February 7, 2019

MAC Haul ft. Studio Fix Concealer, Powder Plus Foundation, Eyeshadows, Prep+Prime Fix+ and more

I bought a lot of MAC on Boxing Day and around the holiday time, mainly because of the promotional discounts, free gift wrapping and also because I was intrigued by the newer packaging/the formula and just wanted to give it a go. 
In the past, I haven't been able to create a relationship with MAC products because despite the amazing shade range, I could not find anything that matched my skintone, nor did the formula worked for me. I always felt it accentuated the flaws on my face - like the lines around my eyes or the dryness on my mouth area. I felt that MAC products commanded more steps and more effort from me to make it work. 
Even though, the price point is almost comparable to drugstore products, especially with the 25% discount that I received for Boxing Day, I just never really wanted to buy MAC Cosmetics. Not to mention the awkwardness of the sales associates in my local MAC boutiques. They are always so pushy and judgemental. I will narrate my experiences later in this post. 
Anyways, so these are the products I purchased and so far, liking it. They are the Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation in NC30, the Studio Fix 24Hr Smooth Wear Concealer in NC30 and NW30, Fix+ in three scents, in the holiday packaging and free makeup remover wipes, I received with my online order. Yup, I ordered online, because I did not need any more useless interactions with MAC employees. 
For swatches and detailed pics keep reading. 

I actually felt that I was a better match to NW30 because my skintone is not as yellow or light as this powder seems, but guess what, it oxidizes to get slightly more orange than yellow, on my skin and after misting with Fix+, the resulting finish is smooth and forgiving on the pores. I really like that. 
This Studio Fix Powder plus Foundation is a bestseller at MAC and retails for C$35 but with the 25% discount it was only around C$27 for me. Most drugstore compacts are in the $15 to $20 range here, so the price point seems fine to me. Every foundation at Sephora or the department store is in the $60 range, so this is a nice compromise, I believe.
The packaging is very plastic-y, but doesn't show smudge marks as much as YSL compacts or any other brand. I was hoping that I could easily de-pot this compact for my Z-palette but I can't figure out an easy way. Usually, compacts from brands created by makeup artists, are easy to pop out because they keep travel in mind. It's not that big of an issue for now, but I will see if it works when I am on vacation and like to downsize on excess packaging.
It also comes with a mirror and a sponge that I can use for touch ups. My favorite way to apply this is with a big powder brush. I use a duo fibre dense powder brush by Real Techniques for this and it applies evenly.
This powder tends to cling on the dryness on my skin but its not the worst and can be easily fixed with guess what, FIX+!! It is long-wearing and I feel that after initial oxidation/color change in the first 15 minutes, this powder stays fresh all day. Just pick a slightly lighter/yellow shade than your skintone and it should look just fine. 
Overall, I feel it's a nice powder, it stays put throughout the day for me and the sponge makes it easy to touch up. It blurs out pores and the rest of the issues can be fixed with a face mist. 

When I ran out of my favorite NARS Creamy Concealer, I decided to try the ones from MAC for a change. I still love my NARS concealer and I will repurchase that soon, however, this is also a very good full coverage concealer. I actually went through three shades of this before deciding the right one for myself.

My major concern is my undereye circles and the brown acne marks on my face. As I am getting older the brown spots seem to take much longer to fade, than ever before. I also squeeze out my acne when even after 2 weeks my body can not rid me of it, and guess what more brown spots. This is not a good practise and must never be done but looking at 3D bumps on my face for so long makes me wanna get rid of them fast. I always slather HA serum to provide the needed moisture and prevent deep scarring. Some times it works, and sometimes, well they become scars which NEED concealer! At this point I have 7 brown spots distributed on my cheeks and I need something to cancel out the brown and make my complexion look even. 

The major difference between NC30 and NW30 is the undertone. NC30 is clearly yellow and NW30 is quite pink. The bottles are transparent so that it shows the true color of the concealer inside and also, how much is left. 

