As I blogged a few weeks ago, the start of 2016 marks a big change for me in terms of self-care. I’m making a serious push this year to spend more time on myself, as self-care seems to have fallen by the wayside with so many house-related projects being on our plates the last two years. I was in a serious funk and it’s time for that to be over and done with. One of the ways I am going to care for myself this year is through taking more pride in my hygiene and appearance. No more rolling out of bed and living in sweatpants! I gave myself a mini-makeover of sorts, and invested in some new makeup products – all cruelty free, of course. I have never felt like I *had* to wear makeup (no one should feel this way, beauty comes from within blah blah), but I do enjoy it in an artistic way. Makeup can be fun! And there are so many great cruelty free companies making awesome products right now so I just dove back in to the makeup world. Here is a round up of the products I use and companies I support.
I’ve never been particularly good at applying foundation and powder, and I didn’t discover blush until I was well into my twenties. I’ve always had problematic skin on my face – the rosacea remains though it’s pretty mild now, but as a child I frequently had psoriasis-like outbreaks – so I used cover up from a younger age and was pretty self-conscious. Problems I’ve often experienced are cakey mask-like makeup coverage, and the dreaded oompa loompa side effects of makeup too dark for my Casper-toned skin.
I’m pretty interested in learning how to contour with a blend of shades now instead of doing what I used to do, which was coat my face in one shade of foundation then set it with a translucent powder. I think the result was a bit too corpse-like (o_o)
The two contour powder kits I’ve picked up are by Youngblood and NYX. The Youngblood basics kit I got is for Tan skin, which I certainly am not, but they were on sale for $9.99 (marked down from $52!) and all they had left were Tan and Dark. The darker shades have been good for contouring and the light powder is just about right for my skin. The blush is a great deep pink colour too, which I like a lot. It came with a Kabuki brush which sweetened the deal even further.
The loose powder jars are a little messy for butter-fingers here; I’ve already dropped them into the sink a few times and gotten powder everywhere. The stuff I did manage to get on my face though was light and provided good coverage.
I’m very excited about the NYX Highlight and Contour Pro Palette, which J dutifully bought me for my birthday (it’s the 25th!). The colours are perfect, and the highlight is shimmery and gorgeous. I love the presentation too, the palette is easier to use than the loose powder pots by Youngblood, and it fits perfectly into my NYX makeup case.
The shimmer highlight is my favourite thing! I also just picked up a Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek colour in Sheer Pink Pearl which is also an amazing shimmer highlighter. Definitely recommend it. Another good one for contour and shimmer is BH Cosmetics Bombshell Bronze in Starlet.
So under all these lovely powders and highlights I have been using a blend of both NYX Invincible Fullest Coverage Foundation and Emani Hydra Wear 12 Hour Foundation. Emani’s line of cosmetics is super nice, and they are VEGAN! I’m thrilled to see that London Drugs (Canadian drug store) has started carrying so many cruelty free and vegan cosmetics brands including E.L.F., NYX, Emani, Youngblood, and Mineral Fusion. The NYX foundation is thicker than the Emani, but has really good coverage (as the name implies). I initially had trouble with the Emani pump top, nothing would come out so I had to exchange it for one that was working. The London Drugs people were super accommodating and pleasant about this. The colour is a great match for my skin and it’s very smooth.
I picked up a new set of cruelty free Eco Tools brushes, which I have always adored. I use a foundation brush to apply the colour where I want it, then blend with a dry brush. One day I’ll get one of those contour sponges but the ones I spotted at Sephora were, no joke, $18. The price seemed so ridiculous I just stuck with the brushes I already had (this set of 5 Eco Tools was about $15, and I also have some Jane Iredale ones from a few years ago). Do all sponges cost that much?? They are so tiny!
I have a few new blushes from e.l.f. and NYX that I’m really enjoying. These HD blushes from e.l.f. are SUPER pigmented and I totally have not mastered them yet. Here are some swatches on my arm to show how saturated they are… you only need a super tiny amount and it needs to be blended really well to avoid looking like clown makeup. I am terrible at this, so I’m sticking to powder blushes for the time being. I’ve tried both the cream powder and powder stick from NYX, but my favourite is their High Definition Blush, I have it in a dark pink for contouring and a light pink for the apples of my cheeks, a combo that has been working well.
I’m kind of yoyoing between nudes and super dark shades at the moment, where my staple used to be a classic red. I picked up a Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Punked and really really like it. It is long wearing, doesn’t transfer, and has a smooth matte finish.
I also picked up a sale collection of Mineral Fusion Sheer Moisture Lip Tints that feel ah-mazing. They are hydrating and sheer with a super silky feel to them.
Also on sale for the super cheap price of $8.99 was this set of 5 e.l.f. lip glosses. So far the Luke colourway is my favourite, though it tends to feather after a few hours of wear. I tried out a layer of deep nude NYX Lip Primer under it and that seemed to fix things.
I have collected a few eyeshadow palettes that have definitely lasted for a long time. My all time favourite is of course the Urban Decay Naked2 Palette… seriously this thing is the ultimate. It comes with a great brush, the case is super durable with a secure close, and the colours are perfection. This is really the only palette you need… unless you want colours. I recently picked up a couple of NYX smokey eye eyeshadow palettes, and an e.l.f. that has a nice selection of shades. They go on a little thin, but with an eyelid primer they perform a bit better. Lorac also makes a great palette that I’ve forgotten the name of, but had for a few years.
Hands down the best mascara I’ve ever used, and the only one I use now, is Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes. My eyelashes are fairly fine, but this stuff pumps them right up. A+.
I am still a huge fan of Cult Cosmetics’ nail polish line, but it would appear they have gone out of business quietly over the last few months. In the meantime I’ve picked up some cheap holiday sets of both NYX and e.l.f. mini-polishes, but the pigment saturation isn’t the best. The colours are fun and they are a great little size, so can’t complain too much. There are some other great cruelty free nail polish lines out there, but at the moment I have enough to get me through for a while, ha.
So that’s where I’m at now. I’ve set up a cruelty free makeup instagram for anyone who may be interested! @foxmakesup ❤