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Monday, 28 May 2012

I got a very sweet e-mail recently from the lovely folks at Drama Queen Cosmetics, asking me to do a look using their products along with a review. I got six shadows sent to me due to a shipping mishap, but they were kind enough to let me keep the extra one. So, I've gone ahead and swatched all six for you to see, along with a small write up and review of each, culminating in an East Indian inspired bridal look using the shadows. PHEW! Lots to get to, but first a little bit about the company:

"It has been said that life is just a movie; if you don't like the story, then re-write the script. Without the drama, the happy ending would just not be as exciting. Dedicated to the screen goddess in each of us, Drama Queen Cosmetics is an invitation to explore your fantasies through reinvention and indulgent self-expression." - Drama Queen Cosmetics

 Some fast facts about the company that I found on their website:
  • Drama Queen Cosmetics began backstage on the set of a cult horror show
  • High pigment blend ability of professional backstage makeup
  • High quality ingredients for all day wear; i.e.: palm oil
  • Three types of shadows: High Pearl, Luminous Shimmer & Matte
  • Paraben Free products  
When I received my colors I was initially pretty stumped as to what to do with them. A lot of the time I just pick colors on a whim without much thought as to how they would actually work together which comes back to bite me in the ass later on when I have to do a look with them.  Anyways, after a lot of brainstorming I took my inspiration from the incredibly beautiful and ornate fabrics used by South Asian brides. Living in Toronto, a cultural mosaic, I have the benefit of seeing women decked out in all kinds of beautiful sarees and hijabs on a daily basis. The fabrics are just absolutely stunning, so ornate and intricate and beautiful. I wanted to try and capture their beauty in an eye palette that might be suitable for a South Asian wedding that would use these same type of fabrics. Disclaimer: This is not my area of personal or cultural expertise so it's not an authentic look, just one inspired by the colors seen in the following picture.

The Color Inspiration - Saree Fabric

With Flash

Okay, so they currently have 48 individual colors to choose from, including three pre-made palettes that come with four shadows each. The shadows are $15.00/ea and are standard size. So I would say pricing wise they are comparable to M.A.C. eye shadows. Now, on to the six that I received and reviewed:

L-R (No Flash, No Primer): Pink Champagne, Shimmering Plum, Cup Cake, Canary Diamond, Absinth, Green Fairy

 Canary Diamond (High Pearl): A translucent yellow gold shimmer shadow.

I was fifty-fifty with this one because it was pretty in the pan but it left me wanting more when I applied it. HOWEVER! I'm a pigment queen (hence the name of the blog). I want my shadows bold and bright and this one could have delivered more in that department. But bold, bright and in your face isn't for everyone so if you're just looking for a light, shimmery yellow then yes this is everything it promises to be. The major downside for me was that it was a bit patchy when I applied it so I had to use it over a base to get the coverage I wanted. Other than that, it was fine.

 Cup Cake (High Pearl): Light translucent pink with golden shimmer

This was one of my top two favorites of the six I received, I will definitely be using this one again, except maybe as a blush instead. This two-tone pink & gold shade is so light and subtle I think it would make the perfect cheek color - it gives such a gorgeous golden rosy glow. As an eyeshadow though, it's very very light, so I would probably use this to blend out other shadows like brighter pinks, reds, purples or golds. Definitely a beautiful shadow, but not one that could stand on its own.
Absinth (Luminous Shimmer): Shimmery Emerald Green

I was the most excited for this one however but unfortunately it was kind of a let down. It's honestly not a bad shadow but the image on the site isn't accurate so what I got wasn't what I was hoping for. It's not nearly as bright as advertised; it's much darker and much more muted than the site suggests. For that reason, this color isn't very flattering on me because of my light-yellowish complexion. I think this would be better suited to someone with darker, olive skin or brownish, amber eyes. All in all, not a bad color, just a bad color choice for me.

 Shimmering Plum (High Pearl): Soft purple with pink hues

Okay. First things first. Do not be deceived by the description. There is absolutely nothing purple about this shadow. This reads much more reddish/pinkish than the name suggests, but it blended beautifully over each shadow it was next to so it's very versatile. For someone who wants to dabble in reds and pinks without being overwhelmed by garish color, this would be the perfect shadow to pick. This was the color that I ended up featuring most prominently in my look and I think it held its own as a feature color pretty well, so props for that.
Green Fairy (High Pearl): Forest Green with Pearly Shimmer

This is the one that I didn't actually order but received as part of the mix-up. It's a very muddy color that reads yellowish-brownish-greenish depending on how the light hits it and what it's paired with. That means two things: It's great for transitioning between colors, but it's not the prettiest shadow on its own. It really needs to be next to something great.

