Tuesday, March 31, 2015

HAIR: Irresistible Me Sapphire 8-in-1 Complete Curling Wand

8 interchangeable attachments and a gazillion ways to style your hair. Such is beauty of the Irresistible Me Sapphire 8-in-1 Complete Curling Wand ($199 with free shipping). Straight-haired gals want curly hair and curly-haired gals want straight hair. As a straight-haired girl, there's nothing quite like a curling wand. 

Irresistible Me is a web store that specializes in clip-in extensions, full lace wigs and hair accessories. There's also two styling tools for sale - a straightening iron and the Sapphire Complete Curling Wand. When offered the option to try anything from the store, I skipped all the wigs (I already have enough hair for 2 and a half people) and went straight to the curling wand. 

LEFT - Loose waves with 32 MM Barrel // RIGHT - Unruly curls with the Pearl Barrel 

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Glitter Accent Nail

IMO, accent nails are the easiest way to add glitter without going overboard. I love wearing all glitter everything everywhere but it's  not the most business professional. So, I stick with a neutral on 8 of my fingers and wear glitter on my two ring fingers - so I only seem 1/5 as glitter crazy. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

If I had violet eyes...

I appreciate the way my eyes look naturally, but wouldn't it be fun to have VIOLET eyes? That's where coloured contacts come in. They're kind of like makeup - non-permanent but can alter your appearance drastically. Shown here are Pastel Noodles Neo Vision Madonna Violet prescription lenses ($15.70). Pastel Noodles sells a wide range of coloured contacts and circle lenses with or without prescriptions out of South Korea. Buyer beware, these are not approved by the USFDA but the KFDA. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Mary Kay Eyeliners in Black, Deep Brown & Steely

I love a good eyeliner and I'll be straight up and say that Mary Kay's best selling Eyeliner ($16) is pretty darn good. 

 Mary Kay Eyeliners in Black, Deep Brown and Steely 

Mary Kay Eyeliners in Deep Brown, Steely and Black

The liner is thin and kinda cute. There's even a little detachable sharpener inside the lid. As for the liner itself, the claims are (1) rich colour (2) 8+ hour wear (3) intense shades (4) fragrance-free and suitable for contact lens wearers and sensitive eyes. All true. Other than that, the liners are creamy, blendable, and set quickly. It's totally smudge-proof, water-proof - good if you like to watch sad Korean dramas and the like. 

Not much to say other than the fact that I'm impressed. It's a little pricey compared to eyeliners at the drugstore but it's worth it for a mid-priced eyeliner. 

Have you tried the Mary Kay Eyeliners? 

Press samples featured

Facebook || Twitter || Bloglovin || Instagram

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lancome Hypnose Custom Volume Mascara

Iconic high-end mascaras always pique my interest. What makes a 3-month-lifetime product worth $30+? That's $10/month, nearly half my phone bill! I won the Lancome Hypnose Custom Volume Mascara ($31.50) from a giveaway run by Stephanie of theFantasia

The wand is pretty standard - straight, with natural bristles. Per the Sephora website, the claims of the Lancome Hypnose Custome Volume Mascara are simple. Buildable volume withought smearing, smudging or clumping. 

attractively curved mascara tube 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hard Candy Fierce Effects Lip Gloss in 972 Plum Diva & 967 Skyfall // Spring 2015

HURAH! Blue and purple lip glosses are now available at drugstore prices! I can finally get my fierce on.  Recently launched are the Hard Candy Fierce Effects Argan Oil Lip Glosses ($4.98, exclusively at Walmart). Available in 8 intense shades and 4 sheer shades, the Fierce Effects Lip Glosses are quite a daring pop of colour. 

Pictured above are 972 Plum Diva and 967 Skyfall, both intense shades. In addition to the dark plum and baby blue, there's an orange, black and red that are both unique and eye-catching. Even if crazy colour isn't your thing there's also 962 Nude Plunge and 963 Make Blush. 

Both colours require a couple coats over the lips for full opacity. The glosses are enriched with citrus and argan oils, making the product hydrating and a bit slippy/sticky. Both colours will easily get on your teeth, so be careful! Lasting power is so-so at 2-3 hours. Plum Diva leaves a nice stain after it wears away, while Skyfall fully wears off (all over you're face if you haven't been good at checking in the mirror often).

Monday, March 23, 2015

NYC Strip Me Off Base Coat

Glitter polish is a pain to remove. So a peel-off base coat seems like a solid solution, right? A while ago, OPI had released Glitter Off, a Natural Nail Base Coat, which seemed pretty cool but ain't no way am I going to ever pay $9 for something that resembles Elmer's Glue. 

