Saturday, 24 June 2017

My Top Shelf

While I think Into the Gloss has turned into a Glossier advertorial most of the time, I still really enjoy the Top Shelf and the Top Shelf After Dark Series. However, ITG will never ask me to do a Top Shelf because I don't actively try to submit one nor do I use the Milky Jelly Cleanser. But I have my own blog and can write my own Top Shelf. HA. Also I've never talked about my skincare routine or what makeup I usually wear on here, so yeah. I can tie it all together. 


i have been into beauty on some level for as long as I can remember. My mother has long been mystified by this, since she wears no makeup and is loyal to a swipe of clear Lypsyl every morning. But when my aunt gave me my very first shiny pink Lip Smackers lip balm (possibly Strawberry Kiwi Comet), I was hooked. That was it. However, I started wearing makeup regularly before Youtube really became a thing, and stumbled through a lot of terrible makeup, with nothing but magazines to try and guide me. I lived. And there's almost no photographic evidence of those years, because I didn't get a digital camera until my sixteenth birthday. Thankfully, in hindsight.

I've had mildly problematic skin since I was about ten. It's never been a huge, full-blown, cystic acne, needing some Accutane kind of thing, but it is touchy. Knock on wood though, I'm down to only having a very small hormonal breakout around my period. I have some surface redness, but I think that's mostly because I have very fair skin. In the last year or so, my skin has started to dry out and I've shifted my skincare accordingly. 

Cabinet of skin and hair. Hair shelf is rarely touched.

I'm probably Reddit's Skincare Addiction's nightmare of someone who doesn't do things quite right, but I don't actually care. It's working for me. I remove my makeup every night with Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Hydrating Micellar Water - usually I use Sensibio, but my mom got me the value pack of Hydrabio at Christmas. They have the same efficacy. Then I wash my face with a cleanser, which is Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash right now. I like it well enough, but am planning to switch to a cheaper option, since I've had my fun with more expensive skincare and now want to go back to drugstore stuff. 

I rinse off my face wash in the shower usually, since I shower at night. Mostly because I don't own a hair dryer. Once I step out of the shower, I use Pixi Glow Tonic as my toner, then Mizon All-In-One Snail Repair Cream and The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + ECGC on my undereye area. I have no idea if it's working, but we'll see. Once that sinks in, I follow it up with The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA.

Bath stuff is organized, medicine and contact lens solution is not. Sounds about right. 

In the morning, I use a facecloth for some light physical exfoliation (SCA is dying, but whatever, my face likes it). Then I use Marcelle Ultra Gentle Cleansing Milk, followed by sunscreen. I've been trying out three different Biore ones: Bright Milk, Face Milk, and Perfect Milk. Bright Milk has been the most frequently used one lately. It's got a slight pink tint and seems to smooth out my skintone. I also dab on some more The Ordinary Caffeine Solution. Once both of those sink in, I use Formula 10.0.6 Seriously Shine Free Mattifying Mositurizer. Which really does work, by the way.

Sometimes I do sheet masks or mud masks or sleeping packs, and this has no rhyme or reason. Right now I have a couple of Formula 10.0.6 ones, Pores Be Pure Skin Clarifying Mud Mask (which smells really good) and Keep Your Cool Skin Calming Gel Mask. I've tried to move away from sheet masks but will still occasionally pick one up as a treat. 

Makeup-wise, I like to focus on lips. As evidenced by my Instagram. I still haven't picked up eyeshadow again, though I play with it once in a while. I start with Fyrinnae Powder Primer, then a thin layer of Make Up For Ever Water Blend in R210. I spot conceal with Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in SXE01. If I'm wearing a cream blush or highlighter, I will then apply them. I bought a mini pot of Josie Maran Coconut Watercolour Cheek Gelee in Pink Escape in December and it's probably the best cream bush I've ever used. More of a gel really (and I do plan to post a review on it at some point). I have a couple of HelloWaffle liquid highlighters that I love, in Lavender Cream (old formula) and Golden Veil (new formula). 

The makeup goods.

I've been using Shiro Fatality Finishing Powder for five years, but since my skin has shifted, it's a little too matte, and so I'm seeking a new finishing powder. I've been using Fyrinnae Fluff but it's not quite what I want. If I'm using a powder highlight and blush, I would apply them next. My favourite blush is still Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure. It goes with everything. I rotate through a number of highlighters, chiefly HelloWaffle Draw Me Like One of Your French Kitties, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Prismatic Amethyst, and Fyrinnae pressed highlighter in Confidence. 

