Review: Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream SPF 25 PA+++

review of Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream

BB creams are perfect for summer as they are lighter, helps to brighten the skin, and looks more natural due to the lower coverage. The Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream is one of my favourite newly discovered base products for when I want a more natural look. I’ve been using this a lot on the days when I just don’t want a fuller coverage foundation, and it wears really well for a day at the office.

The Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream is a relatively goopy cream, almost like the consistency of a creamy makeup primer. Its not as fluid as other BB creams I’ve tried, so it spreads out a little harder, BUT that’s offset by the medium coverage it provides (unlike other BB creams that have more of a light coverage). Not only does it help to cover redness and dark spots, I also found that it smoothed out my pores and helped to brighten my skin overall. The finish is semi-matte, but I always finish off with a dusting of powder.

In terms of wear time, it generally wears well during the day up until hour 6-8 and then it starts to fade away (or eaten up by my skin). Oil control is just slightly above average, as I don’t find that I grease up as quickly as other foundations or BB creams, but not fantastic as I still need to blot throughout the day.

The shade I received is 00 Fair, which surprisingly is a pretty good match for my NC25 skin once it’s blended out. I found that it does adapt to the skintone of the wearer, and even though Fair leans slightly pink, it didn’t turn my skin ashy – rather it helped to brighten my skintone just a little bit more.

I also love that it comes with SPF 25 and PA+++ for full spectrum protection. I always (ALWAYS) wear a sunscreen as the last step of my daytime skincare regime, but if you are tight for time and need some sun protection, you can use this as your backup plan.

Recommend? definitely, if you can find a match to your skintone.

Priced at C$43 for 45mL, you can purchase Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream at The Bay, Sears, and other Clarins counters, or online.

Comparison swatches – Clarins 00 Fair, Chanel B20, and Guerlain 02

swatch and review of Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream


review of Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream

Loving lately: Reviews of L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil, JINsoon nail polish, Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara

I’ve recently discovered a few new favourites!

1. L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil

L'Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil review

Newly reformulated earlier this year, the L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil is a long-time beauty lovers’ favourite. Formulated with more than 50% almond oil, this body oil is super hydrating and makes my skin very soft and supple. It works great in all seasons because it is moisturizing without being greasy (no residue at all!) and is never heavy because it absorbs completely. The only downside is that it does take a while to absorb, but once it does, it’s just perfect.

P.S. The bottle comes filled to the top, I just got greedy and couldn’t wait to start using mine when I first received it, which is why it looks more sad and empty than usual.

L'Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil ingredients

2. JINsoon nail polish

I am absolutely loving JINsoon’s nail polish formula. It is ultra glossy, fast-drying, super long wearing, and very easy to apply. The brush applicator is the perfect width and length for a smooth application with no streaks. The shade I have is Cherry Berry, part of their spring 2014 collection, a jelly-creme berry-pink shade. I definitely see myself adding more shades to my collection!

JINsoon nail polish cherry berry swatch

3. Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara

Asian lashes rejoice! This new mascara by Clarins is amazingly great for lengthening, curling, and most importantly, maintaining a full curl through a full 12-hour day. I didn’t notice much volumizing, but it does layer pretty well without clumping. I haven’t tested out whether its really waterproof or not, but the curling properties of this mascara is enough to keep me as a repeat customer. Its also super effortlessly removable via cleansing oil. Available now at Clarins counters in black (permanent) and blue (limited edition for the summer).

clarins truly waterproof mascara review

Review: L’Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer

L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer swatch and review

At home gel nail polish systems have always fascinated me, especially since at-home salon-style nail DIYs are all the rage now. I’ve been playing with L’Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer for the last couple of weeks and truth be told, I’m not all that impressed.

My thoughts:

  • This polish applies velvet-matte, and becomes glossy with the top coat.
  • The top coat is very glossy with a mirror shine, and the shine lasts throughout the entire duration of wear (much longer than other top coats I’ve tried).
  • The nail polish applies mostly opaque on the first coat, but I do a second coat anyways just to smooth out the colour and application.
  • While it’s advertised as a gel lacquer, it doesn’t “puff up” like gel nail polish, even with a copious layer of top coat.
  • The polish started showing tip wear on the SECOND day after application, and there was severe tip wear starting to show around day 3-4. It definitely does not have the long wear-time of gel nail polish.
  • The colour collection is comprised of mostly darker shades; there are only 2 light shades. This means if you want a bright summery manicure, you’ll have to wait until they release more colours.
  • It removes relatively easy with just regular nail polish remover (I use Zoya Remove+); no soaking required. There was a tiny bit of staining on my nails but it was easily removed with some vigorous rubbing of polish remover. This is to be expected with some dark shades so I wasn’t completely surprised.

