December 2018 - Pretty In Bronze

Monday, December 24, 2018

Wet n Wild Colour Icon Blush Review
12/24/20180 Comments
Hello!

Back in the summer when I received a huge PR package from Wet n Wild, this Colour Icon Blush  in the colour 'Dare to Soar' from their Flights of Fancy collection was included. At first I thought it was a mistake because it looks way too dark, but you'll see from this post that it does work on light skin tones too.



 As you can see, if you swatch the blush lightly, it's not too crazy dark. Though if you build it up it becomes very vibrant so it would work very well on deep skin tones as well. Thankfully with a light hand, this works for me. Not sure if this would work on someone pale, but as a light medium girl with a yellow to olive undertone, this is great.


Below is what the blush looks like on my face when applied with a very light hand. I don't even sweep the brush in the blush. I just lightly tap it to make sure I don't accidentally pick up too much product. This blush gives a beautiful glow as well so I skipped highlighter so you can see what it looks like on its own. I do have contour out that I was taking pictures for (coming soon), but you can see how subtle this blush can be.


I applied the blush with a little bit more of a heavy hand on this side of my face to show you how I wear this. In the summer I just need to tap in a little harder for even more pigment. My mom has much darker skin than me, so I would probably lightly swipe for it to show up on her, but for deep skin I imagine you can swipe a regular amount to build the shade up on you.


Surprisingly this blush is still available on the Wet n wild website. I'm not sure if it's still in Canadian stores or not since it is from a limited edition collection from the summer. I did see it about a month ago in my local Rexall so there's a chance you may still find it, but I know a lot of people received this in PR so I wanted to show that while a blush might look scary, it doesn't mean that it won't work for you.

See you soon and Merry Christmas!

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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation Review
12/15/20180 Comments
Hello!

I recently received an amazing voxbox from Influenster that included several full size Lancome makeup products. As usual, voxbox's are free and anyone can sign up for Influenster and receive them if you qualify based on your survey answers and score.


The Teint Idoe voxbox included a full size foundation, primer, lipstick and setting spray and I've been putting them to the test ever since. This review is focused on the foundation, but as I use the other products more I'll probably end up writing reviews on them too.


This is a matte foundation—a finish I normally stay away from because of my combination to dehydrated skin. I have a few dry patches on my face that foundations tend to cling to so I normally go for natural finishes or dewy foundations, but I've heard so many amazing things about this particular foundation (and still love my super old expired Lancome foundation) so I really wanted to give this a try. I even filmed a first impressions full day wear test  video that went up a few hours ago on my channel! Here's the video linked down below if you want to see what I thought the first time wearing it. If you want my full review; keep on reading!



This foundation really surprised me. First of all, the shade Bisque is a perfect match for my winter colour. It's very yellow so it's identical to my skin, so if you find foundations might look too yellow on you don't get that shade, but on me it's perfect. Most yellow undertone foundations are still too neutral for me so I was super pleased with the match.



The foundation is definitely matte, but I thought it would be full coverage. It's definitely a high medium coverage and could probably be built up to full, but I prefer how it looks with medium coverage because it looks more like real skin and the matte finish ends up being more of a 'natural' matte rather than looking too dry on me. At first it was a little bit dry, but after finishing the rest of my makeup, I noticed that it was setting in very nicely. It's one of those foundations that takes an hour or so to start looking really nice on your skin, which is amazing because on me that means it'll look amazing all day long.


This was a picture I took after wearing the foundation for about four hours. Makeup layered beautifully on top (especially the concealer) and I found that my bronzer, blush and highlighter wore longer than usual. My forehead, nose and sometimes chin can become shiny throughout the day, but with this foundation I found that it just looked more natural in those areas without anything breaking apart.

The only thing that I noticed after about eight hours of wear is that the foundation starts to settle into a few lines. On me it's under my mouth because I always contort my face to bite the inside of my cheek (weird... I know), but my forehead lines that ALWAYS look bad with a matte foundation looks completely fine as long as I bake it with a translucent powder for a few minutes after blending out my concealer.  Almost all of my foundations settle into my forehead and under my mouth so this isn't anything new for me, but I always like to mention it in reviews.

I included a quick clip that didn't make it into my first impressions video of a five hour check in below!


My final thoughts on this foundation is that I love it! It wears for a ridiculous amount of hours and looks amazing all day long. The coverage is perfect for me and it works on my entire face, even though my skin is dehydrated, which causes it to create extra oils in my T-zone, and I have dry patches as well. Other makeup sits on top very well, so that's really nice and the colour is a perfect match for me, which never happens.

