Review: Lancôme Grandiose Mascara!

You are all about to witness something epic. I am going to say words that will shock you – and I guarantee, I will be getting some phone calls from my girlfriends when this post goes live.

I have a new HG mascara.

There – I said it. That’s right beauties, just let that sink in for a minute. I have never found anything that gave me happiness like Lancôme Hypnose. We have been going strong for years, and after vigorous testing, Grandiose has replaced Hypnose in my makeup bag.

IMG_3113.JPG

Everyone, meet Grandiose. The new wide angle fan effect mascara. Of course, packaging drew me into this. The tube screams luxury, and we all know how strong the lure of pretty packaging can be. The second thing I noticed was the “Swan Neck” wand. I won’t lie, when I first saw it, I thought “total gimmick”.

IMG_3118.JPG

It wasn’t until I took the tube home with me and started testing it – that I realized that the wand truly does make application easier. Those tiny lashes on the inner and outer corners have no chance of hiding from this brush. And surprisingly, it also works well on my lower lashes.

As for flaking, smudging, or transfer, I had none of it! Being a contact lens wearer, this is rare, and very appreciated!

Now – I will say that this mascara isn’t for everybody. If you want very natural looking lashes – more focused on length and separation, Definicils or even regular Hypnose might be better for you. (The beauty of Hypnose is you have complete control of your look! It can be natural or very dramatic!) if you are more of a volume and length kinda gal, this is for you. This mascara will give your eyes that dramatic pop, and immediately makes you look more awake.

Overall, this mascara really impressed me, and it is now what I reach for daily. This is the first mascara in years that has knocked Hypnose right out of my makeup bag! If you’re a mascara junkie, I say splurge on this $35.00 CAD beauty at least once.

I must know – what is your holy grail mascara!?

-Sara

Dior’s new Backstage Blender is Solid as a Rock!

So I’ve recently been trying to find a cheaper alternative to the Beauty Blender. Being a professional Makeup Artist, I am constantly buying these babies for my kit, and they get expensive. Being aggressively cleaned and microwaved all the time, they do break down after while, and if I can find a cheaper alternative, I am all over it. I recently picked up Dior’s new Backstage Blender sponge, hoping this would be the answer. It is $6.00CAD cheaper than the Beauty Blender, plus I receive a 30% discount off of their products. Sounds perfect right?

IMG_4166.JPG

I brought this home with me, and after some reading, I learned this sponge is actually meant to be used dry. Perfect I thought, sometimes on makeup gigs, I don’t have access to a faucet, and spraying them with thermal water takes a little while. First impressions were that the sponge doesn’t have the same squishy bouncy texture as the Beauty Blender. I have tried this sponge dry, as well as wet (out of sheet curiosity) and I have to say, it doesn’t compare to the Beauty Blender. It is such a solid sponge, and I honestly felt like I was putting on my foundation with a piece of gravel. It didn’t seem to sheer the foundation out at all, but I didn’t find the sponge ate up as much of my foundation that I was expecting. I found it hard to get into those little areas such as eyes and around the nose, because the sponge itself was really hard to manipulate.

Here is picture of the Beauty Blender (Royal Shade) beside the black Dior sponge for size.

IMG_4167.JPG

They are almost the same size, and although the Dior sponge is meant to be used dry, I still wanted to see if it expanded at all. So here are both of them after they’ve been dampened.

IMG_4168.JPG

As you can see, the Dior sponge really doesn’t expand at all. And if anything, getting it wet just makes the sponge itself harder. So, if you do decide to try this, I’d steer clear of water!

Overall, I was happy with the look of my foundation and concealer, but when I tried to use a darker concealer stick for contour, all it did was take the product off of my skin. I found myself really missing that bouncy light feeling that the Beauty Blender gives me, and this Dior sponge tugged on my skin a little too much for comfort. I am hoping it will help me with some Halloween makeup this year, but for everyday personal use and the sponges in my freelance kit, I will be sticking to the original Beauty Blender sponge. I am dying for a dupe of this, has anyone tried a sponge that has the same squishy feeling of the Beauty Blender?