Priced at $8.99 for each polish shade and $15.99 for the base/top coat duo kit, this isn’t exactly the most expensive but isn’t the cheapest nail polish either. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend the L’Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer just because of how fast it starts to wear away, especially for a formula that is touted to be comparable to gel lacquers. There are other, much better nail polish formulas out there.

Swatches of: Fashion’s Finest (top) and Hot Couture (bottom)

L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer swatch and review
L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer swatch and review

L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer swatch and review
L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer swatch and review

Thoughts: Anna Sui Base Coat, Nail Polish and Gel Top Coat

anna sui nail polish review and swatches
I am completely enamoured by Anna Sui’s newest nail polish bottle design; as mentioned in my fall preview, the bottles look like little ball gowns! I have about 3 other bottles of Anna Sui nail polish so I was excited to see how the new formulas compare to the old one, and also try out the new base and top coats.

The Anna Sui Base Coat is a pale pink shade that mattifies down after it dries on the nail. The brush is extremely easy to use, as it has a clean, flat edge that allows you to get as close to the cuticle as possible. It dries down quickly, and creates a smooth base to apply nail polish on top of.

I used this base coat with my other nail polishes, in addition to the Anna Sui one and I found that wear time was neither decreased nor increased. It is a super cute bottle to keep on your vanity, so bonus points just for that. Priced at $15 for 8mL, you don’t get a significant amount but you don’t need much to cover your whole nail. In fact, this is probably one of the base coats where you need a lot less product each time you use it. Bottom line is, I would still recommend it even though it is relatively expensive; it is a good product at the end of the day and I can see myself re-purchasing this.

The Anna Sui Nail Polish shade I received was 402, a beautiful jelly finish burgundy with gold specked glitter. I actually have a similar one from Anna Sui’s old formula in the heart bottle, but the finish is completely different. The old formula is more of a cream finish while this one is a jelly finish. I absolutely love this colour and think that it’s perfect for fall. It’s different from most other fall polish shades because it is a jelly finish, and because of that it looks younger. The polish came with a flat edged brush that made applicator a breeze. I used two coats in the swatches, which, because of the jelly finish, is medium opaque. The polish lasted about a week with minimal tip wear.

As you can see from my fall preview, there is an army of different shades that you can choose from; there’s likely to be one that suits your skintone and preferences!

anna sui nail polish review and swatches

Lastly, the Anna Sui Gel Top Coat is a whole different story. In the same kind of bottle and flat edge applicator, it applies super smoothly and easily but you do need a lot more product for it to be more of a gel-effect. It is extremely shiny, almost glassy, but that’s where the good stuff ends. This stuff takes FOREVER to dry. I’ve washed my hands 2 hours after my manicure and it still smudged. You can see in my swatch photos that there are little marks on the surface of the nail and that’s from my bedsheets… hours after my manicure. At today’s fast-moving pace, I didn’t feel that that was acceptable. I didn’t try UV-curing it but it’s not supposed to be UV cured in the first place, so I got a little confused. If you’ve tried this before and you’re happy with how it turns out, please let me know what I’m doing wrong!

Overall: I recommend the Base Coat and Nail Polish shades, but not the Gel Top Coat.

Have you tried Anna Sui’s nail products?

anna sui nail polish review and swatches

Wrap-up: Annabelle #24days of TwistUp Retractable Lipstick Crayon swatches + last thoughts

Thanks for following me on my journey with Annabelle Cosmetics to swatch all of the 24 shades of their Twistup Retractable Lipstick Crayon. If you haven’t already yet, my giveaway to win a complete set for yourself is still running and will end today at midnight Vancouver/PST time.

I know that 24 shades of lipstick is quite overwhelming, so here’s a breakdown of my thoughts about the Twistup Retractable Lipstick Crayons:

  • These lipsticks are generally very creamy. There were maybe 2-3 out of the 24 that were slightly on the drier side but it wasn’t drying at all. If you pick one up, the chances are that you will get one that is creamy.
  • These are generally very pigmented. Again, there were maybe 3-5 out of the 24 that you can wear on the sheerer size, but in general everything had great colour payoff, even the nude shades. If you are someone that is wary of colour, it may be harder for you to adjust to these.
  • These were not drying at all, especially for a pigmented lipstick, these lipsticks were extremely comfortable to wear.
  • There are a variety of shades for everyone, from nudes, pinks, peaches, roses, reds, to darker, vampier shades. There are 3-4 shades of nudes so you will bound to find one that suits your skintone (mine is the shade Absolute).
  • The crayon tip is really easy to use to draw clean lines to line your lips, especially with the darker shades.
  • The tip is a bit on the thin side, so you have to be careful when using it because it might snap (like it did with one of mine… I pressed too hard, so sad).
  • These are scent-free, great for people with sensitive noses.
  • The price is REALLY good, at just $9.95 each.
  • Bottom line, the quality is definitely up to par with some of my favourite lipsticks, such as Guerlain Rouge G, but costs just 15% of the price of a Guerlain Rouge G. If you’re a fan of creamy, pigmented shades, this is your perfect lipstick.

