Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

christmas ornament

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! I hope you all have a safe and joyous time this season in celebrating the birth of Jesus and spending time with your families!

To celebrate the Christmas season and spend time with friends and family, I will be taking a bit of a break blogging, so there won't be any new posts until the new year.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Reds for the Holidays: Nails

nail polishes

To continue along with the theme of red for the holidays, I've chosen four of my favourite red nail polish shades to share with you today. I think all four of these shades really reflect the Christmas cheer and can suit everyone's tastes of brighter and darker shades.

The first shade is Butter London's Come To Bed Red. I tend to wear this year-round, but it is a beautiful blue-toned red that's bright and full of cheer for the holidays.

Next is Sephora by OPI in Sample Sale. Unfortunately, this line of nail polish has been discontinued and replaced by the Formula X range. I absolutely love this shade for the holidays. This shade has red shimmer in it, making your nails look like ornaments.

The Revlon Colourstay Nail Polish in Velvet Rope is a great option for those who prefer darker nails. This range of nail polishes is one of my favourites from the drugstore. This shade in particular is much like a blood red colour and would be a great base for layering some gold glitter.

Lastly, Essie Twin Sweater Set is one of my favourites. It was released as part of the Fall 2013 collection. This shade is a red creme and it definitely reminds me of snuggly red sweaters. Perfect for the winter and holiday months.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reds for the Holidays: Lips

lip products

The holidays are the best time of year to bring out all your red lip products. They're an excuse to put on a bold lip and have fun at all those holiday parties you're going to. To help in celebrating all of these festivities, I've put together four options that I've enjoyed.

First up is the Revlon Lip Butter in Wild Watermelon. It's great for those who still want a red lip, but aren't quite ready to wear such a bold shade of red. Revlon's lip butters give a wonderful sheer wash of colour on the lips. This shade in particular is a medium pinkish-red, but it does look almost orange when compared to the other red options in this post.

Next, we have the Chanel Rouge Coco Shine lipstick in Bel Ami. This may look a little scary in the tube, but it's actually a very beautiful deep red wine colour. When I wear this, I feel sophisticated. It does give your lips a I-just-drank-some-red-wine look. It's quite a hydrating formula, but because it's a sheer lipstick, you'll have to reapply often.

For those who want a much bolder option, look no further than the Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Mightiest Maraschino. It's a true bright cherry red and is one of those shades that makes your teeth look whiter.

For the final option, we have the NARS Lipstick in Petit Monstre. This was released as part of their 2010 holiday collection. I know, it's 4 years old, but it still smells the same way it did when I first bought it and it still applies very nicely. This lipstick is a very beautiful deep coppery red that has a bit of a golden sheen when applied. It's quite pigmented, but can be a little drying on the lips. I wish NARS would bring this shade back!

lip product swatches
L-R: Chanel Bel Ami, Clinique Mightiest Maraschino, Revlon Wild Watermelon, NARS Petit Monstre

Monday, December 15, 2014

Review: Caudalie Beauty Elixir

Caudalie beauty elixir

This isn't so much of a review, but more of me going on about how much I like the Caudalie Beauty Elixir. But let's get to the basics of what this product is.

Caudalie describes this as part-toner and part-serum mist which includes many essential oils and other ingredients that are good for the skin. They claim that this mist smooths the skin, tightens the pores, and provides an instant burst of radiance. You can buy this spray in a 1 ounce bottle or a 3.4 ounce bottle, but it is a little pricey. So, if you can, try to buy some of their value sets which often include this spray. That's how I first got my hands on this wonderful product.

The Beauty Elixir can be used as a toner before putting on moisturizer, either during your morning or evening skincare routine, or you can use it as a setting spray for your makeup. I prefer to use it as a toner after cleaning my face and before applying my serum and moisturizer. I like that this has a fine mist so it doesn't feel like I'm attacking my face with a spray. It also has a strong herbal scent that I find quite lovely. If you don't prefer your toners having a strong scent, this may not be the product for you.

I've used this spray for more than 3 months and I can say that it has helped my skin improve. It's helped some of the redness in my cheeks subside and I would like to think that the ingredients in the spray has helped with keeping my skin clear of new pimples popping up. As for the claims of tightening of pores, I haven't really seen a difference, but it could just be because I'm not all that worried about the size of my pores.