This year, NYC launched it's Strip Me Off Base Coat ($1.99) in Canada. The price is a lot more reasonable. Regardless of price, I wanted to see if the product was a good alternative for the mess that is scrubbing my nail beds until they fall off. I only have one want - I want my polish to come off as soon as I will it so but no sooner than that. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

EVENT: Estee Lauder Spring/Summer 2015 Preview

Last Thursday, I spent a little time hanging out at the Estee Lauder Corporate Office in downtown Toronto. There, I learned about what's new for Spring and Summer 2015. I also picked up on some tips and tricks known as "3 Minute Beauty" - perfect brows, the best eye makeup application for your eye shape, sky high cheekbones, and more. They're little beauty tidbits that can be achieved in 3 minutes or less. More on this in future posts ;) 

Here's a few things that happened at the Estee Lauder HQ: 

1. Hung out with Canada's #1 Repair Serum

Photo creds to Jenn of A Beautiful Zen

2. Swatched shades of the Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Lipsticks

L to R - Blossom Bright, Passionate, Suggestive and Heavenly ($34 each)
Swatching creds to Jenn of A Beautiful Zen

Match your tips and lips with Pure Color Envy Polishes ($25 each)

3. Dreamed about Summer 

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Illuminating Powder Gelee ($32.50, limited edition)

4. Took a trip to the 60s with the Courreges x Estee Lauder collab collection and the Lisa Perry GWP 

Estes Lauder Courreges Lip and Cheek Ball ($29)

Estee Lauder Courreges ($36)

5. Got excited about Asia-exclusive products being available in Canada

Estee Lauder Crescent White and Nutritious Vitality8

6. More Swatching

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Eye Pencils ($26 each)

7. Made myself smell like flowers

Estee Lauder Pleasures Florals ($72/50mL)

Aerin Rose de Grasse ($205/50mL)

All in all, there's a lot to be excited about. What's piquing your interest from Estee Lauder? 

Facebook || Twitter || Bloglovin || Instagram

Friday, March 20, 2015

NEW THINGS: CoverGirl & Olay 2015 Launches + GIVEAWAY

P&G Beauty has recently come out with a slew of new products. Here's three new things that I've been trying (and loving). 

// Olay Regenerist Luminous Overnight Mask Gel Moisturizer ($32.99)
As of late, overnight masks have been all the rage. It's 100% easier than wash off masks because it contains all sorts of fun extracts that get work done while you sleep. The water-based gel formula is quite light in texture. It sits on the skin for ~20 minutes before the slimy mask texture dissipates. So, you don't actually have to use this as an overnight mask if you've got 20 minutes to spare. I haven't been using this long enough to see the look of dark spots disappear but the mask leaves my skin feeling plump, hydrated, and refreshed. 

// Olay Fresh Effects {Spot Zinger} 2-in-1 Salicylic Acne Spot Treatment ($12.99)
Since I began #nomakeupmarch, I've been turning to a topical acne spot treatment instead of concealer. It's thanks to the {Spot Zinger} that I've avoided picking at my skin. Formulated with 2% Salicylic acid, the Olay claims that this stuff improves the look of blemishes in just 10 minutes. Maybe not 10 minutes for me but I put this on before bed and when I wake up in the morning, the vast majority of a potentially bad situation has cleared up. BONUS: It's got citrus and mint, so it's the only acne treatment that I've ever used that smells good. 

// CoverGirl Colorlicious Lipstick in 300 Garnet Flame ($8.49)
The reformulated and repackaged version of the CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipsticks. CoverGirl has released new shades and has also split them up into four easy-to-navigate colour families - nudes, pinks, reds, and plums. "New and improved" really doesn't apply here - these look, feel, and smell the same as the Lip Perfection Lipsticks. They're still good. The colour is rich and pigmented in one layer, the product doesn't bleed and lasts on me for up to 5 hours. Garnet Flame is a pink-leaning red. 

HERE'S THE GIVEAWAY PART. To win my P&G faves, follow me on Instagram @stephh_lau, find the first photo in this post and give it a like. For an extra entry, tag a friend or regram the photo! Open to residents of Canada only. Ends March 30, 2015. Best of luck! 

Have you tried any new things from CoverGirl or Olay? 

