Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Glossier Comes to Canada (except Quebec)

Last month, Glossier began shipping to Canada. Finally. Actually, I should have seen this coming before they announced it, since you can see they have bilingual packaging here in Auxiliary Beauty's review of the Birthday Balm Dot Com, which was a couple of weeks before they announced they'd be shipping to Canada. However, this didn't tip me off because I live in the only bilingual province in Canada and grew up in the first officially bilingual city in Canada, and therefore this was not unusual to me. The stop signs in my life are bilingual. Lip balm packaging doesn't ping my radar.

Glossier knows how to present itself.

Anyway, I made an order (and this was also when I discovered the referral program had changed: I used a link and only got 10% off, and now you only get $5 in store credit per referral purchase). Two orders, to be more precise - I ordered the Phase 2 set (Stretch Concealer in Light, Boy Brow in Clear, Generation G lipstick in Zip) and the Birthday Balm Dot Com when shipping to Canada was opened, forgetting that I also wanted to try a Haloscope. I decided to just let it go. However, a couple of weeks later, Glossier had a free shipping no minimum event, and I had $10 in store credit from friends using my referral link, so I picked up a Haloscope in Quartz. So I have a nice array of their makeup to comment on today, after a couple weeks of use for each. 

I scratched the Stretch Concealer lid with my keys. It didn't arrive that way. I have too many sets of keys and not enough purse.

Before I jump into that, I am going to give Glossier props for not making shipping to Canada a nightmare once they did start up and not gouging Canadians because they can. I am inclined to narrow my eyes and make snarky cracks about Glossier as a whole, but it was honestly very easy and one of the easiest and best online shopping experiences I've had when ordering from the States. Their site displays all prices in Canadian dollars and charges in Canadian dollars, and everything is reasonably adjusted (eg. Boy Brow is $16US and $20CA. With the exchange rate being a little higher now than it was when they launched in Canada, it was cheaper to buy as a Canadian when converted. It still is, but the margin has shrunk a bit. This is a huge deal). Glossier has been running a "buy 2 things, get free shipping" promo for Canada since they launched here, but shipping is $8 for one item, which isn't all that bad. They're currently shipping from the US, which is less great, but they use DHL and then it gets passed to Canada Post once it clears customs, and doesn't seem to take an overly long time, falling within the 7-10 business days they claim. 

It took forever, but you did good, Glossier. People in Quebec, who can't buy from Glossier yet despite their Canadian offices being in Montreal, due to the fact they don't have a French website yet (which struck me as odd since Into the Gloss loves to fetishize all things French), probably don't agree. They are right to be disgruntled about that. There are a lot of retailers who don't allow Quebecois to order from their websites because they don't have a French one. However, aside from not having a French website up and ready, it was well-executed.

That all said, was it worth the wait? Ehhhhh probably not. I enjoyed the items I got, I even like some of them very much and will likely repurchase them. And maybe it's because I've been reading about Glossier now since it launched, but nothing feels revolutionary about it. Part of that is because it isn't, as much as Glossier would like us to believe otherwise. But these are all products that I ended up feeling vaguely lacklustre about. Did anticipation wear me down? Is it a case of the wait being better than the reality? I don't know. I just know that I wasn't blown away or even super excited about them, for all that I ordered on the launch day.

Here is a handy breakdown of where I ranked these items:

Winners: Boy Brow in Clear, Haloscope in Quartz

Middling: Generation G in Zip

Losers: Stretch Concealer in Light, Balm Dot Com in Birthday

Let's start with the losers, because I feel like being snarky.

Stretch Concealer in Light

According to Glossier:
A traditional concealer sets to a stiff, flat, dry finish—a dead giveaway that you’re wearing it. Ours is a new type of concealer with elastic micro waxes that move with your face instead of caking on top of it, and nourishing oils that give a dewy, glowing finish. The buildable formula covers everything from dark circles to redness and blemishes. In five shades painstakingly developed to enhance, brighten, and—most importantly—completely disappear into the widest range of skin tones.
You can see it's a little too warm and dark for me.

