A shade of the dramatic, where different is all there is.

Posts tagged “Sephora

A love affair with dandelions

When you are a little girl, dandelions don’t seem like a weed, instead they are simply beautiful little flowers that you can pick and give to your Mom or perhaps put in your hair.  You certainly don’t have the faintest idea as to why adults seem to concern themselves with their removal.  I’ve always thought they were pretty little rays of sunshine, poking their heads up among the grassy forest.  It seems like sort of a needless fight really… yet people spend their hard earned money every year waging war.  Don’t worry, I live in an apartment, so I’m not your neighbour and you don’t have to worry about my lawn being the bane of your existence.

Their sunny little faces always made me happy.  In fact, I should probably use the words “make me happy” given that it was just over a year ago that I found myself picking a small dandelion bouquet on Prince Edward Island, right after my husband asked me to marry him.

PEI dandelions

Yet I digress… this is after all a beauty and travel blog.

What I mean to say, is that I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with dandelions and I now have a new reason to rave about their existence.  

You guys might recall my being stoked about my most recent Topbox that featured samples solely from benefit cosmetics.  I was so excited about it, I really wanted to make time to go into extra detail  for some of the products.  First up on my hit list is (you guessed it) the sample set I received featuring both the dandelion brightening face powder and the corresponding dandelion ultra plush lip gloss.  

"Dandelion" blush and gloss

These two products have quickly raced their way up my list of favourite products.

The brightening face powder is a gorgeous soft pink shade.  It creates a very subtle and natural looking glow.  This “dandelion” powder applies nearly sheer but is easily built-up for a more noticeable look.  And don’t forget the soft shimmery kiss this “everyday” blush leaves behind on your cheeks.

If you’ve been wanting a blush that leaves a nice natural look without being overloaded by shimmer or looking flat with matte, this product might be just what you need.


photo courtesy of http://www.sephora.com

The full size product is .25oz complete with a brush for easy dusting.  It retails for $36.00 CAD or$28.00 US.

Now, as much as I love the blush and think its a very versatile and flattering shade, my favourite of the pair is the gloss.

benefit cosmetics - dandelion lip gloss

photo courtesy of http://www.sephora.com

This “dandelion” Ultra Plus Lip Gloss smells absolutely amazing for starters!  It smells like peaches with a slight touch of mango but isn’t too overpowering, it’s just strong enough to be noticeable.  When I first did my Topbox research and I discovered the full size gloss from Sephora was $18.00 CAD or $16.00 US (for a 0.5oz) I remember thinking to myself, who is going to pay that much for a gloss…gloss is gloss.  But honestly…I’m now one of those people that would be happy paying that for this product.  This lip gloss by benefit is soft, smooth and as far in the opposite direction of “sticky” as you can imagine.  It glides on incredibly smooth with no dragging.

The only draw back with this non-sticky lip gloss in “dandelion” is that the product isn’t really pigmented.  Don’t pick this shade if you are hoping for a soft pink, it is mostly clear, but will do the trick if you just want a pop of shine…and for your lips to feel amazing.  benefit does offer this gloss in a variety of colours, so if you are wanting something with more colour, perhaps check out their darker shades.

Here is a swatch of both of the dandelion products for you.  It really allows you to see how sheer and soft the blusher is (very faint, yet visible on the left) as well as the clear finish of the gloss (on the right):

dandelion ultra plush lip gloss swatch and dandelion blush swatch

I also used them both in the below makeup look.  Whenever I go heavy on the eye makeup I like to keep my cheeks and lips soft and subtle, so both dandelion products worked great for that purpose:

"dandelion" lip gloss and blush

Now if you are wanting to try out these two products, but don’t feel like spending $54 CAD or $44 US, benefit cosmetics actually has a great value set for those interested in rocking these in tandem this Spring.  It is called “feelin’ DANDY” and is available where benefit products are sold.  Sephora carries it for $32.00 CAD or $28.00 US.

benefit value set, "dandelion"

photo courtesy of http://www.sephora.com

You’ll also be able to try out “posie tint” and “high beam” minis as well.  It’s a hard deal to beat and allows you to try multiple products for a very affordable price!

