Face Files: The plight of Makeup


The Plight.

A note on Sephora samples. Sephora is known for their samples. It’s part of their business model. They WANT YOU TO get samples. So…yes, this is the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in a SAMPLE form. I am no longer buying expensive products without trying them first. So yes, here is a picture of my sample of the product. Try before you buy people!

Makeup is a tricky, tricky, tricky thing. There are so many options and it seems like they are all never-ending. Every month there is a new release. A new product that will just be the answer to your beauty concerns. Or a new colour that you just need to try on your face. It’s the trickster that fools us into thinking that its needed. On top of the overwhelming amount of products on the market, you always hear rumours on how one high end product is the exact same thing to a drugstore one. Likely when you look into it, low and behold, both products are similar to each other.

So why does this happen? Why do high end and low end products seem to have the same ingredients and perform the same way among the sea of products out there? And why is one product way more expensive than the other? I have my speculations.

The first thing to know when buying any makeup is that all makeup brands are owned by parent companies. A lot of companies are connected to each other. For example L’Oréal owns the following beauty companies:

  • NYX Cosmetics
  • Essie
  • Lancome
  • YSL
  • Armani Cosmetics
  • Khiel’s
  • Giorgio Armani
  • Biotherm
  • and many, many more

So when this happens, they can all share their secrets, procedures and ingredients without any legal trouble. Take for example the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation and L’Oreal’s Pro-Glow Foundation. Both of them are owned by the parent company of L’Oreal. I’ve heard rumours that they both are the same thing but obviously one lives in a $50 glass bottle while the other lives in a $1 plastic container.

I’v decided to investigate if these two products are indeed the same or not.

The one thing that is a distinction between something like the Giorgio Armani foundation and the L’Oreal Pro-glow foundation (which have the similar ingredients) is the grade of their ingredients. Yes. Similar ingredients, different quality. That will always be a difference when one company uses a higher grade of ingredients, the performance will be different and there might be an allergic reaction. I’ve listed the ingredients of both products below:


Luminous Silkwatercyclopentasiloxaneglycerin, isododecane, alcohol, polyglyceryl-4 isostearate, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, cetyl peg/ppg-10/1 dimethicone, hexyl laurate, disteardimonium hectorite, phenoxyethanol, acetylated glycol stearate, magnesium sulfate, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, tristearin, cellulose gum, nylon-12, limonene, benzyl salicylate, linalool, diphenyl dimethicone, acrylates copolymer, fragrance, disodium stearoyl glutamate, methylparaben, butylparaben, butylphenyl methylpropional, aluminum hydroxide, hexyl cinnamal. May contain: CI 77891/titanium dioxide, CI 77492, CI 77499, CI 77491/iron oxides, CI 77007/ultramarines, mica. <— MICA (EEEWWWW)

Pro-Glow: Octinoxate 3.01%. Inactive: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Alcohol Denat., Phenyl Trimethicone, Glycerin, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Bis-PEG / PPG-14 / 14 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Magnesium Sulfate, Ethylhexyl Hydroxystearate, Talc, Silica, PEG / PPG / Polybutylene Glycol-8 / 5 / 3 Glycerin, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Dimethicone / Polyglycerin-3 Crosspolymer, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Stearate, Silica Silylate, Dipropylene Glycol, Alumina, BHT, Sodium Citrate, Tocopherol, Isopropyl Alcohol. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Bismuth Oxychloride.

Alright, so obviously the bolded ones are the same ingredients. About 30% are the same for both foundations. A lot of the ingredients are skin conditioners. But when I compared each of them Luminous Silk contained ingredients that were less concerning. Many ingredients listed came up with a low to moderate warning in both foundations, Pro-Glow had a little bit more warnings. Regardless it was a little concerning.

I just want to know to what degree we should be taking these warnings. If it’s been scientifically tested, then it should be reasonably safe? But then again, how regulated is the beauty industry? What laws are in place to protect consumers? These are questions that have come up while writing this post. And believe me, I will likely be spending some time looking into it and reporting back. So stay tuned as I cross-reference and read-up and just educate myself a little more on this topic.

Another thing I noticed was Pro-Glow has a lot of Dimethicon and derivatives of Dimethicone in it while Luminous Silk only has one ingredient derived from Dimethicon.   This to me indicates that Luminous Silk has one ingredients that does the same thing that the many ingredients do for Pro-Glow. But that’s speculation. Again, I need to look more deeply into it since I want to discuss wear time and how it actually feels on the skin, I’ll have to leave it for another post (stay tuned).

Might be the Devil but does it wear well?

