December 15, 2011

Because they're worth it

It's 6am and I still haven't gone to sleep. I figure I have to be awake in half an hour anyway so why bother sleeping?


I love beautiful packaging. Guilty. The prettier the compact, tube, bullet or bottle, the more I'm willing to pay. However, sometimes the product itself just doesn't live up to its beautiful packaging. It's basically the equivalent of meeting a really attractive person with zero personality. Incredibly disappointing.

These are the products I own that have beautiful packaging and are worth (almost) every penny:

1) Guerlain lipsticks
Out of all the high end brands I've tried, Guerlain easily has some of the most moisturizing formulas. Incredible packaging, beautiful shade selection and formulas that are to die for. Out of the three formulas I've tried, I would have to say I like the Rouge Automatique the best. You do have to careful if you don't like frosts though; many of their lipsticks have a frosty finish. 

2) NARS lipsticks
NARS lipsticks have always been among my favourites. They don't dry your lips (not even the matte finishes), have so many shades to pick from and of course I love the packaging. Many don't like the black rubbery compacts/bullets, but I'm actually pretty fond of it. My newest obsession is NARS Red Lizard - perfect red!

3) CHANEL glosses
I went through a short obsession with Chanel cosmetics. The habit became a bit expensive though, so I kicked it to the curb. However, their glossimers and Rouge Allure glosses are still my favourite high end lip glosses. They aren't sticky, never goop up into that nasty white line you get when you talk too much and have the most perfect glittery shine (at least the glossimers do). If you're looking for a gloss that's pigmented enough to be worn alone, try the Rouge Allures. The glossimers are also fun on their own but I prefer wearing them with a lipstick because they're really quite sheer. 

4) YSL lipsticks
I will admit I originally bought these lipsticks based solely on the beauty of the packaging. Wasn't a huge fan of the formula or the smell but forced myself to use it because it cost me $38 ($43 with tax) and wasn't about to waste that money. I de-scented the lipstick, used a tissue to blot and applied loose translucent finishing powder on top to get rid of the silky feeling. Talk about making it work. I feel like the formula has changed since I bought my first one though because I'm in love with the lipsticks now! They don't dry out my lips, don't have a scent nearly as strong as the first one and definitely don't feel as slippery on the lips. #2 and #10 are my absolute must-haves.

5) Guerlain blushes
Guerlain and YSL definitely have the most beautiful packaging. Their 4 Eclats Sculpting blushes are seriously drool-worthy. They smell amazing, are unbelievably smooth and blend easily. The only downside is the shade selection. I find Guerlain face products a bit tricky. Many don't work for me because I have a lot of yellow in my skin. I have Rosee Du Printemps and Lueur D'Automne. 

6) Bond No. 9 Chinatown
I only recently bought this fragrance so I don't want to give a full review just yet but this is serious stuff. It lasts 10-12 hours on my skin and is way more complex than what I'm used to. This is probably the only fragrance I have that I can actually smell a distinct difference in the opening, middle and dry down. Love it. At $185 for 50 ml, I had better love it. 

Those are just some of the products in my collection that I think are worth the seemingly obscene prices. Don't get me wrong - a lot of what I use is from the drugstore. Sometimes it's fun to splurge though. 

Do you think I've left anything off this list?
What do like splurging on?


November 22, 2011

Foundation Review: L'Oreal Visible Lift

I was trying to record a haul video but it wasn't going so well so I just decided to snap a few photos for the blog instead. I bought L'Oreal's Visible Lift foundation for normal to dry skin about two months ago and have been trying it out so I thought it was time to do a quick little review. 

I believe this foundation is meant for someone more mature. The words on the front of the bottle are a dead giveaway: serum inside, line minimizing, visible lift. Of course I'm not trying to minimize any lines but I purchased it because it's supposed to be suitable for dry skin. 