-Sara

Recent Beauty Empties!

So before I started writing this post, I realized that somehow I have lost the list of shades for the makeup part of this, so bear with me, I’ll try my best to remember what I can, but we are just going to have to go by the photos for most of this … I recently did a massive cosmetic clear out, so I have a lot of empties to show you! (And a few products I’m just getting rid of that didn’t work for me!)

Batiste Dry Shampoo (Tropical) – I love Batiste dry shampoo, I’ve talked about this before. I prefer the regular version, but this one was on super clearout. I still have one can of this left, and I will continue to use Batiste.

Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser – This has become my go to cleanser. I rotate between this one for normal/combo skin and the one with Shea Butter for dry skin. You need a tiny amount, it foams like a dream, and it plays well with my Clarisonic. Will definitely repurchase!

Aquaphor – I can’t believe I actually emptied this. But I guess, this stuff is great. Dry lips, dry patches, cuticle cream, this is an all over beauty product, and I will be picking another one up before the colder months for sure.

Quo Nail Polish Remover- Nothing fancy here, it does the job, and I will repurchase as it’s what’s available to me. Does anyone really find a difference between nail polish removers?

L’oreal EverCreme Nourishing Masque – This masque is now discontinued, but oh my lord I love this stuff. I stocked up when it was on clearout, and this was my last jar. I recently purchased the Aussie 3 minute moist mask, and I’m still deciding what one I like best!

Bourjois Eye Makeup Remover – Solid product. It comes in a huge bottle, and is fairly inexpensive. I used this on days when I had a lot of eye makeup or liner on, and it never let me down. Bioderma does the trick for me on a daily basis, but I will probably repurchase this when holiday makeup starts. Glitter is no joke to remove.

La Roche Posay Ceralip- This product didn’t really do anything for me. I am still searching for a Holy Grail lip balm, and I won’t repurchase this, as it didn’t deliver the results I wanted.

Biotherm Aquasource Nuit- I liked this stuff, but on days when my skin was irritated, or a little red, it did sting a little. I finished it, but I won’t repurchase. I actually had to use this as a serum as it wasn’t hydrating enough for my skin.

Phyto PhytoBaume Express Conditioner- Another blah product. It was nice, but didn’t give me any results I couldn’t get from a drugstore conditioner.

IMG_4163.JPG

And now for the makeup. Again, I apologize for the lack of shade names, but I’m sure us beauty junkies can figure out what is what!

IMG_3945.JPG

Lancome Juicy Tube in Spring Fling – This gloss was great for topping off dry feeling lipsticks, it had the slightest tiny, but really came off as clear. Great shine, but it was a little too sticky for my preference.

Chanel Lip Gloss – I LOVE this lip gloss, and I don’t know why I haven’t sought out more of them. Whatever color this was (I honestly can’t remember, but I think it was shade 69) was beautiful, and I loved the way these felt on my lips! Total thumbs up for this prestige gem.

Clarins Rouge Prodige Gloss in Nude – I also love these glosses, I have several colors, and I really am going to miss this nude one. I am currently playing around with some other brands, but it’s only a matter of time until I come back to this. They smell soooo good!

Rimmel Lash Accelerator in Blackest Black- I thought I liked this mascara at first, but about two weeks into it, it was flake city. Maybe because I wear contacts and touch my eyes a lot, and this is a fibre mascara so we just had to break it off. No bad feelings, I think this might work well for somebody who isn’t an obsessive eye rubber.

Stila Forever your Curl Mascara – I did not like this mascara one bit. Honestly, I have never ever liked any of Stilas mascaras (until Mile High came along, that stuff is amazing!) I didn’t notice any curl with this, and while I appreciated the small wand that could grab my tiniest lashes, it did nothing for me. Barely any length, and zero volume. Will not be going back to this one for sure.

Essence Lash Mania Mascara- Another one that flakes on me. To be fair, this costs like $3.99, so I’m not too disappointed with the purchase. Interesting though, this has the exact same wand as the new Stila Mile High lashes. I’ll stick to my I love Extreme Crazy Volume mascara when it comes to Essence.