According to me:
Wtf, Glossier. This doesn't conceal anything. It sinks into lines I didn't even know I had. I don't ever conceal my undereye circles, because they aren't that bad, but this couldn't even conceal those. I DON'T GET THIS PRODUCT. 
Light is a touch too dark for me, but can be blended a bit to melt more into my skin. While not concealing a damn thing. Pointless. I've stuffed it in my bag to use as a bit of base for when I rub off foundation on my chin or something during work, to keep it from looking patchy and weird. I know Glossier is all about effortless makeup for pretty people who already have perfect skin, but this is especially egregious. Will not be repurchasing or recommending, ever. My MUFE Water Blend covers more than this, and Water Blend is incredibly sheer.

Swatched with all of my base products and concealer, which has recently expanded a lot. L-R: The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.0P, The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.0NS, The Ordinary Coverage Foundation in 1.0N, Makeup Forever Water Blend Foundation in R210, Stretch Concealer in Light, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX01, Gosh Illuminating CC Cream in Porcelain.

Balm Dot Com in Birthday

I confess Balm Dot Com is in the losers' category through no fault of its own. It's actually me who is the problem. Balm Dot Com is very nice and you shouldn't discount it because it doesn't work for me. Glossier describes it as:
A hydrating, long-lasting, multipurpose lip and skin salve that’s packed with antioxidants and natural emollients to nourish and repair dry, chafed skin. The dense, waxy texture stays in place to seal in moisture wherever it goes.
Birthday was released this spring in celebration of Glossier's second birthday. It's supposed to be inspired by Milk Bar's birthday cake and smells like cake and is silvery shimmer. It's pretty and moisturizing. The problem is that I'm allergic to it.

Please enjoy this IG photo from two weeks ago when I still thought I could wear this, in lieu of swatches.

You see, very recently, I figured out that I react to lanolin, after an ill-fated attempt to wear Jack Black lip balm, following an ill-fated attempt a few months ago to wear Bite Agave Lip Mask. Both of which have lanolin. Both of which I reacted to in the same way, and in the same way that I reacted to Balm Dot Com. I'm apparently not smart enough to read ingredients' lists (or unused to ever having to, since I became lactose-intolerant as an adult and chlorine, my other major sensitivity, is pretty easy to avoid in the amounts that trigger a reaction) and forgot to notice that Balm Dot Com has lanolin in it. I'll be passing Birthday off to a friend. It felt really nice while it was on, though! I'm sure if you can wear it, it works well, and a friend confirmed that she liked her original Balm Dot Com when I lamented about the fact that my lips were rebelling in a slightly painful manner after wearing Balm Dot Com all day. Sigh.

Onto the middling Generation G in Zip.

The Generation G lipsticks are described by Glossier as:
Generation G is a new kind of lip color that gives the look and finish of just-blotted lipstick, without the blot. We’ve created a short list of the six most important shades, with dialed-down pigment loads for a casual look.
One swipe and four swipes.

Zip is described as a poppy red. And actually I like Zip very much, and the formula of the Generation Gs is nice enough. But not nice enough for the $20 pricetag when I can get a Colourpop Blotted Lip for $5US, which is the same general idea.

I have the current, reformulated version of the Generation Gs, with more product, better packaging and supposedly more moisturizing. I have no frame of reference, but I can say that the Generation G formula is more emollient and less drying than the Blotted Lip formula. I can move the pigment around on my lips a bit after applying, and it glides much more smoothly than the Blotted Lip. Zip is a bright, fun colour, and I'm glad I picked it up. As one of the more pigmented Generation Gs, it's still pretty sheer and not nearly as buildable as the Blotted Lip formula. It is comfortable and lightweight. It's nice, really. But I can't see picking up any more of these, though I'm kind of curious about Cake. If you like the Blotted Lip formula, just get that.

And finally! The winners.

Boy Brow in Clear

Since I don't feel like my brows need any filling in, I chose to get Boy Brow, one of Glossier's most well-known/loved products, in Clear, to see how the hold was. Glossier says:
All brow needs have been considered to create THE brow product: one to thicken, fill in, and groom brows into place. The creamy wax formula is inspired by traditional hair pomade for soft, flexible hold that doesn’t stiffen or flake.
I've been using the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel and feel it's wildly overpriced, but have never tried any other brow products that gels in the past. And gels can easily get too crunchy or flaky. Boy Brow is neither of those things, as Glossier claims, and it's true. Clear holds my brows, keeps them looking natural, and makes them look full and just all around good. Gah. I didn't want to like this, and in fact ordered it figuring that I wouldn't, but wanted to try it anyway. But I also thought I'd like Balm Dot com sooooo.