Studio Fix 24hr Concealers have a doe foot applicator which I like, and I blend it out using a concealer brush or a Precision Brush from Sigma beauty. It blends out nicely but since I have fine lines under my eyes, it tends to settle in them and accentuate them. I always 'bake' a little with these, though, I do not like the powdery undereye look. Then I mist with FIX+ all over my face and it works to set this concealer as well.   
It is relatively waterproof on me, as I feel the concealer doesn't budge at all throughout the day. For my face, I like NC30 more and for my under eyes NW30 works better because the pink tones, correct the dark circles nicely. I can literally create a no-dark-circle look with this, however, if I am not careful, it can add more lines to my undereye area, so I apply, blend and set with caution.

My MAC In-Store Experience
Ok, so since, I have told everything I felt about these concealers, now let me share, how I got my shade match. Just like every time, I am trying something new, I like to go to the beauty counter at Holt or The Bay or Sephora to get help from the sales associates. At every place, I am treated with respect and my concerns are valued by the sales associate helping me. If after receiving all the shade matching, I am still not sure that this product is what I want, then they usually give me some samples to try at home and in different lighting. They never give me an eye roll, nor do they pass judgemental remarks.

It's the opposite at MAC boutiques and counter at the Market Mall location in Calgary. In the past, the sales associate has shown me so much anger, because I wanted to return a product, so I decided never to shop from them. But since they had a 25% off promo at Boxing Day and I was already shopping my sister's wishlist, I decided to get this concealer for myself and I needed to know what shade will be good for me since dark circles are my biggest concern.
So, I asked for help. The guy who helped me matched me with the shade NW32 and he also picked NW35. Then he quickly decided that NW35 was "way too dark" and removed it from my undereye area using a wipe. He hastily applied the concealer in NW32 and asked me how it looked. I said "it looks patchy and a bit chalky in the inner corners". He gave me an eye roll and then blended it with full force. I wanted to stop him so I tried looking at him and he quickly said "when I am blending don't look down". I could sense that he is not liking this at all so I stayed quiet, hoping this will pass and I wont start bawling or create a scene.  Once he was done, he asked me again. "What do think now?" and I told him that I don't feel it's the right shade for me. He shrugged and said in a stern voice "I am not understanding what you don't like about it, because the shade is a perfect match" to which I responded while pointing at the line that distinguishes my dark circles from the cheeks, that "...this line, seems even darker than before and I would like the concealer to cover it." His response was something that kept reverberating in my mind for days. He said with mean, empty eyes "Makeup can not cover everything. If you want that line to go away, you need to see a doctor!"
I was shocked! I couldn't believe a makeup artist would ever say this to me but it's a MAC store and it is full of people who are mean and don't want to help. I just said, "Okay" and shook my head and tried to get up from the chair, to which he said, "let me even out your eyes..". I was so shocked and upset my his comments that I didn't know what to say. He applied the concealer to both my eyes and I was done. He did not offer me a sample, so I asked him to give me one, so I can try at home. He just looked down moved away quickly, like I asked him to do extra work. Then after a few minutes he gave me a sample pot of concealer in NW32 and said, "Its really hard to get this concealer out because of the packaging, but I hope you can try it a few times at home."
And I walked out of the store feeling small and disrespected as makeup can't cover my dark circles and only a doctor was my last resort. I am 33 and I do not have any wrinkles on my face. My dark circles are darkness under my eyes, and not as deep that would require a filler. They can be covered by almost any concealer and a makeup artist at MAC must know better than this. He spoke to me as if MAC can't produce a product that could cover under eye darkness, or that he was not trained to know the art of concealing. It was the worst experience I ever had at MAC so far. I think they just keep raising the bar of bad customer service by hiring mean people. No wonder the store at Market Mall is always empty or with very few customers.

So that is how I am able to produce the swatches of the three shades of this concealer. I got the NW32 as a sample and then purchased NC30 and NW30 online. I have been using these for a month now, and have decided to return NC30 because NW30 works for me better. It covers my dark circles and also the brown spots on my face. I apply it under my foundation and I feel it works better that way than over my foundation, because of the obvious pink tones in NW30.