Okay, so we’ve gone over ingredients, kinda. And although I don’t think I’ve proved that Luminous Silk is the higher grade of Pro-Glow, necessarily; I will say that scratching the surface of what makes up this foundation is frightening. On that alone, I would invest in Luminous Silk rather than continually just buy the Pro-Glow. But I also don’t believe in waste so I’ll continue to use it…with mixed feelings. Also, I feel like I need to state that I am speculating right now. Perhaps the ingredients have been deemed safe and their risks are a really low ratio. Low ratios are key since that’s how medicine becomes approved. Nothing is every 100% safe. At this point everything is food for thought.


Both foundations I will admit feel the same and give off the same effect. The thing that most beauty bloggers/makeup artist/beauty guru will say about Luminous Silk is that the foundation sinks into your skin and creates a perfecting veil WHILE keeping the integrity of your skin. It doesn’t create a mask like effect like some high-coverage foundations might do. Instead it blurs out imperfection while still looking like your real skin. Does that make sense? The Pro-Glow does the same damn thing as Luminous Silk does.  Just look for yourself:

Wearing both foundations, can you tell the difference?
Luminous Silk


I’ve been playing with both foundations for a couple weeks now and I’ll say this. They both wear beautifully. I have textured skin. Nothing will ever mask that and I don’t expect a foundation to mask it. What I do expect from a foundation is to even out my skin toneminimize pores and cover-up imperfections. I have a couple of spots on my nose from an eczema patch, a cut and a raised area from my glasses that I need covered up. Can you see them? Barely. So this foundation does the trick in doing what I require a foundation to do.

Next, I need other products to go on them effortlessly. If a product doesn’t apply well it can be because of the foundation or the product itself. For this look, I used blush, bronzer and highlight that is of good quality and I know performs well. They all went on beautifully without getting patchy. I didn’t really powder much of my face in these photos because I wanted the foundation to speak for itself. Even without powdering my face other powdered products went on smoothly.

Wear time. This is where the foundation would likely require some powdering. I would say these foundations wears well for 6 hours without help from other products. For foundation, that’s amazing. I usually never touch up my face. By the time I go and wipe it off, it’s usually mostly all gone. But that’s with 100% of all of my foundations.

Overall, I do really like both foundations. I reach for them often. The ingredients worry me but all makeup products ingredients worry me. So stay tuned for further thoughts on this topic.

Have you read on how I remove my foundation in my last post? Click here to read up on my daily cleansers.



Face Files: The Idea of Perfection

Face Files: The Idea of Perfection

This post is in collaboration with my friend and former makeup addicted colleague Steph.Chantel Beauty. We met up one day and decided to tackle this subject together. You can go check out her post here.

Months ago….


I was a eating a bagel and drinking coffee with lots of cream and some sugar. I saw my pink lipstick leave a stain on my coffee cup and it honestly gave me so much joy to see that shade of pink. It’s so unnatural and pretty. As a lipstick wearer, I love seeing my lip mark on every cup I touch. On the day that I began writing this blog post, it was the first time in a week that I had gone all out on my makeup. I used some new eyeshadows and just had FUN. But as I went through my routine of: primer, foundation, highlighting and contouring, in my mind; I couldn’t help but think of my search to ultimately have a perfect face. Immediately that love for the pink stain vanished and it was replaced with guilt.

I don’t want to get all bummer-like or theoretical because 1. I don’t have the capacity to be theoretical and 2. I don’t want to come across as preachy and a party pooper. I just want to talk from the heart. I want to express a nagging feeling I have every time I look for a primer, go to a wax appointment or search out the skin treatment that will give me that fresh baby skin that I so desperately want. (Okay maybe I am going to get a little dark, so brace yourself.)


The feeling isn’t always present, especially not when on the hunt or at checkout, the feeling comes after I’ve long applied the makeup, maybe when I post a selfie and likely when I watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians. It’s the feeling that I am not doing enough. It will never be enough. The pores on my skin will always stick out like craters. The hair on my chin will always sprout back (unless I invest in laser treatment..) or my hair will always need loads of effort to make it into smooth, perfect curl. And it’s bullshit.

Deep down, I know: I am supporting an industry that wants to mold me into the ideal beauty. That in order to be considered beautiful I need to fix everything on my face, body, hair. In order to be considered one of the beauties: I need to fit into a box. And to a certain extent, it’s true. Our society still has a perception of beauty that is out-of-reach and EXPENSIVE. 

