L’Oréal Paris Lash Paradise Mascara

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As much as mascara is the first makeup item I had bought for myself over a decade ago, it’s an item that causes my loyalty to come into play. My lashes are curly so I get pretty picky about formulas. 

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When I had first seen a picture of Lash Paradise, I had the same thought as everyone else, “Wow that looks like Too Faced Better Than Sex!”. The thing is, when I had tried that mascara for the first time back in 2014 I wasn’t impressed. At all. I was disappointed. It didn’t exactly make my lashes super dark, nor did it make them long, and I found that it got flaky and messed up my makeup. Not the usual slight smudging under the eyes, I’m talking little black specks on my cheeks. 

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The brush does remind me of Better Than Sex of course, but it also reminds me slightly of The Shock mascara by Yves Saint Laurent, with the difference being that the latter has a rose scent. (Lash Paradise brush on the left and The Shock brush on the right)

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In a weird way this is one of those mascaras that I enjoy more a few weeks into its shelf life. Let me elaborate, at first the formula didn’t blow me away — maybe a month ago. Now? I really like it. I like how it’s not too wet and I can build up the coats; this is another difference when compared to The Shock, The Shock is a wetter formula. It doesn’t flake off nor does it smudge, but be careful with the inner lashes since it’s such a big brush. 

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I can’t speak to whether or not it gives lashes a curl, since my lashes are already curly. It does give them volume but not much length. This is one that I definitely feel you can layer up when you want your lashes to show in pictures without falsies. This shot is without Lash Paradise mascara.

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1 coat of Lash Paradise mascara

 

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2 coats of Lash Paradise mascara

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Bottom line? I do think this is a good mascara. Is it a dupe for Too Faced Better Than Sex? I can’t speak to that entirely since I haven’t used that in ages after my first disappointment. Is it a dupe for YSL The Shock mascara? No, because that one is definitely a wetter formula and there’s a very slight difference with the bristles. Is it a good mascara that I think everyone should try? Absolutely! 

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Urban Decay Naked Heat: First Impressions

 

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For whatever reason, brands have been somewhat obsessed with giving us palettes that are pretty much centered around red shades. From ABH Modern Renaissance, to Smashbox Cover Shot in Ablaze, and now Naked Heat, that’s the only reasonable explanation. If you have blue eyes the more orange tones in this will be flattering, while green eyes will have fun with the shades that are red and plum tones. This is actually my first Urban Decay Naked palette because when the first 3 Naked palettes launched I was still wearing mainly drugstore makeup.

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I think the collection overall didn’t necessarily need 3 lipsticks since Urban Decay launched their extensive line of Vice lipsticks just a year ago. It would have been more useful to have warm toned blushes — my perfect options would be matte red and orange shades, and maybe something that’s a light gold/amber shade; all warm fiery tones and every skin tone could find a blush that works for them.

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The palette itself could also have done with a matte pure orange or a matte pure red shade — an ideal crease colour to help all the other shades transition. Something comparable to Rule or Red Brick by MAC, or Morocco by Makeup Geek, and the red could have been something comparable to Make Up For Ever Morello Cherry. Luckily I own the latter and I think it’ll work well with these shades. If you have the Modern Renaissance palette then you’re covered regarding the orange and deep red/berry shades. That said though, there are still decent crease options with the matte brown shades. I’ve used this palette for the past 3 days — i.e. all weekend, and so far, it’s pretty good. Stay tuned for a full post including looks, swatches, and a more in-depth review.

NEW From L’Oréal Paris! Pure Clay Cleansers and Masks

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I can’t stress enough how much good skincare matters more than good makeup in my opinion. You can wear all the makeup in the world and have an entire bag solely containing high end products, but it really makes no difference if you’re not taking care of your skin.

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I hadn’t flocked to the Pure Clay masks when they had initially launched as I already have my trusty GlamGlow set. To be honest though, I became curious when I saw that L’Oréal would be coming out with Pure Clay Cleansers since of course we cleanse daily. I received the package recently and what really reeled me in was the concept of the cleansers going from clay to…mousse? Yup, you read correctly. These are clay to mousse cleansers. They squeeze out as a clay — the consistency is comparable to any clay mask you’ve tried, and once a little water is added they feel like a mousse between your fingers and on the face. The first few times I used the cleansers I squeezed out a little too much, i.e. the amount you’d use to mask your entire face, but you only need half of that because when the water is added a little goes a long way. 

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In terms of results, I didn’t experience many noticeable differences, however I wasn’t exactly hoping for that as I’m still enjoing my Sunday Riley UFO. The brightening cleanser did have me looking a little more awake but to be honest with you, because I do so much skincare at night my skin generally looks acceptable in the morning  (wow, so humble).

