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The 'B' List. A look at the beautiful things in life. This blog is devoted to that list. Join me on the journey, why don't you?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beauty swap with Jenny take TWO!

Jenny and I decided to do another beauty swap (for the first one, see my Easter swap here) and here's what I received this time...

Wow! I spy a great selection of fun products :)
Quo Lip Gloss Collection
Oooh, I just love this mini gloss collection from Quo. 10 different choices, definitely one to suit your mood everyday (cream, shimmer, glitters, nude or brights!)

Julep polish in Harper; Essence Vintage District in 02 Shopping at Portobello Road

These two polishes would work so well together - the vibrant cream of Shopping at Portobello Road with a glitter hint of Harper on top - or maybe glitter gradient? Either way I am excited to use these polishes! I especially like the name of the Essence; I've actually shopped on Portobello Road before in London so this colour brings me back there. On a side note, I find names of polishes to sometimes influence my purchasing decisions - what about you? Does the name of a colour evoke some significance or memory for you, influencing whether you buy it or not?

Essence Eyeshadow in Shrimp Me Up (another great name) and a soap sample from Cottage North
"Shrimp Me Up" (closer look)
 This is a gorgeous coral-pinky shimmer shadow; I think I would pair it with a neutral/cream to highlight. I quite like the brand Essence - I've found them to have overall good products at a great price point. Do you have any Essence products in your beauty stash? What are your favourites from this brand?

Russell Stover Caramel Chocolates; Reese mini peanut butter cups
And what swap package would be complete without a few chocolate treats? I love caramel, peanut butter and anything chocolate so a great selection here!

I'm actually finding that personalized beauty swaps where you both decide on an amount and each person takes into consideration their partner's wishlist of products, fave brands and preferences to be even more fun than beauty boxes sent by companies. You usually get a beauty parcel full of things you really like and there's the fun of surprising your swap partner with products/brands she likes. And it's a great way to connect with others in the beauty community. Best of all, there's no month-to-month commitment, swap only as often as you like.

Thanks again for another great swap Jenny!

Have you participated in a beauty swap before? Do you like swaps better than commercial beauty boxes?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Review: Cover Girl Clump Crusher Mascara and Maybelline Baby Lips

Remember the Cover Girl Clump Crusher Mascara and Maybelline Baby Lips balm I got last month in my Easter swap with Jenny? Well, I've tested both of 'em out and here are my thoughts on the products.

Clump Crusher Mascara in 805 Black (retails for $8.50)
Tube and brush out of the package
Close-up of brush
I've wanted to try this mascara ever since I saw the T.V. adverts with Pink, claiming that no matter how many times you apply the mascara to your lashes, it will not clump. It also promised 200% more volume. And I just liked the lime green tube :)

Interestingly enough, I've heard the the Cover Girl team spent a long time developing the brush, positioning the little bristles just so, to ensure that clumping won't occur.

So of course my curiosity got the best of me. Does it live up to its claims?

My lashes without mascara
With Cover Girl Clump Crusher mascara
Close up
Close up eye closed
So as you can see, compared to my regular lashes, the Clump Crusher mascara does make a difference in terms of length and volume. 200% more volume? That's difficult to say, but I did notice it doesn't make my lashes as long as some other mascaras (It Cosmetics Hello, Lashes! for example). I find that it gives my eyelashes a more natural look, perfect for daytime. I don't know if I would reach for this mascara for an evening look, as I prefer a more dramatic eye (and a good drugstore brand for this is Maybelline's One by One).

In terms of clumps, this mascara wins hands down. I can do many coats (for me, that's 8-10 per eye) and it doesn't leave huge clumps like some other mascaras I've tried. No fixing and positioning lashes after - as soon as you coat lashes to your liking, you're done. However, I find that even if I go over the same lash a few times it doesn't make a huge difference in terms of length and volume (even in the TV ad, if you look at the bottom of the screen - it only flashes for a second but it says "styled with lash inserts". Meaning you wouldn't get that on-screen look with any mascara if you tried).

Verdict: This mascara is a winner for daytime. A few swipes on lashes and you're good to go. For a more dramatic look though, you may want a different mascara. Extra points that it doesn't flake during the day and is easily removed with your favourite eye makeup remover.

Maybelline Baby Lips in 025 Pink Punch (retails for $3.99)
And now for a tinted lip balm - Maybelline Baby Lips. This balm has SPF 20 and claims to give lips 8 hours of moisture. It also claims to make lips visibly less dry (82%), less rough (94%), more supple (77%) and better looking (77%) after four weeks of use, though I don't know how you would scientifically define "better looking". I have only used this lip balm for about two weeks, so I can't comment on the stats, but I can tell you how I find this product.