Pink Champagne (Luminous Shimmer): Shimmery Light Pink Sherbert

This one was one of my other favorites of the one's I got! This is such a beautiful highlighting color, I can tell I will be using this all the time as an accent to all kinds of looks. For me, it's the perfect shimmery neutral; it blends perfectly with my skin yet adds light and warmth because of it's subtle shimmer and gold undertones, which means it's perfect for everyday use! Honestly, I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn't look good in this color! Purchase!

My gut feeling is that this would be a great brand to be loyal to once you knew exactly which shades you absolutely loved which is why I really wish they had an option for sample sizes since the full price shadows are pretty pricey. I find it really hard to review a whole line based on a few samples but for me it was hit or miss, more-so color wise than quality wise. In retrospect I really wish I had chosen some different shades (here's the full product line) but alas - that's on me not them.

Here's the breakdown:

  • The shadows blended beautifully
  • Long lasting; I wore my look for 7hrs with minimal creasing in HOT weather
  • Well-made & beautiful packaging. 
  • Muted, medium pigmentation, good for day-wear or light smokey eyes
  • Lots of shimmer & pearl colors, not a huge selection of matte shades
  • Some shadows were patchy or chalky
  • Colors don't always match the website

Monday, 21 May 2012

This post is something that I have been meaning to do for a while now, probably the past month or so - ever since I received the Makeup Geek eyeshadow collection. Even before I received the Makeup Geek eyeshadows, I kept hearing and being told that the shades were comparable to M.A.C. They even have a comprehensible dupe list. Now, I kind of have to take this claim on Makeup Geek's good word because  ... I have a confession to make. I actually don't own ANY M.A.C. makeup.

Now before y'all go jumping down my throat I have NOTHING against M.A.C. makeup or those who buy it. I would love to own some if I had the money, but I simply cannot afford their product line. So, I have to work with what I can afford. That's why I'm always on the lookout for high-quality, low cost products.

This is one of the many reasons I've been such a huge supporter of the Makeup Geek eyeshadow line - M.A.C. quality payoff without the M.A.C. price tag ... or so I have to believe, since I don't own any M.A.C. to compare it to.

This dilemma is what led me to devise the following challenge to myself and the Makeup Geek cosmetic line:

  • THE CHALLENGE: If indeed Makeup Geek eyeshadows are comparable to M.A.C. I should be able to duplicate a M.A.C. look with Makeup Geek products and still achieve almost identical results.


So, I sat down and watched the whole video tutorial and as Tiffany went through her M.A.C. shadows it was fairly easy for me to find duplicates for each one. I did take some creative licenses with the look (adding a white/silver highlight on the inner corner, changing the lipcolor) but all in all, I think it was a pretty good dupe! Here's the product breakdown and some more pictures of the look

That makes your grand total savings:

Anyways, what I hope that people take away from this post is not necessarily that I'm scorning M.A.C. or anything, I just want people to see that you don't have to pay for brand name makeup to look absolutely beautiful. When I was first starting out, I thought I could never be as good as my guru heroes because I couldn't afford the products they were using in their videos. Well guess what, that's simply not true. You just have to know where to look because there are amazing, high-quality products for bargain prices all over the place and you can start your journey at!

Watch the tutorial here:

Okay, so this post was updated as of June 24th, 2013. The pictures that follow were from the first time I tried this look on May 23rd 2012 but didn't film a tutorial. I'm leaving them here for those people who already pinned the images so the links don't get broken. Or if you want to see how the look changes from wear to wear/with different lip colors/how my style has changed over time. 

Monday, 14 May 2012

This is going to be a big post today. Category is .... PROM 2012! Though it's been ... longer than I care to admit since I went to prom I figured "'Tis the season, so why not take a trip down memory lane and try out some looks that might be good for prom!" My own prom makeup & styling was embarrassingly atrocious (pics at the end of this post, they are hilari-bad), but I've definitely improved since. Here are my two suggestions for Prom looks. Whether you want to be sexy or sweet, have a fairytale evening or fierce out, I think you'll be pleased. So what's it going to be girls? Naughty or Nice?

I always say give me the bad news first so let's start with my naughty girls. For you drama queens, rule breakers and style daredevils I've created a dangerously hot smokey eye inspired by burning embers. This sultry look is for those who aren’t afraid of playing with a little fire… Inspired by the glow of a burning ember, this dark smokey eye evokes feelings of mystery, drama and intrigue by featuring an unexpected mix of merlot reds and cinnamon browns for a dangerously hot look that’s sure to surprise and seduce. Let's take a closer look. Just be careful, don't get too close to the fire...