The tube is tiny. But my brows look awesome. I'll be back. You win this one, Glossier.

Haloscope in Quartz

I need another highlighter like I need another hole in my head (but bought it anyway and am planning another one anyway) but Haloscope has called to me since it came out. So it was kind of odd that I forgot about it. But it has been rectified.

According to Glossier:
Skincare + makeup = Haloscope, the galaxy’s first dew effect highlighter. It’s a dual-delivery formula: the outer halo is infused with genuine crystal extracts for all-day enlightenment, with a solid oil core of vitamin-rich moisturizers for a hydrated, dewy finish. Expect an otherworldly sheen that’s never dry, never glittery. 
I roll my eyes at any highlighter that talks about being infused with crystals, but Haloscope is a gorgeous, smooth, dewy highlighter. Quartz is "a universally flattering, pearlescent highlight." Sure. Maybe. Probably not. It is sheer enough that I think it could work on a variety of skintones, at least. But lighter skintones. Sigh again.

That glow.

This is probably the most functional of the Glossier offerings: Haloscope is best applied directly from the tube and easily blended with your fingers (I blend everything with my fingers, to be honest. I've never used a foundation brush). It can be a little draggy once you first put the stick to skin, but warms up easily and glides after a moment. It does tend to face on me through the day, but the area where I typically apply it (brow bone, cheekbones) isn't one of my oilier areas, so it stays put well enough. Quartz is a lovely champagne pink and it looks so natural, but could be built up a bit for a shinier, more shimmery glow (but not a lot). It's made with coconut oil, which could be a problem for some people. I'm not one of those people, thankfully, because two duds would have been too much. 

Overall, I'm still mixed on Glossier. Their branding annoys me - as all brands who want to be my friend do. I don't love that they wouldn't accept my money for years. Stretch Concealer is garbage. But the Canadian shopping experience has been smooth and well done. I love Boy Brow and Haloscope and Cloud Paint. Who knew you could have such complicated feelings about Instagram brands? Not I. I guess I'll continue to buy the things I like, potentially try some others, and side-eye the hell out them in general. As usual.

(If clicking on my referral link is something you'd like to do, you can here. If not, no worries.)

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Glow Series: Hello Waffle Liquid Highlighters in Golden Veil, Midna, and Awoke at Dawn

This is actually kind of a weird time to write about Hello Waffle, since it was just announced that Hello Waffle is being sold to Shiro Cosmetics. The owner of Hello Waffle, Christine, has decided to focus on her full time job and feels she can't properly devote herself to her brand anymore, and so has worked out a deal with Shiro so that the brand will live on. I'm feeling pretty mixed about this: Hello Waffle is one of my favourite indies, and being Canadian-based made the access to them so much easier for me. Moving to Shiro means that Hello Waffle products will now ship from the US...and that alone is going to be something of a barrier for me, since I've been cutting back on importing stuff. However, I'm glad that Hello Waffle will live on, and I'm glad that the closure and transfer of the brand have been handled with maturity and grace - how many indies have I watched go down in flames, not fulfilling orders, and owners getting way over their heads? Too many. Shiro has experience in distributing/acquiring other brands, and I think this is the best possible outcome.

But anyway. Hello Waffle will be back, and so will their excellent liquid highlighters. I actually have four in total - I got Lavender Cream last summer, but they were reformulated since then, so I'm going to focus on my three in the current formula: Golden Veil, Midna, and Awoke at Dawn. I've been enjoying liquid/cream highlighters a lot lately - at some point in the fairly recent past, I realized that loose powders were a trap for me, and considering how many weekends I spend away from home in not-ideal setups, I've come around to pressed, cream, and liquid highlighters. Maybe a little too much, but that's another question for another time.

The liquid highlighter formula is more akin to a whipped mousse, rather than an actual liquid. It's packaged in a squeeze tube with a doefoot applicator. It's got a light, fluffy texture, and is easily applied with the doefoot. I take the doefoot out, wipe a bit of the product off on the inside of the tube neck - the stopper doesn't quite take enough product off for me - and then draw a line of product on my cheekbones and browbone. Then I blend it out with my finger because I'm a filthy savage who avoids brushes if at all possible. This works fairly well, and I usually set it with my finishing powder. The longevity is fairly decent - it holds up pretty well over my foundation, and the finishing powder doesn't dull it, but seems to keep it from rubbing off too much throughout the day.

