by ANEEKA WARD
MARIELLE S., 24 YEARS OLD, SCIENTIFIC EVALUATOR
ON HER BEAUTY GRASSROOTS
“Makeup has been a major interest of mine for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, I wasn’t allowed to use any products other than lip glosses and I remember being obsessed with Lip Smackers by Bonne Bell. I also had a Barbie lip gloss maker where you could mix different colourings and scents to make custom glosses – it was amazing! Around middle school, I became inspired by the emo trend and fell in love with dark eyeliner and colourful eye looks. I made my first MAC purchase when I was in the 8th grade. I think I bought some crazy blue and yellow shadows along with a bright red blush by Manic Panic. That’s where it all began!
ON STARTING GIRL AND VANITY
The idea of starting a beauty blog had lingered in the back of my mind for quite some time. The one thing that stopped me was the fact that I didn’t have the time to start one between going to school full-time and working. It was unfortunate because I loved talking beauty and would be thrilled whenever my friends asked me for recommendations. Sadly, there were only so many conversations I could have with friends about makeup, especially when they weren’t into it as much as I was. I knew I needed an outlet to share all the things I have tried and learned, so I seized my opportunity once I finally graduated from university. My collection had grown quite a bit at that point, so I had boat-loads more to write about. Another reason that prompted my desire to start a beauty blog had to do with the lack of reviews out there for women of colour. Every time I tried to find an example of a lipstick or foundation on someone who has a similar skin tone to mine, barely anything would come up. Because of this, I made it my mission to put out some content that will help at least one other NC40-ish person looking for makeup swatches.
ON HER LOVE FOR MAKEUP AND BEAUTY
I love the confidence that comes with makeup; it has allowed me to get up close and personal with my own face. After years of daily application, I’ve come to realize that no matter what I do to my face, I will away be me, and what I have to work with isn’t so bad. I’ve learned to embrace and enhance my features. I no longer feel like I’m hiding my flaws, but rather playing up my features which can be really fun. People always try to make the connection between self-confidence and makeup, or lack thereof. I don’t care what anyone says, it takes guts to go out in public with glitter lids and blue lipstick! It’s quite liberating when you get to a point where you’re able to wear whatever you want, be it bold or understated, without caring about what anyone else thinks. If makeup makes you feel good about yourself that’s all that matters. That’s ultimately what I love about makeup – having the ability to express yourself to the world unapologetically.
TOP 5 BEAUTY PRODUCTS
I went through a few different products before finally giving into the hype surrounding the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. I was hesitant to try it because of how expensive it was and also because I was quite happy with the concealer I was using at the time. When I finally took the plunge, I never looked back. I was immediately blown away by the coverage, its creaminess, and how easily it blended into my skin. This has the most coverage out of any other concealer I’ve used in the past. Plus, it comes in a shade that matches my skin perfectly. I mainly use this product to conceal my under eyes, however, whenever I am doing a full face I have a lighter shade that I use to highlight. I like to use ‘Ginger’ in the summer months and ‘Custard’ in the winter. I also have my eye on one of the newer shades that were released, Macadamia, to see if the peachy undertone will help colour correct my dark circles. I won’t deny that this concealer is on the pricier end but I really think that it’s worth the cost. A single tube lasts me about 6-8 months, even with daily use. You don’t really need that much product to get full coverage, so I’m always surprised when people tell me that they go through their tubes in 3 months or less. I strongly suggest trying to use less product than you normally would; the results will surprise you. Another tip to get all the product out is to remove the rubber stopper from the tube. I guarantee you will get an additional 2 months worth of use if you do this.
A few years ago, I went through one of the most horrible breakouts I’ve ever experienced. After I finally got it under control, I needed a moisturizer to soothe my dry and sensitive skin. Luckily, I stumbled upon Korres Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisturizing + Brightening Cream one day at Sephora. I love how hydrated, soft, and supple my skin feels after I use this product. The moisturizer claims to have brightening properties and I must say that my acne scars have significantly improved ever since I started using it. After I’ve washed my face in the morning, I’ll apply a dime-sized amount of this product to my face and neck before putting on my eye cream, sunscreen, and makeup. I love how quickly this moisturizer absorbs and how it restores a youthful glow to my skin. This product is thick enough that it provides good moisture for dry or dehydrated skin, but not to the point where your face ends up looking like a greasy mess. All that being said, I don’t think this product would be hydrating enough for those with extremely dry skin. Each jar lasts me a solid 6 months, and that’s with daily and generous use. I used to buy this from Sephora, but unfortunately, they discontinued the Korres line from their Canadian stores. Luckily, it’s still available at Shoppers Drug Mart. I’m praying they never get rid of this line, otherwise, I’m done for!