Press samples featured

Facebook || Twitter || Bloglovin || Instagram

Thursday, March 19, 2015

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella & Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien - Sephora Birthday Gift 2015

Is it just me or does Sephora keep stepping up it's birthday gift for beauty insiders year after year? As far back as I can remember thus far it's been Philosophy, Fresh, Benefit, Make Up For Ever and now NARS. I picked up the Sephora Beauty Insider Birthday Gift for 2015 two weeks before my birthday in-store. To my excitement, the gift included minis of the the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella and the NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien

The full-size of both lip pencils retails for $26. The minis are only 0.02 oz. less than their full-size counterparts. This means that these little guys retail for ~$17, which is pretty amazing considering they're free. They're also a suitably universal set neutral and a bold colour, wearable for pretty much anybody. Pencil lip products are super handy for on-the-go. The big fat caveat with this one is that it doesn't twist up, so make sure you have a sharpener handy.

On to the colours... 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hakuhodo J5523 Eye Shadow Brush (MAC 217 dupe)

In search of "the perfect eyeshadow blending brush", I had been lemming over the MAC 217 brush, which it seems like everybody and their mother owns. At $27 for a single brush, I scoured the internet for a similar product at a lower price point. After reading many a Shameless Fripperies post, I  was dead set on purchasing something a little out of my Real Techniques price range and settled on the $23 Hakuhodo J5523 Eye Shadow Brush Round and Flat at IMATS Toronto 2014, justifying it to myself as an important investment to my makeup-wearing experience. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hard Candy Glow All the Way Ombre Baked Blush in 994 Punch

I never thought I would see the day. Ombre blush has arrived for less than a $10 bill. Pricier brands like MAC, IT Cosmetics, Estee Lauder, Lise Watier all have beautiful limited edition ombre blushes in their line. Now available at Wal-Mart is the Hard Candy Glow All the Way Ombre Baked Blush in 994 Punch ($6.98). 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Quo by Orly Art Scene Collection - Abstract & Graffiti // Spring 2015

New season, new nail polish. This Spring, Quo by Orly has launched a limited edition collection of 4 unique topcoats ($10 each, exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart). While there's nothing surprising about mixed confetti, round, and square glitters suspended in clear polish, as seen from brands like Hard Candy and Indie Polish, I can't get enough. The combinations are endless and Quo by Orly definitely did it right with its Art Scene Collection. 

Abstract - pastel coloured confetti with white squares and small white circles 

Graffiti - black confetti with blue and orange circles with red and black smaller circles

Put simply, these are funky topcoats that are the perfect addition to any nail look. Lasting power is similar to that of any other glitter - annoyingly long and a pain to remove, but totally worth the artsy effect. 

Do you like these kinds of top coats? 
Press samples featured

Facebook || Twitter || Bloglovin || Instagram

Sunday, March 15, 2015

New York Fashion Week Nail Art // #NYCBeautyPro // Christian Louboutin x Cushine et Ochs

In an instant, New York Fashion Week has come and gone. I keep up with very few designers but my favourite things to browse for NYFW are the nail and beauty looks. One of my favourite nail looks this year was Christian Louboutin for Cushine et Ochs. It's a modern take on the classic runway nude polish with the addition of a jewel-toned green or blue square at the base of each nail. 

Of course, Christian Louboutin Nail Polishes will run you $50+, so I opted for a more wallet-friendly recreation. In this month's NYC Beauty Pro Challenge I used four products ($1.99 each) to create the Cushine et Ochs look. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Quo Cosmetics Spring 2015 Collection

The first day of Spring is nearly here and Quo's got a bunch of new releases for you to make your collection Spring-ready. The packaging for the Quo Cosmetics Spring 2015 Collection is stunning - pink with a black overlay for the 3 eye palettes ($18), 2 face palettes ($20) and 1 brow palette ($12). In addition to that, there's four Quo by Orly Art Scene Polishes ($10 - see swatches here) and the Quo Cosmetics Dynamic Duo Mascara ($14). 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

If you've got oily skin and huge pores, then you know that clay masks are great for detoxifying your skin of all the oil-ies and impurities. You may not know that the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask ($16USD/$21CAD, 1.7oz) is pretty popular here on the internet. I've had the mask for about a year and a half and I've finally sorted out my thoughts on this mask. 

The Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask contains activated charcoal and white china clay to draw out impurities. Per the handy dandy Sephora website, When environmental toxins, dirt, and debris get under your skin, its waste-filtering system gets jammed, pores get clogged, and skin looks cloudy. Nature's complexion clean-up crew gets to the bottom of skin's overcast condition and clears the way for it to act its best. tl-dr, it's one of those masks that make you look like a scaly monster when it dries up. 

