Makeup for Dark Skin: 2017 Update

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From the title most of you will probably be able to tell that I’ve done a post like this on Beauty and the Brows in the past. Since then, I’ve tried other brands, worked with varying skin tones and skin types and now it’s time for an updated recommendations post. Similar to my latest post on recommendations for beginners, I’ll go by areas of the face.

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SKINCARE/PRIMERS: A commonality I’ve found among deeper skintones when looking for a primer is wanting something mattifying or something color correcting — this is not gospel and I am not a Makeup God. As I said, it’s just a commonality that I’ve found. For something color correcting try the Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer in Radiant Peach by Make Up For Ever or M.A.C.’s Prep and Prime Highlighter Pen in Peach Lustre. When we (deeper skintones) have discoloration it takes on a blue/purple tint hence the orange will counteract this. A more affordable option is L.A. Girl Pro Conceal for both under eyes and anywhere else on the face that needs color correcting. For mattifying purposes, try BECCA Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector (I think this name is way too long, BECCA) and M.A.C.’s Skin Refined Zone for making pores appear smaller. BECCA’s primer is a dream in humid summer weather.

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FACE (Foundation, Concealer, Powder): While I could go on about which brands need to have more variety, that wouldn’t be very helpful. My top picks for complexion products for deeper skin tones are M.A.C. Cosmetics, BECCA Cosmetics, L’Oreal’s True Match line, and NARS Cosmetics. All of these brands not only have more than 3 ‘deep’ shades, but within their extensive selection of deep shades, they’ve considered undertones, so you’re not forced to simply settle for any dark shade that’s available. For setting powder, if you’re looking for something with more coverage, definitely go ahead with a powder foundation from one of the aforementioned brands, but for something translucent I’ve honestly had no problems with Laura Mercier’s Loose Translucent Setting Powder — both on myself and clients whose skin is deeper than mine.

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CHEEKS (Contour, Blush, Highlight): Very often I find chocolate babies shying away from blush and I’m not entirely sure why that is. Well, I have a slight idea — I’ve heard that they don’t think they need it. For NC/NW40 and higher, try: Love Thing, Love Joy, Gleeful; in the M.A.C. Mineralize line, and for NC/NW50 and higher you can try Fever or Raizin (matte finishes) in addition to the previous ones listed. If you’re looking to try some from NARS, try: Taos, Exhibit A, Liberte, Seduction, or Taj Mahal. Milani Cosmetics has lovely blushes and the shades from their line are pigmented though the wearability could be a little better depending on how long your day is.

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While we all wish we could have Angela Bassett’s bone structure, the harsh reality is that there’s only one Angela Bassett. Thank God for contouring! The L.A. Girl Pro Conceal line isn’t a bad option for those new to makeup , new to contouring, or simply wanting to try something new. Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows are also amazing for adding dimension — personally I mix M656 with M608 to get the perfect brown that’s not too warm nor too cool. Our highlighter options are unfortunately still somewhat of a struggle, but I truly feel that M.A.C.’s Gold Deposit never fails and the Anastasia Beverly Hills shades work well too.

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EYES (Primer, Eyeshadows, Liners): Layin’ Low Pro Longwear Paint Pot by M.A.C. Cosmetics is perfect for covering up any discoloration on your lids to create a blank canvas for eyeshadows to show up truer to colour. Urban Decay Primer Potion, Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer, MAC Prep + Prime 24 Hour Extend Eye Base. The last 3 are transparent so there’s no issue with those about not blending in or going ashy on the skin. I also like to blend in my Primer Potion with a little of my concealer to cover any veins that may be showing on my eyes that day. It would take forever and a day to list all the eyeshadows that flatter deeper skintones, but for some quick recommendations, try any of the following M.A.C. shades: Amber Lights, Antiqued, Bronze, Mulch, Embark, Saddle, Brown Script, Swiss Chocolate, Woodwinked, Sumptuous Olive, Antiqued.

