Sunday, December 21, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - December 21, 2014

Happy Holidays, lovelies! Apologies for missing our Round-Up last week - things have been very busy. 'Tis the season, right?

If you've been busy, and a little stressed out, we hope that you'll take some time to relax for a few minutes and check out some of the beauty links we've compiled for you this week.

  • This isn't a beauty link, but maybe it's relevant to more than just me right now. How to have a stress-free holiday.
  • If you're fair-haired, this link is for you - eyebrow products for blondes.
  • Holiday season is party-season. Whether you pull out the red lipstick for special occasions, or wear it regularly, here are some red lipstick tips and tricks.
  • Traveling this season? You might come across one of these at the airport.
  • Do you have lots of past-Christmas photos taken Christmas morning of everyone just awake and opening gifts? Not the most flattering photos, right? Here's a quick beauty look that you can do to look natural but refreshed in the photos from Christmas morning this year.
  • Or, if you're travelling Christmas morning, or any morning, here are some in transit beauty tips and tricks, whether you're in the backseat of a car, or on the bus.
  • Here's a simple and chic grey smoky eye that will look great at this time of the year or at any time!
  • Full eyebrows have been in style for awhile now, and Beauty Editor wonders if Lea Michele presents a case for this particular trend not being for everyone. What are your thoughts?
  • If you're seeking more natural beauty products, this link is for you - 4 Products for a More Natural Manicure.
  • Makeup artist Troi Ollivierre, responsible for the slicked-back hair, clean, dewy skin and popping lip colour look of the J. Crew photoshoots, talks about the J. Crew beauty look.
  • Damaged hair meets Kevyn Murphy's Born Again hair treatments.
  • Cult beauty products to try (if you haven't already).
  • Women who challenged the beauty status quo in 2014.
  • Sephora is partnering with Pantone again for 2015's Colour of the Year. It's Marsala this time and here are photos and info of the colour collection.
  • Remember Esther Honig's Photoshop experiment where she sent her photo to Photoshop artists around the world and asked them to make her appear more beautiful? Here's another where Bustle writer Marie Southard Ospina asked Photoshop artists to make her more beautiful. The difference is that Ospina is plus-size. Did the artists make her look slimmer? Click through to find out.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in Fallen Angel

 Ever since seeing Charlotte Tilbury in person during the launch of her eponymous makeup line at Selfridges in the summer of 2013 I have been pining to get my hands on more of her products. The great news is that Charlotte Tilbury is now available in the US and retailers such as Beautylish have made it easy to get her products north of the border.

Fallen Angel (LE $65.00 US) is part of TIlbury's holiday offerings and is part of Tilbury's "The Supermodel" look. Fallen Angel is the first Luxury Palette with "a breakthrough formula for a wet and dry finish." According to Tilbury, using these shadows with a damp brush gives "three times the colour intensity and an irresistible liquid metal reflective finish."

Photos taken in natural light, swatches are dry on unprimed NC 35 skin.

Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel (clockwise from top left): Prime, Enhance, Smoke and Pop

Like all the other Luxury Palettes, Fallen Angel consists of four shades: Prime, Enhance, Smoke and Pop (clockwise from top left.) 

Prime - described as a "pale golden pearl,"  this is a pale golden champagne shimmer that runs on the neutral side of golden with good pigmentation.

Enhance - described as "antique silver," this is my favourite shade from the quad - a metallic taupe that leans golden brown at some angles and silvery in others. Excellent pigmentation.

Smoke - described as a ":velvet black",  this medium dark black has a slight blue undertone and a satiny/pearl finish. Good pigmentation.

Pop - this "metallic bronze" shade is an ultra pigmented metallic bronze with auburn undertones.

Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel applied dry (clockwise from top left): Prime, Enhance, Smoke and Pop

The texture of the shadows in the pan is smooth and almost dry feeling - very similar to MAC's Extra Dimension eye shadows or Estée Lauder's Gelée Powder eye shadows. All the shadows apply, blend and layer effortlessly. Applied dry the Pop and Enhance shades are the most opaque, although all the shades can be built up to be opaque in two layers. Applied wet, the shadows have a slightly more opaque finish, and they apply as smoothly as they do when dry. You can see Charlotte herself apply this quad both wet and dry in her fantastic and entertaining "Supermodel Look" tutorial here.

While the actual shades in the palette are not incredibly unique, the finish and saturation of the shades makes this worth owning if you love smokey neutrals and are willing to pay for a luxury brand. Yes, if you are a makeup junkie you most likely have colors very similar to this in your stash, but they will probably not perform this well! The one thing that impressed me in particular with this quad is how well the shadows layered on top of each other, there was no muddiness or dulling down of the shades. When layered, the shadows actually became richer and more lustrous. This is not an easy feat for a quad that contains both warm and cool tones. Wear time on the shadows is excellent, I only noticed a tiny bit of fading and creasing after 8 hours on non-primed eye lids. 