I love how gentle yet effective my Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution is. It does such a great job of removing makeup, oil, and dirt from the face while keeping your skin feeling refreshed. It’s also a great cleanser for those with sensitive skin. This product comes in two sizes and I usually buy the larger size from Shoppers Drug Mart. I use this solution about once a week for a few, but very specific occasions. The first being whenever I am wearing a very full and heavy face of makeup in order to take off the majority of the product before washing my face. The second being if I’m doing my makeup in the evening and want to give my skin a clean, fresh base without having to actually wash my entire face again. The third and final occasion being whenever I’m too lazy to take off my makeup after a long and grueling day. This solution has become a replacement for face wipes as my skin would always feel so stripped and raw after using them. To use this product, I take a cotton pad and soak it in the micelle solution. It usually takes me one pass to remove most of, if not all, the makeup on my face. For my eye makeup, I take a second cotton pad and soak it with the product. I’ll leave it on each eye for about 20 seconds, then I’ll gently wipe down to get rid of any mascara or eye liner. This product struggles with waterproof eye makeup, so if I ever do have some on, I need to go in with a separate makeup remover to take it all off. If I’m lazy, I’ll wait for my face to dry, apply some moisturizer and call it a night.
There are a few reasons I love my Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer. First and foremost, I adore the fact that it smells like chocolate. Every time I use it I have to remind myself that it won’t taste as good as it smells. Apart from that, it’s actually a great bronzer. The formula is so smooth and finely milled that it blends into my skin so effortlessly. It also doubles as a great contour shade for my skin tone. People are constantly told that contour shades should have cooler undertones and it’s generally thought that using bronzers for contouring is a no-no. However, since I have warmer undertones, I can get away with using something that’s meant to be a bronzer since it looks quite natural. Before I apply this product, I make sure to powder the areas that I’ll be using it on so that the bronzer doesn’t go on patchy. I usually use an angled blush brush to bronze or the NARS Kabuki Ita brush if I want to contour. To use, I pat the brush into the product, tap off the excess, and dust the product onto my skin very lightly. This bronzer is quite pigmented so it’s important to make sure not to add too much at a time, otherwise, it will be too difficult to blend out and will look muddy. When I first bought this product I used it daily for a year straight, and then a few times a week for another year before I finally finished it. That was just the travel-sized version! I bought the full size soon after that, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to take me years before I completely use it all up.
I love how flawless my makeup looks whenever I use a Beauty Blender. All it takes is a few bounces on the skin for everything to blend in seamlessly. I also I love how natural it makes my makeup look. It’s a great tool to keep your makeup from looking caked-on or overdone because it soaks up excess product. I remember hearing about the Beauty Blender a couple of years ago and thinking to myself how ridiculous it would be to spend $30 on something as ubiquitous as a makeup sponge. I had seen some significantly cheaper drugstore dupes which I thought would work just the same, so I tried them out. After about a year of going through many beauty blender dupes, I decided that I had to try the original to see what the hype was all about. Honestly, the other products out there don’t even come close. The Beauty Blender is seriously in a league of its own. From my experience, the cheaper dupes don’t hold up over time. So, in the long run, they aren’t that much cheaper if you have to continually replace them. Since I only use my Beauty Blender about once a week, I can keep mine for up to a year. However, if I used mine daily, I think I would toss it after about 5-6 months. To maximize the life of my Beauty Blender, I wash it after every use using the liquid cleanser that came with the set I bought. A mild soap like the ones by Dr. Bronner’s is also a cost-effective alternative. After I wash it, I make sure to leave my Beauty Blender to dry in a cool, humidity-free room to prevent any mold formation. I also use a little spiral egg holder to house my Beauty Blender as it allows for adequate airflow while drying. Seriously, just go for it! You won’t regret it.”