Eye-wise, I've been using Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Deep Brown. God, that name is awful. It's also not a "lash boosting serum," but it does have a very fine point and very smooth pigmentation. In fact, this is an excellent liquid eyeliner so it annoys me that PF is making up random claims to try and sell it. I follow up with whatever mascara I'm trying out these days. I've been having issues committing to a mascara. Finally, I use a clear brow gel to put my brows in place. Currently using Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel but it's absurdly overpriced, so that's not happening again. 

I usually put on my lipstick last, because I tend to flit around my apartment packing stuff for work and eating breakfast while doing my makeup. I wore bolder darker lipsticks all winter, but have shifted to sheerer lip products lately, like Colourpop Blotted Lips (which I am reviewing soon! Really). My favourite lipstick for work is NARS Audacious in Apoline. I also bizarrely like Wet n Wild Liquid Catsuit Liquid Lipsticks, even though I officially hate liquid lipsticks. 

I hate hair and do the bare minimum always. Sadly, now that I have a pixie, I have to style it and get regular trims, whereas when my hair was longer, I let it do whatever and got it cut twice a year. Yeah. Hair sucks. But I do like how my pixie looks. Such a conundrum. I have to straighten it every morning to achieve the desired effect, so good thing I only have a couple inches of hair.

Nail polish and a few miscellaneous things.

I don't really wear nail polish on my fingers because I have to adhere to strict hand hygiene rules at work, but I do paint my toes in the summer. I rebooted my nail polish collection a couple summers ago by getting rid of everything and starting over. It was a good idea, probably one of my better ones. Someday I'd like to go get a pedicure, but first I have to get over my thing about strangers touching me. I do not like being touched, even by people I know well and am very close to. I have a very dear friend who loves to give hugs and I imposed a daily limit on her because I needed my space. 

Perfume, for now.

If I'm not going to work that, the last step is to pick and dab on a perfume oil. I have around 70 still, and it can sometimes be daunting. Sometimes not. I still love fruity scents, but have more variety in what I've kept over time - more atmospheric scents and lots of fizzy ones. But we'll see once the big destash happens.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Solstice Scents Spring - and a perfume epiphany

It's been a while since I was really interested in a perfume release - well, maybe not a while, but it feels like it's been a while. But Solstice Scents' spring release this year was full of new scents, and not only that, new scents that called to me. I haven't been feeling a lot of releases this year, but Solstice Scents had a great variety in this release. So many new scents too! I've long passed the point in my indie perfume journey where the yearly rotation is interesting to me, since I've tried most of them from my favourite brands, so I zero in on new additions. 

After much dithering, I picked out two 5ml rollerballs in After the Rain and Gin Flower. For my free sample, I picked out Mountain Vanilla. All three are new scents, and come in both in organic sugar cane alcohol (which is what I have, because Canada) and their eau de parfums. 

After the Rain is the one I was most excited about. Solstice Scents posted a teaser for it on Instagram, and I fell in love. Lilacs? Rain? Sign me up. I'm not typically big on florals, but I have a soft spot for lilacs. The complete notes list is "Lilac, Wisteria, Blue Lotus, Rain, Green Accord, Wild Violets, Earth."

At first sniff, it smells mainly of lilacs and violets. I'm usually a little bit wary of violets because they can be powdery, but this is a pure sweet violet. As it dries down, there are more greens and damp soil. So good, like a field in a warm spring rain. I assume. There are no warm spring rains in New Brunswick. The rain note comes out the strongest as the wear goes on, settling into a clean water, lilac, and green scent. It's lovely, It's light and fresh. It doesn't have high sillage - the throw is fairly low - or longevity, getting to about five hours before I need to reapply, but it's perfect to my nose while I'm wearing it, and that's all that matters. It is a natural blend, so the sillage and longevity are to be expected.