Highly recommended if it fits your budget!

Grade: A-


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Eyes Dark Circle Skin-Evening Corrector Review, Swatches and Photos

La Roche Posay's (LPR) new eye cream, Pigmentclar Eyes is part of their skincare line designed to target uneven pigmentation and dull skin. According to LRP, this product "visibly reduces the look of blue circles due to poor circulation and brown circles caused by melanin overproduction." This product contains concentrated "PhE-Resorcinol + caffeine" as well as light-reflecting pigments.

Although I don't suffer from hyperpigmentation in my eye area, I do naturally (and unnaturally) have dark circles caused genetically by thin under eye skin and bad habits such as staying up way too late, not getting enough sleep, drinking too much coffee and stress.

I tested Pigmentclar Eyes for four weeks, and used it both morning and evening with my regular skincare routine. The cream has a gel cream texture which melts into the skin and comes with a metal angled lipgloss style applicator which provides a cooling massage when you are applying the product.

Though I cannot comment on the pigment evening properties of this product because I don't suffer from hyper pigmentation in my eye area, I can say that the cream left my under eye area looking refreshed, dewy and less tired. The light reflecting pigments gave my dark circles a lift and the light, moisturizing texture proved to be an excellent, smooth base for concealer.

I would recommend this product for anyone looking for an eye cream that helps with tiredness, dullness and pigmentation. As well, I think this product would be great for people with oily eye lids as the texture is moisturizing but not greasy.

Pigmentclar Eyes retails for $49.00 CA and is available from retailers such as London Drugs and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Grade: A


*This product was provided to Beauty Squared by La Roche Posay for consideration.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Vice Review, Photos and Swatches

The holiday season is all about decadence, right? OK, maybe not ALL about decadence, there's some joy and love and peace and let's not forget about the stress and frustration, and OK, it's a lot about decadence. Because we need self-care to get through the bad stuff! Happy Holidays!

Speaking of Decadence, let's talk about Illamasqua's Vice for a second. It's a berry colour with an abundance of red to it. And it's got a rubber finish. A rubber polish has a finish somewhere in between the standard glossy nail polish finish, and a matte finish. It's a glossy finish that's been muted but not to the point of having no shine. 

I'd never tried Illamasqua's rubber polishes before, and I was intrigued, so I grabbed Vice during the Illamasqua clearance sale at Bay stores a few months ago. Vice is a discontinued polish, according to the Illamasqua website, so you might have trouble finding it. 

Illamasqua polishes are fantastic, some of the best out there in terms of the quality of the polish and the selection of colours and textures they have. They're a highly creative brand so if you're like me and like unique polish shades, this is a brand you'll want to check out. 

Here's Vice - pretty, right? It's a fairly standard berry toned nail polish, but it's got some depth to it. It's reddened nature hints almost at the colour of blood. 

Illamasqua nail polishes are highly pigmented, creamy, and the perfect consistency to apply quickly to the nails. It typically takes two coats to get opaqueness Vice, however, takes three coats.

Below is three coats of Vice on my nails. Because of the rubber finish, you can't wear top coat without making it a shiny finish, so the wear time of Vice is lessened. 

Also, I found with Vice that you need to let each coat dry completely before applying another. The rubber finish shows texture very readily, so any drags of the brush across not-yet-dry polish will show. As will any texture left by your base coat. This is a high maintenance nail polish finish!

As you can see, the rubber finish gives it a slightly-less-than-glossy finish, almost like rubber. Think of a pair of brand new black wellington boots. Or, as I'm sure Illamasqua was going for with the rubber finish, something like this.

I love the colour of Vice and the rubber finish, I just wish it lasted longer on me. I found that it lasted better than most polishes do with a top coat, but there were still chips and tip wear after a few days. I would likely forgo the rubber finish and put a top coat on to wear this. 

Grade B-


Other Illasmasqua nail varnishes reviewed on Beauty Squared:


Thursday, December 11, 2014

CND Vinylux Weekly Polish in Bloodline Review, Photos and Swatches

CND Vinylux is a Canadian brand of nail polish, from the creators of the shellac manicure. CND Vinylux is a weekly polish, that when used with the special CND Vinylux top coat is meant to last a week. The weekly polishes actually strengthen your nails, unlike regular nail polish which weakens and dries your nails. 

At IMATS Toronto this year, I picked up three colours of CND Vinylux. They were on sale for $6 each. Regularly they are about $10-$12 each. 