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LIPS (Liner, Lipstick, Lipgloss): This one was probably the trickiest category to write on because it comes down to personal preference. I find that what most people of colour have a concern with is finding a nude shade. Keep in mind that nude is relative to your skin tone in particular. Therefore, everyone does not have the same shade. For quick recommendations though, try Chestnut or Cork lip liner by M.A.C. Cosmetics, and for lipsticks you can check out Spirit, Half and Half, Whirl, Persistence (the usual suspects). The nude that everyone  — myself included, seems to love, is Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita by Kat von D; it is very much worth the hype.

I know this was long post, but I hope this helped you narrow down your shopping list because I know how overwhelming it can be with so many brands and products available. Feel free to comment below or check out my Instagram if you have even more questions! 🙂

Sephora Spring VIB Sale 2017

The bi annual Sephora Beauty Insider sale gets just about everyone excited. Whether you make beauty purchases every month (me), or randomly every 3 to 4 months, getting a discount on Sephora items is sure to make you find something there. In the time that I’ve been writing, I rarely do hauls or favorites posts — my favorites change up pretty often. Nonetheless, here’s what I picked up this year.

NARSissist Loaded Palette

The NARSissist Loaded Eyeshadow Palette
I’ve used this a few times on a friend of mine and that’s how I fell in love with it. The two shades in particular that got me were the medium brown and the copper one beside it. On myself, I’m impressed, but not necessarily blown away. That’s just a first impression.

Urban Decay Duo

Urban Decay All Day All Night Duo
Summer hasn’t entirely arrived but I’m a strong advocate for not doing makeup touch ups. Enter Urban Decay All Nighter spray! I’ve used this before and it’s entirely worth the hype. Naturally, when it was paired with the Quick Fix Spray which I’ve been wanting to try I had to get it. Each travel size retails individually at CDN18 while the duo contains both travel sizes for CDN25.
Sephora Collection Masks

Sephora Collection Lotus Eye Mask and Cream Lip Stain in Radiant Orchid
I use an eye cream at night that gives 24 hour hydration, so I don’t have to apply more eye cream in the mornings when doing my makeup. I still like having a little extra hydration though and at $6 I picked this up on a whim. I love bold lip colours so I grabbed the Cream Lip Stain in Radiant Orchid as well. I had swatched it a few times before and these lip stains also have have rave reviews.
Overall I can honestly say that this year the sale didn’t get me as excited as it did in previous years. I felt like there weren’t that many new launches that intrigued me.
Comment below or on Instagram and let me know what you got. I’m already thinking about what I want from the Fall Sale! 🙂

Blend and Boost Skincare

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Happy Spring! 🙂 Of course I’m going to apologize for my unexpected hiatus, but maybe I was just…waiting for spring to arrive to get back to writing? Kidding, life got in the way but that happens to the best of us. If you’d like to keep up with me more though, click here and follow me.

 

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A few months ago I was invited to launch of Blend and Boost Skincare in Toronto. Naturally, before attending, I did some research as I hadn’t heard of them previously. B&B was created by a dermatologist on the premise that each person’s skin is unique and therefore we have unique needs in terms of ingredients and formulations.

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For those who enjoy the customization aspect of skincare, this is ideal. You actually begin by taking a survey that will ask/address your skin concerns and your special B&B product will be created based on the information provided and the corresponding products for your needs. You can see mine here. I feel that B&B is great alternative for those who would like a customized skincare experience at a fairly reasonable price point, you know? As all my Beauty and the Brows Babies know (yeah, I just came with that on the spot), my main concern for my skin is always blemishes. While my skin is balanced, I blemish easily, and the more I get into skincare, the more interested I’m becoming in anti-aging benefits as well. B&B also takes into account the products that you’re currently using, as any good skin consultation should.