Of the 24 shades, I also have a few favourites that have really stood out to me when I was trying all of them:

  • Absolute – my perfect nude that’s a creamy, peachy-pink. It looks amazing on my skintone, especially with a smokey-eye.

annabelle twistup lipstick review and swatches

  • Orange Pop – a beautiful, crazy pigmented bright orange colour. The pigments in this thing is out of this world; it is likely one of the most pigmented lipsticks I’ve ever tried, it is also probably one of the creamiest.

annabelle twistup lipstick review and swatches

  • Red Carpet – a true, blue-based red that instantly brightens my skin. It’s not too bright and not too vampy, just a perfect red lipstick.

annabelle twistup lipstick review and swatches

  • Cherry – a red shade that’s a touch darker than Red Carpet, Cherry is like Red Carpet’s older, more mature sister. A fantastic red for any vintage-y looks or dinner parties.

annabelle twistup lipstick review and swatches

  • Honourary mentions include Romance, a my-lips-but-better shade; and Divine, a creamy rose shade.

Feature: limited edition Revlon x Marchesa Nail Appliqués + dress/appliqués pairings

revlon marchesa review

The hottest beauty x fashion collaboration of this year has got to be the one with Revlon and Marchesa. The couture fashion powerhouse has come together with Revlon to create a set of 8 limited edition nail appliqués. I’m giving a set of these nail appliqués on my Instagram, please check it out!

My first impression is that everything in this set is beautiful and a must have in every beauty lover’s kit. All of the appliqués are so intricately made, just like the couture Marchesa dresses. Designed by Georgina Chapman of Marchesa, these nail appliqués are the closest thing I’m going to get to a real Marchesa dress.

revlon marchesa review

All of these nail appliqués are made three-dimensional, just like a gel nail set you’d get at a salon except without a UV light. They are extremely easy to apply, just stick on and go. On the nail, they looks as pretty as in the packaging: relatively flashy, and can provide a bit of oomph to any outfit.

As for the wear time, I was slightly disappointed because mine only lasted about 12 hours before the edges started to lift up. I then applied top coat on them so that they would stick better, but then the appliqués reacted to the chemicals in the top coat and wrinkled up, so I didn’t have a smooth surface on the appliqués anymore, but it managed to last me another 2 and a bit days before some of the appliqués, especially on my index and middle finger, started coming off.

The bottom line is that I think this is a great product to wear for special occasions, or for collecting/historical purposes. I plan on using the rest of mine for Christmas parties and weddings coming up and they still make really great, relatively inexpensive manicures for special occasions (beats paying $50-100 for a set of gel nails for a one-day event!)

Priced at $8.95, the Revlon x Marchesa nail appliqués are available mid-October at London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, and most other places that sell Revlon in Canada. They are limited edition though, so if you plan on catching-em-all, please do ensure you shop early for the most selection.

Some tips on how to apply and maintain them for optimal wear time:

  • File the edges in one direction. I was confused when the instructions said to file in one direction so I just filed normally and then the edges came out jagged. Super bummed about that 😦
  • Apply a top coat. It will come out slightly wrinkly but it will become literally shrink-wrapped on and will last DAYS longer than if you didn’t apply top coat.
  • Per Revlon’s Twitter, choose a size larger so the appliqué wraps around the entire nail.
  • Buff the surface of your nails so you have a flat, smooth, even surface; this ensures that the appliqués stick evenly on your nails.

The dresses that inspired the appliqués (left to right, matched from top to bottom):

revlon marchesa review
revlon marchesa review
revlon marchesa reviewrevlon marchesa review

MORE dress/appliqué photos… Continue reading

Review: Clarins Extra-Comfort Anti-Ageing Foundation (+ swatch comparisons)

clarins extra comfort foundation swatch and review

For Fall 2013, Clarins is releasing a new cream anti-ageing foundation – the Extra-Comfort foundation. Available in 6 shades, the Extra-Comfort foundation has an SPF of 15 and ingredients such as camellia leaf extract to ensure that the skin is supple, soft and comfortable, in addition to protection against sun damage and environmental aggressions. It’s available in 6 shades for light to medium skin tones.

