Monday, November 16, 2015

a trio of beauty bargains I love right now

Here we are mid-November and I am still not over my nude to putty-grey lip mania. After mucking about and being generally dissatisfied with my lipcolour options, I decided to get my sh!t together and set out to pick up a true chocolate brown lipliner, one that does not lean towards red or pinkness, and although I expected to buy the classic M.A.C. Cosmetics Lip Pencil in Chestnut, I detoured to this Prestige Waterproof Lipliner in shade LW-26 Cocoa and am so glad I did! The waterproof formula of this creamy pencil does not prevent it from blending effortlessly on top or below my lipstick, and the deep chocolate shade did not make my lipstick pink at all. My aim in buying a quality brown lipliner is to use it as my blending workhorse for light lip colours that I desperately love and want to wear but will show up as weird and chalky on my lips without 2-3 layers of dark, well-blended liner for definition. But I generally do both - over and under - after moisturizing my lips lightly while applying the rest of my regimen (lips are always last of course), I lightly line my lips using careful feather-strokes with this pencil and quickly smear on my first layer of lipstick before the liner has a chance to set. I am careful not to overline my lips with this first layer since I am not going for an East L.A. in the early-90s 'Mi Vida Loca' look. I rub my lips together blending the first layers of lipliner and lipstick until the liner is a barely noticeable ombre effect. Then I draw a stronger line with the pencil and apply a second layer of lipstick which is now more opaque but has a faint border that prevents me from being mistaken for Tyrone Biggums.
This is how I am able to wear and enjoy the pale and nude lipsticks that are perfect to pair with dramatic eye looks or on natural and no-makeup days when I only want a bit of moisturizing and to even out my lips, most especially in this transitional season of autumn to winter when chapping and redness are the norm.

Back to this liner: now that I like this formula so much, I'm asking myself why on earth was I using non-waterproof liner on my lips? As with eyeliner, it's the only other place where precision application and staying power of well-defined colour application are the difference between looking put-together or being a pasty white-lipped mess. So what I'm really trying to say is: this Prestige Waterproof Lipliner right here is a game-changer for me. I use it pretty much every day with all my favourite nude lipsticks and I love it since it allows me to wear shades that are otherwise too light for my skintone. I believe that Prestige Cosmetics in an unsung hero(ine?) of beauty bargains, with some of the lowest prices at the drugstore, plus the brand regularly goes on sale which brings the cost down even more. At $5.99 each currently on sale at London Drugs, I'm eager to go pick up another, this time in the shade Mocha.

Next up is one of my all-around favourite makeup lines, NYX Cosmetics, who have now fully expanded into Canada with the opening of their first stand-alone store in Toronto and the long-awaited launch of a dedicated 'dot.ca' vendor site for Canadian beauty lovers (a nuance that is overlooked by online saleswonks at their peril). However, since I live several time zones away from Tee-Oh and value my time and effort, I am happy that NYX is available at several locations that are in my usual trajectory so I can see and test some of the products before I purchase. London Drugs in particular really came through for me recently when the Beauty Consultant at the location near me, phoned me to say that a product that is sold out absolutely everywhere in BC's Lower Mainland had come into the store in limited supply and one of the few that arrived were put aside for me at the cosmetics counter. I had given them my contact info to be notified when they became available a couple of months ago and promptly forgot about it. This value-added service impressed me and added to the cachet to my new acquisition for its rarity.

But I'll get to that right after a few words about this caramel nude NYX High Voltage Lipstick in the shade HVLS 13 - STONE, which leans towards beige or even 'greige' and I am obsessed with pairing it with the lipliner detailed above. After falling in love with this product in a vivid violet hue, already I knew that I love the wear and feel of this lipstick. Since it's in a natural light shade and is a creamy stick instead of a liquid lipstick tube, it doesn't wear off leaving a patchy inner lip line, but it needs to be reapplied after eating and drinking. It's not that this product is transfer-proof, it isn't. What it does do is impart lovely, moisturizing colour that lasts much longer than conventional creamy tube lipsticks. At only $8.99, it's a true beauty bargain.

I would like you to join me in welcoming this elusive NYX Wonder Stick that I finally got my hands on in the shade Deep to my collection. It is a double-ended cream contouring product that is easy to apply, tidy and ideal for travel. The smartly rounded darker end smooths on depth and shadow while the pointed highlight end helps to place the product precisely and brings light to those areas. I really appreciate how well-thought-out I find this contour stick, and I definitely prefer this format to any flat palette into which a brush, sponge or finger will be smushed prior to application. This format is easier to keep hygienic as well; a good wipe, a spray of isopropyl alcohol, another wipe and voilà, germophobes rejoice! I'm happy to report that both the contour and highlight shades look very natural with my skintone and blend beautifully with zero shimmer. They are effective on their own or as a base for powder contouring if you want a more dramatic, very durable makeup look. This Wonder Stick is unscented and non-irritating, even after several hours on my sensitive skin. Now that winter is truly upon us, I prefer creams to powders on my extra-dry skin and have been enjoying using this with just a final light dusting of translucent powder to set. At only $13.99, this is another instant favourite from NYX Cosmetics.