Monday, August 15, 2011

Sleek - Glossed Lip Glosses

L-R: Clarity, Packs A Punch, Bitten, Pump It Up, Pixie

I am in love. But before I tell you all about my newest makeup crush, let me give a bit of background about the brand for those of you outside the UK who haven't heard of it!

I discovered Sleek after seeing their eyeshadow palettes used and reviewed by the Pixiwoo ladies. It's a British drugstore brand (yet another reason I wish I lived in the UK) that is known for excellent quality for an affordable pricetag.

I started with their Pout Polish, which turned out to be quite similar to MAC's Tinted Lip Conditioners - only coconut- instead of vanilla-scented. Intrigued, I moved on to their eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks, which did not disappoint.So a few months later, here I am, a Sleek convert in Canada. You can imagine my excitement upon hearing that they're set to launch new lip products. Of course I started searching online right away to get my eager little hands on some!

The first line are called Pout Paint. I've got these covered in another blog post here. But the ones I want to talk about today are the new line of lip glosses, called, predictably enough, "Glossed." I picked up a couple of these when purchasing some other British products - mainly because they were dirt cheap and looked pretty in the picture. Fast forward a couple of weeks - by which time I had pretty much forgotten about them - and they arrived in the mail. The colours looked really pretty in the tube, so when I needed a gloss to layer over my Bobbi Brown lipstick (Cosmic Raspberry, in case you're wondering), I reached for this gloss in Pixie.

Now we all know the problems with glosses. My personal pet peeve is a gloss that is goopy and sticky and leaves a residue on the lips. Like MAC Lipglasses. (Sorry, MAC.) They do their job, but they feel horrible. Not so with this gloss. It has a lovely coconut scent and glides on more smoothly than pretty much any other lip product I've ever used. It's sheer enough to layer over a lipstick, but provides just the right hint of colour to wear alone. It's everything I could ask for in a gloss - and at drugstore prices, too!

Of course, I jumped back on my computer and stocked up on some more colours. Here they are:

L-R: Whisper, Rumour, Blase

The final verdict? New all-time favourite. Do yourself a favour and get yourself some of these RIGHT NOW!

Packaging: 5/5
Product quality: 5/5
Worth the price? Definitely!
Would I purchase again? Already got a couple of backups!
Cruelty-Free? Not sure.
Where to find it: If you're in the UK, you can get it at drugstores. Anywhere else, check out Sleek online.

Friday, August 12, 2011

MAC - Blogger's Obsessions Eye Shadows

L-R: Parisian Skies; Hocus Pocus; Sparkle Neely, Sparkle!, Jealousy Wakes

If you're not a die-hard MAC fan who subscribes to their emails, reads popular beauty bloggers and pops by the store frequently (i.e. enough that they know your name), you might have missed this collection entirely. There's a reason for that. It was only released online - appropriate, really, when you know the background of this particular collection.

MAC selected a handful of well-known (and well-loved) beauty bloggers and let them do what we all really, really wish we could - create their own MAC product. Not only did they get to come up with a shade and name for their creation, they actually got to go to the MAC factory to participate hands-on in the process of bringing their product to life. 

This collection is the result of that hard work and vision. 

In the end, though I was tempted by everything, I decided just to get the eyeshadows. There were some lovely shades of Lipglass, but as I've mentioned in the past, I have a lot of Lipglasses and almost never wear any of them because they're just too darn sticky! 

The eyeshadows, on the other hand, are all absolutely gorgeous (I have to admit - I got backups of Hocus Pocus and Sparkle Neely, Sparkle!). Here are the shade descriptions:

  • Parisian Skies (S) - This is an amazing shade. It really is like a blue sky that is just slightly overcast - muted blue with grey undertones. This one was created by Lesley Ellen Mirza, resident blogger at Lipstick Powder N Paint.
  • Hocus Pocus (VP) - If I had to pick a favourite from this collection, Hocus Pocus would be it. I have a hard time describing this colour. the MAC description calls it "dark sooty grey with silver pearl," but I feel like I see hints of really dark green in there as well. It's a great colour for the crease of lashline, and is absolutely gorgeous to create a smoky eye. The creative genius behind this particular product is Lianne Farbes, who blogs at The Makeup Girl.
  • Sparkle Neely, Sparkle! (VP) - At first glance, this colour didn't really do much for me. It seemed a bit too red/orange for my colouring and I don't like sparkles. But I looked around online and found some swatches and looks and it looked really great in the pictures, so I decided I'd give it a chance. Boy, am I glad I did! The sparkles don't really show up (which, I suppose, may be a disappointment to many, but which made me really happy!) and the brown looks much cooler on the eye than it does in the pot. It's become one of my go-to colours for neutral daytime looks - I even got a backup! Creator Amber Katz can be found at Beauty Blogging Junkie.
  • Jealousy Wakes (VP) - I'm afraid I have to cheat on the description of this shadow too, because it's really hard to describe! It's described as "emerald green with teal and gold pearl." Spot on. I'm not huge on bright colours - particularly greens - but this is definitely one worth adding to the collection because I can guarantee you haven't already got one like it! You can thank Christine Mielke from Temptalia for this one!
 L-R: Parisian Skies; Hocus Pocus; Sparkle Neely, Sparkle!; Jealousy Wakes
    There are still some of these left, so head on over to MAC - quick!