Gin Flower is off another direction: it's a scent based off of a cocktail and I can always get behind that. The notes are "Osmanthus, Elderflower, Apricot, Vanilla, Juniper, Lime, Manuka Honey Accord (Vegan), Pear, Citron, Hawaiian Sandalwood." The gin is most prominent when you apply it, but that gives way to a light citrus and floral scent, with a dab of honey. Honey is one of my death notes, but decided to give this a chance and the vegan honey accord in this is more like honey and not evil powdery death, which is my usual experience of honey. I'm still a little conflicted on how I feel about this. I like the light citrus aspect of it and I like the gin and the elderflower and even the honey, but all together...I don't know. It's nice but it also feels off on me somehow. And just when I've decided I'm not into it, I get a whiff of it and love it. I've worn it probably 20 times since it got here and I just don't know. Like After the Rain, Gin Flower is a natural blend and hugs close to the skin, and has shorter longevity on my skin. 

And lastly, I tried Mountain Vanilla. This one is gorgeous, though not totally me, so I'm content with the sample size. The notes are "Sweet Clover, Coumarin, Vanilla Musk, Fresh Green Accord, Poplar Buds, Morning Dew." This is like sticking your nose into a heavenly vanilla while sitting in field in the early morning. It's fresh, softly green, and after the initial blast of vanilla on my skin, it's softly sweet. The greens temper the sweetness of the vanilla, which reads very sugary on me. It's cozy. It's got low-moderate sillage, and wafts nicely. It lasts about eight hours on my skin.

After the Rain is by far my favourite. I like Gin Flower, but not as much as I hoped. Mountain Vanilla is pretty, but not totally my style. Solstice Scents has been putting out a number of interesting, new scents lately, and I'm glad to have tried them. Even if it took me forever to do a proper test of them. 

And this brings me to my current realization: I no longer have as much room in my life for scented products as I once did. My career presently demands that I use unscented products Monday to Friday, and that probably will never change, since I like being a hospital librarian. I've definitely slowed way down on buying new scents, because I just don't have the opportunity to experiment with scents as much as I once did. I've also gotten to the point that I put perfume on after work to put perfume on after work...and that's not fun. So that leaves the weekend and vacation for perfume wearing, and I have entirely too much perfume for that. 

A friend of mine mentioned that she'd spent a few weeks not wearing perfume and realized she only missed a handful of scents of all the ones she owned. I'm going on vacation starting this weekend, and will be away for two weeks. My plan is to not bring any perfume with me at all (I'm going camping for most of it anyway, so perfume would be cumbersome) and when I get home, I will keep only the scents that I missed. I'll stick the rest in perfume purgatory for a few weeks, and then make my final decisions. 

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Glossier Cloud Paint in Beam

Once upon a time, there was this super trendy, minimalist, online-only beauty brand that launched off of the strength of a beauty blog. They had some seriously questionable branding strategies (more about that later) and kind of an off-putting image (more on that later) but damn if I didn't want some of their trendy, minimal makeup products. But alas, they only shipped in the United States, which is part of a larger narrative that encompasses my whole life as a Maritimer because you don't get to enjoy the full pleasures of capitalism when you live on Canada's east coast. (As an aside, if you live in Toronto/Montreal/Vancouver/Edmonton/Ottawa and have the audacity to complain about your limited access to products, I will fly out there to shake you very firmly and screech "YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW" in your face.) 

But! A kindly benefactor, in the form of Auxiliary Beauty, aided yours truly in getting her little Canadian hands on some Glossier. AB offered to use her Glossier store credit to obtain a product for me, and then mailed it to me. I chose one of the new Cloud Paints, in Beam. While the various other Glossier products intrigued me, the Cloud Paints were unique to me, and receiving more positive reviews than some of the other products I had my eye on. You know, when Glossier ships to Canada and my principles crack and I order from them even though I know I should stand by my statement of not wanting to shop with people who don't want me to give them my money. 

Both Auxiliary Beauty and Bad Outfit, Great Lipstick have articulated my issues with Glossier pretty well, but I'll recap: skincare that seems more about the packaging (seriously stop putting citrus in stuff, Glossier), makeup for people who already have perfect skin (not me), use of the company-as-friend schtick (we are not friends, we have a business relationship, this is part of why I've stopped buying indies as much too) and ultimately, they're selling a lifestyle that I can't/won't live. The closest Starbucks is a cool 115km from my house, you know? Glossier isn't targeting me. And still, even though I don't particularly like their marketing and know exactly what they're doing, it's hard to resist. 