This is Bloodline, it's a true blood-red that reads red in bright light (such as with the camera flash in the photos below), but in regular light it's more of a burgundy. 

Texture-wise, this is a very creamy polish, just the right consistency though I did find it went on a little on the sheer side. I used three coats in the below photos, but still could see some sheerness. 

With the other CDN Vinylux polishes I've tried (links below) I've noticed tip wear after 3-5 days, with Bloodline it was after a day.

Below is a photo of my right hand showing tip wear on my pinky, ring finger and middle finger, the day after I applied it. While this could be due to my not applying the top coat properly, I am pretty convinced that this may be just the way Bloodline wears on me. Disappointing.

While the colour is great, and the shine and application are very good, I'm disappointed with the wear time of Bloodline. I'm also disappointed in the staining left behind when I removed it. 

With all the other CND Vinylux polishes, they removed easily and left nothing behind. Not with Bloodline. While my nails felt strong and healthy, they were stained. Anywhere where there was roughness or lines or crevices, the red lingered. As it did along my cuticles and try as I might I could not remove it with nail polish remover. 

Grade C

A couple of final thoughts on CND Vinylux weekly polishes: 

I should note too with all the CND Vinylux polishes I've tried that while there's good shine on my manicure after 4-5 days, it does tend to look scratchy and faded. If I wasn't always at the point of removing it after 4-5 days (if not before), a reapplication of top coat would fix that up. 

While the CND Vinylux polishes may not live up to their claim of a perfect manicure for a full week, it is an impressive polish. Most polishes wouldn't last as long and as well as CND Vinylux polishes do on me (Bloodline expected). And I do love how strong and healthy my nails feel when these polishes are removed.

As a note, I've tried wearing a base coat with CND Vinylux polishes (CND Vinylux recommends not using base coat) and it seems to lessen the wear time of my manicure considerably. I haven't noticed any ill effects in my nails from not wearing a base coat, so I'd recommend following CND Vinylux's instructions.

Other CND Vinylux polishes I've reviewed:

Dark Dahlia
Daring Escape
Steel Gaze 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

CND Vinylux Weekly Polish in Steel Gaze Review, Photos and Swatches

CND Vinylux is a Canadian brand of nail polish, from the creators of the shellac manicure. CND Vinylux is a weekly polish, that when used with the special CND Vinylux top coat is meant to last a week. The weekly polishes actually strengthen your nails, unlike regular nail polish which weakens and dries your nails. 

At IMATS Toronto this year, I picked up three colours of CND Vinylux. They were on sale for $6 each. Regularly they are about $10-$12 each. 

Steel Gaze is a sparkly silver-gold-bronze shade that looks different depending on the light. When I bought this I expected it to read more silver, since the name is Steel Gaze. But it actually read more gold.

This is a great shade if you like metallics because it's gold, it's silver and it's bronze AND it's sparkly. 

This would be a great colour for a holiday manicure. But it's also quite edgy and would work anytime of the year if you want something that's sophisticated and edgy.

It applies well - all the CDN Vinylux polishes I've tried do - and I used three coats. You could go with one or two to get a sheerer effect. This polish is meant to be a little on the sheer side. 

The CDN Vinylux polishes are meant to last a week without chipping. I found that, as with the other CDN Vinylux polishes I've tried, I noticed wear at the tips of my nails after five days. But it stayed shiny and my nails were strong and healthy when I removed it.

Grade A


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Poison Nail Lacquer Review, Photos and Swatches

Another day, another green nailpolish. I reviewed Illamasqua's Viridian a few weeks ago and this week, I have OCC's Poison. Poison is part of OCC's Unknown Pleasures Fall 2014 collection as is the shade Technopagan, which I reviewed here. Poison is a metallic, smoky, silver-ivy green shade. 

I've found that all the OCC polishes I've tried are a good consistency - not too thick and not too thin. They tend to apply evenly and are opaque with two coats, though I tend to do three just to be sure.

I love this colour. It's green, but it's got some smokiness to it, so it's muted. The metallic silver sheen of it is pretty too. It makes it sophisticated and edgy at the same time. Compare it to Illamasqua's Viridian and the two are very similar in tone, but Poison is smokier, muted and silvery. 

Poison made me think of autumn for some reason. Like grass and leaves with a touch of frost on them.

Wear-wise, Poison lasted on me about a week before I removed it. It had average wear-time, no less and no more than most other polishes. 

I'm a huge fan of OCC polishes. I wish they were sold in Canadian Sephoras like the lip tars are!

Grade A


Other Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Nail Lacquers reviewed by Beauty Squared:

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