Sephora Liquid Eyeliner in Pool Party – I wore this eyeliner honestly once. It was so dry and by the end of my work shift, I had flakes of cobalt blue all over my face. It was horrifying. Lancôme makes a similar shade, and that one worked so much better for me. I will not use these eyeliners again!

L’oreal Le Gloss Lip Gloss – This is an oldie but a goodie. As you can see, the packaging has worn off, and for good reason. These are awesome, affordable, non sticky glosses, and I wish they would launch some more colors.

Vichy Aqualia Eye Roller – Another non event product. This felt amazing, I kept mine in the fridge and it was nice to use in the morning, but I need more hydration from an eye cream, and puffiness isn’t one of my main concerns with my eyes, so I won’t be going back to this again!

CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara (water resistant) – You may have remembered my travel post on this. I took this to Florida with me, and it did not hold up to it’s water resistant claim. I was in a hot tub (not even underwater) and the product was all over my face. As soon as I got back from my trip, I threw this in the empty bin.

Smashbox Duo Blush – This was a limited edition blush that came in a kit from Smashbox years ago. I used it and used it and used it, and it was finally time to say goodbye. I loved the two colors because you could use the deeper one near the hollows of the cheek, and the lighter one on the apple. It have a beautiful dimensional cheek, and this will me missed for sure!

Urban Decay Lip Junkie Gloss in Naked – I liked this product, but I wasn’t a fan of the squeeze packaging. I prefer a wand as I get more control, and I think I would purchase the NAKED glosses over this formula.

Phew – that was a huge amount of empties. Thanks for sticking through it with me! Will I ever get tired of the satisfying feeling of making my collection smaller? Now I have room to start picking up the holiday sets! ;)

Thanks for reading!

-Sara

Sabahs Review: Benefit They’re Real Push up Liner!

Let me start by saying I am behind on this product. Sara reviewed this months ago, but it took me awhile to get to it, and now that I’ve tried it, and heard so many mixed things about it, I thought I would throw my opinion in the mix too!
I have weird eyes. I haven’t figured out exactly what my issue is, if I’m just uncoordinated, or my eyes actually have a hard shape to line. I don’t know, but I do know, I am so bad at applying eyeliner. I don’t like applying it because I have to stretch my eyelid out, which causes me to hear Sara in my head screaming about giving myself lines. When a situation requires liquid liner, I almost always went to my Stila Stay all Day. And then Benefit launched They’re Real liner. I had to have it, obviously. It’s Benefit, and my self-restraint with anything from this line is extremely minimal. So the new gel liner came home with me where it sat, on my counter. For weeks. I justified not opening it because I wanted to use up my Stila first and I also wanted a solid opinion on a pencil liner I was trying. I put off what I feared would be an epic failure of makeup application. I had heard that this guy was……challenging to apply. I felt like I had no chance of this working for me. Then one day I had a fit of bravery and jumped in and haven’t regretted it since. The first thought that went through my head was, damn I’ll never be without this guy. It was a bit of a nightmare as I thought I was inducing carpel tunnel as I clicked and clicked and clicked waiting for the liner to come out. Legit, it takes forever to make it come out, don’t return it assuming it’s empty. Once the liner graced me with its presence (it’s uber black matte presence) I applied it to my eyelid, and it was over. That’s it, super easy, right on my lash line. This flawless jet black line right on my lash line. No tugging and no anxiety about it being uneven. Crazy, I have no idea why people struggle with the application. After every time I use it I wipe it down and make sure it’s clean for my next use. I don’t know if that is necessary but I have concerns about liner drying around the little opening where the product comes out. Like its big sister mascara, this liner is a total bitch to take off. An oil based remover seems to do the trick. I have yet to use the remover that they launched along side of this … Even with the more tedious removal, I still end up using this product all the time, which is a big thing for me. My final judgement is, go for it. Don’t let all the scary reviews stop you. Less is more with this beauty, so start slow and enjoy the most black, most matte, liner you have ever tried!