MAC studio Fix 24 Hr Concealer in NC30, NW 30 and NW32

MAC Studio Fix Concealer in NC30 and NW30 and Powder Plus Foundation in NC30

PREP+PRIME FIX+ 2018 Holiday Set in three scent - Coconut, Lavender and Rose
I got an incredible deal on this set during the holidays. These three 1 oz bottle of Fix+ were for C$12.50 for a limited time with free shipping and I ordered them in a snap. I have always loved this product and I wanted to try the new scents, because you guys know I love fragrance in my makeup.  It is the same Fix+ but scented and I love it. I would totally recommend that if there is one thing you must get from MAC, it's this!

I am currently working on creating my own MAC eyeshadow palette and thought about trying these three shades, that I have seen many YouTubers use, but never got it for myself. It is a matte black called Carbon, shimmery, luster finish in Honeylust and everyone's favorite bronze in satin finish called Woodwinked
These eyeshadows are great and I am loving them so far. The texture, the quality on these are spot on and the three of them make a great smokey eye look. I have been using these non stop for every party I attended in December and January. That is also the reason why I couldn't update my blog as much in January ;o)

Overall, I am impressed by each of these products and I feel they all work great for me. I would recommend shopping online for MAC because that is the best way to get everything, without the in-store drama. The return policy is also pretty good, so I will return the NC 30 concealer soon. The rest of the stuff gets used regularly by me and I love each of these products.

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January 3, 2019

HERBIVORE Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask Review

Hello everyone,
Hope you all had a great start of the new year. I stayed very busy with my family and friends this time around and as much as I feel blessed to have great people around me, I wish the same for all of you. I missed blogging and sharing some amazing products with you, so today I am sharing a face mask from Herbivore. I had never heard of this brand, if it wasnt for Sephora and the sale season allowed me to splurge on this expensive product. This two ounce jar retails for C$60 at Sephora Canada and promises to to 'gently exfoliate, smooth, and resurface the skin' and it is recommended solution for acne, redness and pores. I have been suffering from all of this. Though my acne is under control but I still have some acne marks and scars to work on. So, I gave this mask a try and here are my thoughts. 

December 27, 2018

CHANEL Spring-Summer 2019 Beauty - Showcase and Thoughts

Chanel Beauty has its Spring 2019 collection on the US site and we Canadians still have to actually wait till it becomes available to us. The collection looks stunning to me, so I decided to share these with you. All images are from the Chanel Beauty US website and shared here only to keep a memory of what was available or previewed in the US at this time of the year, while I drool. 
So here goes the Spring 2019 Collection by Chanel. 

December 19, 2018

CHANEL NUDE LIPSTICKS - Rouge Allure Velvet in 69 Abstrait & Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle - Review with Swatches

Chanel lipsticks are my all time favorites, because they always look great, no matter how I wear them and they last me a full day and the color range is very wearable too. They fomula is buildable and I have worn my Rouge Cocos everywhere in the world and it never melts in high heat, nor disappear in the humid weather. It always stays perfectly on me. So I wanted to try the luminous matte formula of the new Rouge Allure Velvets in the limited edition matte packaging. I actually wanted to just get the newer ones, but I couldn't resist stocking up on my favorite Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle. I have repurchased this several times and also reviewed on my blog. Check out my review here
For review and swatches of the Rouge Allure Velvet in Abstrait with comparison swatches keep reading... 

December 15, 2018

Burt's Bees 100% Natural Makeup and Skincare Review with Swatches

Around six or seven years ago, I was really in to natural makeup and tried so many mineral makeup brands and even shared some on this blog. Gradually, I moved away from that because they were mostly available only online and I could never be sure if I got the right shade nor were there enough online swatches. So, recently I came across Burt's Bees natural makeup line, which is available at London Drugs and almost all drugstores. I was so excited to try it out, because I love using natural products on my skin. Each of these products is 100% natural except the brow pencil which is 99.9% natural. 
A lot of you must already be using the Burt's Bees lip balm and so was I but I never explore the body care or the skincare products from Burt's Bees and I was missing out on a lot! I literally found  a solution to the eczema on my hands. I am also using the Hand Salve these days but will save that for another review.  
For review and swatches of Burt's Bees Natural Makeup collection, keep reading..

