Category: Makeup Reviews

Makeup Most Wanted April 2017 – Alyssa’s Picks

Thanks to going on vacation and Passover, I’m super behind on a lot of my posts but now that things have slowed down, I have a lot of new products that I’m using on a regular basis and in April, these ones were used more than most.

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Lotus

Before I cut my hair in March, using a dry shampoo was a tricky thing for me but if I used one, it was generally Batiste related. We received a couple new scents just in time for me to start using dry shampoo on a regular basis and Lotus is hands down my favourite Batiste dry shampoo yet. The description is pretty and opulent but all I can say is that it smells completely amazing. It’s a little fruity, a little floral and I really want to use it as a room spray (but I won’t waste it). It also works at giving me major volume, while freshening up my roots.

Vichy Idéalia Smoothness & Glow Mattifying Sorbet-Cream

I loved the original Idéalia line, but Vichy recently reformulated and added new products to it. While, I’ve noticed most people pick the Night Peeling as their favourite, mine is this lightweight moisturizer. Smoothness & Glow Mattifying Sorbet-Cream is pretty much the perfect description for it. It comes out really soft and refreshing like a sorbet, melts into your skin instantly and keeps me pretty matte. It also gives me a really nice, subtle glow and has the same gorgeous almost raspberry like scent that I associate with the Idéalia line. This is going to be a great moisturizer for my combination skin this summer.

Garnier Fructis Moisture Lock 10-In-1 Rescue Leave-In Detangler

Now that my hair is shorter, it’s much easier to style, especially since I generally let it air dry. But it’s still curly and frizzy and this leave-in treatment from Garnier Fructis helps me detangle it gently and starts to minimize frizz. I do use other styling products with it but I can use it on it’s own and still like how my hair looks. The matching Moisture Lock shampoo and conditioner are good too but I like this detangler the most of the three. Using it on dry hair to refresh my curls also works, but if it’s too close to when I have to wash my hair, it gets a touch greasy.

Yves Saint Laurent Kiss & Blush Duo Stick in From Prude To Nude

I’m really a big fan of multi-tasking makeup and the Kiss & Blush Duo Stick from YSL gives you a ton of options. The YSL website alone has twelve suggestions for cheeks and lips, not to mention you could totally use this as eyeshadow in a pinch. From Prude to Nude is a rose nude/mocha nude combo that combined gives me both a nice blush shade and a great nude lip for my complexion but I generally use it as a blush. It’s super tiny but you really don’t need to use a lot and it’s so easy to throw in your purse for touchups. And you’ll probably need a couple touchups in the summer because of the super creamy formula. The price is a little steep at $40, but not surprising considering it’s YSL, but you can get a ton of uses out of it, so it might actually save you from buying a couple other things in the long run.

Tarte TarteGuard Tinted Moisturizer

It’s been a long time that I have loved a product as much as I love this new Tarte Tinted Moisturizer. Unlike a lot of products, it literally does everything that I want it to and it arrived on beauty shelves just in time for summer.

Once you start using Tarteguard Tinted Moisturizer, you will be protecting your skin on so many levels. First as a moisturizer, it keeps your skin moisturized without getting oily. It absorbs quickly leaving your skin glowing, but not moist. It has very little scent, which is nice for those of us who hate perfumed moisturizers.  It’s also packed full of great ingredients like vitamin A, vitamin E and apple extract, all protecting your face from the day.

As a tinted face product, this has just the right amount of coverage. I am a solid foundation lover. I usually avoid tinted moisturizer because it leaves me wanting more. This one has the perfect amount of sheer coverage. Pair it with a dab of concealer on those problem areas and you are ready to go. It gives a nice even look that lasts all day. The light-medium tone was good for winter, but as I have been getting more sun lately, I am going to move up to the medium. I am surprised there isn’t a darker option for people with darker skin, who still want a Tarte Tined Moisturizer. I think that’s a huge miss from Tarte, that should be addressed.

Finally, since it’s a part of the TarteGuard collection, this also has SPF 20 Sunscreen included. You might think that’s nothing, but as far as tinted moisturizers from makeup companies go, this one is pretty good. I took this on vacation to Miami with me this spring and didn’t get a burn on my face at all. Usually my face is the first place to show colour.