The tube (I do love the writing - very 90's-esq!) 
My colour - Pink Punch
Swatch on lips

On first applying it is extremely smooth and moisturizing (it also kinda smells like a fruity drink). I find that although the colour fades after an hour of so, my lips are still moisturized for several hours afterwards. Definitely not 8 hours, as on the package, but possibly upwards of 2 hours. Not bad for a drugstore tinted lipbalm. What I like about this balm is that it's a hint of colour + moisture together (as my lips dry out fast) and it's such a cinch to apply, no mirror is needed, literally swipe and go. Just don't apply with a heavy hand or the colour can become a bit chalky in texture, only a dab and you're good. I've paired it for a natural daytime look with the Clump Crusher mascara as well.

Verdict: An okay tinted lip balm that delivers a few hours of moisturization and colour (but if you're looking for the colour to stay, apply it every hour or so. And don't apply heavily or the tint can look pasty). Good for daytime wear.

Have you tried either Cover Girl Clump Crusher mascara or Maybelline Baby Lips? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

No Glymm? No problem! Nail Polish Canada saves the day!

So we all know that Nail Polish Canada (NPC) is just fab, fab fab. From the latest polish collections (even indies!), to beauty, to their great customer service, they are just all-around one of my fave companies (and they're Canadian! - obviously). Well, now I love them even more. Since Glymm briefly announced they were shutting down last week and then immediately pulled their website, Facebook and twitter feeds, they left a lot of ladies in the lurch who had yearly subs, gift subs and even those with month-to-month subscriptions. What's a girl to do? Step 1: call your credit card company and try to get your money back. Step 2: Go to NPC for a sweet hookup!

(All images from NailPolishCanada.com)

CG Shocking Pink, CG For Audrey, Color Club Theory, Mini Tend Skin, Mini Seche Top coat, Nail file

CG Nova, CG For Audrey, Color Club Theory, Mini Tend Skin, Mini Seche Top coat, Nail file

CG Towel Boy Toy, CG For Audrey, Color Club Theory, Mini Tend Skin, Mini Seche Top coat, Nail file

How'd you like one of these sweet boxes? FOR FREE?

Well, if you're a Glymm, er, ex-Glymm subscriber, NPC will give you one of these boxes for free. Seriously. They want to help people who've been, as they put it, "Glymmed out of their money" (aptly put!)

If you were a Glymm member at any time during the last four months, email NPC at boxmeup@nailpolishcanada.com with your proof of membership (could be a credit card statement, confirmation email, receipt, etc). Then after a day, you'll receive a coupon code to get one of these boxes (the difference is in the first colour choice, either CG Shocking Pink, Nova or Towel Boy Toy). Either way you'll be getting For Audrey, (that should be the colour of the year!)

If you just want this free box, the standard shipping rate of $3 will be charged; if you go polish crazy and add to an order (over $25) then this box (and your order) will ship for free.

NPC asked me to promote this to my readers and I gladly accepted their request because I genuinely like what they're trying to do, right a wrong and pay it forward. So hopefully if you have been "Glymmed" out of your money you can get a something back!

Are you an ex-Glymm subscriber? What do you think of NPC's free box offer? If you're going for it, which box would you choose?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Color Club Holo Fantastic!

The last polish swatch I posted was a gorgeous Glitter Gal holo, and continuing the theme "holos are fantastic" (because they just are!) I've got another one for you today, this time a Color Club in the shade Eternal Beauty.

Looks like a lovely shade of purple in lowlight... [pardon my slightly injured finger in these pics :(  At least now that it's spring my hands are much less dry! ]

But when you bring it out into direct light, WOW!...

Oh yeah!

It's like a completely different polish!

Direct light
Even the bottle looks amazing!

I have to say this is one of the most vibrant holographic nailpolishes I've seen yet - Color Club has done an amazing job. I really like Eternal Beauty, as even in low light it is a lovely shimmery, multidimensional purple, and when the light hits 'em, look out! These nails are sure to dazzle! I got this polish at my local Winners ($8.99), if you're lusting after this polish check a Winners near you or you can order direct from Nail Polish Canada ($10).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April Beauty Swap

So like my fab Easter swap last month, I participated in a beauty swap again this month. I met with Samantha this past Saturday at Yorkdale for the Make Up Forever Remix event and we exchanged swap packages there as well. The MUFE event was so much fun, basically you pre-booked a 1/2 hour time slot (via facebook) and a MUFE make-up artist gave you mini-tutorials on how to create different looks. You could use their cosmetics, or bring your own makeup bag for tips on how to use the products you already own. I brought my own makeup (2 bags in fact!) but also tried a few MUFE products as well. My make-up artist was Dannica, and she was so lovely, she spent over the allotted time with me and I learnt highlighting and contouring techniques, how to create a bright, colourful eye look, winged eyeliner and defined brows. it was really informative! Samantha and I also browsed Sephora before and after our appointments (of course!) and I picked up a few items that I tried out in my MUFE tutorial. But, more on what I got in a later post...right now I want to share my April beauty swap package with you!