Hello Waffle's powder highlighters were known for a very smooth and buildable shimmer, and the liquid ones are no different. However, because they were released right before one of Hello Waffle's many hiatuses over the last year and a half (due to the job situation of the owner, which led to Shiro acquiring the brand), and haven't been very available, I haven't seen anyone talking about them. Which is a shame. But understandable. It's kind of hard to talk about something you can't get your hands on. Though I have and didn't really get to talking about them until now...but anyway.

Wearing Midna here. You can see it best on my brow bone, though it's pretty subtle in photos.

If you want to glitter with the shine of a thousand disco balls, these probably aren't for you. They're of a very fine, candlelit glowy shimmer. They're buildable, and therefore can get more intense, but I like these for a more subtle, even glow - but still noticeable. More work-safe glitter, if you will. As much as I have grown accustomed to pushing the envelope at work, I still opt for a more subtle glow when I'm marching through the hallways with a bright orange red on. 

Golden Veil: blended out and watched heavily.

Golden Veil is my favourite of the three here. It's described as "white with a golden sheen." Golden Veil is the one I reach for the most, since I find the cool gold that it comes off as to be very flattering on my skintone.

Midna: blended out and swatched heavily.

If you have Golden Veil, you probably don't need Midna. The differences between the two are minimal, and picking one over the other is more of a choice due to undertones. Midna is described as "cream coloured shimmery gold." Because of this, it comes off warmer and has a champagne tone that Golden Veil does not. Blended out on my face, they don't look hugely different. Both pretty, but not necessary. Depending on how fast I use Golden Veil up (and since I don't use a ton when I wear it, which has been 3-4 times a week this summer), I may pass Midna onto a friend. I'll decide in a few weeks.

Left Golden Veil, right Midna.

Awoke at Dawn: blended out and swatched heavily.

Lastly is Awoke at Dawn. I had a sample of Awoke at Dawn in the past, in the original version of this formula, and tended to use it more as a blush, though with a light touch and concentrated blending, I've been able to diffuse this enough to make it look natural. It is a beautiful colour, described as a "shimmering champagne rose." In liquid form, it's much heavier on the pink. I like it, but light pink shimmery blush is definitely a look for me.

Overall, the ease of use of these things are why I've collected so many. They're blendable, buildable, and the packaging is good for the formula. They are/were Canadian. When Hello Waffle went on hiatus, I knee-jerk grabbed some more of them just in case - which is kind of dumb, because liquid products go bad. I've been very slowly realizing that I really like cream/gel/mousse formulas for highlighters and blush, but that means I need to cut down on variety of them, since they go off much faster than powder. Dilemma. Ultimately the lesson here is: stop stockpiling random things. I'm mostly over this, but occasionally something catches me. 

As I understand it, Hello Waffle will be reopened by Shiro September 1st. So maybe these will be back then - or if not, soon.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


This is a general housekeeping post, mostly to discuss the state of the blog, direct you to my perfume sale, and talk about a few non-beauty things I've been enjoying lately.

First off, name change! I wrote recently how I'd come to an epiphany about my perfume usage, and how I've pulled away from that by necessity, since I work in a scent-free environment. This brought me to another problem: my blog was originally started as a place where I reviewed indie perfume, and Scents and Sea Spray reflected the direction I wanted to go in...then. Not so much now that I've shifted to a more general beauty blog. After begging everyone I've ever met to help me come up with a new name, I've settled on Collection Development - a reference to both my career and the fact that this blog tracks the development and changes in my beauty collection. I've updated my Instagram and this blog URL (had to toss in "the" since someone started a collection development blog in 2002 and hasn't posted since). So here we are - introducing my new name, tagline, and social media.

Instagram: collectiondevelopment
Email: (I'm keeping this for now, for perfume sale-related reasons, but will update this post and the sidebar when I create a new one).

Since I already mentioned it: hey! Perfume sale is live. It's actually been live for over a week now, but I've been lazy about promoting it. Hit up the Perfume Sale tab, read all of the words and then click the link to my Google Spreadsheet with all of the goods. Some of you have already found it because you are crafty and I didn't hide it at all. Since I have begun communicating from my old blog name email regarding this sale, I'll be holding onto that address for now. 

