Friday, February 5, 2016

Foundation Basics with Make Up Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation

make up forever hd foundation review

The eyes may be windows to the soul, but good skin is the first sign of beauty. In this age of photo filters and airbrushing, that standard for "good skin" is even higher now, so thank goodness for makeup!

Learning how to use foundation is one of the fundamentals of makeup. It's also probably one of the reasons why we hated our skin growing up! We've all had experiences with cakey, thick foundations that just clogged our pores and trapped us in a cycle of poorer skin requiring more coverup, which clogged our skin even more. Well, thankfully modern foundations are eons better than before and there are tons out there to choose from for every skin type.

For today's post, I want to share my technique for applying foundation and introduce you to a product I've recently fallen in love with, the Make Up Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation.

If you've never heard of Make Up Forever, they're sold primarily in Sephora and are known for creating super-pigmented, long-lasting products for makeup artists. The super-popular Ultra HD foundation has been flying off shelves since it debuted because of its amazing texture that is designed to work with HD cameras. This hydrating, semi-matte foundation comes in 40(!) different shades and the range is split between "Y" shades for warmer/yellow tones and "R" shades for cooler/pink tones.

How to select your shade match

Selecting the right shade of foundation can be a very tricky business. Google helps to check out swatch photos and to see how others look with various shades, but I'd also recommend going to Sephora and getting a consultant to run you through their Color IQ test which will shade match you to multiple brands. For reference, I am a 4Y07 last time I checked.

make up forever ultra hd foundation swatches in natural beige
Make Up Forever Ultra HD in Y345

Foundations are generally split between "warm" and "cool" shades, which are then split into ranges of light to dark tones. There are various ways to tell if you're a "warm" or "cool" toned person, but one method that I use is to look at the veins of your inner arm. If your veins look more blue, then you're "cool"; if they're more green, then you're "warm". If you're neither, then you're neutral. I'm more neutral with slightly yellow undertones, so I tend to look for shades that say "honey" or "beige" or "sand" in them. This seemed to work out well for me as I chose the shade Y345 Natural Beige from the Make Up Forever Ultra HD line.

Step 1: Prep your skin

So fresh and so clean!

To start things off, I like to ensure that my skin is prepped for makeup; namely this means ensuring it's well hydrated as moist, slightly tacky skin helps bond to makeup better. Apply your usual moisturizer or primer and let it sit for a minute or two. If you apply your foundation too soon, the oils of your moisturizer could slide your foundation right off, but if you wait too long, then you won't get that magic moment when your foundation can melt into your skin.

Step 2: Pick your tools

how to apply foundation

Depending on the texture of your foundation, you'll want to use different tools. I like to use:
  • fingers when using a super watery and light foundation like a foundation-serum
  • a foundation brush when using cream foundations
  • a buffing brush for everything else
In case it's not obvious, my tool of choice is a buffing brush as I find they just give me the most natural finish while spreading product the most efficiently. 

Step 3: Dot skin with product


Now it's time to finally apply something! I always apply 1 full pump of product to the back of my left hand and then use the middle finger of my right hand to dab foundation wherever I need it, which is generally to the cheeks, nose and chin areas. I like to use my fingers on this step as I can more easily control where and how much foundation I apply to each specific area. 

Step 4: Blend it out

Then using my tool of choice, I blend and spread the foundation out, ensuring to remove any telltale lines so nobody can tell where my skin begins and the foundation ends. I always work my way from my nose outwards as that's the area where I experience redness the most. 

Step 5: Repeat on areas where you need more 

Lastly, I then go over any specific areas of my face that need more coverage with another layer of foundation, using the same technique as steps 3 and 4. 


And that's it! I like to use my foundation to primarily even out my skin and cover up any red marks and blemishes. It can be really tempting to build up your foundation until you're absolutely poreless and flawless, but for everyday use, I really try to resist that. It just looks more natural to let some of your skin's natural imperfections peek out and it tricks people into thinking you're wearing nothing at all!

Hopefully this mini-tutorial helped if you're just getting into wearing foundations. I highly recommend checking out the Make Up Forever Ultra HD line. This foundation lasted all day on me with no fading or creasing and it gives my skin a beautiful satin glow. Definitely worth every penny!

Do you have any tips & tricks to applying foundation? Share in the comments!