My April swap - packaged so pretty!
I spy lots of beauty goodies inside!
Wow! Lots of cool stuff.
Freeman Chocolate and Strawberry Clay Mask; Masker-Aide Detox Diva
Yes! I love face masks - it's 10 minutes for me to sit back and relax and just chill, while cleaning, softening and toning my skin. Freeman is one of my favourites - I love all their skin/body care products and I don't have this particular mask. Masker-Aide - well of course! Ever since trying these masks out in my beauty boxes I love them - quick and easy and my skin feels great after use.

Cake Milk Made hand/cuticle buffer, L'Occitane Verbena Shower gel and body lotion, Simple eye makeup remover
Cake products are awesome (It's a Slice and Desserted Island lotions are two of my faves) and this is something I haven't tried from them - a sugar scrub for hands. Neat! The L'Occitane gel and lotion smell amazing - lemony sweet fresh, and I've been looking to try other products from this company after using their hand cream. And I find the Simple eye makeup remover to be a good cost-effective remover; I've already used 2 bottles of this stuff previously and I like how it is not very greasy.

Nicole by OPI Selena Gomez Sweet Dreams; China Glaze Bitz 'N Pieces Bling it On; OPI mini Euro Centrale collection
in Oy - Another Polish Joke
Yay - nail polish! These are such gorgeous colours - Sweet Dreams from the Selena Gomez collection has silver, turquoise and blue-purple glitter pieces - it reminds of the Caribbean sea. And I don't have anything from the Bitz 'N Pieces collection (though I've looked at them time and time again whenever I'm at Sally Beauty). I wonder how it might look paired over "Oy- Another Polish Joke" from the OPI Euro Central Collection?

Werther's Originals and Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in 070 Cherry Tart.
Ok, so if you haven't tried the soft Werther's Originals - go to your nearest convenience store and pick up a pack! Samantha included two kinds in my swap box - original caramel and chocolate with soft caramel inside (yum!) I've tried out the Revlon Lip Butter (it's my first - *gasp* Shocker, I know) and I like how it gives just a hint of colour while keeping lips soft and moisturized. I wish the colour would have slightly longer staying power though.

Swatch of Lip Butter - Cherry Tart
So that's my fabulous swap with Samantha. Thanks so much, and I had a great time chatting and browsing in Sephora!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April Prive Topbox - Elizabeth Arden

In addition to the regular Topbox, there were more Prive Box choices for April, and I received one of the Elizabeth Arden Topboxes! Let's take a look...

Prive Topbox for April
Product card and offer
On the back of the product card this month is a voucher for a free makeup application and consultation - with a bonus Prevage sample if you take advantage of it. I might give this a go; having just attending the MUFE remix event this past weekend, it's lots of fun to get your makeup done by the professionals! 

Promo for Mother's Day Topbox

A promo card for a Mother's Day Topbox was also included - it's a fragrance-only box and features six perfume samples from Roberto Cavalli, Calvin Klein, Vera Wang, Chloe and Marc Jacobs. An e-gift card comes with the box and after you sample all six, you can redeem the card for the full size fragrance of your choice. It's not cheap, though - this Topbox will set you back $80! A neat idea, but I won't be getting this for my mum as she doesn't use perfume much. 

Back to the Elizabeth Arden box!

All the products inside
Prevage Anti-Aging and Intensive Repair Daily Serum
This serum retails for $275 (for 30 ml)!!!! so if I like it I better go to that makeup consultation on the card and get another free sample, as the full size is just too pricey. This serum is applied to fingertips and then blended into the skin. It has a pleasant enough scent, and the sample I received is 5 ml, which most definitely covers the price of this Topbox alone.

Beautiful Color Lash Enhancing Mascara in 01 Black
This mascara is in a good sample size (3 ml ; the full size is 7 ml for $30) and the card promotes that it is clump and flake-free (I do dislike when poorly formulated mascara flakes under your eyes and leaves tiny black dots). I won't be testing this yet, as I'm currently trying the Cover Girl Clump Crusher mascara from my swap (and I'll give you my thoughts on that in a future post) and next will be the Starlooks mascara from the March box, so this little tube has got to wait its turn. I am intrigued though by how it's a three-in-one (lengthen, volumize, curl).

