Thursday, December 14, 2017

Luxury Beauty Gifts Guide and Tips on Shopping for Beauty Lovers

We all know a beauty lover in our lives. But buying gifts for them might be hard! I put together a list of luxury beauty gifts that would be easy to gift to anyone! I tried to stay away from foundation or products that would require specific shade and make it easily enjoyable by anyone! All of these products can be found at Sephora unless otherwise noted. You can of course find them at the brand's online shops or other department stores as well!

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros.  Collection
This collection is one of the hottest for this holiday season and it really delivers in whimsical unique packaging. The new Shu Uemura collection collaboration with Super Mario Bros is so nostalgic but modern at the same time! The items are limited edition and any beauty lover would appreciate the collectible! I think the blush is already sold out but the drawing pencil is still available and if you have a bigger budget, the eye and cheek palette looks amazing as well.

Stila Big Shots 
Available at BeautyBoutique $33

This kit is an amazing value as it contains a full size mascara and a full size eye liner! The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner is a fan favorite and one of the best selling liquid eye liners. The Huge Extreme Mascara is not as talked about yet, but it is one of my favorite mascaras! It really creates long bold lashes! You can't go wrong with this kit as everyone needs a black liner and mascara!

Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
Available at Sephora $40

Another classic in the beauty community is the Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray. You won't need to know your friend's shade or color preferenes to make her happy! This spray is a beauty guru's secret to keeping makeup looking fresh all the way until the end of the night.

Too Faced Under the Kissletoe
Available at Sephora $32

Too Faced comes out with amazing holiday kits every year and is quite affordable compared to the regular prices. In this kit, you get two of the original melted lipsticks as well as a sample of the new melted matte and melted latex formulas. The shades are very universal and would look great on a variety of skin tones.

Ciate Chloe Morello Set
Available at Sephora  for $45

I bought the first Ciate x Chloe Morello set last Christmas and loved the eyeshadow palette, mascara and lipstick. This year, they came out with an even bigger palette! It's one of the best value out there at $59 (now on sale at $45)! The color selection in the palette is so unique but also still lets you do your neutral matte eyes.

Beauty Blender Set
Available at Sephora $50 or to USA on Beauty Blender website

This may seem a bit basic, but everyone needs more beauty blenders. These amazing little sponges rarely go on sale, so when there's a set that's almost half the price of the value, it is a great item to pick up! It's also already packaged in a beautiful box so you won't even need to do any work.

Huda Beauty Dusk Eyeshadow
Available at Sephora

A huge trend this year has been the "sunset"/"dusk" eyeshadow palettes. Huda Beauty is known for their strong pigmentation to create professional quality makeup looks. I love the shade selection in this palette and you can definitely create some gorgeous orange and purple looks.
-Avoid products that are based too much on personal preferences (fragrances, foundation, concealer, skincare)

-Watch for personalization events at Sephora, you can usually get a name engraved for free if you buy products from that brand!

-Sephora's rating system is actually a pretty good representation of how good the product is. I found that it's surprisingly reflective of the general consensus.

-Look for items with nice packaging as it'll save you a step of trying to wrap an awkwardly round item.

-Stick to brands that solely do makeup. I find designer brands (ex. Burberry, YSL, Giorgio Armani) makeup tend to be hit or miss and if you are not familiar with makeup yourself, you might not find the quality items

-Sephora Favorites kits are always going to be a good gift and they are really good value

-You can also stray away from makeup and go for a luxury candle from Diptyque, or holiday sets from Saje. I find they are easily liked and appreciated by most people

Monday, December 11, 2017

Stila Holiday Lip Sets Play it Cool & Sheer Delight Review, Swatches, Demo

Stila is very well known for their Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks  and for the holiday season, there are 3 limited edition gift sets that you should get your hands on! I love makeup minis because one they are so easy to carry around and two I never use up full size ones anyways! In each of the lip kits, there are 3 mini sized Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks in the same shades and formulas as the normal full sized and retails for $24CAD.

First, I have the Play it Cool set which contains the shades Baci, Patina, and Bocca. Baci is a very light nude pink and not that flattering on me. Patina is a much better shade for me and is a dusty rose that is similar to a MLBB shade and surprisingly wearable. Lastly is Bocca which is a bright berry shade and perfect for a night out.

If you are not familiar with the formula of these liquid lipsticks, it is extremely full coverage and pigment heavy. You definitely won't have any issues getting full coverage even with the lightest shades. The formula is also an interesting mousse texture which feels soft and fluffy. I swatched these without lip pencils and definitely turned out messier than I hoped. You'll need to clean up with a concealer or q-tip dipped in micellar water to achieve a clean look. It does last a long time though once dried down. I can drink from a white mug and not even leave behind a lip print.