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Bedtime Routine

just j bedtime routine with saje wellness

Sleep is something I take very seriously. As in, I will put my phone on silent and avoid making morning plans just so I can ensure I get ample sleep time. Sleep is something I think is a truly underrated activity, as it's so essential to functioning properly. A lack of sleep can leave you mentally inefficient, it can hurt you physically by lowering your body's ability to repair itself, and it can affect your relationships due to you feeling irritated and impatient. Last year with all the wedding and job stress I was going through, I was having a lot of trouble unwinding enough to get to sleep, but after reading The Happiness Project, I changed up my bedtime routine entirely. Now, I'm able to drop to sleep in less than hour whereas before it wasn't uncommon for me to lie in the dark for two or more hours!

So how did I do this change? Well, it's mainly about changing perspectives I guess and focusing on activities that helped me relax and to also create an environment that facilitates that. For me, that meant removing any bright overhead lights in my room and installing a nebulizer, like this AromaOm Deluxe from Saje. Ever since I received this last year, it's been a game changer and I've become fully on board with the powers of aromatherapy. I just pop in my favourite bedtime nebulizer blends and turn it on for two hours while I shower and get ready for bed and it turns my bedroom into a mini spa. Best. Thing. Ever.

My favourite scents to create a sleepy-time environment are varied. First up, is the Tahitian Vanilla aromatherapy blend from Escents. This soothing blend is Mr. Artist's favourite as he loves anything vanilla. Unlike some vanilla scents that have a bit of sharp sweetness to it, this one is softened by a touch of ylang ylang - so soothing!

The other scents I like to have on nebulizer rotation are Mountain High and Liquid Sunshine. Odd choices I know, but I'm not a lavender fan at all so these ones appeal to me more. Mountain High contains spearmint, which is great for when I'm feeling under the weather as it helps clear sinuses, while Liquid Sunshine just makes me feel happy and relaxed!

Besides creating an inviting environment, I also like to take the time to prime my face and body for some overnight renewal. Your body repairs itself while you sleep, so it's the best time to pile on the skincare treatments. My skin has been very happy with this Nivea Sensitive Night Care cream, which I've reviewed before; it's formulated to soothe redness and it just leaves my face feeling super soft and silky. I also like to specially treat my hands and lips at night by coating them in extra-thick versions of my daytime creams and balms. I'm almost done working through the Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream which is my HG night hand treatment. It's super thick and smells just like almond pudding! My hands feel like they've undergone a massage every time I apply this. Finally, for the lips, I've been enjoying the Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm. Made with almost 80% natural ingredients, this honey-based lip balm literally coats my lips in moisture. I can now wear long-wear matte lipsticks with no problems!

Now, where were we: inviting environment - check. Pampered skin - check. Now the last piece is to quiet the mind. It's funny how little things can really help and there are two things in my bedtime routine that have really helped me. The first is to layout my outfit before I go to sleep; it shaves off a couple of minutes in the morning and it eliminates that nagging worry in my brain about what to wear. The second is to keep a daily journal. I've always loved to write and journaling is such a great outlet for all those random thoughts and emotions that you put off processing through the day. I'm still not into a good routine with journaling yet, but I try to do it at least a few times a week.

And that's my routine! Since changing things up, I've felt much better in the mornings and better able to deal with the day ahead. Now I'd love to know what your night-time rituals are, so please share in the comments!

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Valentine's Day Roundup | Pamper yourself in style

Valentine's Day is admittedly a pretty silly and exclusionary holiday, but I have to admit that I get caught up in it just like everyone else. Mr. Artist hates Valentine's Day so we don't usually do the whole flowers and chocolates thing, but I do enjoy using it as an excuse to doll myself up a little and eat somewhere nice!

For this year's Valentine's season, I thought it would be fun to roundup a few products that have inspired me to get into that "loving feeling." Whether you're single, coupled, or on the prowl, I think there's something here for everyone!

Lush Yes Yes Yes massage bar, $10.95

Nothing feels better than massaging out sore muscles after a long day. Lush has a great line of luxurious massage bars that can also double as body moisturizers. Yes Yes Yes is totally VDay appropriate with its cheeky name and its intoxicating mix of jasmine, rose, cocoa butter and vanilla. Simply use the warmth of your body to melt this into skin!

Odacite Pure Elements facial oils

Once your body is all nicely relaxed, it's time to start on the face and nothing feels more relaxing than a beautifully scented facial oil. Facial massage is supposed to work wonders on the skin and I love the idea of using only the best ingredients to do so. Recently I met up with Odacite to learn more about their brand and was really impressed by their commitment to creating pure, simple oils that don't contain any fillers. Whether you use these solo or as a booster to your other products, there is an oil out there to suit any skincare need. I'm particularly interested in the hyperpigmentation one!

