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NARS · UNFILTERED I & II Cheek Palettes


From the brand that’s made Orgasm (and even Super Orgasm, for that matter) part of our beauty lexicon, comes two covetable and limited edition blush collections, Unfiltered I and Unfiltered II Cheek Palettes. Each bears 6 shades, five of them brand new and 1 permanent (and no, Orgasm — while iconic — is happily absent here) with one palette leaning cool, while the other is red-hot. Creating exquisite blush is something NARS does very well indeed, and if sporting these lovelies makes me a NARSissist, then so be it.



Tarte · Pretty Paintbox Collector’s Makeup Case, Holiday 2016



For Holidays 2016, Tarte has released the limited edition Paint Box Collector’s Makeup Case, filled with 24 tarteist™ eyeshadows, 4 tarteist™ cheek products, a full-sized so fine micro liner in black, a deluxe-sized tarteist™ lash paint mascara in black, and a tarteist™ glossy lip paint in obvi — all housed in a pucci-esque fabric case with gold accents.

The holiday period usually sees more than its share of palettes being launched by practically everyone and while in the past I have tended to pass on anything too “all-in-one”, it appears like brands have really stepped up their game in this department by releasing well-curated collections that not only have visual appeal (I mean, just look at the outer packaging here) but that are good performers as well. Case in point is the palette showcased today — which would also make for a pretty impressive Christmas gift, by the way #hinthint



Pretty Paintbox Collector’s Makeup Case, limited edition (US $59.00)


Created with mineral pigments for an ultra-soft application and smooth feel along with Amazonian clay for long-lasting wear, these eyeshadows come in a broad mix of matte, lustre, satin, and metallic finishes with catchy art-inspired names. Upon opening the case, I confess to staring in admiration at the array presented, as all sit totally in my comfort zone of neutrals. Swatching these eyeshadows revealed another surprise: with the exception of a few, all show good pigmentation (obviously the deeper hues have a stronger colour payoff) and blend effortlessly. Despite some powdery kickback on certain shades, none result in fall-down and when worn over primer, they stay true until removed. I’ve opted to divide them by vertical rows (starting from the left) for the swatches below:

Row 1

  • glitter glue – pearly white with shimmer
  • waterlilies – bone, matte
  • pearl earring – oyster, satin shimmer
  • fresco – nude, matte
  • porcelain Dali – pink/nude, matte
  • pastel – nude rose, matte

Row 2

  • nudes – champagne, matte
  • van Gogh with it – milk chocolate, matte
  • frameworthy – soft camel, matte
  • hearts & crafts – light pink/tan, matte
  • monochrome – pearlized light taupe
  • I Louvre it – dusty mauve, matte

Row 3

  • bronze casting – light bronze, shimmer
  • metal work – copper, shimmer
  • first impressionism – blackened teal, shimmer
  • selfie portrait – champagne taupe, shimmer
  • hot MoMA – cranberry, shimmer
  • get surreal – lilac, multi-tonal shimmer

Row 4

  • silhouette – black, matte
  • charcoal sketch – deep brown, matte
  • starry night – blackened navy, matte
  • one too Manet – rich brown, shimmer
  • stained glass – berry, matte
  • still life – eggplant, matte




The covered compartment across from the eyeshadows holds a black liner, black mascara and a neutral lip gloss. The so fine micro liner in black has an ultra-fine tapered felt tip for precision work, although you can also create a thicker line by using it more along its width. The waterproof formula does dry relatively quickly, so I suggest working on one eye at a time. The tarteist™ lash paint mascara in black has a full head of bristles with a good sized width, making it easy to use on both upper & lower lashes. Not the most volumizing formula I’ve tried, but I do like how the brush grabs each lash to coat it well. As nude lippie shades are what I usually turn to, I’m really liking how this tarteist™ glossy lip paint in obvi has hints of rose in it to keep it from appearing flat, coupled with a good pigmentation which provide decent coverage — a feat not always easy to accomplish in a shade this light.



The cheek/face portion of this palette is really, really pretty — both visually, and applied. With one blush, two bronzers and a highlighter, all shades do lean more on the warm side but as the pigmentation isn’t too strong, they can still be made to work on those with fair/cooler complexions.