Regardless, the Cloud Paint does work really, really well for me. Even though Glossier describes it like this:

"With Cloud Paint, we set out to make blush the high point of your routine. The pillowy, gel-cream formula is designed to be the most user-friendly cheek color in existence. If you can finger paint, you can Cloud Paint—simply dab it onto cheeks wherever you please. It’s seamless, sheer, and buildable (i.e. it’s hard to accidentally apply too much). Inspired by gradient pink NYC sunsets, the shades are optimized to work across a wide range of skin tones for a healthy, flushed-from-within glow."

I think "most user-friendly cheek color in existence" is a bit of a bold claim, but it is pretty easy to use. It's very sheer and buildable, which is actually true, but this is not great for anyone with deeper skintones. I feel like it would take too many layers to be even a little bit visible. Plus, since it can take a minute to melt into the skin, you might think you have enough on when you actually don't. 

Left: swatched heavily, right: blended out

It does give me a great flush. It looks fresh and lovely. It almost reconciles me to the Glossier image that they want me to believe in. Dammit, Glossier. I know there was some online quibbling over the size of the tube. But 10ml is a pretty decent size for a liquid blush, in my view. It's decent but a manageable size that could conceivably be finished. 

I've been pairing it with Colourpop Blotted Lip in Sucker, which is a similar coral. I like the unity. 

I was also playing with a couple of Colourpop pressed shadows. On my lid is Rager and the outer corner is Party Favors. 

Would I actually spend my own real money on a Cloud Paint? That's still a hypothetical question, since Glossier is currently crippling their growth by not shipping internationally and I fear that once they get around to it, the moment will have passed and we'll all have lost interest. After all, how long can you coast on the makeup/skincare for people who don't need or know about makeup/skincare? Plus, Colourpop's Blotted Lips are heavily reminiscent of the Generation G lipsticks, and they are cheaper and accessible to international shoppers. If someone else gets your product to other markets faster than you, you have a problem. For those of us who've wanted items from Glossier but couldn't get them, we've probably already found substitutes. 

All that said, I would probably buy another one, once I finish this one. I like the formula and wouldn't mind trying another colour. But I'm certainly not chasing them down right now. After all, it's just makeup.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Overpriced: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel

I've never been able to get into brows. It's probably because I have been blessed with low maintenance brows that I spend little time on and don't have any patchy bits or require darkening to fit my face. I have a small face, and my brows match that. I tidy them with a pair of tweezers once a week and go about my merry way. I don't fill them in. I've never tried to fill them in, save for some ill-fated, ugly attempts when I was a high school theatre kid, and frankly all of our makeup looked terrible anyway.

However, there is one thing that I do. I like to use a clear brow gel to keep my brows in place. Much like the rest of me, my brows can be a bit unruly and need a little extra help in staying in place. I first started doing this back in 2011, when I received a sample of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel in Clear in some sample bag. I used it up, decided that a clear brow gel was something that I was keeping in my life, looked at the price of the full-sized brow gel, laughed, and went to my local Shoppers to grab Maybelline Great Lash in Clear. I've used the Maybelline mascara and Essence's clear brow gel for years, purchasing a tube about once a year and using it till it's gone or the gel remaining is too cloudy for me to look at anymore. They're cheap and mostly do the job, but sometimes need a touch up or don't quite hold things down as much as I'd like.

So when I finished up my most recent tube of Maybelline Great Lash, I decided to be frivolous and buy a tube of the ABH Brow Gel. Was it really worth $29? How foolish was I going to feel for spending $29 on a brow gel? Have I officially jumped into the deep end?

The answer to those are no, incredibly, and yes. 

ABH Brow Gel is definitely nicer than the Maybelline or Essence. It's got a hefty metal tube, a stopper that properly wipes the brush off, and holds a little bit better. My brows rarely march off to their own path (with help from my bangs) while using it. The brush is a decent size and doesn't deposit too much product. The solid metal tube hides any cloudiness, which is frankly my favourite part of this whole thing: not being able to see the growing cloudiness of the gel over time. 

But it's still a brow gel. It's a clear brow gel. That I spent $29 on. Sure, I can afford this and it wasn't a big deal but that's $24 more than my last tube of Maybelline. That's $24 I could spend on literally anything else. Like pizza! Or a new moisturizer! Or a lipstick! Or refilling a couple of growlers at the liquor store! You get the idea. It's a bunch of clear gel stuck in a pretty tube and I fell for it. I will use it up, and I might lurk for it as a points perk on Sephora (though I haven't seen it on there in a really long time) but I am never going to be this ridiculous again. It's a perfectly nice brow gel, but it isn't worth $29 and it never will be. In fact, I suspect the price will only go up with how the Canadian dollar is doing, so it'll be even less worth it at some point. 

