Getting Naked With Quo

If you follow my blog, you have heard me mention Canadian beauty brand, Quo, many times. I have loved them for years and that love continues to grow. Where “Quo” actually comes from remains a mystery to many. I have products from them made in Canada, the US, and even Italy. The brand itself is Shopper’s Drug Mart’s beauty brand, but the products are made by other companies specifically for SDM and Quo. In other words, SDM is not directly responsible for production of the products. I have heard many rumors over the years about Quo being produced by Mac, Urban Decay, and numerous other big beauty names.

A few Christmases ago, I was given the Quo Back To Basics Eyeshadow Palette as a gift. I was elated to learn that this palette was an exact dupe for the original Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palette. And I don’t mean a few of the shades, the entire palette is a dupe – pan for pan. Unfortunately, this palette is not part of any Quo permanent collection, but every holiday the palette is re-released with slightly different external packaging.

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Here is the Quo and Urban Decay side by side. You tell me … which one is the Back To Basics and which one is the Naked? Nearly identical, right?! But just because they look alike, doesn’t make the Quo worth it. The blendability and rich pigment of these shadows make them worth it. The shadows themselves are so smooth and soft. To be completely honest, I love them a little bit more than the Urban Decay formula (OMG I know, I can’t believe I just said that either, UD is my main bitch). I find that the Naked shadows can be a bit more powdery, which sometimes means that you need to pack on more of the shade to get the depth of color that you are looking for. The Quo powder is a bit more “heavy” in consistency; I find this makes smokey eyes a breeze. I find that the UD shadows work best with a primer, but my Quo palette comes out just as strong, even without a primer. In fact, I wore Quo for YEARS before I even purchased my first eyeshadow primer. The Quo shadows also have impeccable staying power. They last through even the most crazy of party nights. Just ask 18 year old me … she has many specific examples.

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The packaging on this palette is a simple sturdy cardboard with magnetic closure. Inside you will find a mirror and eyeshadow brush, perfect for on-the-go application. I do prefer the tin case of the Naked, and appreciate a case that “snaps” closed.

The Quo Back To Basics retails for $25 CAD, while the Urban Decay Naked retails for $60 CAD. The Quo has such phenomenal quality and value that I have no intentions of EVER purchasing the original Naked palette (hence why I purchased the Naked 2 during my last SDM haul). I even have a back up of the Quo palette for when I run out (if I ever run out!!).

New for 2014, Quo released an additional holiday palette, Back To Basics Matte. I couldn’t resist getting my hands on this matte palette given my Quo love!!

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You have to look closely, because the only thing different about the palettes from the packaging, is the word “Matte“. It would be very easy to overlook that these two palettes are NOT the same (assuming that you didn’t stop to open them).

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The Matte palette is just as amazing, in terms of quality, as the original Back To Basics. The palette consists of alot of light shades, with minimal dark shades. Luckily, the dark shades that are included, are beautiful and highly pigmented!! I prefer the original palette in terms of color selection, but the matte palette is gorgeous in it’s own way too. I am not a huge fan of pink neutrals (which is why I avoided the Naked 3) but this palette allows me to have a few pink tones without spending a fortune on a palette that I would only use occasionally.

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When comparing both Quo Back To Basics palettes side by side, it is very easy to see why I insisted on owning both!! The matte has alot of beautiful shades that will easily compliment the original shades. The brushes included with the palettes are different, which is great! The matte palette has a fluffy, dense brush, while the original palette had a stiffer, flatter brush.

My love for Quo is real. ♡ If you (are Canadian, but) haven’t checked out their stuff, you can’t (seriously) call yourself a beauty addict!!

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Shopper’s Super Saver Splurge

Splurge“. Or at least it would have been if I wasn’t AMAZING at tracking down such insane deals.
PROOF.

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Once again, Shopper’s rubbed me all types of wonderful. Ya ya. SDM is expensive, but only if you don’t know what you are doing. They have a phenomenal rewards program, the best in Canada if you ask me. If you shop during extra points events, you will hit reward levels in no time, the second half of this post was purchased during one of these events.

But first, you’re still in awe from seeing how I spent $7.73 CAD and SAVED $117.51 CAD. Here’s what I got:

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L’Oréal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara & Super Liner Ultra Precision Diamantissime Liquid Eyeliner Combo Pack (Blackest Black; Waterproof & Regular)
Value: $25.98 CAD
Retail: $14.99 CAD
Steal: $1.99 CAD

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This is a new mascara from L’Oréal. I love the concept and was totally curious to try out the one of a kind brush. Did you know L’Oréal owns Urban Decay? Surprised? Looking for a good drug store brand? L’Oréal is always my go to for cheap mascara. One of my first mascaras was the original L’Oréal Voluminous. Obviously that made me extra excited to try out this formula! The picture shows the packaging as gold, but that was just the flash on my camera, the tube itself is actually silver. The lid is round and thick, I actually found it difficult to hold when applying the mascara. It felt like it could easily slip out of my grasp.

