Better Late than Never: Ciate Mini Mani Month

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Behold, what I found on a recent power-shopping trip to Winners. A heavily discounted, but no less exciting, Ciate Mini Mani Month advent calendar. I scooped this up for a mere $15, and even though it’s too late for Christmas, I’m super excited about it.

So, am I going to open each door, day by day, until I’ve discovered all 24 surprises? Of course not. I tore into that sucker as soon as I got home and lined up all 24 bottles at once, admiring the range of colours and textures. You get 18 regular polishes and 6 of Ciate’s infamous textures: one glitter, one sequins and four caviar pearls.

Since I was too late to get in on the fun of using this as an advent calendar, I’m going to post pics of all 24 polishes and textures, as I try them, here on the blog.

First up is “Members Only,” a sheer peachy nude with gold micro-shimmer. It’s pretty, but very sheer and subtle. Personally, I prefer a bit more opacity, but this is great if you want a barely there look.

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Which one will I try next? Stay tuned. Do you have this set? Which polish is your favourite?

A Brush Set for Duo-Fiber Haters

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I’ve reached the conclusion that I am as addicted to buying makeup brushes as I am to makeup itself. I have more than I’ll ever need, and yet, if I see a new brand I’ve never tried, I’ve gotta have it! If I see a unique shape or style of brush, I’ve gotta have it! If realTechniques comes out with something new, I’ve most definitely gotta have it!

My realTechniques collection has steadily grown over the last couple of years. It was slow-going at first, because I had to order them from amazon.com, but now they’re widely available in several stores in my area. London Drugs seems to be committed to carrying the full line now, which makes me very happy. I’ve also seen them popping up in Walmart, Winners and Save-On-Foods.

My most recent addition is the Duo-Fiber Collection:

110115 035I held out on buying this set for some time, because…pause for effect…I hate duo-fiber brushes. Gasp! I’ve acquired several different ones over the years, usually in kits and gift sets, and I never use them. The white bristles are always too spiky and stabby, and often, the difference in length between the white and black bristles makes the brush too floppy. The result is a brush that covers too wide of an area and is difficult to control.

Not so with these. This collection has given me a new appreciation for duo-fiber. The white and black bristles are more evenly blended, and the length difference between them is less pronounced. I find I can actually use these for products that I want to apply sparingly, and I feel like I have complete control. Also, these brushes are soft, not stabby.

1) I use the largest one, the Duo-Fiber Face brush, for a light dusting of powder or bronzer.

2) The medium one, the Duo-Fiber Contour brush, I’ve been using to apply heavily pigmented blushes when I want to avoid clown cheeks.

3) The smallest one, the Duo-Fiber Eye brush, works well for lightly blending shadows in the crease, or for a applying highlighter. I like a small brush for highlighter.

I probably wouldn’t have bought this set if not for the fact that I got the Duo-Fiber Face brush in the limited edition Nic’s Picks set. On a whim, I tried the brush and thought, hey, I don’t hate this!

The realTechniques Duo-Fiber Collection is duo-fiber done right!

 

Review: Urban Decay On the Run Palette

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I’m pretty sure when the jailer man and sailor Sam were searching everyone, they were looking for this:

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The “On the Run” palette from Urban Decay. I was lucky enough to receive this as a birthday gift from my sister (thanks Nicole!), but I would gladly fork over my hard-earned dollars for it if I hadn’t. I’ve been using this over the past few days and really enjoying it. It’s perfect for those rushed, barely coherent mornings before work.

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Midwinter Blues

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I always find late January-early February to be a difficult time of year. Every year, without fail, I get a case of the “Midwinter Blues.” It’s still dark and cold with lots of winter left until we see signs of spring. The excitement of the holidays is over, my birthday has passed, and now it’s just…winter. Maybe it’s seasonal seasonal affective disorder. Whatever it is, I’m working on finding ways to lift my mood, and what better way to do that than with luxury beauty products?

This little gem was a Christmas present from my sister, but unlike the rest of my gifts, I didn’t use it right away. I kept it in reserve, knowing that I was going to need something to cheer me up after the holidays.

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La Laque Couture in “Bleu Majorelle” by Yves Saint Laurent. This polish is pure heaven, an anti-depressant in luxury packaging. The shade is a rich cobalt, and the formula is smooth and glossy. I’d always heard good things about the YSL polishes, but this really is impressive. The brush is the perfect size and shape for ease of application, and the polish applies true-to-bottle in two coats without streaking.

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With nails this fabulous, who needs Prozac?

My All-Time Favourite Blushes: TheBalm InStain

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Most of the makeup looks I wear on a regular basis focus on the eyes, so I need a blush that can finish off the look and add life to the skin without taking center stage. I like a formula that illuminates the skin without any detectable shimmer and gives you that healthy, blushing-from-within look. I also want something that has lots of pigmentation but is still easy to control. No clown cheeks!

By far the best blush formulation I’ve encountered so far is TheBalm’s Instain blushes. I have two shades: my sister gifted me “Toile” (left) for my birthday last year, and I just picked up “Houndstooth” (right) last night.

110115 050110115 051First of all, the packaging is adorable! I love the play on InStyle Magazine. Second of all, the shade range in this line is fantastic. I doubt I will stop at just these two.

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