On Monday, I took my middle brother to see Natalie MacMaster, Donnell Leahy, and their children play a concert in my city. It was fantastic. I asked my brother if he wanted to come with me as his birthday present (he turned 24 on August 3rd) and he was very eager. You may have caught some of it on my Instagram story from Monday night. The civic centre where it was held was pretty warm the whole time, but we persevered and had a great evening.

I've finally gotten myself back in gear with reading, mostly because I placed a million holds at the public library and having that time restriction has motivated me to read things. I think I'm back in business. I purchased a couple of print novels for the first time in a while too, since I visited my brother a couple of weeks ago and we went to the bookstore in the mall near his place. We also went to the new franchise of Cheese Curds, a gourmet burger and poutinerie that opened in Oromocto, which is nearish to where he lives. I've been to Cheese Curds once before, at its location in Burnside in Dartmouth, last time I was visiting Nova Scotia, and it was just as heavenly this time as it was the first time. 

I've been very into burger platters this summer, so I'm continuing to chase a really good plate of a burger and fries. I'd like to change it up, however, and continue to reduce my animal product consumption, so I'll be trying a veggie burger recipe or two before the summer is over. One of the blocks in this path is the fact that I can't stand the texture of most beans. I don't consider myself to be a picky eater, or at least the kind of picky eater that would have difficulty eating more plant-based meals, since I'm not hugely fond of most cuts and types of meat, but beans are my current stumbling block. 

I've been trying to reign in my enormous sweet tooth (always a challenge) and have turned my efforts to reducing the amount of juice and pop I drink. I've quit drinking pop before, and am pretty near to that again, but juice has been a struggle. I really like to have a glass of juice in the morning, but juice is pretty terrible for you. I also don't love the taste of water first thing in the morning, so I've been getting around that with lemon water. I filled an ice cube tray with lemon juice (an ice cube tray in the shape of lemon wedges, of course) and pop one in my glass of water while I'm making breakfast. It melts pretty quickly and makes my water delightfully lemony.

August is also the projected arrival of my nephew! I am so excited to be an aunt, especially since I know I'm going to be a good one. We had a baby shower/excuse for a general summer party for my SIL and BIL last month and it reminded me how close we are. My partner and I are ready to dote. Not surprisingly, my SIL has assigned us the job of providing books for our nephew - not like we needed the push - and he's already got a well-stocked library, thanks to auntie. I've been trying to hold myself back. I've got the rest of his life to buy him stuff!

Can't wait to be looking at this in a few weeks!

I'll be going camping again at the end of August, with my youngest brother and his girlfriend. We are going to attempt to stuff ourselves in my tiny tiny car and drive to Cape Breton, to camp on the family land. It has been three long years since I last went there, and I've been pretty upset about that, to be quite honest. I'm also curious to see the land since we had the old house torn down. And it's my brother's girlfriend's first time to Cape Breton, so we'll be jamming as much fun into the three days we'll be away that we can. 

I've been working a ton since I got back from Ottawa, possibly too much, but I've been in high demand. Which is nice, and I try to remind myself of that when I skip lunch and work late to get everything done. But it has sort of hampered my posting here, especially since I've been travelling most weekends. Apparently owning a car means that my presence is in higher demand too, from my friends and family. For someone who sat behind the wheel of a car for the first time this time last year, I do an awful lot of driving now.

How's your summer going?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Glow Series: Colourpop Crystal Liquid Highlighter in Aquamarine

I've been quietly amassing a bunch of highlighters over the past year and then some, and haven't really written about any of them, despite my newfound devotion to glowing all of the time. So to rectify this obvious oversight, I'll be spending my August writing about all of the highlighters that have come into my possession (which is way more than I need, but so it goes). Just a series of quick, shimmery reviews. 

I've decided to start with Colourpop's Crystal Liquid Highlighter in Aquamarine. I picked this up on a whim, kinda. I've been coveting CoverFX's Custom Enhancer Drops in Halo since they came out earlier this year, but they're $52 Canadian for 15ml. Nahhhh. Even the most beautiful holographic liquid highlighter isn't worth that much. Enter my interest in the Crystal Liquid Highlighter. Colourpop has approximately five million product releases in a week, so the fact that the Crystal collection (liquid highligher, lip balm, and setting spray) wasn't on my radar originally isn't super surprising, but a well-timed Instagram post from Colourpop piqued my interest and I wandered over to the site. 