IMG_4162.JPG

-Sabah

Review: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette!

Hello everybody! I feel like I have been gone for awhile, I spent the Thanksgiving weekend with friends and family, and took a much needed break from the blogging world. Don’t get me wrong, I love to write, but sometimes you just need a break from the the technology and social media, and you need to have an old fashioned get together with loved ones, and unplug. But, getting back into the swing of things now, and I have an exciting review for you!

Sometimes, you just have an inkling about something. When everyone was going gaga over the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, I didn’t jump on board right away – and by chance, I ended up with a palette of three powders instead. Flash forward to the release of the Ambient Lighting Blushes. I said the exact same thing. There is no way they won’t release a palette in time for the holidays. My patience has paid off, and now I am the proud owner of a second Hourglass palette.

IMG_4140.JPG
The shades are Luminous Flush, Incandescent Electra (only available in this palette) and Mood Exposure.

I was very pleased with the pigmentation of these blushes. Some of the individual shades have been known to have a film on the top, and needed to be aggressively swathed before you got decent pigment. I have also noticed this with the powder palette, the product is much nicer after you get that top layer off. These blushes however, made me happy from the first swatch. I have used all three of these blushes, and I can’t pick a favorite. Luckily with palettes, you don’t have to choose just one!

The lasting power of these blushes is pretty standard, I never find myself touching up, but after a long day, they definitely fade from the skin. I love the way these products are swirled with the Ambient Lighting Powders, because they really do give the skin a beautiful glow.

The packaging is of course beautiful, and I appreciate that it’s a different color than the powder palette, because I’m not constantly looking to see which one is which. I also find that this packaging doesn’t show fingerprints as badly, which isn’t the biggest deal, but I definitely appreciate it.

Now these are something that I recommend. Any beauty junkie should try an Hourglass blush, but at $67.00 CAD, it’s definitely a big expense.

To be completely honest, I don’t know if this was worth the money for me. After being out almost $80.00 after taxes, I can’t help but think what else I could have gotten for that much money. I absolutely love this palette, but is it something I would use exclusively? No. Is it something that I think can’t be duped? No. There are other companies that have beautiful blushes for less than this, but given that this is a palette and I now own three Hourglass blushes, as opposed to spending a little less and only having one, I am happy with my purchase.

This is a great product, and if you are looking for a new blush, you should ice this a try. However if you have what seems like an unlimited supply of blush, I might recommend you put your money elsewhere this Holiday Season!

IMG_4141.JPG

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? I’m curious to know, how many of you have Turkey, and how many of you have Ham? Or both? I wrapped my turkey in bacon this year, and I don’t think I’ll ever make it any other way from now on!

IMG_4159.PNG

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

-Sara

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction lip pencil!

As stated in our post about the Pulp Fiction palette I am a massive fan of the 90’s movie. Specifically the Mia Wallace character. When I saw the collection, the palette was a given but I was pretty sure I wanted the lipstick too. Oddly I settled on the lip pencil instead. My makeup collection is nothing to sneeze at but my lip liners? I am not exaggerating when I say I own three. Two Gosh ones and now Mia. I am not someone who reaches for liners often. My lips are pretty small and I had an aunt who always rocked the dark liner with a lighter lipstick. Stuff like that sticks with a girl. I’m finally starting to get over this and have decided to try some. (Totally open to recommendations)

To match my odd liner avoidance I also have a red lipstick aversion. (This one has more to do with a fear of yellow teeth) I’m a bit more experienced with the red. Poor Sara, she’s been watching me try reds forever. This Mia Wallace liner is awesome. I use it to colour in my whole lip and then apply a bit of a gloss on top for hydration. If I don’t have a full blown meal I can get about five hours out of this look. That’s huge for me, no long wear lip product is ever truly that long wearing on me. Maybe I lick my lips a lot? Should I be self-conscious about this? That’s weird right? Anyway Mia survives my lips for a long time which is a feat all its own. Super smooth and creamy and the colour is a really great red that doesn’t turn pink on me nor does it make my teeth look yellow. All in all I’m super happy with this bad boy and just might end up buying the lipstick to match.

