A Face of the Day and Shopping My Stash: Laura Mercier, Annabelle, MAC and NARS

A face of the day with the Laura Mercier Artist's Palette for Eyes (2013), Annabelle Blushon in Rosebud, and NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Sex Machine.

As a honest-to-goodness beauty addict, sometimes I'm so focused on the next beautiful and exciting release that I forget my current stash is actually pretty sweet. (Can you relate?) For this week's post, I pawed through a few things I've had awhile and one or two newer things, and I love what I came up with!

Laura Mercier Artist's Palette for Eyes (2013), Annabelle Blushon in Rosebud, and NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Sex Machine. 

Here are the highlights:

For eye colour, I used Laura Mercier's Artist Palette for Eyes (2013). I got this awhile ago, but Sephora recently re-released it. They're now calling it Eye Art Artist's Palette ($70), and the packaging is slightly different, but the colours are exactly the same! There is an amazing array of purples and browns, and the quality is beautiful. Give it a try!

  • Lids: Plum Smoke, a matte lavender, mixed with Bamboo, a shimmery, light golden-brown
  • Crease: Kir Royale, a bold, almost royal purple with a matte finish
  • Upper crease: Fresco, a light, brownish peach with a matte finish
  • Brow bone: Vanilla Nuts, A pale, pinky ivory with a matte finish

I lined with MAC Fluidline Eye Pencil in Black Brilliance ($19). I've struggled with this smudging on me in the past (weird, because it's supposed to be the same as the Fluidline in the pot, which doesn't smudge), so I tried blending and softening the line a little with a MAC 239 (and the shadow left on the brush). It looked great, and it didn't smudge—I'll be trying this trick again!

For mascara, I used my current HG mascara combo: Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara (one of the few amazing drugstore products I have—about $10, but often on sale) and Clinique Lash Power Mascara ($20). Lash Sensational is one of the best mascaras I've tried lately—it's very black, and it adds good volume, separation and lift while lasting all day without smudging or flaking. Lash Power adds a little more lasting power (it's a wash-with-warm-water formula), another layer of volume, and, most importantly, a good amount of length. I'll be sticking with this combo for awhile!

On my cheeks, I used another amazing drugstore product: Annabelle Blushon in Rosebud. It's a slightly plummy, cool pink with a matte finish. It costs less than $10, and it's wonderful. It swatched a little chalky, but the blendability, lasting power and pigmentation make  up for it. I may need another one or three of these!

On my lips, I used NARS Velvet Lip Pencil in Sex Machine. (Quite the name, eh?) I like that it's not as drying as many other matte lip products, and it's easy to apply precisely. For me, this is a great MLBB shade. It's a little pricey at $30, and I don't love the packaging, but it's so pretty. Worth it!

My lesson this week? Shop my stash! I might just discover some old favourites!

What looks have you been coming up with lately? Let me know in the comments, or tag me (VanESAddict) in your posts on Instagram! 

Disclosure: Most of these products were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. Annabelle Blushon was provided by PR for my consideration.

Face of the Day: Annabelle, MAC and Make Up For Ever

A Face of the Day with products from Annabelle, MAC and Make Up For Ever.

On a day off, I love having the time to try something a little different. Here's a look I came up with for Easter Monday using some Old Faithful products as well as a few new pieces.

Base

  • MAC Face and Body Foundation in N1 and White, applied with a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
  • My regular under-eye concealer products/routine (detailed in this post)
  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla on a few blemishes and around my nose (a bit red from a cold!), tapped in with my finger
  • NARS Loose Powder (the older version) in Flesh, applied with a Make Up For Ever Medium Powder Brush

    These base products are more or less my HG. Face and Body's finish is gorgeous. I didn't this time, but I like to mix it with MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW15 or NW20 to boost the coverage and prolong the wear. 

Eyes

  • NARS Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Base as a primer, applied with my finger
  • MAC Sumptuous Olive Eyeshadow, applied to the inner half of my lid with a MAC 239
  • MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadow in Silver Dawn, applied to the outer half of my lid with a MAC 239
  • Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in I-628, applied to my crease with a MAC 217
  • Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in I-514, blended above my crease and dusted on my brow bone with a Sonia Kashuk domed blending brush
  • Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in ME-612, applied lightly on the centre of the lid with the same Sonia Kashuk Brush
  • Mac Fluidline in Blacktrack, applied to my upper lash line with a MAC 210
  • L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes in Black, layered underneath Clinique Lash Power Mascara
  • MAC Pro Longwear Eyeliner in Strong Willed, applied to the outer two thirds of the lower lash line
  • MAC Omega Eyeshadow, applied to my brows with an angled brush
  • Prestige BrowPerfection Revitalizing Clear Brow Gel, brushed onto my brows

    I was going for a multi-dimensional army green look. Thoughts?

