Urban Decay Naked Palette

Urban Decay Naked PaletteI like eyeshadow palettes. They provide a few (or many) colours to choose from while maintaining harmony between them either in the whole palette (if its small) or by a specific arrangement. Having a quality palette takes the worry away from application and wear – the colours will be easier to blend and will last longer.

Urban Decay’s Naked Palette is almost a standard. The colours are neutral and, while every colour may not be flattering on every skin tone individually, the palette as a whole works for everyone. Colours that are not flattering on the lid will still work well in the crease. All colours are easy to blend. Below are the specifics of each shade.

Virgin (nude satin) – will wash out darker complexions, will look native on fairer skins.

Sin (champagne shimmer) – pale pink. Festive and feminine. My favourite.

Naked (buff matte) – will look native with medium complexions. Neutral, great for blending or to gradient from light to dark.

Sidecar (beige sparkle) – watch out for fallout. Sparkles may end up all over the face. Otherwise, a beautiful shade.

Buck (brown matte) – will look native with dark complexions. Neutral, goes well with Naked for a natural look.

Half Baked (gold) – liquid gold, metallic, festive. Can be too yellow on cool skin.

Smog (golden brown shimmer) – Half Baked darkened, gold/bronze metal.

Darkhorse (bronze-plum shimmer) – looks dark-green.

Toasted (taupe-bronze) – Neutral. Sin, Toasted, and Hustle go well together.

Hustle (mocha shimmer) – not a good lid colour for pale skin, may be flattering on dark.

Creep (black with shimmer) – very little shimmer. Mostly matte black.

Gunmetal (blue grey metallic) – looks grey with light application. Although pretty, I can’t use this anywhere but the crease because it is unflattering on me. If I could, I would replace this with a neutral hue.

I found the Good Karma Eyeshadow Brush that comes with the palette to be too hard, making application difficult. A soft, but dense brush will make the shadows go on easier and will pack them well enough for good colour payoff.

Urban Decay Naked Palette: 12x 0.05oz (1.4g) for C$62.00 @ Sephora.ca.

Alterna Bamboo Smooth Anti-Frizz Shampoo & Conditioner

Alterna Bamboo Smooth Anti-Frizz ShampooSleek and silky is easier to achieve with fine hair, but fine hair can get dry fast and easy. I’ve been looking for a while at Alterna’s Bamboo Smooth line and finally received a sample.

After only one time use, my hair condition improved. Hair was indeed sleek and silky, and, especially important for my kind of hair, moisturized. My ends no longer looked like they were going to split any minute. I should also mention the high shine factor. My hair reflected light as if it was recently coloured. The shampoo has a markedly different texture than other shampoos – it’s less gel-like, less soapy, and has a coating feel. Whatever this coating is, it stayed in my hair after washing with a different shampoo and I don’t mind at all.

There is nothing negative to say about Bamboo Smooth. My hair loved the product duo! I highly recommend the line for those with fine hair.

Alterna Bamboo Smooth Anti-Frizz Shampoo: 8.5oz (250ml) for C$25.50 @ Sephora.ca.

Alterna Bamboo Smooth Anti-Frizz Conditioner: 8.5oz (250ml) for C$25.50 @ Sephora.ca.

Guerlain L’Heure Bleue Parfum

Guerlain L'Heure Bleue ParfumMy first sniff of L’Heure Bleue made me wonder what was so special about it. I wore it anyway to see how my perception changed. Generally, even if I like a perfume at first, on my third day of testing I am bored and sick of it. L’Heure Bleue however, on its third day, seemed to me like a masterpiece. I may not be an expert, but I see quality. L’Heure Bleue is a grand quality fragrance. What I smelled on day one was the same as day two and three, but my understanding of it changed. It smelled sparkling, yet substantial.

L’Heure Bleue is a warm, spicy, powdery floral fragrance with a woody base. The anisic topnotes sparkle into spicy heliotrope and carnation, followed by a decadent base of iris and vanilla. A perfume for the winter and autumn nights, for a grand ball, or a decadent festivity. It lasts about 10 hours, trails the wearer and is noticeable to people standing nearby (approximately 1 metre).

The parfum is luxurious. It melds with the skin. I prefer the slightly ligher eau de parfum versions and will definitely be trying L’Heure Bleue’s in the future. The only caution I think that I should give is that the scent is of a different time, and clashes mightily with today’s fruity floral market. Explorers should be pleased, but it may not appeal to all of the audience.

Guerlain L’Heure Bleue Perfume: 30ml bottle for £181.80 @ Escentual.com.

Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Exceptional Complete Care Eye and Lip Cream

Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Exceptional Complete Care Eye and Lip CreamI have great respect for the house of Guerlain. They provide quality products that actually work and are generous with their samples. They are confident in their products and for good reason. I, for one, will be buying full sized products of 95% of the samples that Guerlain provided me.

Their Orchidee Imperiale eye (and lip, but I only used it as eye) cream, did not moisturize my eyes too well (had to follow up with a face cream), but it diminished dark circles noticeably (I’m not the only one who noticed). My dark circles are genetic and started appearing during high school. Nothing I did, except makeup, did anything to make them appear lighter. Orchidee Imperiale did not remove them completely, but they are not as dark, and this is especially noticeable on days like today, when my responsibilities kept me up yesterday beyond my go-to-sleep-now-or-wake-up-a-zombie bedtime. I don’t have wrinkles, but tiny fine lines were removed, too, by the cream.

Despite it doing what a lot of other eye creams claim to do, Orchidee Imperiale noticeably diminishes dark circles after only a couple of days of morning and night application. Unfortunately, it is expensive. Had it moisturized profusely, I would consider buying, but, because I have to moisturize additionally, it is probably not a worthwhile investment.

Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Eye and Lip Cream: 15ml for £95.40 @ Escentual.com.

Guerlain Vol de Nuit Parfum

Guerlain Vol de Nuit ParfumI find the older Guerlain compositions, particularly of parfum concentration, to be similar in their opening. What I smell is a sharp, fresh, slightly bitter and somewhat medicinal note in L’Heure Bleue, Mitsouko, Vol de Nuit, Shalimar, and, to a lesser extent, in Nahema. After about an hour, this scent reveals other notes, but in L’Heure Bleue it remains until the dusk of the fragrance.

Once this overwhelming sharpness airs out, Vol de Nuit becomes a decidedly woody and somewhat green composition, opening with a blast of galbanum. It then slowly (after an hour or so on my skin) settles into powdery floral domain with iris and aldehydes. Oakmoss is in the base with vanilla.

A fragrance best for winter, autumn, or the night. It lasts approximately 5 hours, surrounding the wearer. I like Vol de Nuit for its ability to stay woody on my skin. I have tried other woody fragrances, but their arborous notes tend to hide from my olfactory receptors.

Guerlain Vol de Nuit Perfume: 30ml spray bottle for £181.80 @ Escentual.com.