And I don’t want to say: it’s all for nothing. This is where my mix-feelings come from because I want to be beautiful. I am vain. I am human. With that comes the feeling of wanting to be accepted. On top of that, I fucking love beauty. I love the innovation some brands have done with products. I love the way we can play with colour on our face. I love that liquid eyeliner is something some of us want to conquer and perfect. I love the science behind it. I love the inspiration of it. And I do love idolizing beauty, so much that it hurts. What holds us back is seeing beauty in a narrow perspective.


For a minute I want to just blame myself because it’s easier. But that doesn’t answer the why I feel this. It doesn’t address the fact that there is a certain type of beauty that still dominates our Instagram feeds, magazine covers and basically all of our screens: cell phone, tv, film. S/he’s fair skinned, s/he’s fair haired, s/he’s likely of European decent and s/he’s a wealthy, a perfect beauty.

I think trying to understand the why is a complicated topic. I’ve only scratched the surface on this topic. There is so much that I don’t even know where to start. I started with a personal feeling. What I experience on the daily. What we see on social media, the perfection-reel, the ideal can be toxic. It isn’t real. It isn’t our daily. That is why, I will never photoshop a makeup beauty photo. I may change some lighting on a photography but I would never airbrush my pores (although I really want to) or make myself appear skinner. I want to be as natural, authentic and ruthlessly myself.

We are all beautiful. If we want to be. And I don’t mean you need to be trimmed and primed 24/7 or ever. I mean, you need to be authentically beautiful. The most beautiful and inspiring people in the world are those who are unforgivably and ruthlessly themselves. We need to constantly be working on ourselves. We do need to strive for our very best. All in a healthy and gentle manner.

With that, I’ll leave you with the beauties that keep me real every fucking day of my life.






Much love,




Face Files: The Start of the Beauty Routine



New foundation: L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation. Everything else on my face: Mascara: Lancome, Grandiose Wide-Angle Fan Effect; Bushy Brows: Benefit, Precisely, My Brow Pencil Ultra Fine and Define; Blush: Makeup Revolution, blush & highlight palette; Bronze: Benefit, Hula; Highlight: Makeup Revolution, blush & highlight palette and Lips: Huda Beauty, Liquid Matte lipstick

When I started getting into beauty, I started with trying to find the perfect foundation without even thinking about my skincare routine. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon Caroline Hiron’s blog that I realized I needed to start taking it seriously. I mean, if our skin isn’t up to snuff how can our beautiful painted faces be? So like the beauty routine, I am starting from the top: cleansers.


The must crucial step to prepping your skin is cleansing. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive part of your routine. None-the-less it’s an important step, that can help improve the texture and look of your skin in a very big way. I have about seven cleansers (all for different uses and even times of day) that I have on current rotation. I use TWO every single day (note shown) but the other’s I use whenever I either fancy them or need them for a specific ailment…okay there may be one that I hate and one that I just keep the bottle off because I miss it a little.


Tata Harper, Regenerating Cleanser: As the bottle claims this is a daily exfoliant and clarifying cleanser. You apply this cleanser as you should apply ALL cleansers: on dry skin. It doesn’t lather which is key. A cleanser with no lather is a keeper. It’s full of natural ingredients and has nothing to do with the synthetic. It’s made in Vermont and claims to be part of a skincare line that is 100% natural, organic and nontoxic. It’s also $104. I used this product until it ran out (hence the picture of an empty bottle) and then even scrapped the sides and added water to get every single last useable drop cause…$104. Did my skin like it? Of course. Did I have show stopping skin? I don’t think I ever will. But my skin felt and looked nice. I still got the hormonal break-outs that I get EVERY SINGLE MONTH but it kept my skin clean. Would I repurchase? Maybe one day. It’s a treat purchase. I like treating myself. Every time I used it, I felt like I was taken back to the spa. Every time. It’s a nice mother’s day gift or birthday gift. If you like indulging: get it. It’s great addition to the wine and bubble bath ritual we all love to do.

 Ingredients to note in this cleanser include: Willow Bark which is a natural form salicylic acid which helps with acne and I am glad to say, I am not allergic too! Other forms of salicylic acid tend to over dry my skin. This form of it did not. Apricot Seed Powder which replaces nasty plastic microbeads (which gave us the false illusion of exfoliating while polluting and killing fish. Micro beads are currently banned in Canada).  Pomegranate Enzymes which although not clinically proven to reduce wrinkles do help with dissolving buildup. That can help with blackheads. French Pink Clay, someone once told me all clay is pretty much the same but then my mother swears by a red clay she uses on her skin (have you seen my mother? She hasn’t aged). I will say that the clay in this cleansers is MUCH different from the clay in other cleansers I’ve used (one I will discuss in this post). So I am not sure if all clays are the same. This one isn’t drying.