  • moment – peach blush, satin finish
  • authentic – champagne highlighter
  • unique – warm tan bronzer, lustre finish
  • provocative – taupe/tan bronzer, matte finish



I have to say that all the colours in this palette are totally up my alley, and that includes both the face and eye shades. To sum up, the eyeshadows performed well enough, although some definitely blew me away while others could have used a bit more work. Surprisingly the lip gloss had more pigmentation than I expected (a good thing), while the face products appear to fall much lighter than what’s seen in the pan, but can also easily be built up for more intensity. Overall, the Pretty Paintbox has a well thought-out colour selection and would make that budding beautista on your list very happy indeed. Bonus point scored for this awesome outer print (love anything Pucci-looking).

Available exclusively at Sephora

PR Sample/As always, all opinions are my own

shu uemura x Murakami Cosmikawaii & Cosmicool Palettes



I dare you to find a beauty collection that’s happier-looking than this latest shu uemura x Tadashi Murakami collaboration for Holiday 2016. The brand has partnered once again with the iconic pop artist to release a grouping of products that’s knocking it into the stratosphere with the most whimsical packaging EVER to go along with an impressive array of products — such as the Cosmic Blossom Eye & Cheek Palettes in Cosmikawaii and Cosmicool (both limited edition) featured in today’s post.

Each palette bears four eyeshadows in a mix of shimmer, pearlized, and matte finishes (the four larger pans at the top), 3 eyeshadows in glitter finishes (top two at right, bottom left), and one blush. Apart from all the shades being generously sized so that you can easily pick up the hue you want without fear of cross-contamination, the palette also includes 2 small applicators: one has a fluffy brush on one end and a more compact brush on the other, while the second is a dual-sponge tipped applicator.

I’ve had some misses with shu uemura eyeshadows in the past, but the shades of both Cosmikawaii and Cosmicool are all quite pigmented and provide good colour payoff along with a very smooth application and effortless blendability. The glittery hues are not really meant to be worn opaque; think of them more as “accents” to be used either strategically (under the brows, inner eye corner) or even layered over other eyeshadows to provide a touch of sparkle — plus they can easily double as highlighters, albeit on the more visible side but since we’re in holiday mode, that works too. The blushes may look rather intense in the pan, but in reality they fall much lighter upon the skin and can be easily diffused for a softer look or even amped up for a stronger effect.


Flower Ball (3D), 2002 Acrylic on canvas mounted on board ∼ Takashi Murakami




Cosmikawaii Cosmic Blossom Eye & Cheek Palette (CAN $85.00) | The warmer leaning of the two, here is the shade breakdown:

  • cosmic red – cranberry shimmer
  • orange – orange shimmer
  • mauve purple – lavender pearl
  • midnight purple – eggplant matte
  • yellow gold – pale gold with glitter
  • powder blue – icy blue with silvery glitter
  • rose pink – baby pink with silvery glitter
  • coral with gold glitters – tangerine based coral with ultra fine gold glitter




Cosmicool Cosmic Blossom Eye & Cheek Palette (CAN $85.00) | The obviously cooler-leaning of the two palettes, although I find the shades can easily be worn by warmer complexions as well — it’s all about mixing and layering. The shade breakdown:

  • cosmic blue – more like dirty light purple with a light iridescence
  • purple gray – lavender with shimmer
  • gray – browned grey with iridescence
  • midnight navy – blackened navy matte
  • lavender with iridescent glitters – icy lavender with silver glitter
  • deep gold – yellow gold with glitter
  • silver – starlight silver with glitter
  • pink with silver glitters – true rose with ultrafine silvery glitter





Even if it weren’t for the outer packaging that makes me want to almost frame these lovelies, and forgetting for a second that my comfort zone is with neutrals, there’s just something about both Cosmikawaii and Cosmicool that just works. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with more colour (baby steps, though) and I really appreciate that both palettes have this fun yet sophisticated vibrancy that’s totally in line with the Japanese aesthetic, but not so intense that the average woman couldn’t pull off as well. But I do confess that those smiley flower faces so totally have my number …

Available at The Bay, Sephora & online



PR samples/As always, all opinions are my own

Charlotte Tilbury · The Legendary Muse Palette & Black Diamonds Colour Chameleon, Holiday 2016



For Holiday 2016, Charlotte Tilbury has released several gift sets at varying price points; one such item is The Legendary Muse Eyeshadow Palette that is not only filled with four party-ready shades, but comes adorned with a festive star pattern on the lid. A new discovery for me is this Black Diamonds Colour Chameleon, a combination of smokey, sexy, sophisticated, and glam all housed in once pencil. Sounds almost too good to be true, right? It’s not.