Top blended out, bottom heavily swatched

Colourpop's marketing copy for this is even more hilarious than their normal stuff. Apparently "All Items in this collection have been infused with crushed Aquamarine crystals and inspirited with actual gemstones during the production process." Okay, then. Aquamarine is "Blue with a violet flip infused with crushed Aquamarine Crystals." More of it is about crystals and their properties, which something I don't hold store with - to me, they are pretty rocks and that's cool, but let's not pretend they're more than they are. 

I swear, I'm actually fun at parties, for all my dour hand-wringing over this sort of thing.

One pump of highlighter.

A few other things of note:

  • despite the ludicrous marketing copy, this is really pretty and iridescent
  • it's $9USD, so on the more expensive end of Colourpop's products
  • but you get 25ml which is a crazy amount of liquid highlighter
  • you definitely don't need very much
  • the pump, while far preferable to a dropper, does have a tendency to dispense more product that you need. Colourpop says to use a pump or two of the product, which I assume is great if you want to shine like a disco ball, but normally I don't and end up wasting some product
  • but again, this bottle is 25ml which is a crazy amount of liquid highlighter
  • this formula is lightweight and pigmented
  • And pretty. Did I mention it was pretty?
  • It also lasts all day
That unicorn glow.

More subtle shimmer in my office, featuring pictures from toddlers behind me.

It blends well on top of foundation and bare skin, and it is so stinkin' pretty. I know I keep saying this, but if there's any Colourpop product that I've been suitably impressed with, it's this, because it's beautiful, relatively unique, and the packaging is unique in the Colourpop lineup, as well as functional. If you wanted a unique highlighter, check these out when they're back in stock. And then consider covering all parts of your body in shimmer, because you're going to have a fuckton of highlighter. 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Everyday Workhorse: An Ode to NARS Audacious Lipstick in Apoline

NARS has been in the news a lot lately, for choosing to give up its cruelty-free status and expand to China. I've been plotting a post on cruelty-free cosmetics, among other things like natural beauty products and the rampant pseudoscience in beauty communities (I don't expect everyone to produce a systematic review for every claim they make, as nice as that would be, but I do think there should be fewer statements about health like they're facts), so I'll leave my thoughts on all of that until that time. When I bought Apoline, back in the winter, NARS was still cruelty-free, Trump hadn't been sworn in yet, and I didn't spend a dime on car maintenance. It was a simpler time. 


I've long admired the Audacious line of lipsticks: the formula, the range, the packaging. Last summer, I decided I might be in the market for some more wearable colours from the line. I already had Audrey, which is a beautiful muted red plum, but not really the wear-with-everything colour I was looking for. I swatched a few and settled on two to eventually buy: Apoline and Anna (which I did end up buying and talked about here). I bought Apoline first, because it felt like I would get a lot of use out of it, and it was more neutral than Anna. It is, after all, a medium rose pink, somewhat muted. Perfect.

Picture of the bullet would indicate that I was right. I wear Apoline at least once in a two week period, which is a lot for someone who has as many lipsticks as I do.

One easy swipe.

It's rare to find a lipstick that feels so right. I have loads of lip colours that I like, but Apoline is probably my favourite lipstick (and I only say that about a few lipsticks at a time). It's got a nice slightly glossy finish, it's lightly hydrating, it lasts decently, it has no smell or taste, and it fades evenly. It also blends well with my natural lip colour so it never looks patchy or weird when fading or wearing off because I forgot to wipe it off before eating a slice of very greasy pizza. When I wear it to a meeting or a teaching day, I'm never worried about it. It's a good colour for wearing to Very Serious Occasions and also just because.

Oh hey, new hair. And Apoline.

Basically, I love this lipstick. It's one of those lipsticks that feel so well-matched that they were made specifically for me. 

And of course, that impressive Audacious packaging. The magnetic closure, the brushed metal you're going to buy a (gulp) $40 lipstick, it damn well better feel like and look like one. In this case, it most definitely is on the nicer end of lipstick, though is any lipstick really worth $40? I mean, I paid it for this one, so on some level I believe it. But that's another question for another time. 

Some comparison swatches. Bizarrely, I don't have many true pinks in my collection. L-R: LancĂ´me Beige Floral, Revlon Pink Truffle, NARS Apoline, Bite Verbena, Colourpop Drip

Apoline is my go-to lipstick. I've been waffling on whether I like my new haircut or not, for example, and as a result, I've been wearing Apoline a few days in a row. It's a reliable colour for me. 