I do have to say that I would prefer if this didn't contain alcohol, even if Caudalie does say that it comes from plants. I like that it helps the spray dry quickly, but the alcohol can make my skin feel a little dry. But that and the high price of this product are the only "bad" things I can say about it!

I highly recommend this product, especially if you're in the market for trying out a new toner. If only the price was a little lower, then I would be buying bottles and bottles of this!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Finding the Ultimate Brow Product: Anastasia Brow Wiz - Dark Brown/Brunette

Anastasia Brow Wiz Dark Brown/Brunette

In continuing my search for finding the ultimate brow product, we have the Anastasia Brow Wiz as the next contender. This is a brow product that many people have raved about and claimed as their HG brow product, so I was excited to try this out.

So far, I've reviewed the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil which you can read here. Naturally, the Anastasia Brow Wiz would be the next product I would try out. It's similar to the Hourglass brow pencil in that it's double-ended with the pencil on one end and a spoolie on the other. Unlike the Hourglass brow pencil, this product comes in 9 different shades, so most people should be able to find a shade that's appropriate for them. I chose Dark Brown/Brunette, since Ebony seemed a little too dark for me.

In terms of using this brow pencil, I like that the pencil is really thin, so it allows for more precision when drawing in little hairs. The fine tip also makes it easier to outline certain parts of the brows. It's nice for when I have a bit more time to fill in my brows, but most days I'm too lazy to think about such precision and go back to using the Hourglass brow pencil, which is also a bit waxier in formula - great for helping set the brow hairs in place.

The spoolie for this pencil is also great. It's full and dense, which helps with blending out the pigment. Since it's a bit smaller than the spoolie on the Hourglass pencil, it gives more control when blending.

Anastasia Brow Wiz Dark Brown/Brunette swatch

anastasia brow wiz dark brown/brunette brow comparison

Now, after using the brow pencil for a month, I can say I like it, but I don't love it. I like how my brows look in pictures, but in real life, I think the shade is too light for me. So, I might have to try the shade Ebony to see if it sways my opinion of this product. The packaging is good, but I find it's too thin. I like holding something thicker, so sometimes I'm a little scared I might snap the pencil in half if I hold it too tightly. The thinness of the product is great for precision, but causes me to spend a little longer on my brows than I would like to. And lastly, the amount of product you get is so little! You get 0.085g of product, which compared to the Hourglass brow pencil (0.4g) is ridiculously little. Now I understand how others run out of this in a month or less.

I still have other products to test out, but so far, it's not my favourite.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Skincare Extras

face masks

With winter on its way and the temperatures already below 0 (celsius, not fahrenheit), I thought I would share the skincare products I use on top of my day-to-day items to keep my skin happy.

As you can see, all of the products pictured are masks of some kind. I really do like to pamper and boost my skin with masks, but let's be real, I'm sometimes too lazy to use a mask twice a week, let alone once a week. That's where the REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial comes into play. It's a yellowish-green looking gritty gel that smells kind of medicinal that works wonders in a minute. My skin is instantly softer and smoother. I really like that you only need a minute or two to use this product.

For nights where I have time to pamper my skin, I like using sheet masks. I typically get mine from The Face Shop, since they're popping up everywhere in Toronto. Seriously. So it makes it quite convenient to pop into a store and stock up on them. I let them sit on my skin for 15, sometimes 20, minutes and let the serum soak into my skin. My face feels more hydrated and plump, which is needed now that the cold is sucking it dry.

On days where my skin is feeling congested, I prefer using the Aesop Parsley Seed Masque. It's a clay mask that helps to draw out impurities and excess oil and dirt. I like that you can see the oil being drawn out. This is another mask that I leave on for 15-20 minutes and after washing it off, my skin feels clean and smooth, but not dry.

Another mask that I'm loving is the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask. Whenever there are little bumps that are appearing on my face, this is the one I go to. It's BHA-based, so it provides deeper exfoliation. It's jelly-like in texture with a sweet, floral and herbal scent to it that I really like. The best thing is that it is 100% natural. With this mask, I put on a thin layer, leave it on for 30 minutes (10-15 minutes for those who have more sensitive skin), then wash it off with warm water. It gives me the smoothest feeling skin.

These are some of my favourite masks, but I'm always on the hunt for new ones to try out. What are some of your favourite masks to use?

Monday, December 08, 2014

Purse Essentials

purse essentials

I'm always curious to see what people carry around in their purses. I'm a little nosey like that. So today, I'm sharing with you what I like to bring with me when I'm out.