I highly recommend trying this foundation out. If you have oily skin, check out Samantha's video review that she filmed during her 12 days of foundation series giving her full review and thoughts on this foundation (she loves it too!). That's it for this review. I hope you stick around to watch the full first impressions video on this foundation to see exactly how well it wore all day long.

See you soon!
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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Wet n Wild Megaglow Contouring Palette Review
12/13/20180 Comments
Hello!

Today's review is on this Wet n Wild Contouring powder! This is another item that was sent to me back in the summer and it is in the shade Dulce De Leche, which for some reason isn't currently on their website. There only shade that is currently on the Wet n Wild website 'Caramel Toffee' is a bit darker, but it seems like only these two shades exist, which isn't great for anyone with a very light skin tone, or anyone with a medium to deep skin tone either. 


As you can see below, the shades are ok for my skin tone, but I did swatch these when I still had my summer tan.


I took these face pictures very recently, which is why I'm much lighter. My lighting situation at the moment is pretty terrible because I'm temporarily living in a basement with no natural light and there's no space for my studio lighting to be set up, so I'm stuck with one light without the umbrella, and my makeup mirror light, which makes me look even more pale.

The contouring powder is currently a bit too dark for me, so I went in with an incredibly light hand to show you how you can still make it work for you if you have a light skin tone. I just put some along the edges of my cheekbones to make them look more prominent, along the edges of my face, a tiny bit dusted over my nose and then lightly brushed into my crease to even out the face. As for the highlighting powder, I just placed it under my eyes.



As you can see, you can make the contouring powder subtle if it's too dark for you. What I haven't tried is mixing the contouring powder with the highlighting powder to dull it down a bit, but since they are both matte I would imagine that could help as well. Do I recommend this product? For $5 USD it's a maybe. I feel like there are other powders from Wet n Wild and Essence that are around the same price that could work better, but if you have the right skin tone for it, you'll probably enjoy it! I'm more of a 'no fuss' makeup person so I'd rather the product be more buildable rather than very pigmented so I don't have to be too careful with it.

I hope you enjoyed this short review! I have a few more to go for Wet n Wild reviews of the products I received in PR this past summer, but at least the end is very near!

See you soon
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Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Essence Colour Correcting Sticks Review
12/05/20180 Comments
Hello!

It's been a while since I reviewed the Essence Colour Correcting Liquid Concealers, but I've been trying out so many different products and have a bunch of reviews in the works. Now I can confidently say that I've put the also affordable stick version to the test to fully know my opinions on them. I received all of these for free, but that won't stop me from honestly reviewing them. Let's get started.


Below are swatches on my wrist.


The following two photos are how I used these correctors for the best result. The areas with the green are all parts of my face that have redness, including a few breakouts.  The yellow was used under my eyes and also sometimes mixed in with the green. The purple (meant for brightening) is above my lip and on the sides of my face where my skin looks a bit dull. The pink was added just below my eyes on the lash line since that area can appear quite dark.


I decided to go with a foundation that I know a lot of people have tried in the past. I'm wearing the Makeup Forever Ultra HD foundation here since it's pretty full coverage. I decided to go for this because let's be honest; If you're going through the effort to colour correct everything, you're probably looking for higher coverage.


The foundation itself didn't fully cover the green from the colour corrector. However, most people wear concealer so I tested that out as well below. I added the LA girl pro concealer since that is another well known one. It's pretty full coverage. The colour correctors in this stick formula don't stick well to dry patches and breakouts, so it made the concealer an foundation break apart around them, kind of rendering them useless.


Excuse the concealer lips from patting it around my mouth. My chin still kept some redness since the green seemed to blend away when applying the foundation and concealer. The photo below is the side view and as you can see, the purple doesn't seem to show through, and neither does the pink or yellow. Looking close up in a mirror you can see a bit of texture that normally wouldn't show up without using the colour correctors.


My overall review is that these aren't worth it. While they are very affordable, I MUCH prefer the liquid concealer version. Yes, those only come in green, yellow and pink, however I don't think the purple actually does anything (for me at least) and the other shade for the sticks was a tan colour that is too dark for my skin tone, so I gave it away a long while before writing this review.

That's it for this review! I only have a handful of older products to review left before moving on to only reviewing products as they come in. Let me know your thoughts on these colour correctors and if you also prefer the liquid version to these.

See you soon!
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Monday, December 03, 2018

All About My Moissanite Engagement Ring
12/03/20180 Comments
Hello!