Do you have any products that always work?

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Summer Obsession: Colourpop Blotted Lips

Ever since the weather has started warming up and I've started melting in my apartment again, because attic apartments in the summer in Atlantic Canada are not a fun time (let me reiterate for the zillionth time: most older houses in my region don't have AC of any kind and by older I mean older than like...2007, and most of them after don't either, unless the owner installed it later), I've drifted from the bright, bold colours that characterized my winter and switched to lighter, sheerer lipsticks. Enter the Colourpop Blotted Lips. Even though I keep swearing off Colourpop, I have to confess that they also keep putting out lines and collections I might have an interest in. I don't keep an eye on their never-ending product launches, but sometimes things catch my eye when people who commit more time to following Colourpop talk about them. 

Until this week, Glossier wasn't shipping to Canada, which I have lamented about plenty, mostly because I was dying to try the Generation G lipsticks. Sheer, matte, bullet lipsticks? I must have them. But it was proving to be a lot of work to get them, since Glossier's site wasn't going to let me use my Canadian credit card to order and send to an American address. But then Colourpop came out with the Blotted Lips, which looked suspiciously like the Generation Gs, as well as a description that immediately invited speculation. And these were available internationally! I originally ordered two during free shipping event, then three more during another free shipping event because there were an awful lot of those this spring. I was head over heels for the look of these things. Though they aren't without faults, that's for sure. 

(I have a Generation G on its way to me so I'll be comparing these with that after a period of proper testing, but the general consensus I've seen is that they're similar, but not totally identical in feel/pigmentation. Plus the Blotted Lips are way cheaper.)

I ended up getting Drip (a warm rosey mauve), Bee's Knees (fuschia), Ice Cube (cool-toned berry), Sucker (soft coral), and Lexi (a cool-toned red). Lexi was part of some collaboration with a beauty guru that I've never heard of or care about, hence the black tube. It originally had lovely copper lettering for the labels, which has long since rubbed off. To my surprise, the silver lettering on my other Blotted Lips remains intact, which is pretty unusual for Colourpop packaging. The plastic on these is matte, and seems to be decently strong - no cracking. The only downfall so far is that Lexi fell out of the tube this week. I've heard other people having this problem with both the Blotted Lips and the Generation Gs, so here I am to confirm it can happen. Despite me hoping I was immune. I'm annoyed but the Blotted Lips aren't expensive (plus I got all of mine on sale sooooo). However, I know I'll be grumpy if and when my Generation G does that. 




Ice Cube

Bee's Knees (According to the label, this is "Bees Knees." I refuse to call it that.)

I find Lexi to be the most difficult of these to wear, since it has a tendency to wear off the inside my lip very quickly. Lexi is the problem child of these, even though the sheer blue red is exactly my kind of colour. Drip is the most emollient of these, followed by Lexi. 

Drip is my favourite for a casual lip. It comes across as a more of a rose brown on me, and is really more opaque than the others on first swipe. 

In direct sunlight: Lexi, Sucker, Drip, Ice Cube, Bee's Knees

Indirect sunlight: Lexi, Sucker, Drip, Ice Cube, Bee's Knees

Overall, the formula is a waxy, stiffer bullet that gives a translucent wash of colour. They can be built up to total opacity very easily, without any issue. Some colours are definitely more draggy than others, and they do need to be warmed up a bit if they've been in a cooler location - see me trying to keep my heat off once May hit, and the very cool spring we had no cooperating. The feel of them on the lips is light, almost weightless. They aren't moisturizing, but I also don't find them drying - though again, this is somewhat dependent on colour. Some are more drying than others, some are more emollient than others. These slight variations don't impact the look all that much, but I can see it being a problem for people with more sensitive lips.

That said, even the more emollient ones aren't really emollient. You can't move the pigment around if you fuck up the application which I do two of every three times I put on lipstick because I am so not a morning person, guys. So I end up layering more on, having more of an opaque look. They (overall) aren't patchy or streaky, so layering to fix mistakes isn't a huge deal. But still. Not quite the effortless wash of colour for which one may be looking. 