The coverage is a bit too heavy for my liking; it's a medium to full coverage foundation. You can definitely sheer it out if you apply an oil to your face beforehand (I use Josie Maran's argan oil). I've tried a regular flat foundation brush, a duo fibre stippling brush and a flat top powder brush, but I find it looks best when applied using my fingers. 

What I do really like about this foundation is the finish. Many foundations meant for dry skin are really dewy and don't seem to ever dry. I used to love a dewy finish but I've come to realize a matte finish (or at least a satin finish) look a lot better on blemished skin. A dewy finish can really show uneven skin.

Here are some more pros and cons I've found:

- good coverage
- photographs well
- lasts over 8 hours

- doesn't sink into skin
- oxidizes after 3 hours
- there is no pump
- shade selection isn't great (I bought 107 Natural Beige but probably should have gone down a shade since it oxidizes)

Cost/Size: $20 for 36 ml

This foundation isn't really a staple in my collection. I use it probably once every week and a half. It isn't terrible but I definitely have others that I would pick over this one. If it didn't oxidize, I would say give it a try but the fact that it does oxidize after 3 hours is a bit of a deal breaker. Unfortunately, I think this is one product you can probably afford to pass on. 

Hope you girls found this useful!

x Elise

August 01, 2011

Peach + Coral Favourites

About a year ago, I went through a phase of wearing only peach and coral toned products. As a result, I have quite a healthy collection of coral and peachy blushes, lipsticks and glosses. These are some of my absolute favourites!

Laura Mercier Lush Nectarine
Hard Candy Honeymoon
Guerlain 02 Brunettes 
Tarte Tipsy
NARS Gilda

Revlon Just Enough Buff
Rimmel Nude Delight
MAC Freckletone (a very melted version)
YSL Peach Passion #13

Dior Lip Polish 001
CHANEL Glossimer #148

Revlon Coral Me Wild

I hope you had a great weekend!

x Elise

July 13, 2011


I have always loved rings. I mix and (don't) match my jewelry and strongly believe in over accessorizing. Most people would think it's tacky or gaudy but I love it!

I hope you're all doing well!

x Elise

April 24, 2011

Lipstick Storage

I had a few requests to see my lipstick storage, so here it is. I need to go get another tray because that one has absolutely no more room. Good thing I'm a bit of a freak and carry around too many lipsticks in my purse. I think I've got a pretty healthy mix of drugstore, MAC and high end going on. Fun, fun, fun! 


March 19, 2011

My life this week...

Poutine and calamari with mixed greens. 
Obsessed with pink. 
Reading for fun. 
MAC Lustering lipstick. 

February 20, 2011

My Top 5 Moisturizing Lip Glosses

Being sick is no fun. When I get sick, my lips always feel extremely dry. I was applying my Kiehl's lip balm every hour but was getting bored of it. I looked in the mirror and saw that my face, which has been pretty much drained of any sort of colour, could use a bit of a pick me up. 

Since it's winter and the air can get quite dry, I decided to share with you some of my most moisturizing lip glosses. 

Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss ($32 USD, $37 CAD) Love the applicator, love the lip gloss, love the luxurious packaging! 

Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing gloss ($14 USD, $17.40 CAD). If you read my last few posts, you know that I tend to ignore my Clinique products. Unfortunately, that's true about this lip gloss too. However, unlike my other Clinique products that inexplicably get ignored, I actually have a reason for not using this gloss as much as I should - it isn't pigmented enough. I usually like really pigmented lip glosses so I probably shouldn't have picked the most natural looking one (01 Apricot). This lip gloss is actually really moisturizing, not sticky at all, and gives your lips a high shine glossy pout. 

Dior Addict Lip Polish ($30 USD, $37 CAD). LOVE. 

shu uemura vinyl unlimited lip gloss ($20 USD, $25 CAD) This is probably the tackiest lip gloss of the bunch but it gives your lips the most brilliant and vibrant colour. I'm not sure if it's really 'moisturizing' but it doesn't dry out my lips like a lot of other lip glosses so I decided to include it anyway. The colour I bought (OR 556) is an amazing peachy coral gloss. 