I carry everything in this small gold pouch that I bought from Sephora several years ago. I don't carry much makeup with me since I'm the type of person that likes to make sure that all of my makeup has been primed and set to last the whole day. But there are some days where my face can get a bit oily. So, I like carrying around the Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens to get rid of excess oil, then re-powder with the NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder using the Too Faced Retractable Kabuki Brush. That's pretty much the extent of the makeup that I carry around.

Other essentials that I carry around are a spare pad and pantyliner because it's better to be safe than sorry! I have to have a bottle of eye drops since my eyes are sometimes fickle and get extremely red. Floss is another essential. Sometimes you just can't pick out food from your teeth with a toothpick. And lastly, to keep things moisturized, I always have a little tube of hand cream with me since my hands and skin are constantly dry. The baby vaseline helps with locking in moisture in my lips or I like to use it when my shoes are rubbing against my heels the wrong way.

I'd like to think that I'm pretty minimalistic in what I bring with me, but I could be wrong. What are some of the essentials you have to keep in your purse?

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Makeup Addict Tag

makeup products

I always enjoy reading tag posts because I feel like I know the blogger a little better afterwards. So, here are my answers for this tag. Enjoy!

1. Which product do you still keep buying more of despite having plenty in your collection?
It's a tie between two products - blush and neutral eyeshadow palettes. I have enough blush and neutral palettes to last me a lifetime or two, and even then, I'd probably still have leftover product.

2. What's the one product you can't live without?
The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer! This stuff does wonders. It covers up my dark circles, angry pimples, and all my dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Dare I say it's my HG concealer?

3. Favourite makeup brand?
NARS is probably my favourite overall brand as they have amazing offerings for many categories of makeup. Though, Revlon has a place in my heart for lip products. Some of my favourites include their lip butters and balm stains.

4. How big is your makeup collection?
If you're comparing it to the average person, it's a little excessive. If you're comparing it to some of the beauty bloggers and YouTubers out there, my collection is small and somewhat "reasonable". However, I'm trying to limit the amount of purchases I make and keep my collection from growing even more.

5. And how do you store it?
I have lip products stored in a random box that I've recycled, eyeliners in a drawer and in a reused Sephora bag, blushes and palettes stacked in a bin, and my currently used makeup in my makeup bag. I definitely need a better storage system and I can't wait until the new Muji store in Toronto opens on November 29th!

6. How many items of makeup have you got in your handbag at the moment?
I try to prime and set my makeup in the morning for it to last the day, so I don't have to bring much with me. All I bring is the powder I'm currently using, the NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, lip balm, and whatever lip product I'm wearing that day.

7. If you could raid another blogger's stash, who would it be?
I would love to explore Anna's from Vivianna Does Makeup! I think it's partly the appeal of getting to play with products exclusive to the UK and the fact that she loves neutrals as well.

8. How long does your usual makeup routine take and how many products do you use?
Unfortunately, I keep finding steps to add to my routine. I would say it takes about 10-20 minutes, depending on the extent of products I'm putting on my face. This includes concealer, powder, bronzer, blush, brow pencil, eyeshadow and eyeliner. Some days, I'll skip the eyeliner and eyeshadow, and just put on mascara.

9. Have you ever bought makeup knowing you wouldn't use it?
I've thought about buying limited edition products that have beautiful embossing or packaging just to have in my collection, but not use. Unfortunately, or I guess, fortunately, I could never make a purchase like that. So, no.

10. Tag a few other makeup addicts to do this tag!
If you're reading this, I tag you!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Christmas Beauty Wishlist

Christmas Wishlist

Christmas is less than a month away, so I've put together some of the beauty products that are currently on my wishlist.

Some of the products are new ones that were released earlier this year, while some are products that I've had on my wishlist for the past while. Also, ignore the fact that I now own the Dior Star Foundation and the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette! Let's pretend I don't own those and that I still want them! I created this wishlist before the Sephora VIB Sale came around and actually forgot about the sale when making it. Bad beauty blogger!

Dior Star Foundation: Probably the most talked about foundation this year. It's supposed to give great coverage, but still look quite natural.

Bobbi Brown Brushes: The Eye Blender brush was on my wishlist, but I got it free through my optimum points redemption haul, which you can read here. However, the Sheer Powder and Face Blender brushes are still on my wishlist. I love Bobbi Brown brushes! They're soft and well made. I want to add a few more of them to my collection.

Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen: I got into liquid eyeliners this year and I've heard great things about this double-ended liner pen. It's quite expensive for what it is, but I still want to try it!

Oribe Cote D'Azur Hair Refresher: My hair smells kind of blah on its 2nd and 3rd day. This is supposed to make your hair smell amazing!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette: Everyone has raved about these blushes and of course I just need even more blush in my makeup collection. But blush + some highlight in one product? Yes please!

Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss: I've been eyeing the shade Affriolant since seeing swatches and reading reviews about these glosses.

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide: Another foundation on my wishlist. This has also received good reviews and works well for those with combination to oily skin.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: My hair can be quite flat and slippery after I wash it. So many people have raved about this that I'm convinced I absolutely need to try this out.

NARS Algorithm Bronzing Powder Palette: It's essentially their Laguna bronzer with a mini Ita brush. I actually don't own Laguna, so this is a great way to get a little something extra with the bronzer!

NARS Yachiyo Brush: It's good for highlighting, blush or contouring! Seems like such an amazing brush and the times I've felt the brush, it's so soft.

What are some of the items on your wishlist?

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Murale Haul

beauty products

beauty products

beauty products

beauty products

During the past weekend, Murale (kind of like Shoppers Drug Mart's version of Sephora, but much better) had a bonus points redemption promotion. Probably to line up with the Black Friday promotions that were going on at the same time. I thought this would be a good opportunity to redeem some of the optimum points I've been hoarding for the past while. Side note: if Sephora had this kind of program, I would shop there all the time.

The one item I needed to get was the DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom perfume, but apparently it's been discontinued?! Do you know how sad that makes me? It's my signature scent and now I'm scouring Amazon to buy back ups!

Aside from the little set-back, I did manage to get some items that have been on my to-try list for a while now. Most of the products I picked up is from Clarins. The brand has really grown on me and I'm now a fan of their products. So, I got the Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Primer, the Beauty Flash Balm, and the Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 01 Rose Shimmer. I've only heard and read amazing things about all three of these products, so I'm very excited to try them out.

The other products I got were the Phyto Phytokeratine Repairing Serum and the Bobbi Brown eyeshadow and eye blender brushes. I haven't gotten my hair trimmed or cut for several months, so I needed something to help with my super dry ends. Hopefully this repairing serum helps! And the brushes have been something I've wanted for a long time, but I kept holding off until I had enough optimum points to redeem.

I'm quite happy with the products I've picked up and I'm already saving up my optimum points for the next redemption!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Review: Bobbi Brown Holiday 2014 Warm Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown warm eye palette

Bobbi Brown warm eye palette

Bobbi Brown warm eye palette

You're probably thinking, "Another neutral eyeshadow palette?!" after I posted about my neutral eyeshadow palette collection here. And after getting the Tom Ford Cognac Sable palette (review here), I promised to never buy another eyeshadow palette again. Well, that promise was quickly broken and I was still searching for the perfect neutral eyeshadow palette. Such is the life of a beauty blogger and all the beautiful holiday collections released every year.

Enough of the rambling and onto the focus of this post - the Bobbi Brown Warm Eye Palette. It comes with a double-ended brush and six shades:
  • Bone - a light ivory
  • Champagne Quartz - a shimmery pink champagne
  • Malted - a matte grey brown
  • Gold Sparkle - a shimmery gold
  • Sable - a matte medium brown
  • Espresso - a matte dark chocolate brown
The first four colours in the palette are not as pigmented as Sable and Espresso, whereas the latter two can be built up to be quite intense. All six colours can be used to create different looks - from more subdued looks to more intense smoky looks. I actually don't mind that the lighter colours aren't too pigmented as that'll help with blending out other colours.

Bobbi Brown warm eye palette

I like that this is a palette that you can use everyday, but also for special occasions. It's quite versatile and includes all the necessary shades to create all kinds of looks. I think I may have found the perfect neutral eyeshadow palette for me!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review: Bobbi Brown Holiday 2014 Copper Diamond Shimmer Brick

Bobbi Brown shimmer brick

Bobbi Brown shimmer brick

There are some products out there that are iconic - Chanel No. 5, Nars Orgasm blush, and of course Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks. For some reason, the Copper Diamond Shimmer Brick that has been released as part of the Bobbi Brown Holiday 2014 collection, caught my eye. I've never owned one and thought this would be a great opportunity to get one.