Clarins extra comfort foundation shades

The Extra-Comfort foundation is touted to be medium to high coverage, which is 100% true. I love the way that this foundation is buildable, starting off with medium coverage but buildable to a full coverage without being cakey. It dries down to a semi-matte finish, and powder is optional. It spreads around very well due to the high-silicone ingredients list, and blends in seamlessly.

While it is not promoted as a long-wearing foundation, I found that because it dries down to a semi-matte finish, it is relatively long wearing compares to my other foundations (such a Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua). Blush lasted very well on top of this foundation, with nearly zero fading for the entire length of the wear.

clarins extra comfort foundation swatch and review

That being said, I felt that it wasn’t a very hydrating foundation, per se. It was actually quite drying on my skin. I tested this foundation in August, which is not a dry month. This is why it kind of baffled me when it was still drying on my skin, especially because it is promoted to be a “comfortable” foundation. In addition, because it is an anti-aging foundation, I had higher expectations for it to be more hydrating. In terms of the luminosity… I didn’t really see any natural glow, which was also disappointing.

One way I found that helped to increase hydration and luminosity was to spray my face with a hydrating toner after applying this foundation, letting it dry, and then lightly powdering my face. It creates a beautiful glow that lasts through the whole day. The downside was that wear time also diminished. Nonetheless, I felt that it was too much work because you can receive the same kind of glow with other foundations without the extra step.

I received shade 107 Beige, which is an okay match for my MAC NC25, Chanel B20 Beige skin tone. It is slightly leaning towards the pink side, but if I don’t build it up too much then you can’t really tell the pink in the shade.

Swatches from left to right: Clarins Extra-Comfort Foundation in 107 Beige, Bourjois Happy Mix Serum in 53, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in B20 Beige

clarins extra comfort foundation swatch and review
clarins extra comfort foundation swatch and review

Do I recommend this? Not really. If you are set on getting this, however, I would recommend this foundation to you if you are looking for a long-wearing foundation, and if you have normal, combination or oily skin. If you have dry skin and need a long-wearing foundation, just make sure to do lots of moisturizing and priming beforehands to get a smooth, plump base before you apply this on, otherwise you might get dry patches. However, if you are looking for a hydrating foundation, this is probably not the one for you.

The Clarins Extra-Comfort Foundation is available now at Clarins counters in Canada, priced at $56 for 30mL (1 oz).

Ingredients list:

clarins extra comfort foundation swatch and review

clarins extra comfort foundation swatch and review

Review: Clinique CC Cream (+ comparison swatches)

clinique cc cream review and swatches

Clinique CC Cream is new for summer 2013 and is another product in the sea of BB/CC/DD creams. What makes Clinique CC Cream different is that it is a part of the Moisture Surge line, which means it is great for dry skin in need of a boost of moisture. It also has SPF 30 for some sun protection (although you should never rely on your foundation to give you enough sun protection for the day, always apply sunscreen underneath!).

I used Clinique CC Cream for a few weeks to test its wear and I have to say I’m on the fence about this one. On one hand, I do feel that it is moisturizing and good at covering redness, but on the other hand, I feel that the wear time is a bit disappointing because it’s starting to fade and get eaten up by my skin after just a few hours. By the 8-9 hour mark, it has mostly faded. I understand that it is one of the tradeoffs of it being moisturizing, is that it likely won’t be long wearing.

It is great at covering redness around my cheeks and nose area, which is what it’s touted to do, as a colour correcting base. Another good thing is that I experienced very little transfer of the foundation from my face to my glasses, in the areas where my glasses touch my face (i.e. the side of my nose and the top of my cheekbones). I also felt that my skin was very comfortable while wearing this; it was natural the point that I didn’t feel like I was wearing any base product.

The shade I have is Light, which looks really light in the swatch but is actually a pretty good match for my MAC NC25, Chanel B20 Beige skin tone. Coverage is about medium, and is somewhat buildable but not buildable to a full coverage (will become too heavy and cakey). While I didn’t see any luminosity from the product itself (yay for no shimmer!), I liked that it was a natural glow from its hydrating properties.