I mean, if you want to buy it and can afford it, go ahead. But I'll be over at the drugstore picking out a new clear mascara for brows when the time comes. 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Back to Gourmands: Arcana Strawberries Crave Pie

Since I don't wear perfume during the work week anymore - though I do usually put some on once I get home - scents have taken a backseat in my beauty interests. But there have been a few here and there that have caught my eye. Or a few that I'm late to the party on, as usual these days. But then again, I don't feel like I need to be on top of releases these days, so oh well. Even if I am late to this one, it's still available, so for once my lateness isn't problem. Unlike this morning, when I was my customary 5-10 minutes later than I wanted to be for work and got stuck in a terrible parking spot. Monday, I was offensively early because I had to travel for training, and parking at 5:45AM is plentiful. This was a tangent. My apologies.

Arcana released the Strawberries Crave line a couple of summers ago, and added to the line with a few late scents in bath and body (in collaboration with Villainess) and later the perfume oils themselves. Strawberries Crave Pie was one of these later additions, and one of the scents that you can still find at Femme Fatale. However, I picked my bottle up from a friend who was looking to pass her bottle on, since she wasn't wearing it enough. I haven't really been interested in gourmands lately, because I decided I didn't always want to smell like cake, but Strawberries Crave Pie has been on my list for a while. There just hadn't been a good time or space in my budget to grab it. But finally, I snatched up a bottle and then promptly kicked myself for waiting, because Strawberries Crave Pie smells really, really good.

Strawberries Crave Pie is described as "Pink and red strawberries with tender pie crust, vanilla bean, and a sprinkling of brown and white sugars." I confess I've never really enjoyed strawberry pie - it needs rhubarb to really fill out the flavour, in my humble opinion or maybe that years of my family consuming loads of strawberry rhubarb pie to use up the rhubarb in our backyard has conditioned my tastebuds - but this scent is delicious. It's definitely sweet, cooked strawberries with brown sugar and vanilla. The flaky pie crust is a background kind of warmth to the scent, but the sugared strawberries are front and centre.

The sillage is low-medium - not overpowering, but you can smell it on another person at very close range, and you can catch it in the air while moving your wrists around. It lasts about six hours on my skin.

This isn't a standout scent in terms of being unusual or doing cool things with contrasting notes, but it is an incredibly well-done interpretation of strawberry pie. It smells like a really good strawberry pie. What more could you want?

Friday, 26 May 2017

A Week in Lipstick

Hi blogosphere! I'm back from my busy May: parties, meetings, a whirlwind trip to Edmonton to attend a conference, a jaunt to Halifax immediately after to run a 10k, and then making my way home on the holiday Monday. While I was otherwise preoccupied, I also acquired a bunch of new lip products, and so decided to do a week in lipstick. A work week. A short work week. So four days, four new lipsticks. And yes, I now take a lot of selfies in my car. My commute is only ten minutes and I'd sell the damn thing tomorrow if I didn't need my car, so your guess is as good as mine. The light isn't that much better. 

Tuesday: Colourpop Ultra Blotted Lip in Out of Beach

You'll never want to run out of this bright coral.

Colourpop's shade descriptions get under my skin, and I'm 90% sure that they create names from a random phrase generator, but they keep pulling me back in. The Ultra Blotted Lips are one of their newest lines, and they seem to be similar to the Asian beauty lip tints (at least, from what I know of them). I wanted to give one a try when I was making an order to grab more of the Blotted Lips (their other new lip line, with sheer matte lipsticks that are similar to the Glossier Generation G lipsticks) during their free international shipping promo, and settled on a bright coral for summer. Out of Beach (what does this even mean, seriously) is a beautiful coral, more on the pink side and I find it to suit me quite well.

In the picture I'm wearing two layers, but once I got to work, I decided to take it off and put on a single layer. I found it to be somewhat finicky going on - I mean, it is a liquid stain, so there is a certain amount of finesse to applying it - and without care, it was a little patchy. It does wear pretty well. It survived a lunch of lasagna with minimal wear on the inner part of my lips. I do find it to be pretty drying. I ended up topping it with a clear lip balm at some point during the afternoon, which sort of lifted the colour and caused transfer, but made it much more comfortable. 