As with the other releases in the holiday collection, the shimmer brick is encased in a plastic tortoise shell case. It's gorgeous and I sometimes find myself just ogling at the packaging.

Bobbi Brown shimmer brick

When I first saw this online, the name "Copper Diamond" was kind of misleading. I was expecting more of a coppery shimmer, even though it's described to give a lit-from-within warm golden hue. In the pan, it does look like it would be more coppery than gold. However, when swatched, it truly is a warm golden shimmer on the skin.

On the cheeks, it's quite a subtle golden shimmer that's absolutely perfect for the holidays. Just for fun, I wanted to see what this would look like if I used a heavy hand and piled it on. To my surprise, it looked more natural than I thought it would. My cheeks were a lot more highlighted than if I just used one swipe on each cheek, but it still gave my cheeks a beautiful glow without looking too over the top. This would also look great on the eyes as an inner corner highlight, or in the middle of the lid to give a pop to the eyes.

This shimmer brick is a great way to add some festive shimmer for the holidays, but still give a beautiful highlight on the cheeks. I'm glad I got a hold of this and can now see why the Bobbi Brown shimmer bricks are so popular. If you're looking for a little something special for the holidays, this would be a great item to add to your wishlist.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bobbi Brown Holiday 2014 Releases

Bobbi Brown warm eyeshadow palette, shimmer brick

Bobbi Brown warm eyeshadow palette, shimmer brick

Bobbi Brown warm eyeshadow palette, shimmer brick

Bobbi Brown warm eyeshadow palette, shimmer brick
This year, I started becoming more interested in Bobbi Brown products. I always liked the limited edition palettes that were released, but never bought one. I adore their brushes and like the values the brand promotes. So, it wouldn't be long before I would actually get my hands on one of their eyeshadow palettes and one of their famous shimmer bricks.

When pictures of this year's holiday releases started surfacing, I knew I had to have at least one of the products. With the tortoise shell packaging combined with what seemed like the perfect mix of warm eyeshadows in the Warm Eye Palette, I had to have it! And why not pick up the shimmer brick included in this collection as well?

I actually bought these two products before the Sephora VIB sale came around, but I knew I had to get them quickly before either one sold out. When I got my hands on the palette and shimmer brick, even the boxes they came in were extremely nice and fitting for the holidays. The few days after ordering and receiving my package, the shimmer brick had sold out on the Sephora site. But, I'm pretty sure you can still find it at other retailers and on the Bobbi Brown site.

Reviews on each of these products will be up on the blog within the next few days!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Current Lip Balm Picks

lip balms

I use lip balms all year-round and it's something I can't live without. They help keep my lips soft and hydrated, but also keep them protected from the elements of the environment. My current picks at the moment are the Christian Dior Creme de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm, Nivea Kiss of Milk & Honey Soothing Lip Care, Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment, and Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm.

Christian Dior Creme de Rose: A rose-scented lip balm that does truly smooth and plump the lips. It's appropriate to use when you're out and about during the day, since it has an SPF of 10. However, I prefer to use it at home and right before I sleep because you have to use your fingers to apply it. In the morning, my lips are smooth and hydrated.

Nivea Milk & Honey Soothing Lip Care: This is a good basic drugstore lip balm. Even though it doesn't keep my lip moisturized as long as my other picks, it does get the job done. It's cheap and widely available.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment: This lip balm has cult status and I can understand why. It's hydrating, smells great, and good to use during the day, as this has an SPF of 15. I have samples of the Sugar Berry and Rose shades, which give a wonderful sheer colour on the lips.

Jack Black Intense Therapy: I have this in the grapefruit scent and it smells amazing, but unfortunately, it doesn't taste very good. This lip balm has the highest SPF out of all four - an SPF of 25, which is especially great in the summer time. I like that you have to squeeze out the balm to use, which makes it quite hygienic. This also has a great amount of slip and keeps my lips hydrated.

I love trying out different lip balms and have found ones that I love, and ones that I haven't enjoyed. At the moment, there are two that I especially want to try - Nuxe Reve de Miel and By Terry Baume de Rose.

