Urban Decay Naked Smoky – Take it or Leave it?

Be still my beating heart....
Be still my beating heart….

Let me start off by saying that I am a huge fan of Urban Decay eyeshadows.  I own all of the full sized Naked palettes and I have loved them all.  I own several eyeshadows from several different ranges, but the Naked palettes are what I reach for probably 98% of the time.  They are gorgeous, go on beautifully both wet and dry, and I find them extremely wearable.

So naturally when I found out that they were releasing a new Naked – the Naked Smoky – I knew I wanted a piece of that!  Joe and I went into Sephora and I was on the lookout.  I honestly thought they would be sold out as it was so soon after launch, so my plan was to drool over the display and harass the staff about when they would be getting more stock.  It was a pleasant surprise when Joe came up to me and said: “it’s here…it’s over there.”  I went over to find a display with quite a few available.  It took me about 1.6 seconds to decide to buy it.  I knew I was going to get it sooner or later anyway, so why not just get it over with?  So what do I think of Urban Decay’s latest?

The first thing I absolutely have to mention is the packaging.  It is absolutely gorgeous.  Urban Decay’s packaging gets a little better with each new palette.  This packaging is a reflection of its name; it is a semi-transparent plastic that has a smoky look.  It has a magnetic closure that in my opinion is far superior to the snap closure of the two previous palettes, and it is better than the magnetic closure of the original Naked.

The shadows are beautiful.  They are the same almost creamy consistency that Urban Decay is known for.  The first 5 shades going from left to right are shimmery shades (High, Dirtysweet, Radar, Armor and Slanted).  This is followed by two dark grey/black shades (Dagger and Black Market), great for lining and to smudge up for a smoky eye.  This is followed by a dark purple shade (Smolder).  The last four colours are matte shades (Password, Whiskey, Combust and Thirteen) the final two being highlight shades.

I think the shades are all very wearable, and let you go from a very natural to a very dramatic smoky eye.  The shimmery shades in particular are very pretty, and go on very nice wet.  The colours are all very buildable, so you can go as light or as dark as you’re feeling, depending on the occasion.

The palette comes with a lookbook that serves as a guide to four different smoky eye looks.  It’s a good place to start, especially if you’re a bit intimidated by the smoky eye look.

Verdict:  Take it of course!  Especially if you’re already a fan of the Naked palettes, you’ll definitely want to add it to your collection.  Honestly, the Naked 3 is still my all time favourite and most used, but the Naked Smoky is a wonderful addition and I highly recommend it.

The Naked Smoky retails for $64.00 and can be purchased at Sephora and at select Shoppers Drug Marts.

Enjoy! 😉

MAC Cleanse Oil – Tried, Tested and True

MAC Cleanse Off Oil
MAC Cleanse Off Oil

I have been using skin care for a very long time.  I can probably count on two hands and have fingers left over the number of times I have gone to bed without washing my face since I was 14 years old.  It doesn’t matter how late it is, how tired I am, how many cocktails I may have consumed, I still take the time to wash my face before bed.  ESPECIALLY if I’m wearing makeup.

So needless to say, I have tried several skin care products.  Some are keepers, some are definitely not.  When I find something that really works well for me, I tend to stick with it.  Sometimes something will come along with pretty packaging or some awesome claims.  I will get pulled in by this, but if the product itself is not worth using, it never takes me long to go back to my old faithfuls.  If you find a product that works good for you, it is worth its weight in gold.  Sometimes your skin changes though, either due to the seasons, aging, hormones or a million other reasons.  Sometimes it’s necessary to change it up a bit.

If I make a recommendation to you, I want to make sure that I am totally sure that it’s a good one.  At least for me.  That’s the thing with skin care, everyone is different, no two faces are exactly the same.  So what works well for me may not for you or vice versa.  My skin type is oily.  Like oily.  I get the odd blemish, especially hormonal, and often have to blot and/or powder throughout the day.

So the product that I want to recommend to you here is the MAC Cleanse Off Oil.  My love affair with MAC Cosmetics goes back a long way.  I have been a fan of their makeup for many years.  I had my makeup done for my wedding (almost 12 years ago) by MAC make up artists, and I had already been a fan for ages before that.  I love their range, I love the versatility of the colours.  I had never really used any of their skin care products before, until I heard of their Cleanse Off Oil.

This stuff is awesome.  I use it just to take off my eye makeup.  You could use it to take off your entire face, but as I do have very oily skin, I just use it on my eyes.  After removing the majority of my face makeup with a wipe, I put one pump of the oil in my hand and rub between my two hands on my fingers.  I gently in a circular motion, massage the oil into my dry eye area.  It breaks down waterproof mascara and liquid eyeliner like nobody’s business.  Once I look like a panda, I simply splash warm water on my face.  The oil turns into a milky cleanser which rinses off with all my makeup.  Once the water hits it, there is no oiliness at all, and it doesn’t leave a residue on the skin.

If you’re in the market for a great makeup remover, I highly recommend this product.  It retails for $36 at your nearest MAC Counter, Store or online.  At one pump a day, this stuff lasts forever.  I have used the bottle in the picture above every day for the last five months, and it’s not even half gone yet.

Have you tried this product?  Do you use it on a regular basis?  Love it?  Hate it?  Do you have any recommendations for removing eye makeup?  I’m always up for suggestions.