Niod Photography Fluid, $30

If you do plan to go out on Valentine's Day, whether with a date or with friends, then be sure to look your best with the Niod Photography Fluid. I am so so excited to try this product out! It's kind of like a primer, but it can also be worn solo as your base, and is designed to subtly perfect your skin with an array of light-reflecting particles and tone-correcting ingredients.

Papyrus Date Night Idea Cards, $14.95

One of the reasons why I think guys hate Valentine's so much is because all the pressure is on them to step up and meet our crazy romantic expectations. Thanks to Youtube and Instagram, that pressure is higher than ever! Mr. Artist deals by opting out entirely, but perhaps something like these fun date night idea cards from Papyrus will help inspire both of us to do more than just usual dinner and a movie.

Luz de la Riva Lulu edible massage oil, $40

And if not... well, there's always this! Get your inner cougar on with this glam and tasty? edible massage oil from Luz de la Riva. This fragrance, cosmetics and accessories line specializes in products that promise to turn your ordinary Ikea bedroom into a sexy boudoir! Rawr!

How do you plan on spending Valentine's Day?

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Fresh-faced Weekend Makeup with Wet N' Wild

Although I love nothing better than putting on my face in the mornings, on the weekends I like to keep things a lot simpler and let my skin breathe a bit without layers of products on top. If I'm not going anywhere, I won't opt for any makeup at all, except maybe sunscreen, but if I'm running errands or going out for brunch, then I'll throw on a simple look like this one here:

weekend fotd with wet n'wild

For me, weekend makeup basically means no foundation and then just doing whatever else to give my face a little bit of color and evenness.

Recently, Wet N'Wild sent me over a couple of products that are perfect for creating that fresh-faced no-makeup look.

The Wet N' Wild Color Icon Blusher ($1.49) is a super cheap blush that offers sheer, yet buildable color. This blush is available in four shades, the lightest of which, Pearlescent Pink, I'm wearing here. When it comes to weekend makeup, blush is your best friend. Pop on a little swirl of blush on the apples of your cheeks and you immediately look fresher and more refined! Plus blush can distract away from a little bit of skin unevenness or redness. There's a slight wash of glitter in the Color Icon Blusher too, which makes this even cooler because then you get a bit of highlight as well as color.

The other Wet N' Wild item I'm featuring here in this look is the Wet N'Wild MegaSlicks Balm Stain in Rico Mauve ($2.99). I'm a big fan of lip crayons and I was pleasantly surprised with how moisturizing and pigmented the MegaSlicks Balm Stain was. For something so cheap, the quality of this product is definitely on par with some high-end competitors. Rico Mauve is a lovely natural rose tone on me and is the type of color I love to wear everyday. The MegaSlicks Balm Stain is also so creamy that you don't even need lip balm and it has a nice glossy sheen to it as well.

Besides these two great Wet N' Wild items, here are the other products I used to create this look:
  • Paul & Joe Pressed Face Powder
  • Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil
  • L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara
  • Tarte Tartelette shadow palette
weekend makeup with wet n'wild

Instead of foundation, I patted on a layer of pressed powder to cut the edge off my shine and to even out the redness near my nose and mouth area. Then, it was onto the eyes. 

For this look, I wanted to keep things soft and just define my eyes a little bit. Lately my go-to routine for shadow has been to take a light color (Super Mom) all over the lid with my MAC 217 and then go over the area above my crease with a warm tan (Wanderer). If I still feel like more color, then I'll dab on a little bit of a darker brown (Dreamer) and blend blend blend. Then, a couple quick swipes of a nude highlight across the upper and lower lash line, alongside a couple coats of mascara and the eyes are done.

tarte tartelette eye shadow palette

Last, but not least, is to slick on a perfect MLBB and that's it!

Now, this look might not be exactly "light" for most people, but for me, it just makes me feel more comfortable knowing that at least I've cleaned up my face a bit before going out in public! You never know when you'll run into that awful ex or bitchy frenemy amirite?

Now tell me: what's your weekend makeup routine?

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Makeup Swap Haul

On the weekend, Sheila, Angela and I hosted a small potluck/makeup swap get-together where we invited our friends over to dive in and take items from our stash in exchange for food! While I didn't get any shots of the food, which included homemade matcha bread, samosas and mousse cake, I did get a shot of the makeup that was up for grabs that day:

makeup swap

It was pretty hilarious as most of the other girls hadn't been to a makeup swap before so everyone was being very polite and tentative at first about what they took. Soon enough though, everyone got over that awkwardness fast and started grabbing up everything in sight! In the end, there was only a lonely box of hair dye and a single bottle of nail polish left.