Skyn, Glacial Facial Wash: This brand comes from Iceland and I first came across it when I ordered a Cult Beauty box. The cleanser I tried was a cream based cleanser which I actually prefer from this one. This one foams and the other one doesn’t. That being said, I still use this cleanser but only sparingly. I apologize for the state of this bottle, it’s my travel cleanser. I used to bring this cleanser to the gym back when I was needing to shower at the gym. Now it lives in the shower and I only use it on days when I am so tired and in need of a hot shower, that I start my makeup removing process in the shower. Which is a big no-no for well balanced skin. I can talk more about why later.

Ingredients to note: Willow Bark, I am seeing a trend. I do tend to gravitate towards oily/combination skin treatments. And if you’re like me, I tend to gravitate to anything that’s more natural so it’s not surprising that Willow Bark is also found in this cleanser. Avena Stevia, haha when I quickly looked up this ingredient I found an article that promotes it as a natural viagra. WOW! But let’s just focus on the skincare components: this is a derivative from oatmeal so it has soothing properties and helps with exfoliation. Icelandic Kelp, kelp is rich in vitamins and minerals, while it has been proven to help with thyroid problems if ingested, I couldn’t find anything that described the benefits to skin (weird) so I am GUESSSING the vitamins and minerals will help while sloughing the dirt of the day away.


Rodial, Super Acids x-treme exfoliating glycolic cleanser: I don’t know how I feel about this cleanser to be honest. I haven’t had any reactions to it whatsoever BUT the cleanser did eat away the plastic pump it came with. Ever since I saw that reaction I’ve kinda been a little frightened to use it. I still use it but only when I don’t use my glycolic acid toner. I use one everyday…so this one may be just be sitting on my bathroom counter. I would not recommend this cleanser to sensitive skin but would recommend it if you have dry, dull skin and are prone to breakouts. It is gentle in the way that it doesn’t foam as much. Foam cleansers are evil. Have I mentioned that already? They are evil.

Ingredients to note: Glycolic Acid is a derivative from plants like sugar cane, pineapple and sugar beats. The botanical properties can be used to help skin conditions such as Psoriasis (article), Melasma (study) and Seborrheic Keratosis (article). One of the main reasons glycolic acid is so effective is because it can be used an exfoliator. Acids are amazing exfoliators, they actually loosen your skin particles and make it easier for it to be shed. Amazing work. Pronalen Fruit Acid, an organic acid that helps increase the moisturizing level of the skin. It also helps with exfoliating. Lactic Acid, another exfoliator that increases the moisture levels in the skin. Glycolic, Pronalen Fruit and Lactic Acid are all strains of an AHA.

IMG_9460 copy

Sunday Riley, Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser: THIS CLEANSER IS SO BASIC. I don’t even want to talk about it. It isn’t worth the money. It has tea tree oil in it but you can find a body shop cleanser that is probably better than this one. It also has clay in it. But I find it drying. Plus it foams.



Shiseido, Perfect Cleansing Oil: I LOVE CLEANSING WITH OIL. I love it so much it is seriously that one thing that’s holding me back from getting butterfly eyelashes (semi-permanent eyelash extensions). I loved using this cleanser until I met the one I am currently using (to be talked about next skincare post, I promise). This oil cleanser is light but effective. It pulls away all the dirt, melts away foundation and removes mascara like a fucking dream. Love it.

Ingredients to note: Mineral Oil, finding out that this cleanser has an oil that is derived from petroleum is a huge bummer for me. I will likely not repurchase because of this. Grape Seed Oil, now this is the good oil and what helps combat the gross mineral oil from clogging your pores. Man, I am bummed out to find out that this cleansing oil has mineral oil. Fuck.

Alright ladies and gents, that was the first intro to skincare. The next will be the daily products I use. There are some things that I’ve been using for a couple years and some that have become new staples. Stay tuned. My next post will be another intro to another facet of my life’s interest. I have a couple new intro to the blog that I will be doing in the next couple of week so stay tuned! Are you following along on the Girls Night Out Challenge posts? It seems like I am going to try and write on the daily so please be gentle on me! And maybe wait a day to read those since I’ll often go back and re-edit the post.



Face Files: Question and Answers

Hi Folks!