Hope you’re having a great day. 🙂

NARS Laguna Bronzer – Take it or Leave it?

NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder
NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder

No need to tell me.  I know I’m late to the party for this one.  To be perfectly honest, I’m a relatively new user to bronzer.  I have an olive skin tone, usually getting quite dark in the summer naturally.  I never really used bronzer before, except maybe in the summertime to darken up a foundation that was too light because of a tan.

So as I have now probably mentioned a million times, I have a newfound obsession with YouTube.  Since I have started watching beauty videos, I have discovered that bronzers aren’t just some powder that you brush everywhere to darken up your foundation.  They have several purposes.  They also have several applications.  A bit of bronzer on the temples adds definition and a lovely glow, a swipe just below the cheekbones help to contour your face and make them stand out.  A little bit below the bottom lip will help to make your lip appear more pouty.

Who knew?  So I thought I would experiment a little.  I had a bronzer in a MAC palette that I had barely touched.  I wanted to start off slow (read: cheap), so I picked up an NYC bronzer from the drugstore.  But the more I watched the videos, the more I realized that though the market was flooded with a ton of bronzers, there were a few that were definite favourites, and the one that caught my eye the most, was by NARS Cosmetics, in the shade Laguna.

I’m a newbie to NARS.  I have often stood in Sephora or at the counter drooling over the display, but I have never taken the plunge.  After all the positive reviews I have seen, this bronzer went to the top of my wish list, in a real hurry.  Joe and I were in Sephora the other day, and I finally picked it up.  I have had a few days to play with it, so I thought I would let you guys know what I thought.

This is a gorgeous bronzer.  Let’s take a minute to appreciate the beauty in the simplicity of NARS packaging.  It is so sleek and sexy.  The bronzer itself has a lovely smooth texture.  It is a very versatile colour, a brown tone with gold that would look gorgeous on most skin tones.  It’s not orange at all (thankfully).  There isn’t really a shimmer to it, it’s just a slight satin finish, which is nice, especially when contouring.  I am excited to use this in the summer, to help play up my natural tan.

This is definitely a high-end bronzer – it retails for $43 at Sephora.  There is a ton of product in the pan though, I have a feeling this is going to last me a very long time.

If you’re in the market for a versatile, luxurious bronzer, I would definitely recommend giving this a try.

Verdict:  Take it!  Yes please!

If you have tried this bronzer, I’d love to hear your comments.  Also suggestions for new products are also welcome. 🙂

Broadening the Focus – Beauty

One of life's little pleasures.
One of life’s little pleasures.

As I talked about in my last post, I am really going to try to add content to this blog more often.  I also mentioned that I was thinking about expanding the focus a little.  For anyone that reads this regularly – I’m sure there are one or two of you (Hi Mom!) – you know that this space has never been about just one thing.  It’s more of a reflection of who I am, with lots of emphasis on my likes (reading, cooking, my own opinion).

I mentioned a couple of posts ago, that I have a newfound obsession with YouTube.  This of course has been fueled by my obsession with beauty products.  Bath, body, face, hair, makeup – you name it, I am interested in it.  I love reading about it, watching videos about it, shopping for it, etc.  So I figured that if I was going to stay true to the nature of this blog, that maybe I should open it up a bit to that side of my personality as well.

I should probably get this part out of the way – I am by no means and don’t claim to be a beauty expert, just extremely interested in it, excited about it, and eager to learn more about it.  I love to watch YouTube “Monthly Favourites” videos where all the beauty bloggers and vloggers talk about the new things that they have discovered that month and what they are loving and recommending to their viewers.  I thought maybe I could do a little of that here.  I do not upload videos to YouTube (aside from a few silly ones) and have no plans to start.  I also have no plans to turn this into a “beauty blog.”  There are plenty of those out there written by people much more knowledgeable than me.  I guess I just thought that if the inspiration hit me, or if I tried a new product that I was loving, or re-discovered an old product, I could let you know about it.  Hopefully that appeals to you.  If it doesn’t, don’t worry, because next week there will likely be a recipe or a book review or an opinion piece.  Just as there are many different parts of my personality, there are many things to write about here.

To start I guess I’ll just mention the gorgeous eyeshadow palette in the picture above.  This is a pretty popular one, the Lorac Pro Palette.  It used to be available at Sephora, but no longer is.  It is hard to get your hands on in Canada unless you want to pay an arm and a leg for it.  I actually had my wonderful cousin that lives in Arizona buy it and ship it up for me.  If you live in the US, you can buy it at Ulta, or from Amazon.  It retails for $42 US, and I have wanted this beauty for a long time.  I was not at all disappointed.

This palette comes with 16 gorgeous shades – 8 matte shades in the top row, and 8 shimmery shades in the bottom row.  The shades range from white to black and stick mostly to the neutral tones, but there is a very nice blue, a purple, and a beautiful coppery shade, along with a couple gold/bronze toned ones.  The shadows are almost creamy in consistency, though they are definitely powder,  and they are nicely pigmented – a little goes a very long way.  If you are a beginner at makeup, or simply someone that wants to expand their collection, I would totally recommend this palette.  It really has everything you need to create several looks, from light and natural to dark and smoky.  This one for me was definitely worth the wait!

Hope you’re all having a great day and the sun is shining wherever you are!