I like it fine, but I won't be rushing out for more, unlike the Blotted Lips, which I am all about. 

Wednesday: Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 25 Coral Sunset

I've been interested in trying at least one of the Cream Lip Stains since the range was expanded, and after swatching a bunch of contenders on my hand, I decided to go with Coral Sunset, which isn't a little bit coral, but is a lovely burnt red brown. The formula is smooth and opaque, easy to apply, doesn't set too quickly so it can be fixed if needed, and dries down to a matte finish (but not desert matte, just matte). It doesn't fully set, however, so there is a bit of transfer, which leads it to break down more easily than a true matte liquid lipstick. The inside of my lips was somewhat crumbly after I spent all morning drinking iced tea and eating popcorn. 

Of the few liquid lipsticks I've tried, this seems like the formula I most enjoy, since it isn't overly drying and doesn't give my lips a tight feeling after wearing it all morning. But I think I'm going to return Coral Sunset (I never return anything ever, please mark your calendars for this historic moment). I tried it on once I got home, I had held the swatch to my face in the store, but after a morning of wearing it at work and seeing myself on Skype in a video call, I don't think it's a flattering colour on me. Something about it feels off, too jarring on my face. 

Thursday: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anna

Smokey rose.

Let the record show that Thursday was a pretty terrible day for me, but I was wearing my new favourite lipstick (which did not salvage it, but made me feel that I looked good, at least). I picked up Anna at the Sephora at the West Edmonton Mall last week for three reasons: I wanted it, I swatched it next to MUFE Artist Rouge Lipstick in C211 Rosewood and confirmed that they were not too similar, and Alberta doesn't have provincial sales tax, so my $40 lipstick purchase came to $42 with tax instead of the $46 I would pay at home. I'm not opposed to paying taxes, but if Alberta wants to not have provincial sales tax, then I will take advantage while I'm there. 

I'm a fan of the Audacious formula: it's smooth, opaque, easy to apply, and comfortable on me. I first swatched Anna (and Apoline, a lipstick I bought after Christmas and have worn a ton since and still haven't reviewed, ooops) last fall and fell in love. It's a beautiful colour, pulling somewhat purple on me. It's a great work lipstick, because even though I have no issue wearing bright reds to work anymore, I still need some more subdued colours for when I need to tamp it down a bit (sigh). I fully see me wearing Anna all the time. 

Friday: Colourpop Ultra Satin Lip in London Fog

You won't get lost in the fog in this pinky red.

Friday was much, much better than Thursday. I had some wonderful visitors at work and they drew me some pictures for my office, despite not having anything in my library to entertain toddlers. And I even got hugs on the way out. I got London Fog as a mini with my Colourpop order. They were giving away mini Ultra Satin Lips for every order over $20, with an extra one every $10 over that. I'm not a huge fan of the Ultra Satin Lips, as evidenced by my review and subsequent destash of Frick n Frack, so I only opted for the one colour that interested me, London Fog. But Frick n Frack was weirdly thick, and London Fog has a thinner texture. It still transfers, but because of the thinner texture, it feels more like a traditional lipstick. I'm a little more sold on the Ultra Satin Lips this time, but I'm not going to pick up more. The mini size is much better for me, and why spend my money on a formula I only vaguely like? Exactly.

London Fog is a gorgeous pink red. Like it was made for me. Damn. I really love the colour. I may actually use up this mini! That would be exciting. It does stain my lips, but survives lunch (albeit with some not noticeable wear on the inside of my lips). It gets more matte as it fades, but still wears evenly. 