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The brush is hard to capture with a photograph. It has two sides that fan out, with the backside having a slight curve covered in small bristles. It was incredibly difficult to get used to this brush. It needs to be angled perfectly to apply to the lashes. Applying to my right eye (I’m right handed) was relatively easy. The left eye however, was significantly more difficult. Getting the brush to not poke me in the eye with the fan bristles, but also coat the lashes, took some time and finesse. This is definitely NOT a grab and go mascara. All of that said, the formula is wonderful. It separates and adds tons of volume as well as some length. I think once you get the hang of the brush, this could easily become a drugstore favorite.

The liner has bits of silver glitter in it, making it the perfect extra touch for Friday and Saturday night makeup. The felt tip of this liner is very fine, perfect for thin or thick lines.

Overall, $2 CAD for a set? Omg yes! I picked up 6 of these. Yes 6! A mix of waterproof and non. For $1 per product, I could bring a tube on vacation without worrying about losing it or leaving it behind. Mascara will last a very long time if the factory seal is not broken.

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The Last and The Lingering

The last of the holiday sets and sales. The lingering deals. I can’t help myself. I seriously can’t. I think I already have everybody’s birthday presents purchased for 2015. Am I crazy? I know I’m crazy. Of course, I also purchased a ton of stuff for myself. After the craziness of Boxing Day sales, follows the insanity of Semi Annual sales. The secret is to wait until the last weekend (or preferably the last day) of the sale. If you are picking up something that you need to have, this strategy might not work for you. When you wait until the end, the savings can be unbelievable, but stock is not guaranteed.
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Quo Whoa!

Holiday sets. I have been ranting and raving about holiday sets for months now! Some sets I bought for myself when they were released because call me crazy I couldn’t risk having them sell out before Christmas. Others I waited patiently for, to appear under my tree, or in my shopping bag in January for half the price. Quo fit both of these categories. I splurged on the brush sets, when they were first released, back in October. And I couldn’t resist the temptation to pick up a few more Holiday Collection goodies after Christmas, especially for 50% off. I tried to resist. I really did. I walked past the display at Shopper’s Drug Mart the first time. But a few days later I gave into the glorious pleasure, my beauty addiction. I picked up two mini palettes by Quo, Essential Eyes & Beauty on the Go.

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Left: Essential Eyes
Right: Beauty on the Go

These sets each retailed for $14.99 CAD but were a steal at only $7.49 CAD. The packaging is adorable. Who doesn’t love black and gold? And even the print is so chic. The cases themselves are made of a durable plastic that doesn’t feel at all cheap or breakable. There is even a reassuring “click” to let you know that the palette is indeed closed – perfect for travel, gym bag, carry on etc. I also love that they both have a mirror.

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I love Quo quality and these sets didn’t disappoint. Their eyeshadows are pigmented and easy to blend. They don’t feel powdery or chalky, but smooth and silky. They also work great wet OR dry (wet for eyeliner, that makes a perfect match!).

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The Essential Eyes mini palette has four shadows all nuetral-brown/champagne. I love the dark chocolate shade. I wish one of the lighter shades had been swapped out for a medium brown to really give an extra depth to a smokey eye. The lighter shades are gorgeous though so I’m not overly disappointed! All of the shades have a shimmer to them, but are not metallic or glittery.

The Beauty on the Go palette has everything you need (except mascara) for a quick, no fuss, makeup look. There are four shadows, mostly shades of grey with one shade leaning more towards mauve. The grey shades have more shimmer to them compared to the Essential Eyes shades, but they still don’t come across as glittery. The blush that is included is more of a peach highlighter than a blush, but either way it is breathtaking. It adds the perfect amount of sheen. The lipglosses are light pinks with a pearly finish. I’m not a fan of lipgloss in a palette, as they will inevitably get shadow in them, but it you are in a pinch, they will definitely do the trick.

My biggest criticism goes to the applicators included in the palettes. Sponge tips are not ideal for blending, or for application in general. I would much rather have a mini brush or, even better, a dual ended brush.

Overall, I’m thrilled with my Quo additions. Both of these will be added to my pile of travel makeup! I love having a nice selection for trips and overnights. Plus, if your luggage ever gets misplaced, you won’t be freaking out about the hundreds of dollars in cosmetics that has gone missing.

Did you score big with Quo? Do you love them as much as me? What’s your favorite travel go-to makeup?

The Status Quo

Quo has been a long time favorite beauty brand for me. I love their products and their beauty tools. They started my transition from Maybelline and Loreal to Urban Decay and Too Faced. It took every ounce of will power I had to walk away from all the Quo Holiday Collection beauties that Shopper’s Drug Mart has on sale right now. That being said, I can’t promise that I will have the same strength the next time I walk past the Quo aisle.

EVERY single item from Quo’s Holiday Collection is currently on sale for 50% off!! And yes, that includes the new brushes I purchased in the fall, when the collection was first released. Even the Beauty Box (retail $60 CAD) is on for $29.99 CAD!!

If you indulged in the Quo sale please tell me ALL about it. I need to live vicariously through you!! I must resist the temptation … I seriously have added so much to my makeup collection over the past few weeks!! ♡

Five in Five

Eventually, the hustle and bustle of the holidays will catch up with us. For me that means running out the door with my hair in a high bun & a dab of lip gloss. So in honor of those days where there just does not seem to be enough hours, here are 5 products you can apply in 5 minutes to look fabulous. (And I really did just apply these in under 5 mins, so you CAN do it).

