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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Whew! This is going to be a BIG post so get ready. I have to start off by thanking the generous people over at Makeup Geek who have been so, so good to me over the past few months. I can proudly say that my Makeup Geek collection is now about 99.95% complete thanks all they've sent me. To have such an awesome working relationship with their team means so, so much to me because Makeup Geek was the first makeup site I was ever serious about. Without it, I wouldn't have even started blogging, so I literally owe it all to them. Seeing the talented work of other artists like Kassie and Sonja in the weekly MUG competitions inspired me to improve my own skills and start sharing with others. A short year and a half later and I am now shocked but totally honoured to say that I have the most liked look in their image gallery, right above two of my makeup idols Marlena and Jangsara. Surreal to say the least. Dreams do come true kids, and other such cliches! Anyways. I digress. Now that my effusive thank you is out of the way, back to what you really care about: The Review!

My Makeup Geek eyeshadows and lipsticks have slowly been taking over both my personal and professional kit for a while now so I was thrilled when Makeup Geek contacted me to say they would be sending me six of their new eyeshadows and six brand new gel liners to try out as well. Well, Happy Day! They've arrived! Let's take a look at the brand new liners first!

Let me begin with Makeup Geek's three main claims about these gel liners: Smooth (glides on easily), Rich (highly pigmented) & Long Lasting (smudgeproof + waterproof). Coincidentally, when I asked my Facebook Fans what kind of info they wanted to read about in a review these were the three major themes. Perfect! So let's see how Makeup Geek's liners measured up to their claims, but first some basic information:
"Get the same precision as a liquid liner with our easily applied gel based liner. The eyeliners glide on with ease and dry to a water-resistant, smudge-proof finish that won’t fade or crease. With their intense color and rich pigmentation, these long lasting liners are sure to make a standing impression. Half the price of other expensive brands (Compare To: Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream Liners) without sacrificing quality For $7.99 you get  3G / 0.1 oz. All gel liners are cruelty-free. See full ingredient listing here."
ARE THEY SMOOTH? ( Grade: A- )
These liners did glide on very easily which is super important for liner challenged ladies like myself. I used both my finger and a cream shadow brush when testing and I had almost no issues regardless of my application method. The metallic/shimmer based liners apply like a dream; when you use your finger they literally melt to the warmth of your touch. The only trouble I had was with Electric, but you can read more about that in its mini review. Overall I'd say they definitely measured up.


Pigmented? Yes, absolutely. Highly pigmented ... ehhhhh? Hear me out. When asked to deliver in the color department, these liners certainly pass the test. I applied on bare skin, no primer and took photos with flash (which typically washes out color) and they showed up bright & mostly true to life (See swatches for reference). If there is a catch, it's this: the pigmentation improves the more coats you apply, especially Twinkle, Amethyst & Mystic. In fact I didn't even like Twinkle until at least it's third coat, but then I LOVED it. If you're okay with doing a few layers to get the best color payoff, then you've got no problems but if you're picky about immediate pigmentation payoff you may be slightly disappointed.


I think in this case a picture is worth a thousand words, but here's a few words on the longevity of these liners anyways. I applied these liners at 11:00am and took swatch photos right away. After that I immediately put on a long sleeve shirt (to simulate eye friction), went and ran errands, came back, took a bath (got my arms wet), towelled off got dressed cooked dinner and cleaned my apartment and showered. At 11:00pm, twelve long hours later, I took a second photo and well ... like I said ... the pictures speak for themselves. So, yeah. They are long lasting.

AMETHYST is a saturated purple color with a metallic finish. It has a fairly strong pink/red undertones to it as you can see in the swatch below, which differs from the swatch on their website. But, it's a pretty color nonetheless. It would be beautiful paired with Prom Night or as a base for Drama Queen( Grade: A- )

ELECTRIC is a true Royal Blue with matte finish. It has great color payoff, especially on camera, and probably the best longevity but of all the liners. However this one was also the patchiest to apply making it the hardest to work with. Pros and cons on both sides. ( Grade: B )

MYSTIC is a light emerald green with a metallic gold shimmery finish. This light emerald green shade is sure to have magical effects. Quite iridescent and the lightest of all the liners; this would make a beautiful highlight on the inner corner of the eye or on the lower waterline. However, of all the shadows, this one wore off first .... you know, after 12+ hours. ( Grade: B+/A- )

MOBSTER is a deep chocolate brown with a matte finish. Okay, so it's not the most exciting of the colors but everyone needs a good brown liner in their kit! Brown liner is a great way to soften your makeup look for school or the office, or just on days you want to keep your look soft and delicate. Mobster does everything a good brown liner should. Applies smoothly, warms the eye, goes on dark and stays. For hours, and hours ... and hours ... and ... you get the point. ( Grade: A+ )