Overall, since the first time I used this Tarte moisturizer I have been hooked. Now I just have to make it last all summer.

Quo Makeup Most Wanted

Quo has been releasing some really great products lately that I super impressed by. It’s even better because all of Quo’s makeup is available at Shopper’s Drug Mart for a really reasonable price. If you want to update your makeup for Spring at any budget, make sure to include some of these products:

Quo Matte Revolution Foundation – This thick full coverage foundation is impressive. I love matte foundations and this one is top notch. It feels and wears like a product that is much more expensive. It does go on quite thick, so you have to want that. It felt like wearing a moisturizer, foundation and concealer all in one. This is more of a heavy duty foundation, so it doesn’t really disappear on the skin. It’s like a second layer – One that makes your skin look perfect.

Quo Bronzer Duo – Quo released a line of bronzing powders recently, including these Bronzing Duo powders. The powder is a bronzer with a highlighter in the center. You can get the bronzing and highlighting all in one. Depending on the shade that you get, the center might be a shimmering gold or matte pink. Warning, these bronzers are pretty dark. If you are light skinned, you might want to skip them. Everyone else can enjoy.

Quo Concealer Palette – By some coincidence, I tried many new concealers this month, but Quo’s palette is by far the best. It has four different shades, meaning that you don’t have to worry about finding the right hue. It also means that you can still use it if you have a tan or some darker or lighter parts. It is quite a thick concealer, but I like that. It ensures that I get complete coverage on the first application. It makes me almost want to give up foundation altogether.

March Makeup Most Wanted

Spring into a new season with these March makeup products that I have been obsessed with this month.

Covergirl Outlast All-Day Custom Reds Lip Color – I have tried a lot of lipsticks that said they were going to last a long time, but Covergirl has finally done it. This two-step lip color is the longest lasting lipstick that I’ve ever tried. It’s really simple, you just apply the colour first, wait a minute and then apply the clear coat over top. Boom! You have lipstick that will last all day. I even had a hard time getting it off of my lips. I fell asleep with lipstick on one night and it was still on the next morning! This lipstick is UNREAL! The red shades that I tried were quiet bold, but really beautiful.

Rodial Baking Powder – I’m not going to lie, I don’t really get the idea of baking. I also don’t have time to bake my makeup before leaving the house. That doesn’t make my love of this powder any less. Instead of baking my makeup and dusting it off later, I have been using it as a finishing powder. I just dust a light layer over my foundation before I leave the house for a minor bake. Forget the long lasting powder of the bake, I love the matte finish that my skin gets when I use it. Clearly this powder is super versatile, making it key in my makeup bag.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream – Finally, a super moisturizing gel cream for extra dry skin that doesn’t feel heavy on my face. I fell in love with gel moisturizers because it is perfect for my skin. I get dry skin, but I also have acne. I need all the same anti-aging and boosting properties, but my skin can’t handle heavy thick moisturizers. I get greasy very easily. Neutrogena lets me get a major moisture boost without that issue. It absorbs into my skin leaving it feeling dry and matte, but also soft. This one is for anyone who is sick of fighting with moisturizers and their skin. Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost is the saving grace this winter.

Sebastian Volupt Spray High Impact Volume – I used to love spray gel in high school. It was probably the only product that I used, and I used it every day. Since then I’ve moved on to other products, but getting this newer product was like meeting an old friend. I love this product because it gives you hold without making my hair stiff. It’s really nice on curls or beach waves to get a hold without the crunch of mousse.

Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Shampoo & Conditioner – Herbal Essences new hair care collection Bio:Renew sounds very fancy in the description. It’s made with a special blend of antioxidants, aloe and sea kelp. It’s supposed to bring your hair back to life in 21 days (although it doesn’t say how many washes that is). I love it because, while it has all of those great properties, it still feels like classic Herbal Essences. The Coconut Milk scent smells amazing. My hair looks great, it’s shiny and easy to manage. I can’t ask for anything else!

Lipstick Queen Smokey Lip Kit

Tired of your smokey eye? The smokey lip is promising to be the next big trend. Lipstick Queen is making this trend easy with their new sets.