As a host, my main focus was to destash and to NOT take anything back home. Well, of course you know how that went since I'm obviously writing a haul post now! I think I was still somewhat successful in my goal though as I came to the party with two shopping bags full of items and left with only one, 3/4 full bag!

Here's a recap of the goodies I snapped up:

clean cashmere perfume

Yes, I'm a sucker for refills and even though I highly doubt I'll ever finish my existing bottle of CLEAN Cashmere, I couldn't resist taking this one home! At least now I can feel free to douse myself in it everyday.

korres jasmine lip butter

I've never tried Korres lip products before, so I was immediately intrigued by how rich and moisturizing these appear to be. Supposedly the top one is the heavy duty moisturizer, while the bottom glaze is more appropriate for daytime as it has a glossier tint.

makeup swap haul - kirkland and shu uemura eye shadow

Yes, I am also a sucker for eye shadows! Who knew that Costco's in-house brand made makeup?! Well, apparently they do and this palette has some really nice looking everyday colors that I'm eager to try. Although the palette looks a little cool here, it's actually warmer in person.

I also couldn't resist snatching up this Shu Uemura duo. The fun pop colors look like they can be pigmented or sheered out and I took this one purely because it would be so fun to do looks with on the blog!

h&m pressed powder, blush and Paul & Joe primer

After reading several reviews of the new-ish H&M beauty line, the top two items I had wanted to try were the pressed powder and the blush and now I have both without even having to step inside a store! Although everyone's all about strobing at the moment, I'm getting more into a subtler "candlelight" glow, which usually means trying to matte out my natural shine. The True Matte Finishing Powder will hopefully help with that. For the blush, I got the shade Apricot, which looks like a light peachy-pink that will be perfect for spring.

Continuing on with the base products, I also picked up this Paul & Joe Perfect Makeup Primer. A hydrating base with a slight tint, I think this primer will be ideal for those no-makeup makeup days.

palmer's dry oil

And of course what good haul doesn't have some skincare? I'm a total Kiehl's whore so as soon as I saw these mini bottles of the Ultra Facial Moisturizer, I had to grab it. I'm also really into body oils after using Nuxe and the reviews for the Palmer's oil sounds very promising and is much more affordable!

biore charcoal strips

Last but not least, I snapped up a replacement bar of Lush's delicious smelling Old Father Time soap and I picked up some charcoal pore strips for Mr. Artist.

Finally, the silliest item that I "took" from the swap was this Biotherm essence which I had actually brought to giveaway, but then Sheila and Angela convinced me to keep it! See, that's how you know when you have really good friends.

Have you been to a makeup swap before? What's your experience been like at one?

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Monday, January 25, 2016

ColourPop Back to Cool Lippie Stix Set Review | My go-to last-all-day matte lipstick set

colourpop back to cool lippie stix review

Has anyone else noticed that ColourPop is an American company that spells their name with Canadian/British spelling? If you've never heard of ColourPop then it's time to get educated. This California brand has been blowing up the makeup scene for the past couple years with their high-end quality with low-end prices products. Known for their lipsticks and eye-popping shadows, ColourPop has been on my radar for awhile, but I didn't make the plunge until a few months ago, when I purchased the ColourPop Back to Cool Lippie Stix set.

colourpop back to cool lipsticks

This six-piece set contains a series of wearable nudes, pinks and plums to make up the perfect lipstick capsule wardrobe. All of the lipsticks in the set have a satin/matte finish and are extremely pigmented - I'm talking 1-2 swipe color - and they last for hours without fading. These have quickly become a staple in my makeup rotation and are my go-to when I just want easy, no-fuss color as I know these won't budge or deteriorate .

colourpop lippie stix set back to cool review

Here's the color breakdown:
  • Baewatch, a creamy medium-dark magenta
  • Choker, a light pink with brown undertones
  • Mosh Pit, a medium brown-dusky rose 
  • Out of Sync, a bright neon pink
  • TGIF, a brick red
  • Too Sexy, a grape purple
An individual Lippie Stix costs $5 USD, while the Back to Cool set costs $25, so you're saving about $0.83 per Lippie Stix, which isn't too bad!

colourpop back to cool swatches
Left to right: TGIF, Mosh Pit, Too Sexy, Baewatch, Out of Sync, Choker

Unlike conventional lipstick bullets, the Lippie Stix are very skinny and have a smaller circumference, with a definite slant to the face. At first I wasn't into the skinniness of these, but after awhile I got into it as it really does help to define the lip line a lot easier than with traditional bullets that cover a wider surface area quicker, but are less precise. Unless you have super thick lips (damn you) then you won't have a problem covering your lips still with these.