RAVE is a dark metallic golden brown shade with a smooth shimmery finish. You'll certainly get rave reviews with this metallic golden brown liner on your eyes! This is a great neutral toned liner that would be perfect for all kinds of looks. Great pigmentation, very versatile color, long lasting. 10's across the board. ( Grade: A )

TWINKLE is a metallic dark gray with blue undertones and a smooth shimmery finish. Your eyes are sure to be stars when this shade embellishing them! This was my favorite liner because it was the most interesting and as soon as I swatched it, a 1,000 smokey eye looks popped into my head. God I love a good smokey eye. Anyways, in person it reads a deep silvery blue but in photographs it's an iridescent taupe. It's a chameleon! Plus it has the tiniest amount of rainbow glitter in it. Truly evocative of a night sky! I just wish the pictures did it more justice. I can easily see this or mobster being the first colors I hit pan with. ( Grade: A- )

Swatch #1 @ 11:00AM: Indoors, no natural light, flash photo. No primer base.
L-R = Twinkle, Electic, Rave, Amethyst, Mobster & Mystic

Twelve hours and one bath later ....

Swatch #2 @ 11:00PM: Indoors, no natural light, flash photo. No primer base.

Impressive, no? Enough said. Well, on to the eyeshadows then!

I don't want to sound like a broken record because my opinions on the quality of Makeup Geek eyeshadows are well known. I use their eyeshadows all the time in my looks, I use them on brides & bridesmaids, I just love 'em. Affordable ($5.99 compared to MAC's $15.99), pigmented, long-lasting & a good range of neutrals (though I would like to see an improvement in selection & quality of matte primary colors) For a full Makeup Geek vs. MAC breakdown, you can read this post I did earlier this past summer.  Anyways, on to the shadows.

BOO BERRY is a dark periwinkle blue with soft matte finish. The matte finish makes this color ideal for use on the lower lid for blending out black liner, adding the perfect amount of excitement to your look. Unfortunately this was my least favorite of the bunch. Poor Boo Berry! It's not it's fault. When being compared to such rich, shimmery, pigmented shadows you can't help but notice that this one doesn't quite perform as well. it's a bit patchy and a little more chalky than the rest. The bad news is it's tricky to work with but the good news is ... all the other shadows have rave reviews! ( Grade: B- )
NAUTICA is a midnight blue with a shimmery finish and slight iridescent violet undertone. Capture the essence of the ocean with Nautica! The rich color blends easily to help create deep, dark, mysteriously alluring looks. As Carrie Bradshaw would say to her Manolos ... "Hello, lover." Ohhhh, I just adore this shade. I can't wait to use this one in all kinds of sultry looks. No complaints here. It applies like a dream and it looks & feels like one too. ( Grade: A+ )
CREME BRULEE is a medium sand color with a soft matte finish. It has a velvety matte finish and texture that will leave your eyes looking and feeling delicious.  Perfect for warming up a brown smokey eye, or used to blend out harsh lines. Either way this, color is simply delectable. I can tell already this is going to be a great blending color that's going to get used a lot. The only downside is that it doesn't really apply the same color that it looks like in the pan which is decieving ( Grade: A- )

PEACH SMOOTHIE is a light peach beige with a soft matte finish which makes it ideal for blending out harsh shades or on the lower lid to help create a stunning neutral look. Despite what it looks like in the swatch this is actually a really great shadow, it just so happens to be almost exactly the shade of my skin so it doesn't show up. Guess this is my new go to blending color! ( Grade: A )
DRAMA QUEEN is a densely dark purple with red glitter and a shimmery finish. This exquisite color is perfect for darkening the outer corners or creating striking smokey look. No matter how you use it, this color is sure to turn heads and make your inner Drama Queen come out to play. I really love this color and can't wait to pair it with Amethyst Liner, Prom Night, Creme Brulee & Peach smoothie for a beautiful warm look for brown eyes. ( Grade: A )
PROM NIGHT is a pale purple with hints of grey and a shimmery finish. This shade is flattering for every eye color, every skin tone, and the shimmery finish makes it perfect for any occasion. The rich pigmentation and velvet-like texture makes this an ideal shade regardless of where you are going. Pair it up with other neutral shades for a great day look or add deeper shadows for a great smokey eye for that special night. ( Grade: A )
Swatch #1 @ 11:00AM: Indoors, no natural light, flash photo. 