Both Smokey Lip Kits include two lipsticks, a colour and a smokey top coat. For now, the sets come with pretty neutral lipstick tones. I tried the Bright Natural Sinner as my base coat, but you can also choose the Pinky Nude Sinner. I wish there were more options. Maybe something a bit bolder, but I think this was a wise choice for the brand to start neutral. This makes the trend easier to dive in to.

Both sets also come with the Black Lace Rabbit. It’s a sheer black lipstick top coat with a slight shimmer. You can wear it alone, but I think it’s more fun when you layer it over your lipstick.

Don’t freak out when you see the black colour. It doesn’t turn your lipstick black. It just gives it a light, well, smokey finish. It turns neutral tones a bit more sultry.

Because this is just a lipstick top coat effect, the possibilities are endless on how you can use it. Try it over your favourite lipsticks to make old colours feel new again.

My one qualm is that I do wish it lasted a bit longer on my lips, but I don’t mind reapplying in this case.

Lipstick Queen Chess Collection


There’s really nothing I like better than interesting makeup collections that aren’t eyeshadow palettes. Lipstick Queen’s newest offering is the Chess collection, six matte lipsticks that Lipstick Queen founder Poppy King says is ‘beauty and brains combined in a lipstick!’ Each lipstick is named after a chess game piece and has a personality description attached to it. Now, I have zero knowledge about chess, so I don’t know how well they actually fit with the game but it’s really fun picking a lipstick based on shade and/or personality.

Lipstick Queen really thought of everything for the Chess collection’s packaging. The boxes have the game pieces on them and half the lipsticks are in white tubes and the other half in black. Just like the game. All the lipsticks are matte and apply extremely smoothly. These are not transfer-proof and will definitely require touch ups but they also really moisturizing and feel like you’re just wearing lip balm. I actually have a really hard time picking a favourite shade. I was initially drawn to Bishop but there isn’t a single shade that isn’t flattering on me.

Pawn, Bishop, Knight, King, Rook, Queen

Pawn (Loyal) is a deep nude, Bishop (Determined) is a determined mauve, Knight (Courageous) is dashing mocha, King (Noble) is a rich berry, Rook (Unpredictable) is brick red and the ever famous Queen (Supreme) is ruby red. The bonus of getting all six shades as a press sample, is that I can decide which shade I want to wear depending on my mood. I don’t know if I could actually pick just one.

Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade Quickie Review

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Have you ever feared that it was so hot you would lose your eyebrows? If yes, then this is the investment that you need. I am not Anastasia’s audience for this product. I might use a little touch up for my brows sometimes, but nothing serious. Anastasia’s  Dipbrow Pomade is serious brow colour! This cream comes in a variety of colours to match your brows. It helps to really define, sculpt and create the perfect brows that aren’t going anywhere. On me, it looked crazy. But the waterproof formula can give those in need what they are looking for.

Makeup Hits & Misses

Not every product can be a hit. We hate to call out the misses, but sometimes we have to call it like we see it. Here are some recent makeup hits and misses from our favourite brands.

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HIT – Sephora Collection Cushion Glossy Eyeliner – I’m not really into liquid liner. I don’t have time for the hassle of it. I expected this cushion eyeliner to be similar. It’s not. Just because you don’t have a steady hand for liquid liner doesn’t mean you should count this out. I found that using the brush was a bit steadier than a pencil. The eyeliner itself isn’t a runny as normal liquid liners. You should still be ready in case you need to do touch ups. The finish is stunning. It’s way better than any pencil!

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MISS – Essence Say To Imperfections Concealer – All I ask of my concealer is that it’s no fuss. I don’t want to have to fight with it to stay on or cover everything it needs to. This essence concealer is far from perfect. There have been some days when I’ve had to fight with it. It’s also really affordable and easy to take on-the-go when necessary.

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HIT – Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz – This is going to sound crazy, but this product made me wish that I had problem brows. I have pretty standard brows. I can fill them in a bit and do a little maintenance, but I don’t have to worry about drawing them in or regular waxing. I am usually happy about that, but Anastasia’s Brow Wiz pencil worked so well, I wanted more of an excuse to use it. This pencil looks so natural and real. It must be good if I am wishing away my normal brows.