To see all previous reviews on this brand, click on this Charlotte Tilbury link



The Legendary Muse Luxury Palette, limited edition (CAN $64.00) | Four eyeshadow shades bearing varying degrees of shimmer (and one with glitter), housed in the brand’s signature deep burgundy & rose gold compact but prettied up for the holidays with a star pattern on the lid. The shade breakdown:

  • top left – rose gold, shimmer
  • top right – champagne gold, satin shimmer
  • bottom left – gold with ultra fine glitter
  • bottom right – peach/rose/gold, satin shimmer

Right on point with the rose gold trend that’s still going strong in both fashion and cosmetics, this palette is perfect for those who want a little bit of glamour to their look but still want it to be utterly wearable. All four hues apply smoothly and blend flawlessly with no fall down, although it should be noted that the gold shade is not as opaque as the rest due to its ultrafine glitter, but is made even lovelier because of that since you can almost ‘control’ the bling factor better — or even layer it over other shades to add a touch of sparkle. Staying power (over primer) is excellent, staying true until removed.




Black Diamonds Colour Chameleon (CAN $32.00) | An eyeliner pencil in a chubby stick format in a deep charcoal hue filled with finely ground silvery/gold glitter. The texture is incredibly creamy, which means it will apply easily and without any harsh tugging along the sensitive skin of your eyes. Once applied, you do have about a minute or so to smudge/blend it out; after that, it’s basically set in stone. What makes this standout for me, is the good ratio of glitter in the mix that gives a lift to what would otherwise be a run-of-the-mill blackened liner. NOTE: not to be applied to the waterline.




Shimmer aside, this palette didn’t initially feel very ‘holiday’ to me at first glance, but after swatching and playing around with some looks — then going in and adding Black Diamonds for definition and depth, I’m actually really loving the more subtle take on holiday bling The Legendary Muse provides. And while it may lean a little warm, the shades are not so scary pigmented that those with fair complexions can’t pull them off – it’s all a matter of application proportions. After all, makeup should be about fun & experimentation and there’s no better time than the holidays to do both! It’s almost law, in fact …

Charlotte Tilbury products are available at select retailers and online



PR samples/As always, all opinions are my own

Bare Minerals · Be Beautiful Ready Face and Eye Palette



I’ve only recently begun exploring the Bare Minerals range, and if the skincare products I’ve tried to date have impressed me (more on that coming in future posts), this palette was an unexpected — and totally pleasant — surprise. The Be Beautiful Ready™ Face and Eye Palette holds pretty much everything you’ll need for a completed look (barring foundation & mascara) and what makes it even more unique? Everything has a matte texture, but not the flat light-absorbing kind; think more radiant-matte and you’ll get a better idea.




Be Beautiful Ready™ face and Eye Palette (CAN $58.00/value of $162.00) | This all-matte limited edition palette features products for both face and eyes in a travel friendly compact. The case is made of a rigid plastic that closely mimics metal and has an oversized mirror on the inner lid, along with a secure snap closure.

The shades for the face are all well sized and spaced apart enough that they’re easy to get to with a variety of brushes. The blushes all boast an 8-hour buildable colour along with skin-nourishing properties, and while the Finishing Powder appears somewhat yellow leaning in the pan, it applies fairly sheerly — just don’t be thrown by its chalky texture, since it can still be easily buffed into the skin for an nice setting touch.

The four neutral-leaning eyeshadows all have intense saturation and an almost creamy texture, with pigment-packed colour that’s stated to last up to 12 hours; that said, I still recommend applying primer first for the best wear (especially if you have oily lids like I do).



  • Presence – parchment (actually this is an eyeshadow shade, but can double as a matte highlighter as well)
  • Promise – palest mauve/white
  • Finishing Powder – neutral flesh tone
  • Golden Gate Matte – dusky rose
  • Inner Beauty – ballerina pink
  • Faux Tan Matte – soft mid-sheer tan


  • Graceful – dirty lavender
  • Exhale – taupe
  • Beautiful – dusty rose
  • Confident – deepest aubergine



I love shimmer, I really do … but matte shades are my sweet spot. For starters, I find that as I’ve gotten older, matte is much more flattering for me to wear, although I won’t say no to a little pop of shine here and there. The blushes in this palette apply sheerer than what’s seen in the pan — not an issue since the colour can easily be deepened. The pigmentation and effortless blendability of the eyeshadows makes them all winners, not to mention how flattering they’ll be on a wide range of skin tones. Final verdict? An excellent value palette and definitely worth looking into (or picking up as a Christmas gift, perhaps?)

Available at Sephora



PR Sample/As always, all opinions are my own