This is just a small post I'm writing to talk about my engagement ring. This is not in any way meant to show off, but I wanted a place to put pictures of it so I can share them on Pinterest and have somewhere to link back to since this first photo is going around without linking back to me. I'll go more in depth of another big reason why I decided to share this after my description of the ring. Finally, I've also gotten A LOT of questions about the ring from pretty much every single person that has seen it, so I wanted to make a post where all of the information and links are provided to make everything easily accessible.


My ring setting is a 14k Rose Gold Petite Pave Cathedral engagement ring from James Allen. The website does a great job at showing you up close (360 degree view) what your ring will look like with different shaped stones as examples. My stone is a Charles & Colvard Forever One Colourless Cushion Moissanite. It's approximately 1.3ct in weight, but it measures 6.5mm wide (the same length on each side). We purchased the loose stone from Fire & Brilliance since they were having a sale that made it even more affordable and they are an official retailer so the lifetime warranty is included. We also bought the setting when it was on sale for 25% off. If you don't already know about moissanite, check out this FAQ page on the Charles & Colvard website.

I wrote a full experience post about James Allen since getting the setting from them ended up being a huge rollercoaster ride (and not the fun type). I won't be writing about my experience with Fire & Brilliance since I can just tell you now that they're perfect! Their customer service is amazing, they have very fast shipping and they deserve all the publicity!

I'm going to include a few close-up shots I took as I was writing this. The ring was not clean at all when I took these and I was just using my side-table lamp in the basement so you won't see it sparkle as much as the outdoor photo above, but you'll be able to see the details a bit better!


The last thing I wanted to show you is the ring adjuster I bought! So when I got my finger sized it was summer and about thirty degrees celcius outside. My fingers tend to swell quite a bit, so I was a size 5.5. I had it sized at two separate jewellery stores just to be extra safe. The second Steven put the ring on my finger when he proposed near the end of October I knew it was too big. It was quite cold out that day and is still very cold now that it's almost winter (fully showing thanks to Canada). I didn't want to send the ring back to have it resized since I'm pretty sure it'll fit fine in the summer, but I also didn't want to add one of the metal sizers since they scratch up the rings. After doing a bit of research, I found this plastic sizer that has a special memory material that I can slide into my ring without people being able to notice (I'm wearing it in the photo just above this paragraph).

This is the RINGO Invisible Ring Sizer and since the band of my ring is just under 2mm thick, the x-small size works perfectly. It was under $12 CAD so way cheaper than resizing or having metal balls added to the band. I will eventually order directly from their website so I can buy a bag of just this size, but on Amazon you can buy a multi-pack so I'll try using it for other jewellery I own.



 That's it for my engagement ring! I feel super weird posting this, but I know so many people wanted to know all about it and after Steven and I's experience having it made we wanted people to know more since a lot of the information I provide in my experience posts were not readily available online for Canadians.

Thank you so much for the support! Please let me know if you have any jewellery cleaners you swear by (specifically for 14k gold) since I clearly need to get some.

See you soon!



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Saturday, December 01, 2018

Our Canadian James Allen Engagement Ring Experience
12/01/20180 Comments
Hello!


I originally wasn’t planning on writing on my blog about our experience purchasing my engagement ring (we were only going to leave website reviews), but so much has happened that I’ve never read about that I wanted to provide the information I wish I had before starting this journey. Prepare yourself for a very long post.



James Allen is pretty famous for engagement rings. They offer a huge selection of rings of all metal types (including rose gold) and even offer customization and men’s rings. We went with them because we wanted to provide our own stone since we wanted a moissanite instead of a diamond. In mid 2018, one of my friends got engaged, and her now husband used James Allen for the ring, and provided his own diamond. They had nothing but great things to say, so we really dove into our research on the company. Most of the reviews were extremely positive, but what made us decide to go with James Allen is their warranty, free shipping to Canada, and most importantly; the ability for us to provide our own stone.










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Before Ordering



The first time we contacted James Allen was to confirm if they would work with a moissanite for my engagement ring. Their website mentioned other stones, like sapphire (which is lower on the Mohs hardness scale), but not moissanite. We used their live chat and they told us that there would be no problem since it’s the second hardest stone next to a diamond. We were ecstatic to hear this. I mentioned in the live chat that we lived in Canada, and they confirmed that shipping would be free without a problem, and that they could email me a shipping label as soon as we had the stone to start the order process. My Moissanite Engagement Ring blog post is now up, and it includes our thoughts on buying a loose moissanite stone from Fire & Brilliance. After the stone arrived, we immediately started the order with James Allen.