As you can see below, the product does stain and this is the pigment left once I wiped off with a makeup wipe. When worn, it easily lasts 2-3 hours with eating and drinking. I find the freshness start to fade around the edges at 4 hours even though the majority of the color is still there.

Swatches of Play it Cool set: Boci, Patina, Bocca

I also have the Sheer Delight set which gives you a sneak peek into Stila's newest formula before it releases in the Spring. The new collection will feature the same Stay all Day claim but with a more sheer finish. The shade in the Sheer Delight set is Sheer Morello which is a dark plum. As you can see in swatches below, it is still very pigmented. But in contrast to the other shades, I can definitely see how it's a more sheer look and is more wearable. 

The two other shades are Patina and Fiery. Since both sets have Patina, you definitely don't need both. I prefer this one to Play it Cool as all three shades are flattering on me. Patina is a fantastic neutral so I can see how why they would want to put it in both. But it kind of deters people who might have bought more than one set!

Swatches of Sheer Delight set:Patina, Fiery

This would be a fantastic gift option either for a friend or to treat yourself! The price point is great value to try 3 shades of the award winning Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick formula! I prefer the Sheer Delight color selection but Play it Cool may be a better set if you like light nude lips.

Have you tried Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks before? Which set do you like better?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Steve Madden Odessa- What to Wear with Over the Knee Boots

I bought my first pair of over the knee boots this year and I could not be happier! I wish I jumped on this trend a few years ago but it's never too late. I've had them for a few months now and wanted to share my thoughts and my favorite ways to wear them.

I bought mine from Hudson's Bay for $140 but you can also find it at Steve Madden stores. I really should have gotten this post up before Black Friday as I saw quite a few on sale. Steven Madden has several variations of over the knee boots including ones with heels and with pointy toes. Think about what occasions you want to wear it for. Heels are nice but if you want to wear them every day, flats are a lot more practical.

The outside material is fabric but looks like suede so I try not to wear it in the rain. I do already have a few scratches although it's not visible from far away. I think these boots would last me about 2-3 years. The inside has a satin fabric lining similar to Stuart Weiztman boots and I think this helps the boot stay up. I haven't had any issues with it slipping down.

I have relatively big calves and thighs compared to my shoe size but I was really happy these fit well. I can wear tights underneath no problem but if I wear leggings, I do have a bit of an issue getting these to pull up fully. If you have skinnier legs, you might be able to fit jeans underneath it too!

My favorite way to wear it is with a dress and sweater on top to keep warm. I love that I can still wear my dresses in the winter time since the boots keep me warm.

But if you don't want to go bare leg, you cane easily wear tights or leggings underneath your dress. Another way I've been loving this is with a long sleeve dress and a fur vest! It's perfect for going out for date night but still staying comfy because you are wearing flats.

I also find these boots help me look put together even when I'm just wearing t-shirts and leggings. It's really flattering on the legs and definitely makes my leg look slimmer.

I found the following images from Pinterest, but here are more style inspo for styling black over the knee boots!

Do you own a pair of over the knee boots?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Highlighter Round Up: My Collection and Mini Reviews

I have really been enjoying doing these makeup collection posts as it forces me to see what I have in my drawers and boxes and also review and use items that I may have neglected. My highlighter foundation is pretty small in comparison to a lot of other makeup lovers, but I do want to use a few of these up before I try out new cult favorites from Anastasia, Becca and Huda.

I feel like highlighters have one job, to be glowy and reflect and that's why I don't see the need to have too many different versions other than a few different shades. I usually only wear highlighters for special events so I do prefer them to be a strong highlight and also in a gold/tan color.

For each highlighter I'll let you know when I got it, how much I've used, a short blurb, a link to review if available, and a summary rating!


Teeez Cosmetics Style Addict Highlighter in Get Nude
When I got it: Fall 2016
% Used: 2%
This is the best packaging I have for any of my highlighters! The top twists off to reveal a mousse texture highlighter in a bronze shade. A tiny bit goes a long way and I like to use this with a stippling brush. It has a very creamy texture and a beautiful reflective glow. 4/5

Estee Lauder Lip and Cheek Glow in Sunburst- Review
When I got it: Winter 2016
% Used: 10%
The highlighter side has a very creamy formula and can feel sticky. It is nice though on dry skin especially when I'm not wearing a base for powder highlighters to adhere to, but I do wish it would dry down faster. It's a classic glow with a hint of gold. 3/5

Revlon Photoready Insta-Fix Highlighting Stick in Pink Light- Review
When I got it Fall 2016
% Used: 2%
The Revlon Highlighting stick is surprisingly reflective giving off almost a metallic finish. The product isn't creamy but only leaves the thinnest layer of product. It feels weightless on the skin and you won't get any stickiness. I don't love the shade on me as it's quite pale but it is a very strong glow. 4/5