Swatches from left to right: Clinique CC Cream in Light, Bourjois Happy Mix Serum in 53, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in B20 Beige.

clinique cc cream review and swatches

Do I recommend it? To be honest, not really. I think there are better products on the market that you can get for better value and does a better job. I really need my foundation last throughout the workday, so the the fact that it disappears after a few hours is a bit disappointing. Priced at $39 for 30mL, you can buy this at Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutique, the Bay, Holt Renfrew and Clinique counters nationwide.

clinique cc cream review and swatches
clinique cc cream review and swatches

Reformulated: Anna Sui Lipstick in 301, swatches and review

anna sui lipstick 301 swatch and review
The first time Anna Sui’s lipsticks were mentioned on Maddy Loves was way back in 2011 when I proclaimed my love for this to-die-for formula. When I attended Anna Sui’s fall preview a few weeks ago, I was re-introduced to the Anna Sui lipstick, which had been reformulated since I fell in love with 570 Glamourous Bloom.

Anna Sui’s new lipstick comes in two formulations – Vivid Base and Dazzle Base. According to the press release, both lipstick formulations contain several different types of oils to increase the moisture effect. Vivid Base also contains oils that help the lipstick adhere better to the lips and to increase wear, whereas Dazzle Base contains oils that plump up the lips for a glossy effect. There are 22 shades in total between the Vivid Base and the Dazzle Base.

anna sui lipstick 301 swatch and review

The colour I have to test is 301. The 300s include all pink shades and 301 is a yellow-based pink with gold sheen. The gold sheen here is much more apparent on the lips compared to 570 Glamourous Bloom, and the colour is less transparent.

Pigmentation is excellent, but I felt that the colour settled a bit into my lip lines. Like 570 Glamourous Bloom, 301 was not at all drying and was very comfortable to wear. Wear time is quite average, due to the glossy and creamy nature of the lipstick, and will be even shorter if I am drinking/eating.

Swatches here show, from left to right, one swipe of lipstick, two swipes, and three swipes.

anna sui lipstick 301 swatch and review

anna sui lipstick 301 swatch and review

The packaging of these lipsticks is very intricate and it shows that a lot of thought was put into the design. In Anna’s signature black lacquered rose design, the lipstick tube looks like a bouquet of roses in a black vase.

Overall this is a sold lipstick offering, and priced at $29, it is not too expensive either. It is available now at Shoppers Drug Mart and Murale locations, and will be available soon at four the Bay locations across Canada (Eaton Centre, Yorkdale, Sherway and Downtown Vancouver).

anna sui lipstick 301 swatch and review
anna sui lipstick 301 swatch and review
anna sui lipstick 301 swatch and review

anna sui lipstick 301 swatch and review

Get ready for summer with Marcelle Jelly Cheek Flush!

Marcelle Jelly Cheek Flush swatch and review

A few weeks ago, I suddenly had this urge to buy cheek tints. Coincidentally, Marcelle released two limited edition jelly cheek tints for Summer 2013, inspired by Givenchy’s Blush Gelée. I tried Givenchy’s Blush Gelée when it was first released a few summers back but I was disappointed at the low pigmentation and the intense layering required to get even a smidgen of colour. However I was super interested to see how the Marcelle version would fare.

Lo and behold, the Marcelle Jelly Cheek Flush is maybe 100x better than the Givenchy version. Pigmentation alone is ramped up significantly, in in addition to being very easy to blend, and looking very natural. I’ve been wearing this everyday for the past week and I also found that it is very long lasting, staying put on my cheeks for 14 hours at least (I tested it for 14 hours on one day) with zero fading.

Marcelle Jelly Cheek Flush swatch and review

Marcelle Jelly Cheek Flush is available in two shades – Rosy Tint (left) and Flushed Coral (right). Rosy Tint is exactly what the name says, an ultra natural, rosy-pink flush that looks great on all skin tones. Flushed coral has a little bit more of a red/brown undertone, and would look great on medium to darker skin tones.

Marcelle Jelly Cheek Flush swatch and review
Marcelle Jelly Cheek Flush swatch and review

Priced at just $16.95 and available at most stores selling Marcelle (London Drugs has it for sure, although I haven’t seen it at Shoppers yet), there is no reason why you should resist getting this blush. Compared to Givenchy’s price of $38, you can even get both of the Marcelle blushes. It is limited edition though, so you might want to grab some NOW!

The only minor qualm I have about the blush is the packaging, which dispenses the product out of a sponge. While currently it is very easy to just dot on the cheek and blend, I believe that in the long term I’ll have to try to find a way to somehow clean the sponge in order to prevent bacterial growth.

Marcelle Jelly Cheek Flush swatch and review

I really hope that Marcelle releases this blush in their permanent range, with more colour options because I can already tell that this product will be something I will use regularly this summer.

Marcelle Jelly Cheek Flush swatch and review