The remaining items left from this collection are now marked down pretty drastically, so if you haven’t gotten on board yet, now is your chance!!

-Sabah

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone!

So I’ve been on the hunt for the powder version of this for what seems like eternity. It was like this far off product that people dream about. Like the great Library of Alexandria, you know it existed but will it ever be found again? When I saw this liquid version I had to have it, obviously. I actually put down my Pulp Fiction red lipstick and opted for this instead. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but still pretty awesome. I usually prefer powder highlights because they look a bit more natural but I love this product. It looks really good on me. I recently stopped Sara in the middle of the street and said “Stop! Look at how good my highlight looks!!” It wasn’t one of my most modest days, but this highlighter really discourages anything less than full blown egotism. It adds so much. I have the shade Moonstone and it adds so much dimension to the face. When paired with Soft and Gentle, you could stop traffic. ust go get this, the only choice you have in the matter, is if you want Moonstone or Opal.
IMG_3974
Do you guys prefer cream or powder highlighters?

-Sabah

Marc Jacobs gave disappointing Lip Service …

Some of you die hard beauty lovers may remember this 1000 point set by Marc Jacobs. As soon as I saw the two full sized Marc Jacobs lippies, I jumped onboard, and gladly handed over my points. In this set I received a Lip Vinyl in 316 Shooting Stars, and a Lip Gel in 146 Cabaret. Both of these have some pros and cons – but let me say in short, I am glad I didn’t actually pay money for these.

IMG_4083

(I actually ended up switching my Lip Vinyl for a different shade, because the one that came in my kit was cracked, and leaked everywhere, so the shade pictured here is called Boom Boom.)

Let’s start with the Lip Gel. First of all, the packaging of this is incredible. Total purse proud product. And the shade is absolutely stunning. My issue with the product is the wear time, and the texture. As soon as I applied this product, I felt the need for a lip balm. It was crazy drying on my lips. Fair enough – pairing a lip balm under a lipstick isn’t enough for me to totally snub a product. The wear time of this as what really turned me off. I got maybe 25 minutes out of it before my colleagues were warning me that I had the dreaded lipstick ring of color around my mouth. And with it being a stronger color – let me tell you – it was not pretty. I had to constantly reapply, and that made my lips completely dry out. I pulled out all the stops. Apply, blot, reapply … I used a tissue with some loose powder, but this stuff avoided my lips like Lindsay Lohan avoids Rehab. Expensive products should not be this high maintenance – and I will not be purchasing anymore of these.

Now for the Lip Vinyl. First off, the color range of these are very limited. Some have sparkle and some are a cream finish. Almira found a perfect shade for her with a cream finish and she loves it. Unfortunatly, my experience wasn’t the same. I get maybe 40 minutes of wear time out of this, but all I am left with at the end of it, is a mouth full of glitter in my dry flakes. And, the glitter travelled all over my teeth as well. Rubbing glitter off of your teeth with a tissue is not something I am prepared to deal with, when using a super high end product. I also had trouble with the package leaking, but after looking closely, I saw that it was cracked, and I was able to switch it for another color of my choice. (I was really pleased with the service!) The new color is still just OK on me, however it is a cream finish and I definitely prefer these to the shimmer finishes. These do feel nice on the lips, they are slightly cooling and minty. However, other companies do better with these types of products. Shiseido Lip Laquers, and Rimmel Apocalips to name a few. These are just not worth the price in my honest opinion, but I will be keeping the beautiful packaging in my collection for sure.

So far the Marc Jacobs line has just been so-so for me. I do want to try the Genius Gel Foundation though …

-Sara

Tis the Season for Holiday Sets! Here they start …

Less than three months until Christmas. I can’t even believe I am typing those words. Luckily, the limited edition holiday sets have started rolling in, and they will help me through it. These are three sets from Lancôme that are amazing deals – and great gifts!