Josie Maran Natural Volume lip gloss ($20 USD) If you're looking for a plumping lip gloss, you should definitely give this one a try. It makes your lips look full without the tingling/numb feeling. These lip glosses are flavoured with dulce de leche which I suppose is a good thing if you...lick your lips? At the risk of sounding like a drama queen, the thought of licking my gloss covered lips (or any sort of cosmetic product) has always sort of made my stomach churn so that isn't a major bonus for me. I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but the smell, which is quite strong, reminds me of the Flintstone vitamins I used to eat. I noticed this lip gloss has gotten quite a few negative reviews. Most people have complained about the smell, brush applicator and lasting power. I bought this lip gloss last summer and my applicator hasn't frayed (but I'm always careful when I put any brush applicator back into the tube). Perhaps the lasting power varies by each shade, but I bought 'Soledad' and it's definitely long lasting. 

The best part about these glosses is the fact that they (for the most part) pass the icky-white-line-that-forms-on-your-lips test! Also, with the exception of the Clinique lip gloss, these are all very pigmented lip glosses. Of course if you're not a fan of pigmented glosses, you can always opt for a more natural shade. 

What are some of your favourite moisturizing lip glosses?


February 14, 2011

Life's a peach so swipe on some blush and enjoy it!

Happy Valentine's Day girls! I'm having so much fun posting these blush-overview-type posts. It really forces me to dig deep and find the blushes that I haven't used in a while. 

If I'm ever in a pinch (which reminds me I want MAC's Pinch O' Peach) and only have a few minutes to get ready, I usually like to apply a peachy shade of blush. I find they're the most natural looking on my extremely warm (okay fine, extremely yellow) skin. That isn't the only time I use these blushes, but I find they're always a safe choice. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few, but I think I managed to get the bulk of my peach/coral blushes into the photo. 

10. MAC mineralize blush in Utterly Game (LE)

Because I find the above photos a bit of a jumbled mess, I decided to show you which are my most and least used peachy/coral blushes. 

Least Used:
7. elf Candid Coral
4. elf Peachy Keen
5. NARS Torrid
6. Benefit Sugarbomb

Most Used:
1. Shu Uemura P Peach 47
8. Anna Sui 300
10. MAC Utterly Game
3. Lorac Peach*
11. Laura Mercier Lush Nectarine 
*this one requires the most blending though so I don't use it if I'm in a hurry

I feel it's worth mentioning that even if your skin tone is on the cooler side, don't be afraid of the peaches. My skin is as yellow as they come and I still love to wear bright bubblegum and cool-toned pink blushes.

If you have a similar skin tone to me or are just a bit darker, I highly recommend the Anna Sui blush in the shade 300. Love, love, love it. It's sheer but pigmented enough. This blush is such a joy to apply. I usually like to buff and blend my blush until my arm is tired, but this blush just gives the most beautiful flush without all of the buffing and blending. The colour is very buildable so no need to worry about the fact that it's slightly sheer. It also has a light rose scent. It isn't a strong scent so I can't see it being a problem for those of you who prefer unscented products. I have only been using this blush for a few weeks so my opinion could change (and if it does, I'll be sure to update you) but for now I'm incredibly pleased and impressed with this blush. 

Are you a fan of peach/coral blushes? Any favourites? 

Peace, love & lots of chocolate covered kisses
Elise x

February 09, 2011

Bronzers: Kissed by the Sun

1. Stila Sun spf 15 Bronzing Powder in Shade 01
2. Hard Candy So Baked Bronzer in Hula Hula
4. NARS Laguna (poor thing always gets dropped)

Ignore the '5' in the middle of Hard Candy Hula Hula. 
I would fix it but I'm using paint and it's a jpeg so let's just pretend that isn't there :)

My bronzers really look like they've been through a lot but that's actually a lie. I rarely use bronzer so these poor little gems probably feel a bit neglected. My favourites are NARS Laguna and Cargo's medium matte bronzer. Now that I look at the swatches, the Clinique and Hard Candy bronzer actually look really pretty. I must have something against Clinique cosmetics. I never seem to want to use them. Hopefully that changes soon because I don't like wasting money. 