Applied three coats with eyeshadow brush over Too Faced Shadow Insurance
L-R: Drama Queen, Prom Night, Creme Brulee, Peach Smoothie, Nautica & Boo Berry
Swatch #2 @ 11:00PM: Indoors, no natural light, flash photo.

Now, that's pretty impressive for not being waterproof!

I hope you guys found this post to be helpful. If there's anything else you need to know about these products that I haven't included - just comment and ask. Also, let me know if you would like to see me use these or any other Makeup Geek products in any looks. You can check out the full range of their products at the Makeup Geek store.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

As many of you are well aware, and for those of you who are not: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You've probably seen quite a few pink ribbon inspired looks pop up on makeup & nail blogs around this time in support of bringing awareness to the cause. This is not one of those looks - nor is it an attack on other's pink looks. But my pink look is in support of awareness about breast cancer awareness and here's why...

Created with vegan & all natural cosmetics from Sugarpill, The Body Needs & 100% Pure
First and foremost a disclaimer: I am writing this post not because I don't support the idea of breast cancer awareness/support/research, and not because I am a heartless bitch. I cannot even begin to fathom what it must be like to be affected by such an awful condition and I have the utmost respect for those who endure it. Furthermore, I completely understand the desire of others to want to express their support and sympathy - with this I have no problem.  However, I think there is a largely ignored aspect to breast cancer awareness that needs more attention brought to it - that is the aim of this post. 

My change in perspective came after watching Pink Ribbons, Inc., a documentary about the phenomenon of Breast Cancer Awareness. In the words of one reviewer, "The film raises the question of whether branding the disease has taken precedence over preventing it.":
"The ubiquitous pink ribbons of breast cancer philanthropy and the hand-in-hand marketing of brands and products associated with it permeates our culture, providing assurance that we are engaged in a successful battle against this insidious disease. But the campaign obscures the reality and facts of breast cancer: Despite billions of dollars raised for finding a cure, more and more women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and still face the same treatment options they did 40 years ago. Yet women are also the most influential market group, buying 80 percent of consumer products and making most major household purchasing decisions. So then who really benefits from the pink ribbon campaigns - the cause or the company?" -- (C) First Run
I highly recommend watching this film. It will truly change your perspective on all things pink. You can watch the trailer above or stream the full movie online here. It has a lot of things to say, all of which are of great value, but I want to focus on what it has to say about makeup companies & makeup.

The hypocrisy of Pink Ribbon beauty lines & products is mind boggling to me. Why? Because some of the biggest donors to the breast cancer cause (i.e. Revlon) also have some of the worst rated products in terms of carcinogen levels. (scroll down for a link to where you can look up the carcinogen levels of beauty products). Does it not seem a little fucked up that the companies who use known carcinogens in their products claim to support finding a cure? Sometimes even going so far as to put pink ribbons on these very products. If they really cared about preventing breast cancer, rather than the bottom line of profit, why not simply stop using known carcinogenic chemicals in their cosmetics?
Sephora promoting Pink Ribbon products - but what does any of it really have to do with breast cancer?
If you want to support breast cancer this October, educate yourself on cancer-safe cosmetics and start supporting companies that are truly committed to providing safe products. The next time you reach to buy a Pink Ribbon product, think 'What are the real motives behind this marketing? By buying this, am I supporting breast cancer or this company? Is this company truly committed to the cause or just trying to make a buck off my good intentions? Is this product truly carcinogen free?" We get all up in arms about companies that support animal testing (as we should), but not nearly as upset about companies pumping our favorite products full of cancer causing chemicals or exploiting this truly terrible disease. Mostly because we simply don't know. So learn, NOW! Here are some great resources to start learning which products are tied to carcinogenic products:
  • Learn about safe, clean beauty products from the girls who wrote the book No More Dirty Looks. Click the image to visit the website.

  • Check the Skin Deep database of over 75,000 beauty products to see their ratings for carcinogens, toxins, and more. See a list of 'safe' cosmetic companies and search by products that have the best and worst ratings
  • Personal Care Truth: This website believes education is the foundation in understanding cosmetic safety. We are lifelong learners committed to delivering information based on current scientific evidence while encouraging open discussion and dialogue.
I want to see this disease eradicated as much as anyone else, which is why I'm writing this. I sincerely hope it does not come across as insensitive or offensive as that is not at all my intention. I'm also not attempting to over simplify this incredibly complex disease by suggesting it is only linked to cosmetics - cosmetics is simply my area of expertise and so that is my focus. This post is merely my small attempt to help spread the word and I absolutely invite you all to have your say on this issue in the comments.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

This is the second to last entry in my fall trends series with and today's post is a royal affair. For those who like a little flare in their fall wardrobe, you definitely won’t be disappointed to know that Rhapsody, a light purple color, and Honey Gold, a warm metallic mustard are going to be all over the place this season. When paired together these rich and regal colors are sure to make you feel like royalty. Worn on the eyes, these two colors are the perfect complimentary team for brown eyed beauties (Note: My eyes are not brown, these awesome contacts are from! However, if purple is too much for you then skip it all together and simply add a swish of gold eyeliner to evoke the warm colors of fall sunsets.