All Gone Eye and Lip Makeup Remover
I am actually quite pleased to see this, as the makeup remover from my Clinique Prive box back in January has been finished and this is a product I use daily. As one makeup junkie to another knows, you can never have too much remover! And a good one is not too greasy or too harsh, but takes your makeup off at the end of the day effortlessly (leaving skin soft and hydrated is a plus). I have to say, the Clinique remover was really, really good for that - I hope I am just as impressed with this one. The card says this one works well on waterproof makeup and the sample (50 ml) is half the size of a regular bottle (100 ml for $24).

Flawless Finish Sponge-On Cream Makeup in Vanilla Shell

It looks big in these pictures - but scroll up to where I show the four products from this month's box together - it's actually quite wee (1.9 g). Still, I'm excited to get this - it's a good match for my skin tone and a nice way of trying out the foundation, it even comes with a mini-sponge! I'm a fan of cream foundations in theory, as my skin is dry, but it can't look cakey at all, or settle into lines. This makeup is supposed to look fresh for a full 12 hours, though the full size is a little pricey ($42 for 19 g) if I like it, I would consider getting it as I have a difficult time finding cream foundations I like. 

So that's the April Prive Topbox, and I did like getting all Elizabeth Arden products as I rarely purchase the full size of this brand, mainly because of the price point, so sampling first is the way to go. 

Although I just mentioned the sampling bit, and I really like Topbox, this is my last one for now. I still think Topbox is the best of the Canadian beauty boxes with the best price per month, but for the same reason I cancelled ipsy last month, I have a lot of samples to get through and I'd like to purchase full-sizes of products and brands that I've tested and love (hello Goldwell Jelly Boost!) Maybe in the future when I'm looking to try new products I'd resub again. I am keeping a few other boxes though, for now, but we'll see how it goes in the next few months. 

Did you get an April Topbox? Regular or Prive? What did you think?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

March Beauty Box 5

My March BB5 arrived a few days ago...what's inside this month's box?

La Fresh, H20+, Brazen Cosmetics and Tree Hut

Tree Hut Shea Body Lotion in Tropical Mango (full size is 9 oz for $6.49)
The first thing I noticed was the Tree Hut Lotion. Yes! I got the Tropical Mango body scrub in last month's box, and now here's the complimentary lotion. I like to pair my bath and body products with similar scents, so well done BB5! This lotion smells just as just as amazing as the scrub - fruity and fresh, and the lotion is oh so soft. Huge fan of this company :)

H20 + sea salt body wash (full size is 12.5 oz for $17.00)
Last month there was an H20+ shampoo included, and this month, two more H20+ samples - first, this Sea Salt Body Wash. This can be lathered up with a loofah, and it smells kind of marine-like and lemony - nice!

H20+ Aqua Firm Eye Lift Concentrate (sample size 0.13 fl oz -
full size 0.5 fl oz for $38.00)
The other H20+ product this month is their Aqua Firm Eye Lift. When I saw this as a spoiler on facebook, I was actually looking forward to receiving it - I've heard great things about their eye cream. This one has a very light, slightly floral scent - pleasant - and the cream is silky smooth. The full size is kind of pricey, so I'll just have to make this little tube last for awhile!

La Fresh Nail Polish Remover Wipes (x2) (Retails for $3.99 - 6 wipes)
This is the one product in this month's box I'm not overly enthused about - I find La Fresh Wipes to be too greasy for my liking. I also have polish remover wipes from Julep and Priti NYC that I like much better especially Priti - those wipes are excellent!)

Brazen Cosmetics Mineral Eyeshadow (0.18 oz is $7.49)
Colour I received is "Suburbia" 
Swatch of "Suburbia" 
"Suburbia" is a lovely brown shadow with flecks of gold, and as you can see in the swatch, has great colour payoff. I tend to like my mineral cosmetics to have sifters, otherwise it can get a bit messy, but thankfully this sample mostly stayed in the little jar. This is a good neutral colour.

The March BB5 box was not bad - I was really happy to see that eye cream and the body lotion, but I found since we got an H20 + product in last month's box and two in this months, there could have been a bit more variety. The La Fresh wipes are really my only "meh" item though.

If you'd like to subscribe to BB5, I've got a referral link, but if you'd rather not use my referral (no worries!) sign up here instead. Cost is $12/monthly, $30/quarterly, $100 yearly.

Did you get the March BB5 box? What did you think?