I rarely use the MAC bronzing powder. For some reason it's just really difficult to work with. I can swirl my brush in there a few times and still end up with no product on the brush. I remember trying the tester at the MAC counter and it had the same problem. At the time, I thought it was because there was too much oil in the tester from customers' fingers poking around in it. However, I now know it wasn't just the tester. I even scraped off the top layer with a mascara spoolie brush but that didn't seem to help. If you a have medium to dark skin tone, I would definitely suggest going a shade (or two) up. 

The reason I love the Cargo and NARS bronzer so much is because they never look orange on me.  I'm really pale and many bronzers have a tendency to look orange and harsh on my skin. The MAC bronzer in Golden is also good about never turning orange on me, but as I said, it isn't the easiest product to work with. Faux Tan by bareMinerals is beautiful but a little dark for me. It's very pigmented so it's actually a great price for a believable and natural looking faux tan. 

Do you have a favourite bronzer?


February 06, 2011

Comparison: NARS Madly & Douceur

In all photos: NARS Madly is on the left, NARS Douceur is on the right

Sorry about the post overload from me, but I've been impatiently waiting for the Superbowl to begin so I've been in a blogging mood.

I was at a NARS counter the other day and they were still selling Douceur (a limited edition blush from the Fall 2010 collection). I know there are still people wondering about the difference between Madly and Douceur so I thought I would attempt to take a few photos that would clearly illustrate the fact that Douceur isn't just a matte version of Madly. 

They are both neutral blushes, but they actually aren't that similar. On me, Madly is more of a tawny-beige with a subtle shimmer. It is very highly pigmented and blends easily. If you swirl your finger in a MAC sheertone blush, that is what Madly feels like. Douceur is a dusty neutral rose shade. It isn't nearly as pigmented as Madly (although I do find that in the beginning the colour payoff was minimal but now that I've had it for a while, my brush can pick up a lot more product). If you are familiar with what a MAC sheertone shimmer blush feels, that's more or less the texture of Douceur.

Are they both must haves? I think you can probably get away with just one or the other. I would probably suggest NARS Madly. I feel it has the ability to work for a greater number of people since Douceur isn't as pigmented. When I first got Douceur, I thought it was a great shade. Now that I've had them both for quite some time, I feel Madly is the slightly more flattering and unique shade. 

I hope that was helpful!

Elise x

February 05, 2011

My Least Used Blushes

I hope everyone is having a good weekend so far. I have got an intense week ahead of me and I already know it's going to be filled with sleepless nights and a whole lot of "where-did-the-time-go?" moments. When I don't sleep, I tend to go a little crazy and turn into a bit of a moody mcgee. I try not to stress too much because I've done that in the past and nothing will ever get done if I'm on the floor sobbing. 

While procrastinating (I'm more of an eleventh hour kind of gal anyway), I was trying to think of all the things that make me happy. If I'm stressed I always make sure I take several breaks to do the things that make me happy. Even if I'm swamped, I make time. Blush rarely fails me so I think this upcoming week will be "Blush Week" here at Blush is the New Black. 