Contacts from
It also looks beautiful on blue eyes as well!

If this deep, dark purple look is too much for you, I also experimented with a different kind of combination using subtler shades that was inspired by this gorgeous piece of jewelry designed by a good friend of mine, Katie. 

If you're looking to invest in these colors for Fall here are some recommendations I have. Both of these loose shadows (Solar & Violet Vibe) are from the Annabelle Mineral Eye Dust line which is one of my favorite brands of loose shadows. I use these ALL the time, especially the golden Solar. These highly pigmented loose eyeshadows are made with fine pearl particules and minerals to create incredible shine and shimmer. Use just a little for a subtle effect or apply wet in a bold stroke for incredible luminescence. Available in convenient compacts, they contain the most beautiful shades. Be as mild or as wild as you wish! Oil free. Talc free. Perfume free. Paraben free. They can be used two ways: dry or wet. Use as a dramatic eyeshadow, dazzling eyeliner or shimmery highlight. You'll be amazed at its versatility of these powders and their long lasting colour.

Adriana's outfit has only the most smallest hints of Honey Gold & Rhapsody hidden in her funky patterned skirt, which goes to show that trendy colors don't have to be incorporated in an in-your-face kind of way; they can act as a subtle compliment to other bold palettes like the bold red/purple combo of Adriana's blazer & shirt. Fall is all about bold fashion statements after all!

Be sure to check out Adriana's other outfits by clicking these links:

Thanks for checking out my post, I hope you enjoyed it. Stay tuned for more fall fashion inspired looks!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Every month I feature a blogger whose work I truly admire and respect. Each month I have included an interview as well as a gallery of some of their best work. And, as a special treat, I have commissioned an exclusive look for the monthly 'Pigments & Palettes Challenge'. This month is ...

I don't know if this ever happens to you guys, but every now and then I discover a new artist whose work I just fall absolutely head over heels in love with. So let me introduce you to my latest makeup artist crush: Brittany Couture. Brittany's looks are crazy creative, flawlessly executed and always unapologetically colourful. To put it simply: her portfolio of looks is absolutely unmatched in awesomeness. Keep reading and prepare to be amazed!

Here is the inspiration image I gave to Brittany and this is the cute look she came up with!

What do you like the most and the least about being a beauty blogger?
My favorite part of being a beauty blogger is being given the opportunity to inspire others while doing something I am passionate about. What I like the least is that it can be  hard for me to dedicate so much time into blogging.

What are the three most important things for people to know about you? 
People should know that I am extremely dedicated to beauty, I have a very unique sense of style that fits my unique personality, and I aspire to be a makeup artist in Hollywood one day.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? 
I think people would be surprised to learn that I am shy in person, especially because I am charismatic online.

Describe your beauty philosophy in a six word sentence.
For true happiness, love your body.

What would you say is most unique/different about your looks?
My looks are unique because I am not afraid to create a look that is out of the “norm.” I’m not afraid to be original, and I express myself through my personal style on a daily basis. 

Brittany's winning look for the Zodiac Competition

If you could design a makeup look for anyone in the world, who would it be?
Lady Gaga! Because she can rock anything I put on her! She has a very unique style that sets her apart from the rest.

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

I am very proud to be one of the winners of Face Off's FANtastic Transformation of the week.

What are some of your favorite blogs to read or be inspired by?
Some of my favorite blogs to get inspired by are Audrey Kitching, Rose Shock, and of course Pigments and Palettes! I also find a lot of inspiration from many other amazing artists on Facebook, MakeupBee, and YouTube.

What was the first look you ever posted and what do you think of it now?
The first creative look that I can remember doing was for a YouTube contest. It was a bright yellow and hot pink sparkly eye look with rhinestones covering my eyebrows and surrounding the eye shadow. I was impressed with how it turned out!

What’s the one look you like the most or are the most proud of and why?
Every new elaborate look I create seems to be my favorite for a while.. Until I create another one and then that one is my favorite! And so on!

Thanks to Brittany for the awesome look & interview. I hope you'll subscribe to her awesome Facebook Fan Page and check out her brand new blog