What are some of your favourite lip balms?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sephora VIB Sale Haul 2014

beauty products

beauty products

beauty products

beauty products

I'm a little late to the party in posting all the goodies I bought during the VIB sale. I got a few things in store, but a majority of the items were purchased online on the 5th and didn't arrive until 2 days ago. Some items are re-purchases, while most are new products I've been wanting to try out for a while now.

I might've gone just a little crazy in the amount of stuff I got, but I promise you I try to do most of my beauty shopping when the VIB sales happen so my wallet hurts a little less. So, let's get onto what I got!

Bumble and bumble Non-Stop Softness Set
This set includes the travel-sized Hairdresser's Invisible Oil, Shampoo and Conditioner. I've been hearing great things about all three of these products and thought it would be a good time to snag this set. This specific set isn't available anymore, but you can check out this similar set.

Caudalie Instant Radiance Set
This year was the year I started trying out Caudalie products and have fallen in love with them, especially the Beauty Elixir. Since I always want to try out new serums, I got this set. It includes a travel size Beauty Elixir and a 30mL bottle of the Vinoperfect Serum. The serum's been on my to-try list for a while, so this was a great deal. Unfortunately, this set also isn't available anymore on the Sephora site.

Beauty Blender + Solid Cleanser
Another great deal that was available during the sale, but is also sold out on the Sephora site. I've wanted to find out what the hype was about surrounding the Beauty Blender, so I immediately put this in my online cart when the sale started before it sold out.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light
When this first came out, I didn't want to fall into the hype of it. I've been absolutely loving the Nars Translucent powder, so I didn't think I would ever need this. Now that the hype around this product has died down a little, I decided it was time to try it out. I got Diffused Light, which is described as a soft, warm, pale yellow that reduces redness, eliminates shine, and gives skin clarity. I haven't used it yet, but I look forward to trying this out.

Nars All Day Luminous Powder Foundation in Stromboli 
Because I love Nars, I wanted to give this a try. A few years ago, I tried out their powder foundation (which I can't find on Sephora's site) and wasn't too happy with the results. Since then, I've grown to love the translucent powder. Nars's new offering has gotten great reviews and I'm hoping it'll have better results than the previous powder I tried.

Dior Star Fluid Foundation in 031 Sand
Another product that a lot of people have been raving about. I tend to go for more mattifying foundations, so I wanted to try a foundation that has a different finish. I've liked the formula and feel of it from what I've tried in stores.

One of my favourite concealers. This is a re-purchase. Nothing else to say. It's amazing.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette
How could I walk away from this sale without purchasing a blush? Everyone's raved about this blush palette and I wanted to get my hands on it. Did I need another blush, much less 3 additional blushes? Definitely not, but it was on sale and I couldn't say no.

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
This has also been on my to-try list for a while. I've heard that it's great at taking off makeup and it's probably one of the more affordable cleansing balms on the market.

Nars Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte
Brigitte is described as a nude rose but most people have said it's more of a coral pinky shade. I'm excited to try this out! I have my eyes on Anita and Anna for future purchases.

Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipstick in Fawn
I also wanted to try this lipstick out after reading Liz's review. I chose Fawn, which is described as a rose coral. I'm hoping this will look good on my pigmented lips.

Dior Nail Polish in 494 Junon
Junon was the colour I was most interested in when the new gel shine formula was released. I didn't get it until now because I didn't think the colour would look good on me. But I feel that it's neutral enough that it'll work with my skin tone and colour.

I've never owned a glass nail file and for most of my life, I've been using the dinky little one that's attached to my nail clipper. I finally convinced myself to get a glass file so I'll stop damaging my nails further.

Glamglow Powdermud Dualcleanse Treatment Sample
This was the only sample I chose to include in my order. I like trying out masks, so I hope this one wows me since so many people like the Glamglow masks.

And lastly, during this sale, I renewed my VIB Rouge status. Because of this, I received a bottle of the Formula X nail polish in a red shade that's exclusive to those who renew their VIB Rouge status.

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Neutral Eyeshadow Palette Collection

neutral eye shadow palettes
neutral eyeshadow palettes
Clockwise from left: Urban Decay Naked Palette, NARS And God Created the Woman, Lise Watier Eyeshadow Quartet in Les Cognacs, Covergirl Eye Enhancer Palette in Shimmery Sands, Revlon Colourstay Palette in 01 Copper Spice, Tom Ford Quad in Cognac Sable, Too Faced Eye Love Sample Palette, Laura Mercier 3 Pan Palette with Sandstone, Cafe Au Lait and Spiced Cider (blush)

I think it's safe to say that I have a bit of a problem when it comes to neutral eyeshadow palettes. Over the past few years, I have accumulated several palettes, a few which I don't even really use today! For some reason, I'm always trying to find the perfect neutral palette that has a balance of matte and shimmery shadows, and the right balance of highlighting, all-over lid and crease shades. For some, this sounds like an easy palette to find, but I've yet to find it!