I wanted to do a quick post on something new I wanted to try out. I often get asked questions when I am out in about with girlfriends and their friends in regards to beauty. A couple of weeks ago someone asked if a question and answer section existed on the blog. It got me thinking that I should create one. So here is your opportunity to ask me those burning beauty questions you may have. Get creative! The best way this will work is if you send me a picture with your question. The picture can be of a product that you’re wondering about. It can be a selfie if you need help deciding on the perfect foundation shade. Anything! Well…almost anything. So send me those burning questions and I will answer them at the end of the month, each month. And everything will be anonymous. No selfies will be published…unless you want me to…

Send your questions to criavolver@gmail.com





Face Files: Eyeshadow Palettes


Products worth mentioning: Eyes: Kat Von D Pastel Goth Palette and Viseart Dark Matte Palette and Lips: NYX Butter Lipstick in BLS16 and Mac Satin lipstick in SNOB.


It has been a minute. I know.  I know. I’ve been thinking about this little corner of my life and been missing it. But so much has happened in the last little bit that I had to keep it in thought rather than in action. In saying that, I must admit that posting here will not be a frequent thing anymore. I want to keep giving readers quality over quantity so instead of posting on a weekly basis, there will be sporadic posts – here and there. My beauty purchases have also slowed down, now that I am putting my money into other things – a journey I want to document too. So please check back! I am in transition and I hope those of you who read this blog will stay with me and come on the journey as well. I promise it will be fun. With that being said, let us get to it. Eyeshadow palettes. THE THING THAT WILL NEVER STOP CONSUMING OUR THOUGHTS.


You know that meme where there is a girl purchasing the latest eyeshadow palette and she says to herself, “There! My collection is complete, I don’t need to buy another eyeshadow palette” and then like 10 minutes later the internet alerts her that a new and way more badass palette is available to purchase AND IT IS LIMITED EDITION, so she’s back on the computer buying the palette. Yeah. That’s me. I literally need to try them all. Well, almost all.


Huda Beauty, Rose Gold Limited Edition Palette: This palette has been released twice. It was when it was first released, I remember watching Huda Kattan’s snapchat and her being a sack of nerves over her website not being able to take all the traffic from the interest in this palette. Then it launched in North America, and it started to receive SOME negative reviews. I held out the first time and then obviously, after the negative reviews were overridden by the positive, I jumped at the chance to buy it when it was announced for a second release.

Now. I don’t hate this palette. I reach for it most days. It can make really pretty soft eye looks but it can also make dark smokey eyes with a hint of colour, it’s very versatile. The eyeshadows are top quality – they are made in Italy after all. I haven’t experience much fallout and they are easy to work with.  BUT I will say this: that top row of shimmer isn’t anything to sing praises about. If you want a pigment that offers a lot of shimmer, an intense eye look, turn your eye towards Pat McGrath. Kattan has been marketing the top row to be something unlike anything on the market…ummm, nope. These are a nice, creamy, soft shimmery, eyeshadows, end of story. The intense eye looks that you’ve been seeing Beauty Gurus create with this palette are because they’ve added actual eye glitter as a topper. The palette is sold out again. If you have it, enjoy it. If you don’t have it then…ummm look for the next release or just opt for anything else that I am about to talk about.


Urban Decay, Gwen Stefani Palette: This is the palette that finally gave me the colours that allowed for me to perfect the naked smokey eye look. You know the look I am talking about. The one that looks so bomb with a red lip. I’ve had this palette for a really long time. I think 2 years? At least. It doesn’t smell so I am still using it. It’s a great neutral palette which is something Urban Decay is known for. I never touch the pink or gold in it (not very pigmented) but often reach for the palette when I need my lid to be neutral. I think this one was limited but never sold-out, so it’s on sale.


Anastasia Beverly Hills, Maestro Palette by Mario: Okay, this one is also no longer available AND I’ve already gushed about it. It can provide you with a neutral look but ALSO with a killer smokey eye. The shadows are dusty though, they kick up a lot of shadow when you dip your brush into them, so naturally there is a bit of fall-out when you apply them. But the way they blend and look, I can look past it.


Urban Decay, Moondust Palette: I thought I would use this palette more often. I thought this palette was literally going to change the way I apply makeup. Nope. None of those two thoughts came to be. First of all, these are not eyeshadows that you use first or solely. These are eyeshadows that you put on when your eye look needs a little something, something. These eyeshadows are what you end the look with. I will admit, that when these go on the lid (as that something, something) I am very pleased with how the look ends up. You will need to either apply them with a WET brush or with your digits. Since I don’t have fake nails, my digits are usually what I use. Even though they didn’t change my life, I am glad I have them in my collection to provided the dimension that they give when it comes to creating different eye looks.