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As you can see, your base will depend on your skin type, i.e. in my case, my product started as an oily skin (OS) base, as this would address the concern of blemishes. The second part, your code (the numbers) is determined by the active boosters that are then added to the base to address your less pressing skin concerns, e.g. in my case, dehydration, moisture, sensitivity, etc; while I don’t suffer from any of these skin issues generally, I like to make sure products don’t dry out my skin. Hence, I listed them as secondary concerns.

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One of the coolest things about B&B is having to use only one product, that really intrigued me. Instead of using a serum, moisturizer, and an eye cream (which I admittedly do almost religiously) you simply go in with your one B&B product both morning and night after cleansing. Yes, the area around the eye is delicate, and yes B&B is safe for use around the eyes (but obviously if you experience any type of irritation you should stop).

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All in all, I like idea of the B&B, but it wasn’t exactly a game changer for my skin. I’ll be honest with you, I did enjoy being able to simply use one product after cleansing my face each morning/night. It does absorb quickly though for when you need to apply makeup right after, and it also feels very light on the skin. Essentially I do think the concept of B&B is amazing, and I think the product is good. But my skin? Pretty much stayed the same.

 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Ultimate Glow Kit

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I hate to admit that at times I’m one of those Limited Edition Junkies at times. To be honest though, the reason I was most interested in the Ultimate Glow Kit is because it has 6 shades instead of the usual 4. Also because…gold. I like gold. I really like gold. I like it a lot. Especially on my cheekbones and my eyes.

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I’m not a big fan of the packaging to be honest and that’s not something that I say often. The part that’s really bugging me is the white font on the sleeve and the flap; white and seventies – esque and just not my style. While the simple gold (see what I mean?) font on the Master Palette by Mario is so aesthetically pleasing.

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Anyway, the shades in the Ultimate Glow Kit aren’t bad, but I find that 2 of the bottom  shades — Sunray and Hot Sand are the real achievers. The lightest shade — Snow, I’ve barely used, except for maybe once on top of one the aforementioned shades to lighten them up a bit. I find that White Sand and Golden Dawn are actually quite gritty, i.e. not finely milled and look a bit chunky sometimes when applied.

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On the other hand, all the gold shades pick up beautifully when taking a picture in the sunlight. Think of pure gold paint, or almost Photoshopped. The ones I mainly use are Golden Dawn, Sunray and Hot Sand; sometimes Golden Dawn is a little too yellow gold for me to be honest.

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Sunray is closest to Gold Deposit in terms of colour if you were wondering which popular highlight it may resemble.Hot Sand is slightly closer to rose gold. To get the best payoff with these I dip into the highlighter with a fan brush or a very small duo fibre brush and then spritz it with some Prep and Prime Fix Plus before applying.

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I’ve found spritzing with Fix Plus cuts down on how gritty some the shades appear at times. If you like a beaming highlight, try the Ultimate Glow Kit. If you can’t fully justify needing all 6 colours, then you won’t miss much by skipping this one.

 

 

Flawless Complexion Foundation Routine

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One of the things I enjoy the most about makeup, is making complexion products look very skin-like. Both on myself and on my clients. I’m a fan of foundations with a satin finish, or even a demi-matte finish; more the former though. Sometimes dewy can be a bit much, and matte finishes just look unnatural to me at times. To perfect my complexion I like to start with a small amount of that day’s foundation, after applying a primer; I’ll spread this amount and then gradually build it up from there.

 

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I start with ensuring that I’ve done my usual skincare routine, in the earlier winter months I was using FACE by Dr. Roebuck’s, and currently I’m using Sheer Transformation; both moisturizers work well under foundation. Confession time. If I don’t fully cleanse my face (usually because I probably did 8 hours prior) I’ll at least go in with some micellar water before my moisturizer.

 

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I’ll go in with a pea-sized amount of Veil Mineral Primer by Hourglass and spread that all over the face, with a strong focus on the T-zone. However in the summer I’ll use BECCA Primed Matte Poreless Primer and if I want more of a glow I’ll use Laura Mercier Radiance Primer.  After this, I set with a very, very light dusting of Laura Mercier Loose Translucent Setting Powder. I’ve found that doing this keeps me from getting oily — without making me too matte, my foundation lasts for a longer time, and I get more coverage out of said foundation.