Have you tried the dandelion Ultra Plush Lip Gloss or Brightening Face Powder by benefit?  What did you think?!?

And now for my most important questionhow do you feel about the dandelion weed? 😉



Erase Paste by benefit (Before and After Pictures)

lightest shade of Erase Paste

Concealer is one of those steps that I generally cut out of my everyday makeup routine for work, simply because I never seem to have enough time in the morning.  But pretty much for any other occassion, if I am putting on a face, I am using a concealer.

I have horrid under-eye circles that like to sport a purplish tinge and I haven’t had the best success with drugstore concealers in the past.  So I picked up Erase Paste by benefit in shade “No. 1 Fair”.  I had high hopes for this product, given it’s price tag of $30 CAD ($26 USD).  So I decided to take some before and after pictures so you guys could see how it faired for yourselves.

benefit concealer - erase paste in "fair"

But first, let’s take a peek at what you receive when you purchase Erase Paste by benefit:

  • 4.4g (0.15 oz) Erase Paste in a very cute plastic pot
  • tiny spatula for scooping out the product
  • lesson guide to assist with application

You can purchase this product at Sephora (online or in-store).  In Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart also carries the benefit brand so you can pick it up there as well if that is more convenient for you.  You can also order internationally on benefit’s official site.

Erase Paste is described as a “brightening camouflage for eyes and face”.  “A concentrated creamy, blendable concealer for instant brightening.  Signs of stress & fatigue are a thing of the past with this innovative formula.”  It is available in 3 shades: fair, medium and deep.


I purchased “fair”, the lightest of the three shades.

lightest shade of Erase Paste

Lesson Guide

Instructions for using Erase Paste by Benefit

Step 1: Under eye concealing & brightening for dark circles

  • Use spatula to scoop out a tiny amount.  Place the paste on the back of your hand.  With your ring finger, take erase paste and make a dot on the inner and outer corners of the eye.  Delicately blend by following the arrows above.  For complete under eye concealing, connect the dots.

Step 2: “Marionette grooves” camouflage those shadow areas from nose to corners of the lip

  • Use the side of your finger to draw three “cat whisker” strokes in an up & outward motion across the shadowed grooves.  Blend lightly in soft, upward strokes with your fingertips.  Tip: run your fingertips under warm water to heat them up before blending.

Step 3: “X” markes the spot to conceal spot imperfections

  • For blemishes and spots of discoloration use the side of your finger to draw an “X” on top of the imperfection.  Pat & blend with your ring finger.  Tip: Apply 10% more erase paste than necessary – by the time you get to where you’re going, you’ll look perfect.

The Before and After Pictures using Erase Paste

I wanted to document my under-eye circles first hand and I figured for you to see this product in action, the best way would be to shoot some Before and After pictures.  I took pictures both in natural light as well as with flash.

First, let’s take a look at the BEFORE:

purple undereye circles

Under-eye Circles in natural light

purple under-eye circles without concealer

Under-eye Circles with flash

Now, let’s take a look at the AFTER:

Under-eye Circles in natural light, after using Erase Paste by benefit

undereye circles after using a concealer

Under-eye Circles with flash, after using Erase Paste by benefit

My thoughts:
Erase Paste by benefit is thick enough that it covers like a concealer, but is blendable like a foundation.  And because it is so thick, a little goes a long long way – you won’t need to replace/repurchase anytime soon.  The consistency is a touch oily, but I find this really helps with its blend-ability.  Any shine (like in the picture above using flash) disappears once you set your make-up with a powder, there is no shine at all in natural light.  And remember, Sephora has a 30 day return policy for any products you aren’t happy with.  So if you buy it and find it isn’t ideal for your skin, then simply return it.  No harm no foul.   The shade range is a little limited though with only three options.  The lightest shade has pink undertones which is good if you are cool toned, but if you are warm toned and are more used to yellow undertones, this might not be the product for you.  Best to try it out in store if you live close to a Sephora.  All in all though, it is a very versatile and easy to use product.  It proves to be long lasting throughout the day and this pot will last me forever it seems.  If you are in the market for a new concealer – give it a try, what have you got to lose?

Have you tried this product?  What did you think?  Do you have a favourite concealer that works wonders for you?