The first ever neutral palette I bought was a Maybelline quad (might've been called Chai Latte) which had the perfect taupe shade, but then a depotting session went wrong and it was ruined. I also didn't care much for the lack of pigmentation for the rest of the shades. So, I tried out a few other palettes from the drugstore - Revlon, Covergirl and Lise Watier. I quite enjoy the Revlon quad, but the two lightest shades are too yellow for my liking. The Covergirl trio is too sparkly and not pigmented enough and same with the Lise Watier quad.

My foray into higher-end palettes started with the Too Faced sampler palette that I got as one of the point perks at Sephora. I wasn't too satisfied with the shades in the palette. Then, Urban Decay announced the release of the first Naked palette. I fell absolutely in love with this palette. It's warm-toned and has a variety of gorgeous neutral shades both light and dark. BUT! It was still missing the option of a few matte shades.

I wanted to try my hand at customizing my own palette, so I bought Sandstone and Cafe Au Lait. I do really like both shades, but it still felt like something was missing. When NARS came out with their And God Created the Woman palette, I have to say I mostly bought it because I love NARS, I wanted to try out their eye shadows and it seemed like a great value - 6 shadows, a brush and a mini eye primer. Unfortunately, I think the quality seems sub-par compared to their regular sized shadows.

And finally, my most recent acquisition, the Tom Ford quad in Cognac Sable (reviewed here). It's a gorgeous, extremely pigmented palette that's perfect for everyday use and for those special occasions. Though it does lack transition colours and could be too shimmery for my liking depending on the mood I'm in.

While all of these palettes have a place in my collection, I do still want a palette that can do everything I'm looking for. Maybe once I do, I'll stop buying and hoarding all these eyeshadows I will never finish!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Evening Skincare Routine

skincare products

Every night, I look forward to taking off my makeup and doing my skincare routine. There's something so relaxing and calming about taking everything off and nourishing my skin. Even though it seems like I use an excess amount of products on my face, each product has its purpose.

skin cleansers

When I get home, I like using the Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Make-up Remover to take off everything on my eyes and use whatever is left on the cotton pad to take off everything else on my face. This is my favourite eye makeup remover as it's able to take off everything, including extremely waterproof mascara. I then use another cotton pad with Bioderma Sensibio Micellaire water to ensure I've gotten off all the makeup on my face. Afterwards, I cleanse my face with the Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub. The exfoliating beads are very small and gentle, but still make my skin so smooth. 

skincare products

Treating my skin and layering on each product is my favourite part of the routine. I spray on the Caudalie Beauty Elixir as my toner. This has helped in reducing the redness in my skin and the amount of pimples I've gotten. If I do have any pimples that I need to treat, I use the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo. This contains salicylic acid and works amazingly on my pimples. Then, I use the La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Serum on scars and dark spots to help in fading them. Currently, my serum of choice is the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster. It's light, smells citrus-y, and helps with brightening my skin. Then, I apply the Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation moisturizer, which also helps with brightening the skin, and fading scars and hyperpigmentation. And lastly, I apply the Clarins Eye Contour Balm around my eye area. This eye cream is extremely light, but I'll probably have to switch to a thicker cream when winter comes. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Morning Skincare Routine

skincare products

My morning skincare routine is pretty simple and doesn't change much, unlike my evening routine. I've found that my skin doesn't like to be cleansed too much, so all the cleansing I do in the morning is splashing my face with water, then toning with the Aveeno Positively Radiant Toner. The toner helps to balance my skin without stripping it of the natural oils.

After "cleansing", I apply the Caudalie Pulpe Vitaminee Eye and Lip Cream (in the small tub) to my eye area (I can't find this on Sephora's site anymore, so I'm assuming they don't sell it anymore). If I know I'll be home for the day, I will use the Caudalie Moisturizing Sorbet, otherwise, I'll use the Murad Essential-C Day Moisturiser. The Caudalie moisturizer is lightweight, absorbs quickly and does not leave my skin feeling greasy. As for the Murad moisturizer, it has a strong citrus scent, but it does subside. I like that it has an SPF of 30 but doesn't feel like I'm wearing sunscreen.