Cheeks

  • Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in S-556, applied as a contour with a MAC 168
  • Annabelle Blushon Blush in Rosebud, applied to the apples of my cheeks with a Real Techniques Blush Brush
  • MAC Beauty Powder in Summer Opal (from the Bao Bao Wan Collection) applied as a highlight with a Real Techniques Setting Brush

    I've been experimenting with contouring. S-556 is a satin eyeshadow, but on the skin it looks mostly matte. Annabelle Blushon Blush is an amazing drugstore find—lovely, pigmented and long-lasting! MAC Summer Opal is more shimmery than I typically prefer, but it's so pretty I wear it anyway, albeit with a light hand.

Lips

  • Annabelle Lipsies Lip Balm in Lychee
  • Annabelle Lipsies Lip Balm in Cherry

    Separately, the colours of these balms (nude and red) are just so-so for me. But mixed together, they create the most lovely shade of pink! Plus, they smell lovely and are very hydrating.

Bonus:

Here's a "bonus" photo from this shoot. Sometimes, light from the window washes out the colours I'm trying to capture. (Any tips on DIY home lighting that captures colour more accurately?) But sometimes, in portraiture…window light just works. 

What looks have you been wearing lately? Have you tried any of the products above? What did you think? Let me know in the comments. 

Disclosure: A few of these products were provided by PR for my consideration. Most were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. Opinions are my own, as usual.

My Best Discoveries of 2014: Makeup Edition

A few of my favourites from 2014

A few of my favourites from 2014

So much beautiful makeup, and so little time to write about it all! Truly, 2014 has been a year where I've branched out (peach blush? Say WHAT?) and discovered tons of products I love. (So much for shopping my stash. Oh well! Onward!) As 2015 begins, I thought I'd share a list of 14 makeup products or tools that have become favourites I reach for often.

1) Illamasqua Neutral Palette

I grabbed Illamasqua's Neutral Palette during a clearance sale at Hudson's Bay. With the brand pulling out of North America (what a loss!), this baby was seriously discounted—and I was stoked! This palette contains four mattes and an antique-gold shimmer. I'm not a fan of Illamasqua's awkwardly shaped, slightly cheap-looking packaging, but that's where the complaints end, my friends! I've never seen such soft, buttery, blendable mattes in a makeup line. Yes, they rival even Make Up For Ever's famed Artist Shadow (which I reviewed earlier this year). They're so easy to wear, and they pack a pigment wallop (seriously—Obsidian, a rich black, puts MAC Carbon to shame). My favourite look is a smokey brown eye with Vintage (the antique gold) layered over Wolf (a matte chocolate brown). Mmmmmm. This palette is still available at Illamasqua.com.

2) Bobbi Brown Smokey Nudes Palette

I caved and bought more Bobbi Brown palettes this year. I couldn't help myself. Her colours are wearable and stunning, and the combinations she creates truly inspire me. The Smokey Nudes Palette is a gorgeous combination of pinks, taupe-y browns, and a few other shades. Love. Unfortunately, this palette was limited edition.

3) Bobbi Brown Sand Palette

I know, I know. Bobbi's palettes start to look repetitive after awhile, but I couldn't resist the Sand Palette either. So many warm, shimmery browns! Hands-down my favourite shade is a metallic called Golden Copper, which I featured in this Eye of the Day post. This palette is also limited edition, but it looks like it's still available online at Sephora.

4) Laura Mercier Enlightenment Eye and Cheek Palette

Last palette in this post, I promise! This review from Tracy over at Beauty Reflections Blog pretty much made me run out and buy Laura Mercier's Enlightenment Eye and Cheek Palette. SO PRETTY, right? Four soft, neutral, shimmery shadows and two blushes made this a palette I travelled with several times. I also reached for it often for a quick, work-appropriate eye. Gorgeous. Unfortunately, also limited edition. Boo. 