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With my concealer I’ll place a little under the eyes to cover any darkness and then blend that out with a damp BeautyBlender. I have a small mark above my left eyebrow, and a small blemish between my eyebrows, so I use concealer to cover those as well. Also not forgetting to place the remaining amount around my nose. The other way I sometimes use my concealer is to mix it in with my liquid foundation. Smashbox Studio Skin Concealer mixes in well with Sheer Glow Foundation, and Radiant Creamy also mixes well with Sheer Glow; this gives a tiny bit more coverage.  After blending all the foundation on my face, I’ll take the damp BeautyBlender — with no additional product, and dab it along my neck. This way everything blends in seamlessly.

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To complete everything I use a big fluffy brush to once more dip back into my translucent powder and lightly tap it along the face — including under the eyes (when I’m not baking). Avoid swirling your brush when applying the powder because the products underneath will move around and ruin all your work. Lastly, to avoid having any of this look powdery, I’ll spritz my face with MAC Prep and Prime Fix Plus and throughout the day I’ll use Boscia Blotting Sheets instead of touching up with more product.

 

 

 

 

Makeup for Beginners: M.A.C. Cosmetics

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For many, M.A.C. was their first introduction to makeup, and they’ve become extremely loyal. For others, it may be the only type of high-end makeup available to them, and that’s okay too. In any case, the whole thing can quickly become overwhelming. This post is to help you narrow down what may be your essentials based on your beauty style as well as your budget.

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Base: Foundation, Concealer, Powder.

Matte, demi-matte, dewy, satin, light coverage, full coverage, buildable coverage. What. Does. It. All. Mean? At some point you’ll be using all 3 or some combination of the 2, e.g. foundation and concealer, concealer and powder, foundation and powder. This will be based on how much of your skin you’d like to show and how much time you’re willing to dedicate. In simple terms, if you’re looking to have full coverage, i.e. none of your scarring or blemishes showing — you’ll go for all 3. If you’re looking for something to quickly cover up under eye darkness, marks, in addition to not looking shiny — you’ll go for a concealer and a powder. If makeup doesn’t tend to wear off on your skin but you’d like some coverage and don’t want want 3 products, you can try foundation with concealer and possibly skip the powder. Lastly, if you simply want something to quickly even out the skin, one and done, you can opt for a powder.

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Eyes: Primer, Shadow, Liner.

You’ve probably heard about Pro Longwear Paint Pots or Paints and yes, you should believe the hype. The trick is to ensure you’re using the correct shade for your skintone. e.g. Soft Ochre and Painterly are widely used in YouTube tutorials, however if you’re on the more caramel or chocolate side, try out Layin’ Low as it creates the perfect blank canvas. There’s also a 24 Hour Eye Base that’s transparent, thus it works amazingly for all skin tones.

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M.A.C. Cosmetics has 100+ eye shadow shades with varying finishes, i.e. shimmer, matte, satin, etc.  For starters, I’d suggest a minimum of one shade and maximum of 4 shades. If you’re going with one shade, this is where it becomes useful to use your bronzer in your crease to help that one shade blend out well. If you’re going with 4 shades, I’d strongly suggest sticking to neutrals and have them be varying finishes. e.g. Lighter skin tonesWedge (transition), Soft Brown (deepens the crease slightly), Saddle (outer corners), All That Glitters (lid). Darker skin tones Saddle (transition), Brown Script (deepens the crease slightly), Swiss Chocolate (outer corners), Bronze (lid). This is obviously not set in stone; the possibilities are endless and in the end it comes down to what look you’re going for.