colourpop lippie stix review

Application-wise, I found the Lippie Stix to apply very creamy and easily without tugging. After a couple of seconds these dry down to a dry satin finish. If you're a die-hard matte color lover, then the Lippie Stix won't be enough to satisfy you, but for most people who are afraid of that puckered lip look, these will suit you just fine. The Lippie Stix are just matte enough to not be glossy and are perfect in the more "out there" shades as the satin finish is matte enough to keep things fresh and modern.

colourpop lippie stix in tgif
Wearing: TGIF

colourpop lippie stix in mosh pit
Wearing: Mosh Pit

colourpop lippie stix in too sexy
Wearing: Too Sexy

Out of all the colors, probably Mosh Pit and TGIF are the two I'm wearing the most as they are ideal fall/winter lip colors. Mosh Pit in particular satisfies all my 90's/Kylie Jenner brown lip fantasies. Choker is a tad too pale for me, but looks good if layered over top of a more pink tone. Out of Sync is a fun, bright magenta pink, while Baewatch is an intense rosy mauve that has me fan-girling everywhere. Lastly, there is Too Sexy which is a gorgeous vampy dream!

colourpop lippie stix in baewatch
Wearing: Baewatch

colourpop lippie stix in out of sync
Wearing: Out of Sync

colourpop lippie stix in choker
Wearing: Choker

After trying this set, I'm sold on the ColourPop hype. Shipping was easy and not too pricey, which makes me really wonder what kind of scam they're trying to pull on over there at the ColourPop factory - how can it be this good and this cheap?! When does the free ride end ColourPop???

Final Verdict
Buy - great colors, stellar finish and wear and perfect pigmentation. It doesn't get much better than this!

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Friday, January 22, 2016

How I'm Wearing Lipstick: 2 Become 1

just j favourite lipstick combos

Raise your hand if you got the Spice Girls reference! I always thought that was such a sneaky dirty song for 12 year olds to be singing. I'm in a bit of weird mood right now as I'm blogging at home, drinking wine and listening to Justin Bieber's new album on Youtube... and actually enjoying it! Goddammit Biebs. Why'd you have to go and make such a catchy emo album?! And the music videos are actually edgy and so... unlike Biebs. It is turning my world upside-down that he is being so cool.

And you know what else is cool? Combining lipsticks together! Lately, in an attempt to work quicker  through my lipsticks (as if that's ever going to happen) so that I can, admittedly, have an excuse to buy more, I've been wearing multiple lip products at once and I've become a huge fan of it! You know when you're looking through your drawer to try and match that shade that so-and-so is wearing and your collection is lacking? Well, combining colors can instantly get you that fix; plus it's super fun to experiment and see what shades go well together.

Here are a couple of combos that I've got in regular rotation lately:

how to wear 2 red lipsticks together

sephora red with clinique black cherry lipstick

how to combine two lipsticks into one look

This season for me has been all about dark reds. You can never go wrong with a red lip, in any situation. It's just about finding the right red for that situation. My favourite red lip is a bright, blood red lip and this combination of Sephora's R04 with Clinique's Black Cherry gives me that perfect, deep, scarlet color that I'm craving. To create this look, I always go bright to dark, so first I dab on the Sephora lipstick then apply Black Cherry on top until the color deepens to the color I want.

wearing orange and red lipstick together

clinique lip pop in poppy pop with colorpop in mosh pit

just j motd lipstick

For a more wearable red option, I've been loving to combine a tomato red with a brown lipstick to get more of a brick tone. Clinique's Pop Lip Color + Primer in Poppy Pop (read my past review!) is a favourite of mine in summer months and it wears well into winter as well when combined with the brown-pink tones of ColorPop's Lippie Stix in Mosh Pit. To create this look, I first layer Mosh Pit all over my lips, then slick on Poppy Pop on the center and blend outwards.

bright pink lipsticks

clinique wow pop with revlon berry allure gloss

just j bright pink lipsticks

Lastly, I couldn't leave out a bright pink look could I? Although not technically a "winter" lip look, I just couldn't help not putting it in here as it's just so fun to wear. This one combines my Clinique Pop Lip Color + Primer in Wow Pop with Revlon's Berry Allure lip gloss. The end result is straight up glossy pop lips. I love the purple tint the gloss puts on this bright pink lipstick. It's the perfect lip color for the club and you can bet on it that I will be wearing this look tons in the spring!

What color combos do you think would make a fun lipstick look?

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