Eyeshadows Used: Makeup Geek E/S in Bada Bing, Bitten, Bling, Corrupt, Glamorous, Latte, Purely Naked, Vanilla Bean


Prom Dress Suggestion:

However, for those of you who would rather be a fairy princess than a femme fatale (nothing wrong with either, I say!), I've also created a more traditional feminine look that is sure to suit almost any dress on your special day. The color combination of this look features warm mocha browns and soft rose pinks highlighted by neutral nudes and shimmery cream tones. This simple but sophisticated look is sure to make you feel like an absolute angel.

Eyeshadows: Makeup Geek in Bitten, Bling, Latte, Mocha, Shimma Shimma, Vanilla Bean

And finally, as promised - the hilari-bad pictures of baby me way back in 2005 attending my own formal/prom (excuse the bad quality, these were taken before the age of super HD cameras, probably for the best actually with that hair and makeup). There's a reason it looks so haggard though! I moved from the U.S. to Canada mid-way through high-school and I was so upset that I would miss my high-school prom that my mom surprised me by calling the school last minute, getting me a ticket and driving me 10-hours to Boston the day of prom. We bought a dress and booked a last minute hair appointment on the road! I didn't get to do my makeup at all because we arrived just in time for the pre-prom gathering. But the memories made it totally worthwhile. Who cares what you look like as long as you have fun and enjoy yourself responsibly! Happy prom!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Welcome to the May installment of my blogger of the month series. Each month I will be recognizing and featuring someone who I believe to be a true talent in the beauty blogging world. For this monthly feature I have included an interview as well as a gallery of their best work. And, as a special treat, I have commissioned an exclusive look for the monthly 'Pigments & Palettes Challenge'. The next blogger I've decided to feature is:

I have been a huge admirer of Karolina's blog for the longest time and I'm always amazed by her incredible, creative looks. She is as beautiful as she is talented and she creates truly one of a kind looks. Her Catalunya look took the makeup world by storm recently and I'm so happy to see that her talent and blog are finally getting the esteem and recognition it deserves. I really hope that you will give her blog a look. I've selected some of my favorite looks to show here but there are so many more stunning looks to see there. Now, onto her Palette Challenge and interview! Also, it's her birthday today so go over to her blog and wish her a happy birthday today!


So, I'm going to do things a little differently this time and feature the palette challenge first because I think for all the hard work the artists put into it, it ought to be at the top of the post. So here is the palette that I gave to Karolina and this is the beautiful look she came up with!

Note: When reading this please be mindful that English is not Karolina's first language. 
I have not edited her interview in any way to keep the integrity of her answers. :)

What do you like the most and the least about being a beauty blogger?

I really love all the nice comments on my blog! It makes me happy a lot! Every time when I post new look and there is over 50 comments it makes me a very good mood. It’s so amazing that a lot of people like my art. I need to say, that ppl motivate me to do what I do!

Hmm what I don’t like... Sometimes I feel it's some kind of duty. Even if I don't want to or don't have enough time to post anything, I know that I should, because people wait for something new.

What are the three most important things for people to know about you? 

-         I’m VERY punctual
-         It’s very easy to hurt me. I hate it! I really want to don’t care about a lot of things, but it’s impossible...
-         I've got a lot of dreams. I wish they will come true one day.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? 

Difficult question! Maybe that I’d love to live in USA? Yea, It’s my biggest dream!

Describe your beauty philosophy in a six word sentence

Everything is better than boring makeup :D  (Meredith: I love this!! Such a good beauty motto!!)

What would you say is most unique/different about your blog & looks?

I post A LOT of colourful looks. I love nude makeup but I think there is no sense to put this kind of looks on blog, because a lot of ppl can do it on themself. I love to show new combinations of colours, fresh ideas for freaky makeup :) Most of looks aren’t wearable for everydays, but I can see that a lot of people prefer this kind of makeup, more than nude version :)

If you could design a makeup look for anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

Amy Doan from Sugarpill or Linda Hallberg! They’re my makeup guru, I’d love to create something special for them and learn some new tricks in makeup.

What's your biggest personal success so far (blogging or otherwise)?

Next difficult question! If I think about blog, the first thing that came to my mind is sooo many followers in really short period.

What are some of your favorite blogs to read or be inspired by?

There are lots of amazing beauty blogs I read. Of course Linda Hallberg, Bows and Curtseys, RoseShock and yours of course! There is no enough hours at day to tell about all the beauty blogs I love!

What was the first look you ever posted and what do you think of it now?

The first one was the angel make up about 1 year ago. It was a look for makeup contest and I was super excited because I won! It was the reason why I create a blog. Now when I look at this make up I think I could did it better, but I’m sure everybody would think the same :)

What makeup techniques are still tricky for you? - Sonja, April

Eyeliner! Haha joke :) Maybe using wax, latex etc. I have never used it before, but I’d love to try to create something really crazy using it!

I want to thank Karolina for participating this month. Please go check out her blog, you won't regret it!