I drank the Kool-Aid

Pinky-Peach Blush

Orgasm Blush by NARS is a cult favourite among beauty bloggers, makeup artists and beauty lovers alike.  It is one of the most talked about cosmetic products out there, often described as the most universally flattering blush that looks good on every skin tone.  This blush experienced such wide spread success, even with its high price point, that NARS created an entire line of cosmetics in the Orgasm shade.  They created matching nail polish, lip gloss, illuminators, etc etc.  So I finally drank the Kool-Aid and decided to give it a try.

Orgasm Blush

NARS Orgasm Blush is best described as a sheer peachy-pink pressed powder blush with small gold flecks.  It goes on nice and sheer, is very natural looking, and gives you a healthy sun kissed glow.  I’ve been using it all week and absolutely love it – you will see it popping up in some upcoming looks very soon!

Pinky-Peach Blush

Peachy-Pink Blush

Here you can see how sheer and natural looking this blush really is. On the left you can see what Orgasm looks like blended out.

Where does NARS Orgasm Blush get its name?

NARS Orgasm Blush was created to give you a completely natural looking flush.  Or perhaps it could be referred to as an *clears throat* afterglow.

I’ve also heard of Super Orgasm, what is that?  

Super Orgasm is another peachy-pink NARS blush, but it contains larger gold flecks.  So if you love your shimmer, be sure to check out Super Orgasm too!

Where can I get it?

In Canada, the best source of NARS Cosmetics is Sephora.  <- That link is showing US dollars, but it will convert to Canadian dollars upon checkout ($32.00).  Or, you can always make your way to the nearest Sephora Store to check out the products in person.  Many Bay locations also have NARS counters as well.  And because NARS is a Canadian cosmetic company, you can also order directly from their website, they offer free shipping on all orders over $100.00.  I must say though that I prefer Sephora.  You get to check out the product first in store if you like, you collect points, get free samples and it is the same price – you can’t really go wrong!

Thanks for reading everyone!



Be a Beauty Insider at Sephora

swatch of LipSurgence lipstick by tarte in shade "Lively"

For those of you who shop at Sephora you are probably already familiar with their Sephora Beauty Insiders program.  But in case this is new to you, let me take a minute to explain how it works.  It is completely free to sign up and when you do you will receive a points card.  And then, for every dollar you spend, you earn a point.

They have fairly good sized samples available as perks that you can spend 100 points on.  Or, if you feel like saving up your points, you can wait and get the 500 point perk which is a complete set of items (usually a mix and match of full size and travel size products).  The perks and rewards change frequently, so if you aren’t crazy about what you see that visit, don’t worry, the next one might be something you are dying to try.  I myself have been waiting for a few months as I wasn’t all that interested in the past couple 500 point perks that came out, but then I saw this in my email – announcing the new 500 point reward:

Sephora Beauty Insider Perk - Winter 2012

Finally!  Something I would actually use and better yet, a brand that I have little to no experience with.  So I went into Sephora yesterday to spend my 500 points and get my new kit from tarte.

Bronzer, Liptint, Finishing Powder, Eye pencil and face primer all by tarte

This is called the “Intro to Amazonian Clay try me kit” and in it you will find:

  • Amazonian clay bronzer in Park Ave Princess
  • Smooth operator Amazonian clay finishing powder
  • emphasEYES high definition eye pencil in black (full size)
  • ReCreate silicone-free primer with wrinkle rewind technology
  • LipSurgence matte lip tint in Lively (full size)

I of course wanted to do a couple of swatches for you guys in case you are debating spending your points on this perk, or simply wondering if tarte is for you.

emphasEYES high definition eye pencil, Park Ave Princess bronzer and Lively matte Lipsurgence lip tint

From Left to Right: emphasEYES high definition eye pencil, Park Ave Princess bronzer and Lively matte Lipsurgence lip tint

***Please note: the emphasEYES high definition eye pencil is actually labelled as a long wearing inner rim eye pencil.  It is extremely resistant to any and all smudging.  I actually had to go at this swatch on my hand twice with the makeup remover to get it to budge.  I can’t wait to try it out on my water line.***

swatch of LipSurgence lipstick by tarte in shade "Lively"

"Lively" LipSurgence natural matte lip tint by tarte on my lips

***I found this product really creamy, smooth and easy to apply.  I also didn’t find it drying at all, it kept my lips nice and moisturised.  And NO, this is not a one of those dreaded sticky lip products!  And to top it all off, when I removed it, my lips felt soft and smooth.  I’ll definitely be looking at their other colours next time I am in store.***

I hope you found this post informative in one way or another.  At the very least make sure the next time you are in a Sephora that you sign up for the points card if you haven’t already – and start earning your points now!



