My June 2017 Beauty Favourites

A few things I've been loving, clockwise from the bottom left: Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Lip Booster, NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer, Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Pen, and Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette - Beauty Glow.

It's summertime in Vancouver, and with it comes simpler, dewier, bronzier makeup. Also, I always seem to be running 10 minutes later than I want to in the mornings, so makeup that's quick, foolproof, and easy is a must.

To that end, here are a few things I loved in June.

1) Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Lip Booster
I'm a slap it on and forget it kind of girl when it comes to lip products. I can't be bothered with a complicated lip combo in the morning, and I hardly ever remember to re-apply during the day. So I love the fact that I can apply Ultra HD Lip Booster with my eyes closed. I also love that it adds a whole bunch of hydration that really seems to plump up my lips, as opposed to some balms and glosses, which just kind of sit on the lips. The true test of its hydration value is the fact that I have not dealt with chapped lips at all this spring/summer.

The list of loves goes on: Ultra HD Lip Booster comes in both clear (00) and this perfect rosy shade (01), which adds just a hint of natural colour to my lips. It's gorgeous. When I first popped it on at a Make Up For Ever event, I got compliments right away.

Finally, my favourite quality of Ultra HD Lip Booster is that it's not remotely sticky. I can't stand it when the wind blows and my hair sticks to my lips. Raise your hand if you've walked down the street with your lips pursed for protection. Not cute, right? So thank you, Make Up For Ever, for saving me from such trials. This was a PR sample, but I'll definitely be replacing it for $29 when it runs out.

2) NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer
The best thing about NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer is the texture, which reminds me a lot of a MAC Paint Pot. A tiny bit will get you a ton of coverage without being drying. Under my eyes, that is everything. I like to tap this into the darkest part of my under-eye circles and blend. Here's a quick tip: I'm a Beauty Blender girl, but the texture of this product really doesn't love the Beauty Blender. It kind of just moves around. The warmth of your finger is much better for blending it into the skin. Overall, it's a good investment, even at $37.

(Aside: This came out around the same time as Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, and a few folks have compared them. I like NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer MUCH better.)

3) Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Pen
Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Pen has eclipsed NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer as my favourite under-eye concealer of all time. Yes, it's very over-priced at $48. Yes, it has that annoying click/brush packaging. But it's such a beautiful, effective product that I don't care. As I get older, my under-eye area seems to be more and more dehydrated and sensitive to drying concealer formulas. I need something with decent coverage, but that's also both hydrating and glowy. This is it. You should try it if you haven't. Love.

4) L'Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara
A drugstore product on this blog? WHAT? I freely admit to being a luxury makeup snob. Typically, the quality is better, and I just truly enjoy the experience of luxe makeup. But there are exceptions to every rule. I bought L'Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara on a whim after seeing a couple of solid reviews online, and I have to tell you, I am IMPRESSED. I bought a tube of Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara for a whopping $34 about a month before I got the L'Oreal, and the Lancome has completely gone by the wayside. I much prefer L'Oreal's $10 product. It's incredibly volumizing—in fact, it gives my beloved Le Volume de Chanel a run for its money. It's also quite lengthening. What makes it so much better than the Lancome Hypnose Drama, though, is the separation. Lancome Hypnose Drama gives me spiky, clumped-together lashes. L'Oreal Lash Paradise gives me luscious, fluttery lashes. Also, it lasts quite well, smudging only if I wear it on my lower lashes.

(Aside: My lower lash go-to mascaras are MAC Extended Play and Clinique Lash Power, which are perfect because they have teeny-tiny brushes and NEVER smear thanks to their formula: they're soluble only with a lot of warm water. Keep this tip in your pocket for next time you find a mascara that you love, but smears. Could it work on your top lashes only?)

5) Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette - Beauty Glow
Beauty Glow is the latest in Charlotte Tilbury's Look in a Palette series. In my opinion, it's also the best. The first, Natural Beauty, is just a little too natural for me. Very no-makeup makeup, which just isn't usually my jam. The second, Seductive Beauty, is gorgeous. It's smoky and cool-toned, and it's fabulous when I want to look a little extra. It's not what I reach for on the daily, though. Beauty Glow is a (very) happy medium. It can be natural or smoky, and you can pull together a polished, glowing, beautiful eye look in just a few minutes. And that medium brown shade may just be the most perfect, beautiful, easy-to-blend crease shade of ALL TIME. You need to trust me on this one, lovelies.

Besides the shadows being beautiful, what I love about this palette is how quick and easy it is given everything is in one spot. I always seem to be in a rush in the morning, so being able to slap on an easy face quickly, without having to think about which colours go with what, is amazing. Two blush shades and the contour and highlight are right there. And they're AWESOME.

I'm not a bronzer queen, but in the summer, when I get a bit of a tan on my arms and shoulders, I like to bronze up my face a little more than usual and pretend I'm not naturally white as a sheet. Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze and Glow, duplicated in this palette, is literally the best bronzer/contour highlight pair I've ever tried. The bronzer isn't too warm, and it has a tiny bit of a sheen. The highlight is somewhere in the middle of dramatic and natural, and adds a bit of golden glow (not glitter) to the skin. GLOW is what Charlotte does best, in my opinion.

Then there are the two blushes: A bronze and a pinky peach. If you're like me (read: pasty white with pink undertones), the bronze blush shade freaked you out a bit when you first saw it. I'm here to tell you that even on fair skin, a light "swish" over the cheekbones is gorgeous. Even if it's not for you, it doubles as a beautiful eyeshadow shade.

The pinky peach blush shade is designed to be "popped" onto the apples of the cheeks after you've swept the bronze shade up your cheekbones, and it does look beautiful that way. But when I'm in a rush, I skip bronzer, highlight, and blush layering, and just pop this onto my cheeks for a bit of freshness that I know will complement the eyeshadows perfectly. *swoon*

All in all, it's amazing. Well worth the $85. (I know it hurts, love. I'll hold your hand while you add to cart. )

What are you loving this summer? Have you tried any of these? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: All of these products except for the Lip Booster were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Lip Booster was provided by PR for my consideration.

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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.

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.