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Before you get started, I recommend having your “5 in 5” products already in a cute makeup bag. I carry my essentials daily in my spacious Betsey Johnson cosmetic bag. That way I’m not switching out products and I can literally grab-and-go. Next, invest in some travel brushes, like these double ended brushes from Quo. These ones are compact and versatile enough to create a variety of looks. Finally, after washing your face I suggest using a BB Cream or Tinted Moisturizer. This provides some coverage and creates a great base to build on, even if you don’t apply your makeup until later. With that being said, here is 5 products you can apply in 5 minutes:

1. Bronzer/Blush Combo
I’m using Wild Glow Bronzer Duo by Quo. Apply bronzer to cheeks, jawline, forehead. Apply blush to apples of the cheeks. The point here is to quickly dust the face, this is not the art of contouring, it’s the art of efficiency.

2. Eyeshadow Trio/Quad
Whatever shades tickle your fancy. Neutrals are always my go to! I’m using Smokey Eye by Quo. These little minis are packed with 5 shades in a little compact for only $5! Apply the lightest shade to your lid. Apply a darker or pop shade in your crease. Blend. Think natural beauty not glamour queen … time’s ticking! Wet your liner brush and dip in the darkest shade. Dab brush along the upper (and if you want, the lower) lashline to create eyeliner. Blend and smoke out to achieve desired look.

3. Mini Mascara
I’m using Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes! 4 in 1 Mascara. Any mascara will do, pick your fav! Add a few coats to your upper and lower lashes.

4. Highlighter/Illuminator
I’m using Benefit’s Watt’s Up Soft Focus Highlighter. If you have a highlighter in your Bronzer/Blush combo that will work just as well. Apply highlighter to the center of your forehead, under the arches of your brows, cheekbones, bridge of your nose, and cupids bow. You can also use highlighter on the inner corners of your eyes and under your eyes to minimize dark circles and to wake you up! Don’t forget to blend!

5. Lip Product
Use something that is no fuss, no mess, no effort. Choose a lipstick that is close to your natural lip color so you don’t need to spend time on a flawless application (Red takes time, people!!). I’m using Buxom’s Full On Lipstick in Amsterdam. I love the Full On Lipsticks for the ability to use it as a lip liner. If lipstick isn’t your thing, try a light, low maintenance gloss.

Five products. Five minutes. No problem. Bonus points for a fragrance mini roller (you never know who you’ll get close too) and concealer stick (in case you need a little extra help). What are your quickie favs? Can you pull off applying your makeup in five minutes or less? Let me know! Happy Monday loves ♡♡

Because I Needed Nyquil

My world this weekend existed of my couch and my bed. And social media.

Social media = tolerable flu/cold

Anyways, my boyfriend was amazing, getting me soup, juice, and basically anything I needed, ALL weekend my knight in shining armour! But there comes a time when you just need to, have to, must get out of the house. Cold meds running dangerously low, I drove painfully slow to the neighborhood Shoppers Drug Mart. And guess what? It was a BONUS POINT event, 18 500 extra bonus points when you spent $75 CAD on anything in the store (that’s about $25 CAD in points to redeem for merchandise). I was there for Nyquil, but I also really needed some new makeup brushes. Nyquil. But OMG! The Quo Holiday Collection was just released. And the table was right by the front door. Like, as soon as you walk in. Okay long story short, I got a brush set. Or two brush sets. And a mini eyeshadow palette. Oops. Double oops.

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This 10 piece brush set comes with a roll case in pink and black! Brushes are black and gold. Brushes included are Powder, Blush, Foundation, Concealer, Lip, Liner/Brow, Crease Blender, All Over Shadow, Definer Shadow and Shadow Smudger. This set was $45 CAD! These brushes were identical to the Master Brush Set ($60 CAD), but are considered “travel” because they have shorter handles. I actually prefer them over the longer ones & love that they are $15 cheaper! This set is such a score, buying these brushes individually would be substantially more $$$.

Quo stock photo:
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For $25 CAD, I also scored this matching travel brush set. I have a similar Quo set, that I have had for years (like 10+), and I LOVE the crease brush. It’s wider than the traditional Quo crease brush. Brushes included are blush, foundation and 3 double-ended eye shadow brushes. LOVE!! These brushes are true travel size, with the brushes being the smallest of the sets.

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Quo stock photo:
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That brings my total to $70 CAD. I grabbed this $5 CAD mini palette to bring my total to $75 CAD and my total points earned to 19 250! This palette is perfect for travel, my gym bag, or my purse! Definitely a steal! I love Quo eyeshadows, lots of pigment & long lasting. Think mini Naked palette!!

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Quo Holiday Collection is always an amazing deal. You can pick up 10 brushes & a case for the price of 3 or 4 regular Quo brushes. Or you could grab a cute manicure set or a sexy face palette. You just can’t beat those bonus points AND you know you can always count on Quo quality #FYB!

Ohhh, and I also got some Nyquil …