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The exfoliating one had my skin feeling a little smoother and in terms of convenience I liked this one for not having to use 2 products — a cleanser, and an exfoliatior. The beads in this are super fine, you can feel a little grit but to me it’s nothing too abrasive. If you’ve tried the exfoliator from Lancer or Murad it’s comparable to those. While I don’t get particularly oily I still gave the mattifying one a try and it wasn’t bad but I definitely had to go in with my daytime moisturiser, L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius, because after a few minutes with no moisturiser my skin felt tight. 

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As for the Pure Clay masks, the calming one (blue) was sent and so was the cleansing (black) mask. I tried the black one first as my skin didn’t need much calming and I will say that even though it contains kaolin clay (think Origins Clear Improvement) my skin didn’t feel dried out after using this mask. This would be ideal for twice or thrice weekly use for a deep cleanse to recover from all the makeup wearing. 

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For quick skin prep before makeup I used the exfoliating cleanser, the (black) mask and Hydra Genius to get everything in order. I like making sure the dead skin has been removed for smoother makeup application

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Honorable mention to the scents in both the black mask and the black cleanser. This duo I’m assuming is meant to be paired together. I don’t know specifically what it is but there’s something that’s so fresh and nice about it. All in all, I do like these and it’s not just because I’m in love with the scents. The products aren’t bad and I think these would be good for someone new to skincare or someone who has skin that isn’t very problematic and would like to try something new. I mean, clay to mousse? That’s pretty cool. Both Pure Clay Cleansers and Pure Clay Masks are available in stores as of mid-July.

L’Oréal Paris Skin Expert Micellar Water

 

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Micellar water, it’s everywhere. I’m a fan and Im going to tell you why. It’s a lazy girl’s dream! No, seriously. I’ve written about something similar previously but that was about 2 years ago. Let me explain to you how micellar water works so you can finally hop on the bandwagon (or gently climb onto the wagon if you so desire). Micelles work in such a way that they remove dirt and oil without removing moisture from the skin. This is because one end of the micelle has a water loving end (hydrophilic) and the other end is the oppposite (hydrophobic). 

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I love the various uses for micellar water since it works for both makeup and skincare. If your skincare routine often has a few steps and you’re rushing one morning, put some micellar water on a cotton pad and swipe it over the face. No rinsing needed and you’ve essentially just cleaned your face. Still use a moisturiser though, because everyone should moisturise. This would work especially well for dry skin since many cleansers can be a little drying, but I wouldn’t necessarily use it as a morning cleansing cheat if you’re oily. 

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If you’ve made a mistake with eyeliner or eyeshadow, use a little micellar water on a cotton swab to clean up the mistake since this is formualted to remove makeup as well.  In terms of removing face makeup, micellar water works well for that too, depending on how much you’re wearing. A few times I had to go over my face twice with micellar water for makeup removal before cleansing. If you’re wondering how long it lasts this bottle took me a little over 2 months to finish completely.

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Lastly, and I know this may seem somewhat random, but, if you’ve had some sort of eye surgery and are not allowed to have water touch your eyes right now, this is probably the solution to your problem. 

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Micellar water + cotton pads = your new makeup removal or skin preparation. Honestly, it’s one of those miracle products that’s truly worth the hype since it’s a real multitasker. Then again, aren’t we all? Let me know in the comments what your favourite multitasking product is!

MAC Eyeshadow x 9 Palettes

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I don’t usually make blanket statements but I doubt you’re being entirely truthful if you claim you use every single colour in a palette equally. Generally I’m all for equality, trust me. Eye palettes though? What am I going to do with that light pink shade that doesn’t flatter my skin tone?

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Eyes Times Nine palettes have wearable shades. Additionally, they’re compact and coordinated making them so easy to use! Let’s also appreciate how realistic the eyeshadow sizes are, small enough to not have you thinking you’ll never finish it, yet big enough for your 217 or 221 to fit. There will always be that one shade that you don’t use as much as the others, but I feel its less likely to happen with the Eyes Times Nine Palettes. 

 

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Red Hot Times Nine (the one in the middle) is currently one of my go to palettes for the summer time as I’m very much into brights when the mood is right and Semi Sweet Times Nine is the perfect compliment to your warm neutrals or pretty much any shimmer shades you already have in your collection. The quality of these shadows still works for me as I haven’t found a difference in terms of pigmentation or longevity between these and my regular MAC shadows. 

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Some of these palettes, for example Burgundy Times Nine (far right), do contain shadows that are permanent and can be purchased on their own. Think Haux, Quarry, Antiqued, Sketch, and Embark. Since this palette contains coordinated plum tones it will look especially flattering on green eyes. Semi Sweet Times Nine contains Carbon, which of course you can always purchase on its own, but you may not need that much black eyeshadow very often.  In that palette Outre reminds of a now discontinued Pro Longwear Eyeshadow — Uninterrupted, while Everyone’s Darling is perfect to adding dimension to the crease or the outer corners. 

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All in all, it could be that I’m a sucker for anything that’s travel friendly. Even so though, I think these are nice for a quick ‘treat yourself’ palette, or for someone new to makeup or just new to eyeshadow specifically. The shadow sizes and shades aren’t intimidating and the guess work has been done for you. Have you tried any of these Times Nine palettes? Let me know in the comments!

