Thursday, August 27, 2015

find these high-quality affordable beauty hits near you!

Hailed as one of the top long wearing eye shadow creams available, this winner by Maybelline lives up to the hype. Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadow in Tough as Taupe is likely the longest-wearing cream shadow I've ever worn, and it does double duty as an eye shadow primer. I'm glad I chose this matte shade since it works perfectly alone to add depth to my cease area or as a base layer under other shadows. It feels much lighter on the lid than other cream shadows, but crease-less stay-put wear are what really makes this product a keeper. The metallic shades combine gorgeous shiny colour with no messy powder shadow mess to stray all over your face, which is great when you want to control where you want to sparkle, and avoid highlighting areas (like under the eyes) where you don't. I picked mine up at Shoppers Drug Mart on sale for $6.99 (regular price is $9.99), but will wait to see how long the formula lasts before drying up before repurchasing.
Next up is a similar, and equally worthy beauty reviewer favourite, L'Oréal's La Couleur Infallible Eye Shadow in Hourglass Beige. This little glass jar has a small black stopper instead of a sifter top since the shadow is more creamy than powdery (though it applies and blends with no stickiness), which keeps the product tamped-down and tidy. This shadow glides onto your eyelid and leaves a bright metallic pop of colour that stays in place with no fallout or creasing through hours of wear. Aside from feeling lighter on the lids than glittery cream shadows of yore, this version surprises by being incredibly smooth, and is a delight to combine with powder shadows since it isn't tacky or greasy at all. I bought mine for $7.99 on sale at Shoppers Drug Mart (regular price is $10.99) during a promo for L'Oréal products. While I'm very pleased with this shadow, this level of sparkle is not an everyday look for me, so I will wait to see how much use I get from it before I repurchase.

Since I'm now fully addicted to highlighter, I've been looking for one that's just right for me. I've been trying different illluminators for weeks after my cream and liquid highlighters made me breakout just where I applied them. Here was the unequivocal winner of that quest:
Through my weeks-long search for a pressed powder highlighter, and I had a long list of criteria: I wanted it to be a dry, non-liquid/cream formula that manages to not look chalky on my skin; I was leaning towards a golden toned version (as opposed to white, pink or bronze shimmer), and even though my Milani Bella Chiffon does an adequate job, I wanted something with less discernible bits of glitter, more of a wet-looking sheen on the skin. Hell-bent on getting my hands on one of The Balm's 'Manizers' series of highlighters, I located the one of the last remaining, currently on clearance at all London Drugs locations (they will no longer carry the line). To my dismay, only the bronzey Betty Lou-Manizer was left, and when I swatched the sample on my skin, it managed to be both invisible (exactly same colour as my skin) and ashy (too powdery). Seeing my dilemma, the helpful beauty advisor suggested I give NYX a chance. She showed me a comparison swatch of this NYX Illuminator Powder in Ritualistic next to the Betty Lou and one swipe of the buttery-feeling powder left a gorgeous golden sheen in its wake, it is exactly what I was looking for! The dewy glow it gives makes skin appear smooth and fresh. The shine particles are milled so finely that pores, bumps and imperfections are less obvious. As such, I've also been lightly sweeping one quick pass with my fan brush after I've highlighted my face/nose/forehead/cupid's bow, lightly under each eye with whatever residual product remains, to brighten and deflect just a bit more light; the yellow-gold tone is perfect to subtly counteract any blue-purple undereye discoloration. For just $10.99, like everything I've tried from NYX, the quality is far above the price point. I think this is a better highlighter for darker skin than either my Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector liquid highlighter which I have in Moonstone and wanted to love sooo badly but made me break out, or Hourglass' Dim Light Ambient Lighting Powder which looked muddy and patchy on me while providing very little 'lighting'. The only other highlighter product that is a long-term favourite of mine is Lorac's Double Feature Concealer & Highlighter, which I have in Medium, and is quite a good match for my winter skin tone. The portability of twist-up face coverage on one end and a top-quality highlighter with a doefoot applicator on the other makes it an ultimate essential for any travel makeup kit.

My Essence obsession is in full swing, and I'm somewhat overcompensating now for all this time in ignorance of such an excellent line of cosmetics. I can no longer walk into a Shoppers without visiting the Essence display, and I'm even detouring to remote or rural locations in the hopes of finding: a) racks replete with their full product selection, and b) a clearance section rife with Essence goodies. Well recently I found both at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Langley, BC. The Long Lasting Lipstick in Cool Nude from the i love nude trend edition was irresistible, and was only $3.49 CAD! Never mind the price, you will not believe how creamy, pigmented and long-lasting these lipsticks are - I can't get enough of them. I also bought the I ♥ Trends nail polish in 02 i nude it, which I just love, especially at $2.49 CAD.
I was drawn to this sparkly Smokey Eyes Set in 01 Smoky Night since fall is approaching and I'm thinking about darker eye looks. I was delighted to realize upon closer inspection that the black shade is multiprismatic (imbued with many-coloured shimmer). Combined with a true satin grey and a dazzling diamond highlight, once more the silky shadows from Essence have won me over.

I picked up this Gel Eyeliner in 05 Miami's Ink after seeing several reviews about how nicely this applies and wears. True enough, it is the first cream or gel eyeliner I've enjoyed using in ages and am looking forward to fall when I tend to wear greys more for everyday looks. Finally, I grabbed one of these Easy 2 Use Jumbo Eyeliner Pens which only came in black. I wasn't sure about the chubby barrel of this marker-style eyeliner, but I now love the comfortable control and precision I can get with this liner. Both of these gems were a mere $3.99 CAD; this German-based cosmetics company keeps offering what are basically luxury-brand-quality cosmetics for just a few dollars, to my delight and amazement - I can't get enough of this great line!

Back to drugstore dupes worth buying, I'm a huge fan of Quo's Blending Sponge, the in-house version of the Beauty Blender available in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart locations. I realize that not all complexion blending sponges are created equal, but among knock-offs, this one is so far the best I've used. The original, other than being vastly overpriced, does succeed at delivering a flawless application and resists absorbing lots of product. Many of the cheap fakes soak up loads of foundation instead of dispersing it efficiently, others are not as soft and comfortable on the skin and I've even heard of some that smell so bad it's hard to put them near your face! Thankfully Quo's blending sponge is none of those things plus it's latex-free and when moistened (I use a few spritzes of pure lavender hydrosol instead of water which calms skin, is sterile and smells divine) is just as good as the chintzy original. For only $4.99 CAD at regular price instead of upwards of $20 for the Beauty Blender, I like this one much, much better.

I'll close once more with a favourite cleanser recommendation: this time it is Shu Uemura's Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil. I've been using his original cleansing oil to remove my makeup for decades; if something works well, why mess with it?
However, I did recently venture so far as to try a different version of this classic cleanser, and I'm very pleased with the results. On days when I have more makeup on, there's really no hesitation which cleanser I will use to dissolve it all off without irritating my skin and eyes, it is always Shu's Cleansing Oil, and it seems like it has always been on my beauty radar thanks to my Asian family and friends. Since I have such dry skin I love how this goes on as an oil but emulsifies on contact with water and rinses away taking all the makeup and dirt with it. If you struggle with oily skin don't despair - the formula is so good at binding to water and rinsing away that I always need to moisturize after I cleanse with this product. It is absolutely not like cleaning your face with coconut or jojoba or any other actual oil, but a much more sublime product. I purchased mine at my local Sephora where it was in amongst the travel-sized beauty products that always wink at me as I'm making my way to the cash register. I strongly urge everyone to try this mainstay of this esteemed line and find out for yourself why it became and remains an international bestseller.

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