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MISS – Burt’s Bees BB Cream – I hate to come down on brands that I love, but Burt’s Bees has disappointed me with their BB Cream. My first issue is the smell. It smells a bit like lemons. It’s really strange. Next, the cream always separates in the bottle. No matter how many times I use it or shake it, I always get this weird runny liquid the first time I squeeze it. I have to squeeze it a second time to get the product mixed. Finally after all of that, the coverage of this cream isn’t strong enough to make it worth it. If it gave me great coverage I would be happy to forget those other issues, but the way it sits now I can’t.

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HIT – Annabelle Lash Launcher Mascara – This is really the little mascara that could. I wasn’t excited to try it at all. The first time that I used it, I blew it off as bad without even noticing it. Slowly, day after day, I found myself reaching for the Annabelle mascara more and more. Unlike some other mascaras that I’ve been using lately, this one keeps my lashes looking soft and natural. it has one row of longer bristles that are perfect for making my lashes look extra long. Serves me right for ignoring this little red bottle.

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SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN – Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude Cushion Stick Radiant Makeup – This stick is a great new innovative way to think of foundation. This foundation is all in one stick with a pad on the end to make applying even easier. Let me start by saying that I really like the foundation. It’s just thick enough to fill any fine lines, but not feel too cakey. It dries quickly without any moisture, so my face looks great. It’s the applicator that I’m not crazy about. I don’t feel like I have enough spreading control by using the pad. Once it’s been used, it feels a bit dirty and I would rather use a foundation brush or my finger to spread it around. That is just me being picky though, because the makeup inside is great!

Holiday Most Wanted: Makeup Gifts

To say I love holiday makeup is an understatement. If I could only buy makeup once a year, it would be holiday stuff and these gifts are perfect for any makeup junkie.

Lipstick Queen Smokey Lip Kit
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There are actually two of these kits, one comes with Black Lace Rabbit and Pinky Nude Sinner and the other with Black Lace Rabbit and Bright Natural Sinner. I like both options but for this post went with Pinky Nude. You can use both these lipsticks on their own or layer the Black Lace Rabbit over Pinky Nude for a deeper, smokey look. If you’ve never tried Black Lace Rabbit before, this is a great way to try the sheer, transforming black lipstick that’ll at least double you lipstick options.
Tarte Color Vibes Amazonian Clay Palette
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This palette has been out for months, so it’s getting a little difficult to find, but keep looking because it’s worth it. With twenty eyeshadows in Tarte’s amazing Amazonian Clay formula, there’s a shade for every look you want. I personally love the shades on the Monet, Seascape and Mosaic but there isn’t a single shade I wouldn’t use.
Arbonne Midnight Muse Holiday 2016
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It’s pretty rare for a holiday kit to give you a complete makeup look but Arbonne’s Midnight Muse does a pretty good job of it. The kit includes an eyeshadow duo, a pencil liner and a matte cream & sheer lip gloss duo. All you really need to add is mascara and some blush (or at least I do) and you’re good for any holiday party.
Kat Von D Hello Canada! Set
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This really isn’t a holiday kit, but it’s a fantastic way to introduce someone to Kat Von’s makeup. Available only at Sephora in Canada, this kit includes some of my favourite Kat Von D products. It has deluxe mini versions of Studded Kiss Lipstick in Lolita, Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Double Dare and Tattoo Liner in Trooper (everyone needs to try this one) and it’s all wrapped up in a vegan leather bag. Did I mention it’s only $30?
Too Faced Grande Hotel Cafe
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I look forward to Too Faced holiday releases every year and while they do seem somewhat similar, there’s always something special about them. This year my favourite was the Grande Hotel Cafe. You open up the cafe to reveal three palettes, a deluxe sample of Better Than Sex mascara and a leaflet with three makeup look instructions. Each of the palettes is scented differently (Eggnog Latte, Gingerbread Coffee and Peppermint Mocha). You can also carry around each palette separately or use them together. I can’t wait to see what they come out with next year.