 

Sunday Riley U.F.O.: Review and Results

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Get abducted. Clear skin is out there. I know, not the usual way I begin a blog post but I promise it will all make sense if you check out the Sunday Riley brand. You’ve probably heard of it, I mean, it’s sold at Sephora and this particular oil can never stay in stock. Having said all that Ultra Clarifying Face Oil by Sunday Riley is in fact the product that has changed my skin in the past few months. 

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As a blogger I often wonder if persons realise that we too have our reservations about trying new brands and new products. Needless to say, when I first saw the brand Sunday Riley on the Sephora website, I thought, “Oh look. Another new brand that thinks we’re gonna just fall for them”…until I tried the products. Not only do I like the names of Sunday Riley products, I like knowing the science behind it and I like that Sunday is so involved in the process — there’s a YouTube interview done with her by the Pixiwoo sisters.

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I kept my routine the same to see if UFO was really to thank for the difference. I use Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic, Clarins Mission Perfection Serum, and then I go in with my UFO oil and press that on. Every now and then I’ll use it in the day as well if I choose to skip sunscreen for whatever reason. Sometimes I’ll mix in 2 drops of the Luna Sleeping Night Oil with UFO to combine the power of both and in the morning my skin is perfectly bright. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t always drawn to face oils since my skin is no longer very dry I just figured I wouldn’t necessarily need them. UFO however does not feel heavy on the skin, and if you have oily skin this formulation will actually be beneficial because of the 1.5% salycylic acid.

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UFO contains Black Cumin Seed Oil which I’ve tried before by the brand Odacité, as well as tea tree oil which is an antibacterial, and salicylic acid which we all know is pretty much commander in chief for acne products. Initially I was a little skeptical because I was concerned it’d dry out my skin, but there are ingredients to ensure this doesn’t happen. When it comes to skincare, I know what works for my concerns: glycolic acid, lactic acid, salycylic acid (small amounts), hyaluronic acid and black cumin seed oil; they handle my blemishes and breakouts without leaving me dry.

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I began using UFO at the beginning of May, so the progress pictures below are monitoring May 17 to June 15

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May 17

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May 17

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June 15

 

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June 15

 

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P.S. I’ve sampled the Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser and Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment by the brand and I have a favourite way to use them. I watched a YouTube video in which a ‘flash facial’ was done. Take equal parts of each product, apply it to cleansed skin, and leave it on while I shower or about 15 mins. Rinse off and then I follow up with my usual skincare or C.E.O. moisturiser with 1 drop of Luna Oil. The result? Skin that looks brighter and dewy without a drop of makeup on. Looking beyond the fact that you get so much product, the ingredients in UFO are pretty straight forward (in my opinion) and the results are there. All in all, I would definitely say that UFO is worth taking a chance on. If you can catch it when it lands at Sephora once more that is.

 

NARSissist Loaded Palette: Review and Swatches

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It’s no secret that I’m a NARSissist. NARS Cosmetics was one of the first high end brands I became interested in when my taste in makeup began to grow/change. Yes, it took a little while to be able to enjoy their products in the way that I wanted to but I’ve found this makes me appreciate my purchases that much more now. Okay. Enough of my back story (I like getting sentimental, you know?).

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The first time I came across this palette, I used it on a friend of mine twice and I was impressed with how easily the shades blended. Loaded is not what I recommend for bright summer shades. If you’re into shimmery neutrals, then by all means this is for you. The palette could do with more matte transitional options and some shades do perform better than others; I’ve been having to turn to my blush (Liberte) for a warm blending colour because the light peach shade doesn’t show up on my eyes. Additionally, I’d totally appreciate if NARS had printed the shade names on the clear sheet instead of, “Are you a NARSissist?”, because it’s less than ideal to have to constantly look on the back of the package.

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I’ve been using my MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Concealer in NC45 as an eye primer, so I can’t speak to how these shadows will perform with other eye primers, e.g. Primer Potion by Urban Decay — I’ve found that sometimes this makes a real difference on my eyes. While these shadows do have a bit of fall out, that tends to happen with most shadows that feel creamy to the touch and are quite pigmented (with the exception of Make Up For Ever Artist shadows); nothing a little Prep and Prime Fix+ can’t help with.

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The dark shades work very well so you definitely need to be mindful when applying these. The shade that appears white in the pan reminds me of their cheek highlight in Albatross — it looks white but blends out to a very light gold.

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All in all, I’m impressed. Loaded allows me to create various looks, from a halo smokey eye  or something more summer ready, to olive toned lids or an everyday look with a light shade on the lids. Eyeshadows are not something I had explored by NARS previously as I focused mainly on their complexion and cheek products but I’ve found that these shadows last all day on the eyes, so if this is how it’s going to be, then let the exploration begin!