I actively try to wear a different lipstick every day. I have a lot of lipstick, and I try to wear them all, though I still have seasonal colours that I won't touch now till the fall. While I once agonized over lipsticks to wear to work, I've become a lot more bold and free in my choices, though Bite Squid Ink will never make it to work. Now that I've finally worked out my business casual style (quirky prints and cropped pants, cardigans and A-line dresses), I feel more comfortable in expressing myself via makeup. Which means fun lipstick. I still tamp it down a bit when I need to meet with people far more important than I am, but reactions to my clear dedication to dressing my age and expressing myself via makeup and fashion have been very positive. My manager asked me where I get my lipstick because it always looks great, so I think I've achieved my true goal: have the best lipstick in the hospital.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Howl Lipsticks: Gingerbread, Snowberry, Fey

One of The Problems with indie makeup is how companies tend to come and go, sometimes before you get to try them. I've pretty much stopped trying new companies - I like to wait until they've established themselves a bit, to see if they're trustworthy, and then make an order. Howl was hit with a double-whammy, though: they marketed their lipsticks as semi-matte and this was back when I shunned anything with matte in its name AND ended up closing just as I was gearing up to buy them. However, Howl's lipstick formula was sold to HelloWaffle, and now HelloWaffle stocks a mix of the original Howl colours and new colours. And that is how I came to know Howl's lipsticks. I've only purchased them from HelloWaffle, so can't speak to the originals, nor can compare, but I think the Howl/HW iteration of these is pretty good, and I like it overall. The formula is a true semi-matte, of medium weight (like I know I'm wearing lipstick, but I don't feel like it's too thick or heavy), and seems to hold up well to longer wear, food, and drink. 

Left: Fey; bottom: Snowberry; right: Gingerbread

I first picked up Gingerbread during HelloWaffle's anniversary sale in January, and then grabbed Fey and Snowberry during the Easter sale in April. Gingerbread and Snowberry are Howl colours, and part of the general catalogue, while Fey was an LE lipstick colour for Easter weekend. I've been really good about avoiding LE indie hype, but Fey looked magnificent and I was sitting on a bus to my hometown with nothing to do, so there you go. This was my pre-car owning life. Now I just drive places, rather than online shop on  public transportation. But public transportation is good. If you have it. I don't, really, and we should all be amazed that I eked out a year and a half in this place without a vehicle. 

L-R: Gingerbread, Fey, Snowberry


Gingerbread, my first Howl lipstick, is described as "A medium warm rose brown lipstick." This is a colour I've been buying a lot over the last year - and have pared down to a few, including Gingerbread - a pink brown. It pulls a little more pink than expected. It's also a little dewier than my other two lipsticks, with a little more glide.

It's very wearable and definitely fits in with the 2010s brown lipstick revival.

Swatched next to Bite Multistick in Brioche (second from left - first is Gingerbread), Colourpop Blotted Lip in Drip (more on this later!), and Lancome Shine Lover in Beige Floral.

My only quibble with this one is that the bullet is slightly rattly in the casing. It hasn't broken, and it didn't happen with my other tubes, so this is probably a one-off packaging annoyance.

Fey, the limited edition lipstick, is described as "Shimmering pale rose with gold shimmer." This is based off of a popular eyeshadow from HelloWaffle. The listing does warn that this is drier than the other lipsticks, and I'm inclined to agree. It's probably because of the gold shimmer. 

It's definitely a lipstick for pale princesses, as my friends agreed when I shared a swatch photo with them. It walks the line of being frosty, but doesn't get there on me. This works as a bizarre nude on me. I like it. The base colour does wear off before the shimmer does, which does leave me in danger of looking like a disco ball, but with my regular post-lunch touchup, it didn't look too bad. I'd advise wiping as much off as you can before reapplying if you're worried.

And unlike Gingerbread, I really don't have anything that looks like this. I tried to think of things to compare it to, but came up short.

Snowberry, my last Howl lipstick, is of course my favourite, since it's that cranberry red that I have a billion different versions of. It's described as "A cranberry red." Duh. There are some surface imperfections on the bullet, which was noted in the listing when I bought it.

This is the longest lasting of all three. I wore this all day and didn't touch it up till I decided to take an IG photo wearing it. Couldn't tell that I had touched it up, because I frankly didn't need to do so. It wears evenly, stains beautifully, and lasts forever for a bullet lipstick. It's perfect.

And comparison time: Bite Amuse Bouche in Beetroot, Snowberry, Colourpop Lippie Stix in Let's Play, Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Rock Steady, and NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey.

While Fey and Gingerbread are lovely, something about a cranberry red and a pixie cut is really speaking to me these days. But overall, these are decent lipsticks, made in Canada, and one of the coveted and hard to find indie products, lipsticks in bullet form. They're comfortable and wear well, not unlike the blanket I'm hiding under. Snow is in the forecast tonight. Such is the Canadian spring!