December 10, 2018

LOREAL Stylista - Hair Smoothing Serum, Texturizing Spray, Heat Protective Primer, Defining Spray and Shaping Cream Wax Review

Today I am sharing some amazing hair products from Loreal Stylista available at London Drugs. They are easy to add to my hair styling routine and I am absolutely loving how they work for my hair. I have long hair that looks almost straight but I do get slight waves that I need to straighten out. I have been using the Heat Protective Primer and the Smoothing Serum almost every time I wash my hair and my hair looks great with a nice shiny bounce.  I will be sharing the details on each of these in today's blog, so keep reading...

November 30, 2018

NARS Heartbreaker Palette for Holiday 2018 Review and Swatch

Hello lovelies,
December is almost here and that only means one thing - the holidays!! I love everything sparkly and festive and I am always so attracted to all the holiday beauty stuff so decided to give this NARS Heartbreaker palette a shot. Its a lovely blush palette which is also pretty good value for money. There are three cheek shades for the price of C$56 and its exclusively available at Hudson's Bay. Today I am sharing the swatches and my thoughts on whether this is the 'it' palette for me this season!

November 17, 2018

PHYSICIANS FORMULA The Healthy Foundation MN4 and Spotlight Illuminating Primer Review and Swatch

Every time I use something from Physicians Formula, I wonder why I never tried it before. It is amazing to discover products that perform so well, they rival the most expensive beauty products I have ever used. I love a good foundation and that is usually where I feel the need to splurge the most, until its not! 
The Healthy Foundation with SPF 20 from Physicians Formula is a fantastic addition to my routine and even though this foundation stays perfectly without a primer, the new Spotlight Illuminating Primer adds just enough luminosity to skin to appear dewy and fresh.
As I get older and the contours of my face deepen a little more, I have actually started to appreciate highlighting products in a new light. I never thought I would be so concerned about how my eye area appears but as time goes by, I realize that these products takes years off my face just by bringing in more light or should I say Spotlight!
More on these amazing products from Physicians Formula at London Drugs in today's blog.

November 8, 2018

Winter Skincare Favorites ft. Belif, Marcelle, Burt's Bees, La Roche-Posay & The Body Shop

Bonjour mes amis!
Today I am sharing some of my favorite skincare products that are keeping my skin look its best in this frigid cold weather. I actually had to gather all my motivation to write this post down, as I sip my coffee and cozy up in my snuggly sweater. There is something about winter that slows me down significantly. I need to workout too, but hey those knits cover everything right?!
Anyways, so my skincare routine stays as simple as it can get and I like using products that are easily available and so affordable, that anyone can incorporate them in their skincare routine.
More on how to keep skin looking hydrated and plump this holiday season, in today's blog!

November 6, 2018

LOUIS VUITTON Attrape-Rêves Fragrance Review and Photos

On my birthday, my husband took me to the newly opened Louis Vuitton Store in Calgary's Chinook Centre to pick myself a birthday present. I was ecstatic because, that never happens! My husband would usually pick something for me himself, and in the past there have been instances when I have returned the gift and gotten something else that I really wanted. For a moment I thought, he might not have liked me exchanging the gifts later on, but truth is, I want my gifts to have more value than only sit somewhere in the closet. I want to use them, enjoy them and as soon as I entered the gorgeous LV store, I forgot about all this! I just wanted to try on everything. 
Initially I wanted the Me & Me necklace in my initial 'R' but as soon as I caught a whiff of the fragrances, I quickly turned around and discovered the stunning array of perfumes or shall I say 'les parfum' in my not-so-french accent.
So today, I am sharing a new fragrance that I fell in love with. I actually like four of them and I finally decided to purchase Attrape-Rêves which translates to 'dream catcher'! So me, so lovely, so I got it! More on this, on todays blog.