Do I recommend the Blotted Lips? Yes, but with some reservation. For what they are and the price, you probably won't go too wrong if the sheer matte lip is something you'd like to try. You're almost certainly better off buying Colourpop over Glossier to try them out, especially since the Colourpop shade range is larger and you're more likely to find a colour that appeals. On the other hand, the packaging and formula demand that you be careful when opening them, since they're prone to breakage. They do require some finesse to apply. 

But they are on trend - that sheer popsicle stained look has taken hold, and they're an inexpensive way to partake. And I'm good with that.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

2017 Reads: April to June

I'm late doing this because of vacation, but here we are: all the new books I read in the second quarter of the year. To reiterate, I'm keeping track of all the new books I'm reading this year (I'm not tracking rereads, which I tend to do when I'm tired or stressed) with quarterly posts about them. I didn't pick up much in April or May, but crammed in a lot of reading in June, especially during the first week of my vacation, which fell during the last week of June. 

Fifteen Dogs - Andre Alexis

This is a critically lauded book from 2015, launched into Canadian consciousness again this year because it won Canada Reads. It's been recommended to me numerous times, and I finally got around to reading it this spring. The premise is interesting: Hermes and Apollo are having drinks in Toronto (? Okay but if I was a god, I'd hang out somewhere else) and make a bet over the outcome of granting a group of dogs at a shelter human reasoning and language. The story then follows the fifteen dogs and what happens to them. It's heartbreaking, honestly, albeit an incredible exploration of what that might look like. I loved it but was also pretty emotionally devastated for a few days afterward.

Milk and Honey - Rupi Kaur

I finally picked up this book of poetry as my yearly attempt to work more poetry into my life. I will never be a poetry person, but I enjoyed this and have preordered her second collection due this fall. I don't think this is the most technically perfect or beautiful poetry, but all of it speaks to the feelings I have about being a young woman in the current year, and I appreciate that.

The Little Paris Bookshop - Nina George

I'm pretty grumpy about this book. All the marketing copy states that this is a story about a man, Monsieur Perdu, who prescribes books for those in need. Bibliotherapy occasionally comes up in my work (though I'm not in that particular line) and so I was really excited to read about that. Turns out this is mostly about Perdu taking his book barge and going on a random journey with some tagalongs after spending twenty years never getting over Manon, the great love of his life. It also gets fairly sterotypical about France, French people, and smacks of festishism of French culture. Gross. There are some good points about love and loss in here, and some threads that I wish were explored more fully, but instead get lost in this meandering mess. Meh.

The Neapolitan Novels - Elena Ferrante

This is actually four books by the pseudonymous Ferrante: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child. I got the box set in Kindle form, so it was like reading one incredibly long novel. I really enjoyed it. As a general rule as an adult, I avoid reading any series until it's over since I, like numerous others, have been burned by A Song of Ice and Fire, but once this quartet was finished, I put it on my list to read. These four follow two girls in a poor Neapolitan neighbourhood, Elena (the narrator) and Lila, her best friend. It starts with the beginning of their friendship as little girls and goes through their lives, detailing the competition, the struggles, the husbands and children and jobs, all in the mid to late twentieth century. I really enjoyed these, and I think that they do work quite well as one continuous work, though I understand breaking it into four books. Highly recommend these if you haven't read them.

Crazy Rich Asians and China Hot Girlfriend - Kevin Kwan

These were some light, fluffy reads recommended to me. It's like Gossip Girl as adults set in Southeast Asia. I ate them both up. There's a third which I've finished in the last few days in July, and I enjoyed them thoroughly. Ostentatiously rich people and SEA culture are both completely foreign to me, so it was a nice bit of escapism. Crazy Rich Asians is going to be a movie at some point too, and I'm definitely going to see it, just to see how the excess described is portrayed in film.

The Book of Speculation - Erica Swyler

This was the last book I squeezed into the first week of vacation. This one was weird, in a good way. I liked it well enough. It was about a librarian (not the draw, believe it or not) and a book he receives from a bookseller in another state that refers to his long-dead grandmother. This mystery is coupled with the deterioration of his home, layoffs at work, the reappearance of his wayward sister, and starting to sleep with one of his coworkers and lifelong friends (really? A single straight male librarian? This doesn't exist IMO. All men in libraries, regardless of sexual orientation are taken). It veers to being a little campy at times, but the mystery and fantasy aspects are really well done without seeming out of nowhere.

Total read this quarter: 10
Total read previous quarter: 11
Total read in 2017 to date: 21