Morphe, 35T: I mostly hate this palette. When I first got it, all I could smell was CHEMICALS. The smell is mostly gone now but it kinda worried me and still does. Most of these shades look ALMOST the same on the lid. Even though I really hate this product, I still use it. I am not sure why…maybe because I hate waste or because deep down they do give my eye looks a little, something, something. I do hate to admit it because I want to despise this palette but that would be being dishonest. I pull this one out when I want to deepen my crease with mauves and browns. It allows for me to go deeper a shade one shade at a time…even though these are pretty much all the same colour they do have a difference in shade, does that make sense? Most importantly, they layer nicely with other eyeshadows. I just can’t get over the smell.


Viseart, Dark Matte Palette: Can I just put heart eyes emoticons all over this section? 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

Okay seriously. The PIGMENT is unlike anything I’ve ever used. One tiny little dip into ANY shade in this palette and I am blending for at least 2 minutes. This is not a 10 minute look palette…I mean it can be, by why would you do a 10 minute look with this palette? This is the type of palette where you layer and blend, layer and blend, layer and blend colour onto your lid for at least 30 minutes. This palette is the object of makeup ritual. A necessity if you love staring at yourself in the mirror for at least 2 hours to apply your makeup. Get if eyeshadow is a true passion of yours. It will nourish your soul. Seriously.


Urban Decay, Naked Palette: This one is hella old but a goodie. Naked, Buck, Half-Baked, Smog and SIDECAR – my hommies, my bitches. This palette is what started the love affair. I am sure most of us have a Naked palette in our collection. They are what I would call the palette that graduates you into a serious beauty collector. This palette is the one that starts it all…well at least this one was the one that had me looking to try new things. I’ve had it for many, many years and it’s still going strong (still no rank smell). Sadly, I stepped on it within the first year of owning and broke the mirror (thank goodness it was opened when the incident happened) but even through this experience, it’s still kept my eyes on point.



Kat Von D, Pastel Goth Palette: This palette has TREND written all over it. Currently there is a giant rage right now on pastel eye looks. Perhaps its our collective subconscious just wanting winter to be over and we are all just anticipating spring? Regardless, this is a fun palette. The eye look in the #selflove photo above was brought to you by this palette (and a mixture of viseart too). ALL OF THESE COLOURS have pigment. The blue, no joke stained my eyes…which was kinda a nightmare to remove but I was so impressed with how well it pigmented it was and the vibrancy it gave all day. It even lasted through bootcamp…which was why I had so much party going on in my eyes since I participated in their 70s tight and bright event.

Does anyone want to master blue eyeshadow? Or just even how to blend eyeshadow colours together to create an eye look? If so, stay tuned for some announcements, especially if you live in Southern Alberta :).

Face Files: Dupes 1.0



Wearing: a strong eyebrow, loads of mascara and a nude lip. The only thing new is the lipstick: Too Faced Cosmetics Melted Matte Liquified Matte Long Wear Lipstick in Queen B (matte soft mauve). Check back to this post to see what my daily staples are or this one for a list of products I love using.


I am not a drugstore makeup users. I’ll be the first one to admit it. Drugstore makeup just doesn’t excite me the way high-end, luxury makeup does. But even with that being said, I am not an idiot. I know that there are some products that are virtually the exact same product as it’s high-end counterpart. I speculate that a reason for this to occur comes from the makeup industries little nasty habit of repackaging formulas and selling them at different price points. How and why does this happen? Well, as I begin to scratch the surface of the makeup industry, or any industry for that matter, I am finding the existence of gigantor companies. They own a strings, upon strings, upon strings of little-related companies. It’s the umbrella affect. While the following dupes have not been researched into whether or not they have the same owner, I will tell you that some of these formulas are virtually the same, while some are not but are close enough. With that little piece of insight, let’s begin.


The sponges! Application with a sponge is nothing new. Ladies have been doing it since the 50s (likely) but the shape and density of these type of sponges, I feel, is new to the market. Well, it’s been around for a couple years now, ten years in fact. The creator of the beautyblender (seen on the right), Rea Ann Silva, created the sponge because of the need to re-press makeup back into actresses faces after long days of shooting in high-resolution cameras. It’s a very neat little product and it wasn’t until this post that I actually tried it. Although the original beautyblender does do an amazing job, it retails for $28.00 Canadian dollars while it’s counterpart from Quo, the Quo Blending Sponge gives you the exact same results while spending $20 less, yeah it’s $8.00. I’ve been using this type of sponge for 3 years now. The beautyblender and the Quo Blending Sponge are the exact same thing. I would even say the Quo is better since it’s made out of denser material so it doesn’t soak up as much product and does a better job at blending in your foundation. The beautyblender’s shape is better for undereye concealer but it’s minimal, you can still get a great look with the Quo Blending Sponge, you just need to work a little harder.