5) Lise Watier Blush Creme Satin in Rose Eden

Lise Watier is a Canadian brand that gets nowhere near enough love, in my opinion. Seriously, everything they make is amazing. I picked up Lise Watier Blush Creme Satin in Rose Eden earlier this year (and reviewed it quickly several months ago), and I've reached for it again and again. It's incredibly easy to blend with a couple of fingers—even over powder—and sets to a powder-like, natural finish. Plus, it's gorgeous—and much more natural than it looks in the pot. I've seen several beauty bloggers rave about of Make Up For Ever's new HD cream blush in their 2014 round-up posts, and I do love it—I sang its praises here. But my friends, this Lise Watier beauty is even better. Trust me. You must try it. 

6) Bobbi Brrown Smokey Eye Mascara

The very-black Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara performs very much like Clinique High Impact Mascara, but lasts without smearing or flaking. I love the volume and separation this mascara gives my lashes. My favourite thing is layering this under Clinique Lash Power for an extra shot of length and wear time. 

7) NARS Audacious Lipstick in Fanny

This one was a struggle. $37 for a lipstick is stupid. I don't care how good it is. So I waited for the VIB sale to justify picking up a tube of NARS Audacious Lipstick. I have the shade Fanny, a muted, rich berry that is a beautiful balance between wearable and vampy. I love everything about it, including the luxe packaging, the creamy, moisturizing feel, and the easy opacity. Well done, NARS. (Except for the price. Who do you think you are, Chanel?)

8) Lise Watier Rouge Fondant Supreme Lipstick in Stella

I discovered Rouge Fondant Supreme in Stella late in the year—it's part of Lise Watier's Aurora Collection. (But I believe it's permanent! Wahoo!) The colour is stunning—a muted fuchsia with a metallic shine. And I kid you not: I've never tried a more moisturizing, comfortable lipstick. I'll definitely be shopping this formula again.

9) Lise Watier Imagine Blush

Lise Watier Imagine Blush is the perfect, natural pink, and the formula is so soft and pigmented. And just look at that mosaic pattern. Love. Unfortunately, this blush was limited edition, but if you're new to Lise Watier, keep an eye out for other products! You can find them at LiseWatier.com, London Drugs, and several Shoppers Drug Mart and Sears locations. 

10) MAC Face and Body Foundation MIXED with MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

These aren't exactly new in the makeup world, but I believe I've found my HG for an everyday base. Mixing these two products gives me the beautiful, skin-like finish of Face and Body Foundation AND the longwearing power of Pro Longwear Concealer. I use the smallest dollop of foundation in N1 mixed with one pump of the concealer in NW20, and it's more than enough to cover my entire face, and build if necessary. If you're a fan of light-to-medium coverage and your skin isn't too extreme, you MUST try this. (Note that I have combination skin—oily-ish in the T-zone, and normal/dehydrated in the rest of the face.)

11) Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow (all of 'em)

No biggie—just the best eyeshadow on the market at the moment, in my opinion. The pigment! The texture! The colours! Just try it if you haven't.

12) Clinique Cheek Pop Blush (Plum and Berry Pop)

I loved the formula of Clinique Cheek Pop Blush so much I bought two. It's satiny, soft, blendable, and not at all powdery. There's just a hint of shimmer—enough to make your skin look glowy. It's sheer, and it's not the longest-lasting blush I own, but I love it—it's perfect for every day. Plus, those daisies are SO cute, no? (I reviewed it briefly here.)

13) Armani Master Corrector 1

After much searching, I found a more cost-effective alternative to my beloved Chanel Eclat Lumiere Highlighter Face Pen. As you know if you read my review, I LOVE the stuff, but $40 for about 1 mL of product is just criminal. And the packaging was prone to wastefulness. (Sorry, Chanel.) Armani Master Corrector 1 offers a salmon-coloured, brightening formula that is VERY similar, but with better packaging and four times the product (4.4 mL) for approximately the same price! The tiny, thin brush allows me to deposit a very small amount on the darkest part of my eye and blend over my concealer, which is all I need. Thank you, Armani! 

14) Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

The Miracle Complexion Sponge is Real Techniques' answer to the Beauty Blender. I haven't tried the original, so I can't compare, but I do really like this little orange sponge (I reviewed it here) for quickly blending face products to a natural finish. I reach for it daily to finish blending my under-eye concealer. 

What are your favourites from 2014? Please post your lists/links in the comments; I'd love to read them!

Disclosure: Most of these products were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. Some Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow and the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge were provided by PR for my consideration. Opinions, as always, are my own.