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Liner can be pretty personal. Especially in terms of formulation and abilities. When it comes to liquid liner I find this is where persons are pretty die hard in terms of which one they use so I’ll keep this nice and short. Everyone’s eyes has a hint of gold in them, so M.A.C.’s Eye Kohl in the shade Teddy will be perfect for just about anyone. If your eyes are brown you can go ahead with Costa Riche. Both shades will look especially beautiful on blue eyes; the former will give a softer effect, while the latter will provide more definition. For green eyes, try something that’s more on the plum side, such as Eye Kohl in Prunella. Hazel eyes can do Costa Riche as well or even Coffee, and for those of you looking for a classic black, go with Feline Eye Kohl.

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Cheeks: Bronzer, Blush, Highlight.

M.A.C.’s Mineralize blushes have shimmer but they’re not overpowering  and not everyone wears bronzer so that’s somewhat of a personal preference.

For those who do like bronzer, this in itself varies on how deep you like your bronzer to be. The general rule would be to go no more than 2 shades deeper than your skintone. For blush, you want something that makes your cheeks look like you just came back from a run (I don’t run though, so I’m not even sure why I used that comparison). For lighter skintones you can try New Romance or Gentle, and medium skin tones can opt for Petal Power or Warm Soul. For deeper skin tones, try Love Thing, Love Joy, or Gleeful; these are all from the Mineralize line.

Apparently looking like a glazed donut is something that many would like to have left in 2016 — many persons don’t want that look, and that’s okay. Let me go on record and say that I am all for highlighter (and donuts for that matter). It seems I like to use ‘personal preference’ a lot in this post, but highlighter truly is just that.  For those who do though, I’d recommend lighter skintones to try Soft and Gentle, and deeper skintones can opt for Gold Deposit.

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Lips: Liner, Lipstick, Lipglass

If nothing else, M.A.C. Cosmetics is known for their lip products. Since this post is geared towards beginners, I’m going to give suggestions that are in the neutral family. Once more it’ll go by skin tone. Lighter skintones: Subculture, Etcetera, Boldly Bare; for liners, Creme d’Nude, Velvet Teddy, Honey Lust; for lipsticks, and Lust, Prrr; for lipglass. Medium skintones can try Spice, Hover, or Whirl for liners with any of the lipsticks listed. Deeper skintones Cork or Chestnut; for liners, Spirit, Creme in Your Coffee; for lipsticks, Spice, Big Baby, C-Thru; for lipglass.

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All in all, whatever items you choose to go with will come down to personal preference and just how much time you’d like to devote to your beauty look. I’ve also always wanted to use this quote, so here goes, “Makeup should be fun! Remember it all washes off at the end of the day” Seriously though, remember makeup is just that. A form of self expression and something that can be washed off at the end of the day. Play around with it and have some fun.

 

 

 

 

 

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer: Worth the Hype?

 

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It’s one thing for a product to be widely raved about, but for it to be widely raved about in addition to the fact that it’s not exactly cheap…that’s another thing. This is the beauty of sampling in the cosmetic industry. I had sampled, and sampled, and sampled Veil Mineral Primer by Hourglass Cosmetics. Until I caved. I’m happy though, and that’s what matters because I can definitely justify purchasing this primer.

 

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One pump of Veil Mineral is more than enough for me to prime my entire face — a little goes a long. This primer is neither thick nor watery; think more of an almost serum-like feel. My skin is balanced for the most part, but I do find that this helps to keep my natural oils at bay somewhat. For dry skin, I’d recommend having a good moisturizer on before using this.

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My favourite way to use this is by incorporating a trick that I learned from Wayne Goss on YouTube, i.e. using a light dusting of translucent powder after face primer, and before liquid/cream foundation. I’ve found that by doing this I use less product, get more coverage, and my foundation stays in place for hours, while Veil Mineral helps my pores to appear smaller. After this, I mix in Radiant Creamy Concealer with Sheer Glow Foundation and apply it with a damp Beauty Blender. Smaller pores, full coverage, satin finish; a second skin appearance. All in all, I do think this is worth it especially considering how long the full size lasts since a little goes a long way.