Application: Relaxing but messy, as are most face masks if you don't use a brush. The packaging indicates that the first step in using this mask is to open your pores with a damp towel. While it isn't part of the mask itself, this is the most soothing part. From there, it gets a little dirty. The product is a thick, gooey and wet - all at the same time. It smooths over the skin without a hitch and is pretty easy to thin out over the face. However, when it gets on your hands it feels like mud. Brush recommended (you can use a flat, synthetic foundation brush).

Removal: Also messy. Not to mention, difficult. Once the mask has dried, it's no fun to remove. It's hard to get off with just water and it clings on to the skin. You've either got to scrub your face intensely with your hands or get your perfectly white face cloth dirty with the charcoal-coloured mask. To avoid this, I usually use the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask before a shower, then use a konjac sponge to wipe of the mask residue when I've hopped in. 

Results: The Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask is intense - it does what it says and it ain't gentle about it. It literally pulls oil right out of your skin, making the skin feel tight and dry. I feel like I need to put on a thick moisturizer right away after using this mask. I don't find it to minimize pores (which it doesn't claim) nor does it reduce the size of my zits (more like it dries them up). 

Overall, it's a decent mask that does the trick if you're feeling oily or clogged up, particularly if you can handle the messy application/removal. To my dry skinned peeps, this one isn't for you. Personally, I like to pull out the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask for my oily summer days but pass on it during the drier winter months. 

What's your favourite clay mask? 

Purchased by me. 

Facebook || Twitter || Bloglovin || Instagram

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks in Universal and 40 Red

New at the Body Shop are the Body Shop Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks ($15). These adorable little crayon products are multi-purpose for use as either a blush or lippie. There are 6 shades available - 10 nude, 20 pink, 30 bronze, 35 coral, 40 red, and universal. I got two to review, 40 Red and Universal. 

LEFT - Universal; RIGHT - 40 Red

Formulated with Community Fair Trade Marula Oil, the Body Shop Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks are meant to be matte and a decadent velvety smooth texture. Yes sir-ee, the Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks are smooth as velvet and also smell of a subtle floral. They feel like almost like a non-hard yet pigmented lip balm (think a drier EOS with a punch of colour). On both the cheeks and lips the product appears matte. 

40 Red is a poppy red colour, while Universal appears black in the tube but has a pH-matching feature that adapts to your skintone. On me, the Universal shade turns into a rich purple-y pink. Both colours are about 60% opacity. If you want full-coverage pigmentation, you'd have to pass over the lips a couple times. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What's On My Face #4 - not makeup, that's for sure. // #nomakeupmarch

I know what's not on my face - makeup (see why here). While this isn’t a makeup routine per se, I still put a couple things on my face post-Miracle 10 skin stuff.  My focus is (1) protecting my skin from Canada’s arctic chills (-16C, feels like -35 this week… *sighs*) and (2) eyelash growth. 

Here's what's on my face when there's no makeup on it. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mary Kay True Dimensions Sheer Lipsticks in Subtly You, Arctic Apricot, Sparkling Rose & Posh Pink

Last year, I reviewed ten of the Mary Kay True Dimensions Lipsticks ($19). Now, Mary Kay has released 4 shades of its new Mary Kay True Dimensions Sheer Lipstick ($19)

So what's different about the new sheer lipsticks? Well, they come in the same sleek, silver packaging that has a super cool clicking mechanism (see here). The slightly chemical/plastic scent is the same but unnoticeable after half an hour of wear. All four shades (Subtly You, Arctic Apricot, Sparkling Rose & Posh Pink) all have a subtle shimmer when swatched but it's totally unnoticeable on the lips. Compared to the regular formula, the lipsticks are not at all opaque and have the look of a tinted balm on the lips. The Mary Kay True Dimensions Sheer Lipsticks are impressively moisturizing. I applied Subtly You mid-morning and I could still feel the moisture on my lips by late afternoon. 

Heavily swatched - Arctic Apricot, Posh Pink, Sparkling Rose, Subtly You 

Subtly You (sheer brown)

Arctic Apricot (sheer red-orange)

Sparkling Rose (sheer pink-brown)

Posh Pink (sheer pink)

Overall, the Mary Kay True Dimensions Sheer Lipsticks are an excellent sheer lipstick. They're super hydrating and add a very natural tint of colour. Obviously, this is not the lipstick line for you if you like fully opaque mattes but for something a little more bold try the regular Mary Kay True Dimensions Lipsticks

Sheer or opaque, which do you prefer? 
Press samples featured. 

Facebook || Twitter || Bloglovin || Instagram