Youngblood Mineral Radiance Moisture Tint in Golden Sun
When I got it: Winter 2017
% Used: 1%
This is actually a tinted moisturizer but it's so glowy I can't imagine putting it all over the face. It's a very dark shade so it would be great to use on tanned skin as a bronzer and highlighter all in one. You'll need to use a stippling brush or wet sponge with this to apply. 3/5

Mary Kay Glowing Finish Illuminating Stick in Bronze- Review
When I got it: Fall 2016
% Used: 2%
I can't believe how much I like this given the lackluster presentation. This stick glides on so perfectly to the cheeks and it's really easy to blend with the fingers. It has a rose gold color so you can almost skip out on blush. 5/5

GOSH Lumi Drops Illuminating Highlighter - Review
When I got it: Fall 2016
% Used: 5%
Liquid cheek products are usually not my favorite but this is the exception. I love being able to use this even when I wear no foundation. It adheres well to my skin and also gives a tiny bit of peach color so I can get away with no blush too! 5/5

Lancome Dual Finish Highlighter in Radiant Rose Gold - Review
When I got it: Winter 2017
% Used: 1%
This is one of my newest additions to my highlighter collection and after loving and then disliking it, I am now loving it again! The product is extremely creamy to the touch but does not pick up well with a fluffy brush. However if you use a dense brush or the enclosed sponge, it gives the most beautiful rose gold glow! 5/5

Makeup Revolution Baked Highlighter Powder in Golden Lights- Review
When I got it: Summer 2016
% Used: 10%
This has been one of my favorite highlighters for a LONG time! It looks white and boring in the pan but once applied to the skin, the white disappears and what you get is a golden glow! It is a very strong highlight so I reserve this for special events! 5/5

IT Cosmetics Hello Light Illuminator
When I got it: Summer 2015
% Used: 5%
The IT Cosmetics highlighter has a very unique texture. When you swirl your finger in the pan, it is creamy but once applied to the skin, it drys down very quickly. It gives a beautiful lit from within glow and there's not really a hint of color. It is hard finding the right tool to use with it and the best is the corresponding brush from IT cosmetics. 4/5

Kiss Halo Strobing Palette
When I got it: Summer 2017
% Used: 1%
This palette contains three different shades but the color pay off is not so different. I found the first two shades not to be very shimmery at all and only the last one was a good highlighter. I actually ended decluttering this after the photo as it just wasn't as good as other items in my collection. 2/5

How many highlighters do you own? And what are your top criteria?

Don't miss my foundation collection and my mascara collection! If you are looking to find the best items for each type of makeup, be sure to visit my Best in Beauty page!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Lancome Dual Finish Highlighter Radiant Rose Gold- Review, Demo, Swatches

I just bought this Lancome Dual Finish Highlighter a couple of months ago from London Drugs and I've been reaching for it a lot! This highlighter really caught my eye because of the rose gold color and how metallic the glow is when swatched. I'll be sharing my thoughts and showing you swatches and how it looks on my skin.

Name: Lancome Dual Finish Highlighter
Shade: 5 Shades- 03 Radiant Rose Gold
Price: $53
Size: 5.2g
Available at Sephora and Lancome

Packaging: The Lancome Dual Finish highlighter comes in a classic black square compact typical of other Lancome powder products. It has a sturdy clasp with "Lancome" etched on the side edge in gold. It comes with a sponge that you can use to apply and the mirror inside is large and perfect for touch ups. The packaging is a bit boring for my liking but it is a classic and definitely great for the more sophisticated demographic.

Shade: The 5 different Lancome Dual Finish Highlighter shades offered are actually very different. You can choose from beige, gold, peach, rose gold, or tan. Most highlighters I have are either champagne colored or gold so the Radiant Rose Gold is a beautiful alternative. This shade is also nice when your blush could use a little extra color or if you are just wearing bronzer. The pink will be flattering on light-medium skin tones and the reflection is a combination of peach and gold.

Formula: When you first swatch this highlighter, you'll be blown away at how creamy it feels to the fingers. It also swatches amazingly pigmented. However, you have to watch what tools you use with it. There's a reason it comes with a sponge as when you apply with a fluffy brush, the powder is actually quite loose and falls out. Now I use an angled foundation brush to apply and it's perfect! You can also turn up the intensity by using a damp sponge but I like how it looks already when used dry.

I really love how it looks when applied as it has so much reflective color but no glitter. Also since there is a rose gold color, it looks more natural and less of a sharp line across the face. It blends into the blush nicely and I like to spritz my face with a mist to let everything settle into the skin.

Before and after- Lancome Dual Finish Highlighter Radiant Rose Gold

I'm a really big fan of the formula and shade. If you are interested in a reflective highlighter in a more unique color, definitely give this a try! Just make sure to use it with a more dense brush for the best color payoff.