Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Let's Make a Teal - Teal Green Nails

Lovely readers,
I saw a picture of this nail polish a long time ago and ever since I wanted it so badly.
It was "Let's Make a Teal" from The Balm (which if you read my blog often, you know is a company I love) but their shipping is kind of outrageous. And I wasn't going to order just a nail polish...

**This brand goes on sale on Hautelook sometimes which is a flash sale site. I usually get it when it's there to save some money and pay reasonable shipping. Signing up is free and you get access to great designer brands that go on sale, including Steve Madden, Wildfox Couture and BCBG.
Check out Hautelook at the link below!

But The Balm recently had a 50% of everything sale and I definitely picked up some stuff because it totally made their kind of excessive shipping costs ($26 to ship to Canada and they're located in the US??!) worth it. I do understand though, they are a small company which means they have to protect themselves when shipping products and for cosmetics 50% off is an amazing sale. I got two of their Hot Ticket nail polishes, which get great reviews as far as I know.

Hot Ticket Nail Polishes ($10)  in "Let's Make a Teal" and "Call me Iridescent" 

I finally got to pick up the nail polish I wanted to try and I picked up a shimmery colour so I could try out a different formula as well. 

As you can see, it's a gorgrous teal blue-green colour. Creamy finish, no shimmer. Very smooth formula and great pigmentation! Honestly, for most of nails this is just one coat! That's impressive, for me at least, because I absolutely need two coats of any OPI polish I use and they are more expensive than these.
The Balm Hot Ticket polishes are usually $10 but I got them for $5 each so they were a great deal. However, knowing how awesome these are, I would absolutely pay $10 for them because the quality is definitely there. And considering brands like OPI ($12 a bottle), Butter London ($17 a bottle!) or even Essie, a supposed drugstore brand, ($11 a bottle) - these are actually very reasonably priced.
The bottle looks small but holds about 14 mL while an OPI bottle which seems much larger holds 15mL. 
So it's compact but doesn't skimp on product which is always nice.
These are definitely a win for me, I love them and suggest you try them out too!

Just a Few Things...
  • I can't wait to try out the other nail polish I got! It looks so pretty.
  • I got a ton of other stuff too that I should review including an awesome palette and some skincare items pictured below
I am so excited to use this stuff! 
  • I have already tried the White Tea Coconut Milk Cleansing Face Cream  (in the pink bottle) and while I've only used it once and can't officially review it, I do LOVE it so far. Smells great and it's so moisturizing.
  • The included a cute fact about coconuts on the top of the box: "In the US, you can write an address on a coconut, attach the correct postage and drop it in the mail!"
  • The candle burning in the above picture: Peach Bellini from Bath and Body Works. Amazing!
  • I have heard amazing things about the Balm Jovi palette, pictured above, for so long. I cannot wait to use it. And it's so slim and travel friendly. 
As always, thanks for reading!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Lipstick Round-Up: Browns and Earth Tones

Hello there friends!
It's been a long time since I got on the here and posted something.
School always forces me to take a break from blogging but I'm going to have to try harder, I guess.

This post was inspired by a friend of mine from school, Marwa (hi Marwa if you're reading!) and a discussion we had a this past semester. I have always had an issue with makeup companies that don't provide products that would suit women of colour. For example in the post where I show some products that I got from Sleek makeup, I mention how difficult it is for someone of my skin colour to find a good contour shade in the drugstore. 

The same goes for lipsticks. Most "nude" colour lipsticks marketed by makeup companies are catered towards a fairer complexion, thus when I (or someone around my skin tone or deeper) wear them, we end up with ghost lips because the colour is too light. 
Marwa, who kindly told me she reads my blog now and then (the support is so appreciated), told me she prefers earth tone lipsticks which are much easier for women of my skin tone, and hers as well, to wear. I promised her I would do a post of the best earth tone/nude lipsticks for women of colour that I could find. Despite purging my collection last summer and giving away a ton of lipstick, I somehow managed to find 10. I have a problem, let's all move on now. I've grouped them so the post isn't super long. Here they are!

I'll start with two options that also happen to be two of my favourite. These are both from the Revlon lip butter line and go on with a decent amount of colour payoff. These are not clear, they definitely have colour to them, they just don't pack as much pigment as a regular lipstick might which is good because these can be applied without a mirror. No fuss, no muss kind of thing. The formula is incredibly creamy and moisturizing which doesn't hurt. 
These two colours specifically, Brown Sugar and Fig Jam are two of the most "brown" shades in the line but they look beautiful, not just on darker skin, on anyone. 

Brown sugar: left and bottom swatch 
Fig Jam: Right and top swatch

As you can see, Fig Jam is obviously the darker of the two, it might look scary in the tube but the swatch shows that it's not nearly as dark as it looks. These can be layered for more intense colour, which is also useful to customize your shade intensity. These are a great way to try out earth tones without committing to really "brown" look.