This one isn’t a full dupe. It’s a partial one and I apologize for that. That being said, I love both products. Currently the luxury counterpart, Bobbi Brown – Bobbi To Glow Shimmer Brick is on sale for $60.00 at sephora. The Physician Formula – Shimmer Strips Bronzer, Blush and Eyeshadow palette retails for about $21.99 but they often go on sale. Both items are expensive and you get more variety with the Bobbi Brown palette. The only reason I can see anyone just wanting the Physician Formula brick would be if you just didn’t find the need for a shimmer blush (shimmer emphasis pores, I care but not enough to get in the way of my shimmer). I will say on thing to note on the Bobbi to Glow Shimmer Brick, that I don’t think the bronzer should be used as a bronzer. It has too much red in it. It’s a great blush, I even use it in between my contour and blush…to make a gradient effect and to be extra. The results are so pretty. Both of these formulas are a dream to work with: blendable and pigmented. I would just get them both…


HOLY SHIT! My holy grail item – Pixi – Glow Tonic, landed in Canada in January. Yes, it’s $38 dollars but I don’t care, this toner is magical. You know that dry spot that one primer, I talked about it in this post, gave me? GONE. Gone bitches. It has zero alcohol in it. It smells like heaven. It’s gentle yet affective. I love glycolic acid for daily exfoliating. I first tried this toner 3 years ago, when I discovered makeup and skincare basically. At first, I didn’t notice a difference…until I ran out and my face went to dull shit. So I started hunting for a dupe cause there was no way I was going to order it from the UK (hello custom fees of a million dollars) so I found the Nip + Fab – Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads dupe. Unlike the Glow tonic, this one does have a little alcohol in it. It’s a minor amount that it won’t dry out the skin (at least mine, if you’re sensitive to alcohol, stay away). It is also infused with moisturizing ingredient like the Glow Tonic but it’s only $11.99! I wouldn’t say these two are the same thing, they are not. Glow Tonic is going to give you a better experience, work a bit better but I would say Nip + Fab is still going to give you glowing results. Unless you’re sensitive to alcohol…


Oh! Benefit‘s Give me Brow versus Essence‘s Make me Brow. The same shit in almost the same bottle. The only difference is Benefit’s Give me Brow’s brush is like a millimetre smaller. They both have tiny fibres that plump out your eyebrow, they both deliver in pigment and they both keep your eyebrows in place all day. The difference? The fucking gap in price. Benefit’s Give Me Brow is $32 while Essence’s Make me Brow is $3.00….wtf. Don’t ever buy the Benefit one. I did once and then I saw the Essence one and almost shit a brick.


This is a dupe for the highlighters in both palettes. The Makeup Revolution’s Highlighter and Blush palette retails for about $16.95-$20.99 depending if you get it on sale and where you buy it. The Tarte’s Tarteist Pro Glow Highlight & Contour Palette retails for $60. I decided to label these as dupes because their highlighters are virtually going to give  you the same effect. They aren’t the same in colour but the range of people that can use it is about medium to dark medium. I wouldn’t recommend either for fair/light to deep skin tones. I would say that the Makeup Revolution is more versatile since you can use all of the pans in the palette while in Tarte’s, I find myself confused by some of the highlighters (are they a bronzer? or are they a highlight?) and I don’t reach for the contour colours as much as I would like. If you’re looking for some great highlighters and neat blushes, I would venture our to London Drugs and pick the Makeup Revolution one up and leave the one Tarte behind.


Well, I hope you all enjoyed this post! I want to do a little more dupe posts in the future if it’s something in demand. Would you peeps like a review on skincare? Hair? Let me know in the comments!




Face Files: Pat McGrath



Base is the same full face ritual  (primer, foundation, under eye concealer); eyeshadow: Viseart: dark neutrals palette, Makeup Geek: sparkler in Constellation , Urban Decay: moon dust palette; Blush & Bronzer & Highlight: Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Palette; Eyebrows: Urban Decay: The Brow Box & a Benefit 3D BROWtones Instant Colour Highlights

Preparing for this blog, I realized that I was missing quite a few of items from my Pat McGrath collection and didn’t even realize it. I actually even forgot that I owned the items I was missing. A couple of them are still missing: lost to a vortex that is the ever-changing purse game or the tomb that can be the little hands of a child. I did have half-a-mind to search and find a couple products: two glitters, meant for the lips, and the jumbo double ended eye liner…I feel like I should just quickly take a moment of grievance, for a lost lipstick ..and possibly two glitter pots. *Moment of silence* Okay moment over, now let’s talk Pat MGrath and her fucking editorial products.