All About Eyes Palette

Drugstore Eyeshadows


I’m sure you all can tell by now that I am a makeup addict.  This addiction usually results in many MAC and Sephora purchases.  But every once in a while the draw of the inexpensive drugstore product calls to me as I am sneaking through…just trying to get one thing and get out!  It isn’t my fault…it herds you right through the cosmetic section before you can even get to the other section of the store.

Drugstore Eyeshadow Palette

This “All About Eyes” Palette by Quo was available at Shoppers Drug Mart  for a whopping $20 just prior to the holidays.  You can’t even get two MAC eyeshadows for that price…so I figured why not?!

Let’s take a look and see what these look like.

Drugstore Eyeshadow Palette

For reference sake, seeing as these colours don’t have names.  Let’s number them like this:

Top Row: 1,2,3,4,5

Bottom Row: 6,7,8,9,10

Drugstore Eyeshadows

6, 1, 2, 3, and 4 underneath

Drugstore Eyeshadows

7,8,9,10 and 5 underneath

Colours always seem to swatch nicely on the back of your hand, but that doesn’t always mean it will be nice to work with on your eye.  So I decided a proper review of this eyeshadow also needed a look from these shades.

All About Eyes Quo Palette LookQuo Eyeshadow LookMAC Margin Blush, Unchanging MAC Pro Longwear Lipcolour, Quo Eyeshadow

*Please also note that I used Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, Blacktrack Fluidline by MAC for eyeliner, Unchanging MAC Pro Longwear Lipcolour, Sephora Triple Action Mascara, Margin Blush by MAC as well as Mystery Eyeshadow by MAC to fill in my brows.*

My look ended up looking a lot like my “Zero Gravity Look” but there was a clear difference in the quality of product and ease of use.  When it comes to eyeshadow, I truly believe you get what you pay for.

What I noticed about these eyeshadows:

  • I had to keep going back for more to get the coverage and colour pigmentation I wanted.  Unlike with MAC or Urban Decay, you aren’t just applying once.  The colours also don’t layer nicely if you want to lighten one up by using a different shade on top – it was a nightmare trying to get the pigments to show when layering.
  • Fantastic large mirror.  It is actually functional as a mirror, rather than the tiny shard that you can’t see anything in that comes with most palettes.
  • Useless foam brushes – waste of space!  I would’ve rather seen a q-tip!
  • All in all, I think it is an okay deal for $20.  Even if I end up only using 2 of these colours, it will still be worth the money.  I wouldn’t however go out of my way to buy one of their larger palettes though.  And given my collection of eyeshadow, I don’t imagine I will be reaching for this set anytime soon.
  • I would recommend these Quo eyeshadows for if you plan to do either a monolithic eye (only one eyeshadow colour) or a standard two-toned eye.  If you try to do too much blending or funky layering, you won’t end up noticing the extra work in the finished look at all.

I hope you found this useful!



Where do you draw the line?

Blacktrack and Macroviolet Fluidline

The other day I entered into a coversation about my favorite eyeliners.  First thing that came to mind was MAC’s Fluidline product.  MAC Fluidline is a cream eyeliner that was  introduced to me by my girlfriend Rachel about two years ago, I haven’t looked back and use “Blacktrack” almost everyday.  It truly has become a staple for me and is my “go to” when experimenting as well as when wanting to recreate basic and boring.  I’m well into my second pot of it and am not sure where I would be without it.  “Macroviolet” is also beautiful, but used less often as I love the drama black liner brings to your eyes.    And of course, you can make the line as thin or as thick as you like depending on the brush you use and how much you apply.