Irresistible Lips: This lip gloss trio comes with three of the most popular shades of the new Lip Lover glosses. They are 3 ml each (which is great considering a full size one is 4.5ml!) You get Framboise Etoile 355, Lip Lover 337, and Rose Attrape Coeur 316. (Swatches posted below) This set retails for $46.00 CAD ($58.00 Value) and would make an awesome gift, or a great addition to glam up a stocking!
IMG_4014
IMG_4015

Perfect Duo: This is another great set. I wish they carried this year round! Inside is a full size Cils Booster XL, and a full size Definicils mascara. Definicils is a great mascara if you’re after definition and separation and paired with my holy grail Cils Booster – your lashes will look absolutely amazing. I am so happy that Lancôme included Cils in their holiday sets – because it is an overlooked product that gives amazing results. This kit retails for $40.00 CAD (Value $60.50) and makes a wonderful gift. (That could even be broken into two gifts!)
IMG_4010

Love Your Lashes: This is a mascara lover’s dream – and my personal favorite so far. Inside – a full size Cils Booster XL, and deluxe sample sizes of Definicils, Hypnose Drama, and Hypnose Star. You also get a mini Bi-Facil, Lancomes famous eye makeup remover. If you take anything away from this line, walk away knowing that Lancôme are the mascara Queens. Be a good friend and buy this for all of your girlfriends this year. And one for yourself … Now wait for it. This retails for $35.00 CAD ($96.00 Value!) Well done Lancôme, well done.
IMG_4011
IMG_4016
This is just the beginning of the season. What holiday items/sets are you most excited about?

September Favorites!

It’s officially October. We have been having some really beautiful fall weather, and it’s finally Football season. I have no complaints, so let’s get into my September favorites, and enjoy this lovely time of year before the dreaded winter comes.

Kiehl’s Crème de Corps Body Lotion: Almira brought this back for me during one of her recent trips, and I absolutely love this lotion. It feels so smooth and silky, and you can get dressed right after application. It is not sticky or greasy at all, and I love the soft scent that it has. Of course, this is a product that I can’t buy where I live, so I have some research to do, because mine is almost gone! She also got me a sample of the hand salve and I am absolutely loving that as well …

Clarins Double Serum: This is an older favorite of mine, but it got pushed to the back burner while I tried other things, and I recently went back to it. I love rediscovering products, and my skin is very happy that I went back to this. If you are looking for an anti aging serum, or something to hydrate your skin and give you a super radiant looking complexion, give this a try!

Michael Kors Watch: This was a birthday gift from a few friends of mine this year, and I have been wearing this almost every day this month. I love black and gold together, and the spike detail through the middle of the band is just what I was looking for in a watch.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Foundation: This foundation works very well for me, and I have to say, it’s one of my favorite foundations from the drugstore. Again, I cannot buy this where I live (or in Canada at all) so that is super frustrating. But – everytime I visit the States, I will be sure to pick this baby up. I have a review coming very soon on this foundation so stay tuned for that!

Essence Longlasting Lipsticks: I have a full review on these here … these lipsticks are simply amazing. And not even in a “they were only $2.99″ kind of way. I can compare these to some of my high end lipsticks, and in some cases, they even perform better. They are not drying on the lip, have such saturated color, and the packaging is awesome. Next time you are at the drugstore, have a look for these little gems.

Clarins Ombre Matte Shadow in Nude Pink: This eye shadow is super boring, and right up my alley. I have been using this all over my lid this month, and I absolutely love it. I also have a full review with swatches of this eyeshadow line here.

And the random favorite in the background. The Chicago Bears. Not only are Sabah and I beauty junkies, we are also football fanatics. Both previous Ravens fans, we decided to branch out this year to pick different teams, after all of the Ray Rice drama. I originally picked the Vikings (as I look wicked in purple) and then Adrian Peterson took care of that. I decided to go back to my roots, and cheer for the Bears. They have always been my fathers favorite team, and Brandon Marshall made it easy to choose the team!

IMG_4075-0.JPG

Are any of you guys Football fans? Who is your favorite team?

-Sara