Ordering My Ring



The second we had the moissanite, we started up a live chat with James Allen, informing them that we wanted to purchase an engagement ring. We had planned on waiting for a sale in October, but they happened to have a sale that same day that was supposed to last 24 hours only, so we jumped on it (only to learn that it had been extended for an additional two days). We provided all of our information, but when it came to providing our own stone, we were told that we could not ship it from within Canada. This was not mentioned to us before, nor is it anywhere on their website. We had looked this up in the past, but I guess all of the reviews were by Americans. I asked my friend, but it turns out her husband’s company shipped the diamond for him inside of the US. Ok. No big deal. We live less than two hours away from the border, so we decided we’d make a trip.


The shipping label was supposed to cost us $30 USD, but the customer service agent I dealt with that night quoted us $50 USD, which is insane since two previous agents told us it was $30, including what the website says. The agent was pretty rude overall in their responses. After deciding to ship it ourselves with our own insurance (ended up costing under $30 CAD so we saved big time there), we started the order process. There were several difficulties on the agents end (like spelling my name wrong, even though it was typed right in front of them), but finally after several tries the information was correct. We were then told that they couldn’t ship our ring to Canada once the ring was completed because we had provided our own stone. What? This was news to us. We knew for a fact that my friend’s engagement ring was shipped directly to her mother-in-law’s house in Canada, with their customer provided stone and also from the first agent we spoke to. The agent told us that we must have been lied to, and given incorrect information by previous agents, but that it could not be done, nor had it ever been done before.


We had to sign up for a mail forwarding service that would receive our ring in the US after it was complete, and we would then have to pay for additional shipping and insurance from that service to us. The agent confirmed that this would be fine so I provided my payment information. We were told that we would receive our information package (shipping address, instructions, etc.) in under 24 hours once the payment was confirmed, which was perfect since that would mean we’d have the details by Friday evening, and we’d be driving to the US Saturday morning.


Guess what never showed up? I was frantic, so I started another live chat to inquire about what was happening. It turns out that the rude customer service agent (I swear they had it out for me) never processed my order. They simply ended to conversation, and did nothing. The new agent confirmed that the old agent did not do what they were supposed to, and processed my order. I immediately was charged on my credit card (it was on pending) so I knew it had gone through this time. They assured me that someone would be in Saturday morning at 4 or 5 AM EST to send me my shipping information since I told them that I would cancel my order with them if I didn’t have my info by 9AM when we were leaving for the border. They also reminded me that because I live in Canada, that my ring could not be shipped to me directly, so I explained the mail forwarding service we were going to use. No problem again. The next morning I woke up to the email so we printed the information out and set off to the United States.


After Sending off the Ring / Making the Ring



Sending the ring off was easy (USPS customer service in Lewiston, NY was great!). The only issue was that it arrived a few days late due to the hurricane. When it was finally marked as delivered, I immediately started a live chat with James Allen to inquire about the next steps.


James Allen confirmed that my payment was received in full and that the ring was being worked on. Online, the tracker skipped forward to ‘Quality Assurance’ by the end of that day, which means it had been mounted and inspected. The agent said that the moissanite was inspected and all was good, but it was currently being mounted. When I finally received my email a few days later saying that my ring was being worked on, the email said that when the stone arrived in the mail, that it would require my signature. This is an issue because I couldn’t be in Delaware at the mail forwarding company to sign for the stone, so I started yet another live chat.


This live chat individual told me that I could not use a mail forwarding service (even though at least two previous agents said it would be fine). I explained that there was no other way since I live in Canada, and they once again confirmed that the ring could not be sent to Canada. The agent told me to email their customer service, stating that I give my consent to have the ring sent to the mail forwarding service, without my signature, so that’s what I did. At this point I was in full on panic mode. Thankfully, in a few hours I received a response explaining that for that to be possible, I would have to be refunded the price of the ring, and pay again through wire transfer (which makes no sense), but the email also said that for everything to move forward easily, I could change my shipping address to my home address in Canada, and that way I could sign for the ring.


I know what you’re thinking. “But Amy, they told you several times that it was impossible for them to ship your engagement ring directly to Canada because you provided your own stone?” Yes, that was what I was told, and I even had the chat transcripts in my email to prove it. I wasted no time and called James Allen directly (I was given the wrong phone number in the email and had to look it up myself). Thankfully there was no hold time and I was able to speak to someone at James Allen’s head office. I explained the situation, and they assured me that James Allen can 100% ship my engagement ring to Canada for free, without any issue, even with me providing my own stone. The lady asked me to forward her the chat transcripts and even read them out loud, including the part that said “Since you are providing your own stone, the ring can only be delivered to a US address” and was immediately shocked at it. She apologized several times and changed my shipping address right away. She blamed the issue on improper training as the agents I heard the wrong information from were all new, and the original one who said Canada was fine had the proper training. No idea how this misinformation could’ve possibly happened, but I was just happy to save some money by not having to use the mail forwarding service.


