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

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, 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.

Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush: Review

Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush

Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush

I love me some Real Techniques brushes for being both affordable and awesome. I do. Those Pixiwoo girls are the best. Which is why my #fail is so sad.

It's such a great concept. Who doesn't love the idea of a fine liner brush that will a) always keep its ulta-fine tip b) never splay its bristles (ew) and c) be ridiculously easy to clean? Um, yes please! Times a million! I was ready to tell my MAC 210 liner brush to move on over.

Alas, the relationship wasn't meant to be. The stellar concept of the RT Silicone Liner Brush never translated into results. I just couldn't get the smooth, continuous line I wanted. Why? Turns out bristles absorbing product is kind of important—it helps allow for even distribution. Because the product just sort of sits on the silicone on this brush, I had to sort of stamp it onto my lid, then go back for more product. Boo. I eventually got an okay-ish result, but it wasn't the smooth, easy application I was looking for. 

Maybe it was my technique? Have a look at Pixiwoo's video tutorial for this brush if you're curious. I hope you have better luck!

Verdict: Not a winner for me.

Rating: Two stars out of five. Great idea, but didn't work for me. Sigh.

Available: Online and in stores such as London Drugs and Walmart for about $10 Canadian.

Have you tried the Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush? What did you think? Any application tips to share?

Disclosure: This product was provided by PR for my consideration.


Real Techniques Stippling Brush: Review and Photos

Real Techniques Stippling Brushes (yes, I have two). 

Real Techniques Stippling Brushes (yes, I have two). 

If you're at all familiar with my blog, you know I love and adore MAC products. You also know I'm willing (mostly) to spend a lot for quality. Admittedly, MAC brushes fall into the "quality" category. But, in the words of Karen from Makeup and Beauty Blog, DAYUM. They're REALLY expensive. I draw the line at giving up your firstborn spending upwards of $50 on a brush—because it just isn't necessary. Brushes like Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman of Pixiwoo prove it.

I was introduced to the foundation phenomenon that is The Stippling Brush about a year ago. MAC was selling these cute brush sets as part of their holiday collection, and I thought, "Why not?"

I fell immediately almost-in-love with the 130SE, a short duo-fibre brush. It left a finish I'd never before had the joy of knowing on my foundation.

The standard flat brushes have always left me streaky, and sponges soaked up too much product. So for the longest time, I ignorantly, blissfully used my fingers to apply foundation, not understanding that this application method let my foundation sort of just sit on top of the skin. The MAC 130SE showed me the magic of foundation that melts into the skin. It was incredible...except for one little thing. 

The brush shed.  

Every single time I used it, I was picking little black hairs off my face—even after washing more than once. 

In addition to this being annoying, I couldn't help but wonder how many days my little brush had before going bald.  

Back to the MAC store it went. Maybe it was because it was an SE brush (the cheapie brush sets are machine cut rather than hand cut like the full-sized MAC brushes)—I don't know. But I wasn't spending $50 on the full-sized version without a REALLY good reason.  

My research led me to one of these little beauties as an alternative: 


Real Techniques Stippling Brushes.

Real Techniques brushes are good quality—and cheap, cheap, cheap. I got my first one from, and in Canada, they're now available at London Drugs. Sets of three to four brushes are only $20. This brush, which comes alone, is only $11! 

This stippling brush is great—as are the other Real Techniques brushes I've tried. They have light metal handles and ferrules, the synthetic bristles are nice and soft, and—YAY!—I've experienced zero bleeding or shedding.

I stipple my foundation on with the sparser white bristles, which allows for an incredibly even application. Then, pressing a little bit harder to get at the denser black bristles, I do some blending. I find th bristles aren't quite dense enough to give me a streak-free finish, so I do some final buffing with my Sonia Kashuk Flat-Top Multipurpose Brush.  Given both brushes are less than half the cost of a MAC 130, I'll take it!

Why do I have two of these stippling brushes? If you look closely, you'll see they look a little different. One is a year old. The other is brand-spanking-new. 

I thought you might like to see how they've worn. The brush on the left is the new one. The brush on the right is a year old. Note that I've used it almost daily and washed it very, very frequently—at least a few times a week, if not every day. There are some dents on the old brush from me tapping it against the sink to knock water out of it (oops), and the bristles kind of bunch together even when it's clean. Thanks to some very, very over-zealous drying (I used to tug as I squeezed to get the water out—don't be like me), the head has been superglued in a few times. 


Real Techniques Stippling Brushes.

Real Techniques Stippling Brushes. Left: new. Right: A year old. 

Yep, I've been hard on this brush, and it looks a little worse for wear. But it still performs really, really well. I replaced it only because I figured it was only so long before the head popped out again.  

One important note: I don't recall my first brush being quite this fluffy-looking when I bought it, but I could be misremembering. I'll keep you posted on how this one looks in a few months.

Would I repurchase? Yes, I think so—though I'm hoping a gentler touch will keep it looking lovely for longer. One MAC stippling brush will buy five of these—so I figure there's a little grace, right?

Rating: Three and a half stars out of five.

Available: In Canada, your best best for these brushes, which are about $11 each, is London Drugs. You could also try Wal-Mart. If you can't find RT brushes in store, go for—shipping is incredibly reasonable.

Have you tried any of the Real Techniques brushes? What did you think?

Disclosure: These products were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. 


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