    Packaging: 4/5 (as always - point off for not being easily de- and re-pottable!)
    Product quality: 5/5
    Worth the price? Definitely!
    Would I purchase again? Oh, if only I could!

    Cruelty-Free? Yes - appears on PETA's Cruelty-Free list.
    Where to find it: MAC in store and online

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Fave Makeup Guru - Lisa Eldridge

    Any self-respecting makeup fanatic has spent countless hours browsing through the endless makeup review, haul and how-to videos on YouTube. There are many wonderful makeup gurus out there, and it's hard to pick a favourite - but if I absolutely had to, Lisa Eldridge would be it.

    Not only are her videos easy to follow and guaranteed to feature a classy and gorgeous look, but they're high quality, well-lit and excellently edited. The British accent doesn't hurt, either.

    Lisa Eldridge has an impressive background and client list - featuring the like of Cheryl Cole and Katy Perry - and has an obvious passion for her craft. Some of my favourite videos aren't tutorials, they're interviews with historian Madeleine Marsh, who has an extensive and fascinating (to any makeup junkie) collection of makeup stretching back through time into the Victorian era. Here they are (I've corrected her misplaced apostrophes. Had to.):

    Part 1:Victorian Era to 1930s

    Part 2: Vintage Makeup 1940s - 1970s

    And finally, here is a video where she showcases some vintage items from her own collection:

    Vintage Make-Up... I Love It!

    I'm sure I'll feature some of her tutorials in upcoming posts, but I highly recommend checking out her site for yourself, or visit her YouTube channel. You won't regret it!

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Inecto - Pure Coconut Oil Hand & Nail Cream

    You know how sometimes you are in a dinky little pharmacy that has nearly nothing you'd normally buy, and you pick something up hoping it'll do in a pinch? That was how I came across this stuff. To be totally honest, I mostly bought it because I'm a sucker for the smell of coconut (when it's not overly sweet) and because it was cheap. 

    It turned out to be one of my favourites. It isn't thick or goopy, doesn't leave oily residue, but actually works on my dry, chapped skin. I like creams that absorb quickly - which this does - so that I won't end up accidentally getting it on my face and clothing. At about $3.99 a tube, this stuff is a steal!

    My only concern with this product is that I have no idea whether it's cruelty free or not, so I haven't re-purchased since trying to switch to cruelty free cosmetics as much as possible. I have emailed the company to see if I can find out anything further, and I'll update this post if I hear back. In the meantime I'm trying to make my tube last!

    Packaging: 5/5
    Product quality: 5/5
    Worth the price? Definitely!
    Would I purchase again? I have - many times!
    Cruelty-Free? Not sure.
    Where to find it: Local pharmacies. More info at Inecto online.

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    MAC - Semi Precious

    L-R: Golden Gaze and Smoked Ruby

    Not too long ago, MAC came out with a new line of products inspired by (and containing) Brazil's semi-precious gems. Here's what the MAC website says:

    "Inspired by the naturally beautiful form & mystery of ethically mined minerals from Brazil, these Mineralize formulas get richer with the infusion of four finely milled gems. Like any limited edition, these elements start off rare & tend to get rarer!"

    Sounds decadent, huh? Their how-to videos and models show just how beautiful these products can be - unfortunately I'm a long way from being a Brazilian goddess, so a lot of the more chunky/sparkly/shimmery products aren't the best for me. But these two shadows I absolutely could not resist. Not only are the gold and ruby tones intriguing, but the mottled black means that you can intensify or darken the colour depending on how much black you pick up on your brush.

     L-R: Smoked Ruby (red section), Smoked Ruby (blacker section), Golden Gaze

    Above you can see a subtle difference between Smoked Ruby taken from a section of the pan that had mostly red, versus the slightly darker shade taken from an area with more black in it. I purposely chose a Golden Gaze that had almost no black in it, however, so I can't do the same with this one!

    I'm really glad I decided to get these two shades (though in all honesty, I don't regret passing on the others). I have nothing like them in my collection and they're absolutely gorgeous for a dramatic look or to create a gorgeous smoky eye.

    Packaging: 5/5
    Product quality: 5/5
    Worth the price? Yes - you get so much product that it will last you forever.
    Would I purchase again? Yes - but unfortunately these are another of MAC's wonderful limited edition products.
    Cruelty-Free? Yes - appears on PETA's Cruelty-Free list.
    Where to find it: MAC in store and online
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