The next two are both in a stick format which offers more control but less moisture content. 
On the right there's the ELF matte lip colour in "Praline" and next to it is the Revlon Balm Stain in "Precious"

Top: Revlon- "Precious" Bottom: ELF "Praline"

The Revlon comes off a little lighter than it looks in the packaging so that's something to consider. It does claim to be a stain but that's really more for the reds and purples in the line. However, it does have good lasting power, goes on smoothly (with a nice minty smell) and is effortless to keep up during the day. It has a little shine to it but nothing glittery or sparkly. It looks very subtle when worn.

The ELF is obviously darker but it looks actually nude on me, so don't let that swatch deceive you. It is also very smooth but  beware that this formula is matte (hence the name) so if you're lips are a little dry or cracked, this will make it look worse. However this is a really nice colour and great colour payoff from the product, definitely worth a try. The packaging is a little cheap on this one, it could definitely be better but hey, it's like $3. If they had to sacrifice something, I'm glad it wasn't product quality. But you do have to order it online at their website but I found mine in a Winners so try looking there. 

The next grouping is drugstore lipsticks. Like I said, I did a cleanse of my makeup last summer and gave away a ton of lipsticks so I didn't have as many to choose from here so these two might be kind of a stretch.
However, they're not bad in terms of colour and price so I think it's worth mentioning.

Top: Covergirl Lip Perfection in "Romance"
Bottom: Rimmel Kate "14"

The Covergirl is a little on the pink side but in person it looks much more brown. It's smooth and great colour payoff but there's a smell with these that is a little plastic-y. It's not super disgusting but it's something to think about considering the placement of your lips is right under your nose.

The Rimmel Kate is also smooth and the colour payoff is great. It's a very matte lipstick so the same considerations as the ELF lip colour apply here too. I think the Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick line is limited edition so this might not be around forever, which is something else to keep in mind.

Left: "MAC Viva Glam 2" Right: MAC "Twig"

If you haven't already guessed, MAC lipsticks are my next grouping. I have a lot of MAC lipsticks but these are the only two that fit the "earth tone" bill.

Top: Twig   Bottom: Viva Glam 2

Twig is a brown with some very obvious reddish undertones. It's not as flattering on my skin as I thought (it was my first time picking something and I had no idea what I wanted) but that doesn't mean it won't work for someone else. It's very matte (despite being a classified as a "satin" finish by MAC) so keep in mind that it could amplify dry lips. But it's a great colour if you want an earthy brown that's not too muddy.

Viva Glam 2 is in my top 5  favourite MAC lipsticks, it's gorgeous. A nude that's not too white or pale and it looks great on darker skin tones. You can see it almost blends right into my hand. This one is also a satin but I like the texture much better than Twig. It might be a little light to qualify as an earth tone but I included it because the MAC Viva Glam collection is a really special line. All the money (not just the profit or a percentage, every penny you spend) goes to the MAC Aids Fund. I love that MAC has a program like this to give back. So it's worth trying out even if it's not your thing. I talk more about the MAC Aids Fund in my post about the Nicki Minaj Viva Glam lipstick.

**High Tea (lighter than Twig, beige with a shiny, sheer finish) and Bare Again Sheen Supreme (creamy brown-y nude) lipsticks from MAC would also be good. I own them but I cannot for the life of me find either shade right now!There are some options I know would be good from MAC that I don't own so I'll mention them, but I can't say for sure what they're like. I've heard "Coffee in Your Cream" and "Spice" are also very good earth tone browns from MAC

Lastly, here are my gloss options. 
Lying down: L'oreal Colour Caress Shine Stain in "Eternally Nude" (Geez longest name ever)
Standing up: MAC lipglass in "Viva Glam 5"

I love these L'oreal shine stains! I use them a lot and I think they're phenomenal. Great formula, very smooth and a lot of colour payoff. They have a scent, it's like a light rose smell but it's a nice scent in my opinion and goes away pretty fast. You can apply this in layers (apply one layer, let dry for 30 seconds, apply another layer) for even more colour. They stay glossy for a long time and stain your lips so you don't have to reapply all day, they're super low maintenance. The darker colours are my favourites, but this nude shade is alright, definitely worth a try.

The MAC lipglass is one I've had in my collection for a long time. You can see it's very brown and blends into my hand. It's not as traditionally shiny as most glosses are, it's more creamy with a little shimmer, which I like. I also love that this gloss is part of the Viva Glam line which I mentioned above.

Overall: My top recommendations from this list are definitely both lip butters, ELF in praline (if you're willing to order online), and MAC Viva Glam 2. Those are the ones I think are most universally flattering and wearable. 

As always, thanks for reading and remember, laughter is the best cosmetic, so grin and wear it! 
-Tash <3