As I said, blush rarely fails me, but there are a few in my collection that I either dislike or just never seem to reach for. If any of these are one of your favourites, colour me jealous. 
  • Guerlain Blush 4 Eclats Lueur d'autommne 03 - Gorgeous packaging but I just can't make this blush work. The shade is way too dark for me and isn't flattering at all. It doesn't matter how lightly I apply it or what kind of brush I use. The result and my reaction is always the same: "oh wow, that's definitely not attractive." I'm going to wait until the summer to give it one last try but if it still doesn't work, then I'll have to say goodbye to it. 
  • Clinique Precious Posey - Honestly, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this shade. It's actually a pretty pink. The price is very affordable and the packaging isn't too shabby. Why don't I use it? I don't know. I just never reach for it. I'm always trying to convince myself to use it, but right before applying it I'll change my mind. Something about it just prevents me from liking or using it. It's a mystery. I actually considered using it the other day after reading that it will be included in the Milly for Clinique Pretty in Prints compact (but I didn't).
  • Benefit Sugarbomb - When I swatch Sugarbomb on my hand, it's beautiful. It looks a blush that has the ability to make my cheeks glow. I've tried this blush on numerous occasions but have never actually left the house wearing it. In fact, just a few days ago I applied it but had to wash my face and redo my makeup. I was horrified at what I looked like. More on this later. I'll do an entire post on this haha.
  • ELF Blushes - My poor ELF blushes must feel so neglected. I actually think they are extremely good quality and very comparable to many high end brands. Somehow they always end up at the back of my blush drawer though. 
  • Benefit Posie Tint - I'm starting to get the feeling that I'm just not the hugest fan of Benefit cheek products. I'm pretty sure Posie Tint is supposed to be a no-fuss blush but when I try using it, it turns into a whole ordeal. I dot it on and try to blend it out but before I can get to the blending part, the dots have set into my skin and I end up looking like a dark haired Pippi Longstocking (sans gravity-defying pigtails). As it turns out, pink freckles aren't the best look on me. 
  • MAC Prism - I can really only use Prism in the summer because it's a little too dark for me. It's also matte and in general I prefer a bit of shimmer in my blushes. 
I am shocked that there aren't more blushes on this list. While going through my collection, I realized that I actually do a decent job of rotating my blush. Of course I always favour certain ones over others, but for the most part, there aren't too many that I don't use. Sorry, I know this post wasn't exactly helpful but hopefully you enjoyed it nonetheless :). 

Are there any blushes that seem to always get pushed to the back of your drawer? 
What's your least favourite blush?


January 04, 2011

Collective Haul: Cargo, Tarina Tarantino, Benefit, etc.

bareMinerals Get Started Complexion Enhancers set includes:
- 0.02oz Well-Rested for eyes
- 0.02oz Feather Light Mineral Veil
- 0.02oz Pure Radiance All-Over Face Color
- 0.02oz Faux Tan All-Over Face Color
- Feather Light Brush
- Angled Face Brush
- Light Stroke Brush
- Instructional Brochure
- How-To DVD

I wanted to try Well Rested, but Sephora was/is always sold out. The girl helping me was kind enough to suggest the Complexion Enhancers instead. I'm so glad I got this set because I didn't end up liking Well Rested as much as I thought I would but have really been enjoying the Feather Light Mineral Veil and Pure Radiance All-Over Face Color. I use Pure Radiance as a highlight. Faux Tan is a little too dark for me right now but I'm sure it'll be perfect once I have a tan. I have heard many girls complain about the poor quality of Bare Escentuals brushes and say that they're too scratchy to use. I'm not sure if they've changed the brushes, but the three brushes included in the set are really soft and are the perfect size to throw in my little makeup bag. 
Oh by the way, the fact that I didn't like Well Rested wasn't because it didn't work. In fact, it worked too well. It's so brightening that my eyes looked smaller. Isn't that crazy? 

Cargo Blush in Tonga (8.9g) - Tonga is a beautiful muted/neutral matte pink. It's perfect for everyday use. My photo and swatches definitely do not do it justice. At first, I thought maybe it would be similar to NARS Douceur or Madly, but it's definitely more pink than both of the NARS blushes. Similar to NARS blushes, Tonga is incredibly pigmented so the best way  to apply it is by layering it little by little (I prefer using a large fluffy blush brush or a duo fiber brush rather than a smaller brush). As with many matte blushes, be gentle when swirling or tapping your brush in the pan, because it can turn into a powdery mess if you're too rough.
Much to my dismay, Sephora stopped selling Cargo products a while ago and I've noticed The Bay (a Canadian department store) offers a smaller and smaller selection of Cargo products every time I visit the counter. I'm happy to report that starting January 17th, consumers will be able to order from the Cargo website! If you sign up to be a "Cargo Insider," you'll receive 20% off your first order. I wasn't able to find anything about shipping costs on their website so I think I'm going to email their customer service and find out if it's affordable or not (I hate paying ridiculous shipping costs!)