Pat McGrath is a hot-ass makeup artist that has been delivering editorial looks since the 1990s. She is behind the scenes of every, noteable, fashion couture show and has painted the face of every supermodel known to men. Of course her make-up is going to be bomb. And it is. But is it revolutionary? Mmmmmm, not really. It’s on trend, and everything you need to continue looking like your bomb-ass self.

Let’s start with the lipsticks cause it was what I was introduced to. It pains me. Ails me. I am so saddened that I started paying attention to her makeup releases. So much money given. And to top the list, I missed out on Phantom 002 and Skin Fetish 003. Jesus sacramento, thank-god, she decided to put out more pressed pigments. I am getting sidetracked here, let’s chat lipstick.


Lust 004: The formula of these lipsticks is matte but it isn’t stiff. If you’ve ever used a Melt Cosmetics lipsticks, you’ll know what I am talking about. Those motherfuckers are STIIIIIFFFFFF. These lipsticks, on the other hand, have the consistency of a creamy lipstick but have zero lustre to them. This means they are easy to apply and can hold their own through a messy meal. I mean, you’ll still need to reapply throughout the day but you can get away with maybe just one or two applications…all depending on how careful you are when eating. They also make your lips look juicy and not like a dried out prune. If I am wearing a traditional lipstick, I gravitate towards these.

A note on packaging. I hate and love it all in one silly string ball. The packaging is designed to look as though they are testing samples and we are approving them or not. I like the idea of it. It’s simple and removes getting caught in the trap of buying something just for its packaging. That being said. Look at them. The printing has partially rubbed off and they just look cheap. This is not a cheap product. Also while I appreciate the size and shape of the tube of lipstick (it makes for precise application) the actual tube it comes in is disastrous! The lids keep popping off whenever I travel with them and let me tell you, my purse is not a place I want an unopened lipstick floating around…yeeesh. So my hope is that when they choose to release another set of lipsticks that they improve on the quality of the packaging cause the product is all aces. Re-test, please.


Metalmorphosis 005: The lure of this kit were the eyeshadows. Coming in two formulas, a trendy and classy: a pressed pigment and cream formula, they are exactly what you expect from them. Both packed with glitter. Sophisticated enough that you can  wear it during your v-card dinner. Depending on how applied, it could give you a complete rocker-chic look or a royal duchess of York vibe. Applies with no patchiness. It does however require that you use your fingertips if you’re using it dry. It WILL NOT pick up with a brush when dry. Only when wet can you use a brush, so if you hate that…you may hate these pigments. I am a big fan of using them over the whole lid or using it in the inner portion of my eyes to give any eye look a POP. The cream is pretty nice and if you lay the pressed pigment over top it just makes the whole thing come together.


The extras: Each kits will come with some extras and to be honest, I kinda don’t use the extras (remember how I lost a couple without even remembering they even existed?). I haven’t really played with the glitters since I am kinda not into the whole metallic lipstick look and I don’t think these are safe for the eye. I am kinda paranoid about using unsafe for the eye glitter since I seriously like my eyes to stay firmly in my eye socket. To be completely honest…I kinda feel like the whole metallic lipstick look can easily put you in the grandma category rather than in the edgy runway super model category. I mean, I eventually will play with it…just not right now. The eyeliner on the other hand, I love. It’s great for when you want your liquid liner to CUT A BITCH. So I am into it and although it takes some time to get used to; once you do,  it make’s application 10% easier….cause let’s be real, liquid liner is no walk in the park.  The lip gloss? Another standard lip gloss, not too sticky but not moisturizing either. It is meant to go with the gold loose pigment. I haven’t tried that either, mostly because I just don’t want to bother in the morning. The mephron mixing liquid is pretty cool. You use it with your pressed pigments and it does make them more metallic. Great product and I want to experiment with it more.

So there you have it. The intro on the great Pat McGrath and some of her coveted products. Everything is currently sold out, so you can’t get your hands on anything. But I am sure she will soon be releasing something. I saw her hanging out with Kim Kardashian on her snapchat, last week. So I am sure she’s brewing some more interesting products. Let’s watch and see what else she puts out. More lipsticks? (Will they be better?) An actual 3-D eyeshadow? I am waiting.



Tell me your favourite makeup artist story. I am going tomorrow to get my makeup done for the first time. Will I finally get chiseled cheeks? How long will it take?

Don’t forget to check out my other blog post on brands: the rivals. It’s kinda gossipy but still a good intro to the dynamics between rival companies and their beauty lines.