The estimated shipping date was October 3rd, over a week away from my ring being in production. I also let the lady on the phone know that the website was displaying my ring as being in the quality assurance phase, when it really was in production, and she fixed that for me as well and was embarrassed that so much incorrect information had been provided to me. After the phone call, I was finally able to relax a bit, and let my friend know. She was shocked because her customer experience was nothing but amazing, however she never used their online chat. So if you buy anything from James Allen, especially if you’re located outside of the US and providing your own stone, do not waste your time with the online chat. Tell them the proper address, make sure you can go to the US to have it shipped, and then call them if you have any issues.


The only other thing that stressed me out is that my payment to James Allen that was once pending disappeared completely off of my online bank statement, and the money had returned like magic. When I checked in to see my ring, James Allen confirmed that payment had been received in full. I stressed out about that quite a bit for almost two weeks, but finally two days before the estimated shipping date the charge returned to my credit card, this time complete.



Shipping



Even though my estimated shipping date was October 3rd, my ring entered the quality assurance phase on October 2nd and shipped out that same night. I have a theory that they were quick about it since my experience had been negative so far and I urged them to have it to me in Canada before my birthday since at the time we were planning a trip and I thought Steven might have wanted to use that as an opportunity to propose. This was a nice surprise since it meant I’d be receiving it on time for sure. FedEx is amazing and told me that it should be delivered on October 3rd by 5 PM. Of course I’d have to pay taxes upon receiving the stone, or prior, but that’s to be expected. Due to NAFTA, duties were not required (thank God because that would’ve been very expensive). I wasn’t at home when they attempted delivery the first time (nor was anyone else), but the next day thankfully someone was at home and signed the FedEx box. I paid the taxes through the phone the night before so it would be less of a hassle. When I got home that night, the ring was there and even though I wasn’t going to look at it, I made sure Steven had inspected it and verified that everything was looking perfect and nothing was missing.



The Ring



The first time I saw the completed ring was when Steven proposed! I was super excited and we both cried during the proposal. Once it was over, I couldn’t stop staring at my ring. Despite the terrible customer service from the online chat (The lady on the phone was wonderful at least), whoever had worked on my ring did an amazing job. Their name is actually on one of the cards I received for Quality Assurance so at least I know that information and that they’re great. If you want to learn about the ring, check out this short blog post where I tell you everything about it in case you’re interested in a similar style, the stone, and anything else.


All in all I’m very happy with my completed ring. If the wedding bands from James Allen were in our budget, we’d definitely go with them, but those are above what we’d like to spend. I do still recommend James Allen, but if you live in Canada please know that you can 100% provide your own stone as long as you ship it from within the United States, and that they WILL ship it directly to your house in Canada without any extra costs. If you want to avoid a headache, just call James Allen rather than dealing with their online chat. And if you do deal with an online representative, make sure to ask them for a transcript of your conversation and don’t end the chat until you see it in your email’s inbox.


That’s it for our experience ordering my engagement ring with James Allen! I’ve pasted the review I left on their website below (which they’ve seen and shared the picture of my ring on social media, but not the review of course). I shared the same picture myself so hopefully mine will get more recognition since it links back to this blog!


Review I left on James Allen: We live in Canada and wanted to provide our own stone to go along with one of the James Allen settings. We went over the border to ship it to them (much more affordable to ship it yourself with insurance than pay the company to provide a label), and sent it off. The process was very quick and the ring turned out beautiful and perfect! My issue was the customer service. The 24hr live chat was very inconsistent and provided the wrong information. I was told by several different representatives that the ring could not be shipped back to my Canadian address once completed since I provided my own stone. This is not true! I called James Allen and they assured me that the representatives were wrong, and even read the chat logs out loud and were shocked to see the wrong information. This had us very stressed out because I thought I wouldn't be able to receive my ring, or would have to pay much more and jump through hoops to receive it. Definitely call them if you have questions to make sure you are getting the correct information. I highly recommend the quality of the rings, especially if you are providing your own stone! Also, wait for the 25% off sales since they are frequent.


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See you soon!
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