Tarina Tarantino Dollskin Cheek Blush in Feather (0.2oz / 6g) - this blush is the  darker, less coral relative of NARS Deep Throat blush. It's a peachy pink shade with shimmer. When I first bought it, I thought the packaging was a little bit tacky but it has really grown on me! 

Benefit Sugarbomb (0.42oz / 12.0g) - I LOVE the smell of this blush! It gives a nice glow but is fairly sheer, so if you have a medium/dark skin tone, this will probably be more of a highligher than a blush. When I use it, I try to avoid the peach (I have enough "peachy pink" blushes). It still ends up looking a little orange on my skin, so perhaps it will work better in the summer. 

Kiehl's Lip Balm #1 & Scented Lip Balm #1 in Mango, Coconut, Cranberry, Vanilla - I went a little Kiehl's crazy. Originally, I purchased the Original for myself and bought the scented ones for family and friends, but I forgot to include them in people's gifts, so I'm going to keep a few for myself and save some for a future giveaway. 

Almay Bright Eyes Eye Base + Concealer - I'm not going to lie; I fully bought this concealer because of the name. Any concealer with the word 'bright' in the name will always catch my attention. I've read very good reviews on this concealer but I was a little disappointed when I tried it myself. The texture is very nice because it's lightweight, doesn't crease and blends easily. 

If you have very dark circles under your eyes, this probably won't provide enough coverage. When I use this concealer, I pair it with another concealer that has better coverage. Almay claims that the concealer "visually depuffs the eye area" but that definitely wasn't the case for me (in all fairness though, my puffy eyes are genetic and nothing helps). The packaging isn't the greatest. It's really difficult to squeeze the right amount for just one application. There are three shades: light, light/medium and medium. 

Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse - I was so excited when I saw this in Shoppers because for the longest time, this product wasn't available in Canada. I picked up the shade 200 Creamy Natural. So far, I've really enjoyed using this foundation. Amazingly smooth texture and it has really great coverage. If you have dry or dry/dehydrated skin, I highly suggest trying the Dream Smooth Mousse if you haven't already. 

L'occitane Shea Essentials includes:
     - 0.1oz / 30ml Shea Hand Cream 
     - o.1oz / 30ml Shea Foot Cream
     - 3.5oz / 100g Shea Butter Milk Soap 
My cousins gave me this Shea Essentials set as part of my Christmas present. It smells incredible. When I shop, I rarely think of purchasing body/bath products, but I love receiving them as gifts for that exact reason.

Quo Individual Lashes - I'm not really one to wear a full set of lashes on a regular basis, so I thought I would try individual lashes. They're relatively easy to apply and they're so lightweight that I can't even feel them when they're on. They're also easy to remove. I remove my eye makeup with baby oil and the individual lashes just come right off with my mascara. They are very natural looking so I could probably get away with using them on an everyday basis, but for some reason I can't bring myself to add an extra step. I take joy in applying blush, but fussing with my lashes is probably my least favourite step. 

All of these products were purchased back in December. I'm going to try to avoid buying makeup this month. I hadn't even realized that I added 3 more blushes to my already too huge blush collection. I'm going to try to make January my skincare month. I ordered the Clarisonic Mia and a few Sibu products to try from the Shopping Channel last night. I just ran out of my Philosophy Hope in a Jar moisturizer so I guess I'll be needing a new moisturizer too. 

Can anyone suggest a good moisturizer for dry/dehydrated skin?
Is there a moisturizer you cannot live without?