chilled on Ice: frosted pale yellow gold
  • Let Me Pop: frosted copper with gold glitter
  • Vintage Selections: taupe rose (my favourite)
  • **click to enlarge**
2) Bubble Lounge Lipgelee: A bronzed rose colour heavy on the glitter, but perfect for the holidays. I like that lipgelees aren't as sticks as the traditional lipgloss and the squeeze tube makes it easy to get out product and use a lip brush.

3) I Get No Kick Eye Kohl: Metallic champagne nude colour. Very soft texture that will work perfectly on the water line to brighten the eye without using a stark white pencil. LOVE.

What to Skip
  • The lipsticks are VERY frosted and pale. The colour pay off is quite weak and you have to really think how you are to pull it off. Not my kind of product, but I have been hearing a lot of buzz around them so maybe I am an exception to the rule.
  • Feline Eye Kohl: Why don't they just make this a permanent product? I have lost count how many times this pencil has been re-released in colour collections. If you miss it this time around, you know it will be creeping back sooner rather than later.
  • The "Special Reserve" Highlighting Powders: Nice, but not fantastic. I prefer the texture and application of the mineralize skinfinishes. These colours are pretty dubaple considering all the highlighting products on the market right now. The only thing about these that stands out is the embossed texture which will fade with use. More of a collector's item that a must-have product.
  • The Quad: 2 of the colours are permanent, one is a repromote, and the fourth is limited edition.
  • Nail Polishes: I'm not a fan of MAC polishes in general and I have heard through the makeup grapevine that these are very streaky.
There are a few other products in this collection, most of which are skincare related.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review: Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation

Personal Update: First, I want to apologize for my sluggish posting over the past few weeks. I started a new teaching job three weeks ago so I was immersed in curriculum planning and transitioning. Now that I am on Christmas Break, I am going to catch-up on my backlog of posts. Thanks to everyone for their patience!

And now on to the good stuff....
I bought my first bottle of Estee Lauder Stay-In-Place Double Wear Foundation back in August before going on a trip to the Mayan Riviera. At that time, I was looking for a long wear foundation that would cover my acne scars and wouldn't melt off in the Mexican heat. This foundation performed so well that I continued to use it into the autumn and now winter, and I can confidently say that I am completely sold. 

-Does not budge or smudge all day. Perfect if you don't have time to do touch ups at work.
-Survives extreme weather conditions (hot and cold)
-Medium-full coverage using very little product and still have a natural finish
-Broad colour range with three classifications: Neutral (N), Warm (W), and Cool (C)
-Easy to blend and work into the skin for a flawless finish
-Non-acnegenic and doesn't clog pores
-Fragrance free
-Makes a great tinted moisturizer when you add one drop into your day cream
-SPF 10

-Can look cakey if you apply too much. Less is more
-Not lightweight like it claims (although it isn't as heavy as Revlon Colorstay)
-Pricey, although one bottle can easily last you 4+ months
-No pump so it can be hard to control how much product comes out (apparently a MAC pump fits on the nozzle) 
-Does not photograph consistently:

I purchased 1N1 Ecru, which is their lightest shade in my tone, but it is still too dark for me. It worked in the summer, but it is .5 of a shade too dark for me in the winter. I mix 2:1 with my Revlon Colorstay in Buff to get the perfect colour and it doesn't affect the consistency of the foundation. I'm not sure how ideal this foundation  is for dry skin, but it works great for combination to oily skin.