I'm not too picky with the products I use for the daytime, as long as it protects my skin from the sun and does not make it oily.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Finding the Ultimate Brow Product: Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil - Dark Brunette

hourglass arch brow sculpting pencil dark brunette

When I started dabbling in makeup, I mostly ignored my eyebrows, except for tweezing and trimming them. Even amidst all these blog posts and YouTube videos saying that eyebrows frame the face and that they are important in everyone's daily makeup routine, I ignored it. But! I have finally seen the light. Now I'm on the search for the ultimate brow product.

I have to mention that I'm not going to try any brow powders or pomades - anything that requires the use of a brush to use the product. I want an all-in-one product. 

First up in this search is the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil. My brow hairs are black, but to match the dark brown colour of my hair, I bought the shade Dark Brunette. The colour isn't too warm, but cool enough to match both the colour of my hair and the brow hairs. You can see the colour of this shade in the swatch below. 

hourglass arch brow sculpting pencil dark brunette swatch

Both the formula and shape of the pencil are what I'm really enjoying with this pencil. The wedge-like shape of the pencil is quite handy for lazy people like me. I can use the wideness (but it's really not that wide!) of the pencil to shade in the sparser areas of my brows, but still use the edges of the pencil to create the fine lines that I need. 

hourglass arch brow sculpting pencil dark brunette

As for the formula, it has a waxy texture that helps to keep the hairs in place, while depositing the pigments. Because the pencil is a little on the harder side, it's easier to control where exactly the colour is going. I find that the formula and hardness of the pencil helps to control the amount of pigment being placed on the brows, so it's difficult to go overboard when applying. But if I do happen to find that I've been too heavy-handed, the spoolie is excellent in blending everything out.


You can see in the before and after pictures that the sparser areas have been filled in and overall, it looks more defined. I try to avoid applying too much product in the front of the brows to prevent my brows from looking too heavy. You can also see that the shade looks pretty natural and seems like a good match for me. 

I'm enjoying this product so far, but I'll have to test out other products before I decide on the brow product for me. 

Monday, November 03, 2014

Current Makeup Rotation: November 2014

makeup bag

Every month, I like to go through my makeup bag to see what products I want to switch in and out. I'm a creature of habit, so I usually stick to using the same products when it comes to my staple items. This includes my eyeliner, setting powder, and concealers.

makeup products

makeup products

I like to use Benefit's The Porefessional to prime my face before using all my concealers. I apply Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind to my dark circles to help brighten them. Then, I place some of the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard on top of the first concealer. I also use the shade Ginger to conceal dark spots, hyperpigmentation and redness around the face. If I have any pesky pimples that are healing or need extra coverage, I use the NARS Concealer in Ginger. Then I'll set everything with the NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder.

After the base is set, I'll use the Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Natural to contour the face. My blush colours of choice right now are NARS Sin and Laura Mercier Spiced Cider.

This month, I'm trying to give some love to the eyeshadows in my customised Laura Mercier palette. I'll sweep Sandstone all over the lids, then place Cafe Au Lait in the crease. I line my eyes with the Kat Von D Ink Liner, curl my lashes with the Shu Uemura Lash Curler, apply the Shu Uemura Petal Lash Mascara, then line my lower lash line with either Urban Decay Whiskey or Gosh Velvet Touch Eyeliner in Funky Violet - whichever I grab first.

I'm still testing out eyebrow products, but I've been using the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Dark Brunette. I've been really enjoying this product, but will have to test out other products first to see if it's the one brow product for me.

What are some of the products in your current rotation?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Perfect Grey Polish

dior palais royal

When the fall season came upon us, I wanted to paint my nails with a grey colour, but then I realized I didn't have one! So, I set out to find the perfect shade of grey for my nails. I didn't want a shade that was too light or too dark, but also looked good with my yellow-olive skintone. I was trying to figure out what brand to buy from for this perfect grey shade, then I thought, why not look at what Dior offers, since Dior makes my favourite formula, brush and packaging.

I quickly went onto the Sephora site to look at what grey shades Dior has. Palais Royal seemed to be the one I liked the most, but I was a little disappointed at the somewhat brown undertone that it had in the picture. I ordered it anyway hoping that it wasn't as brown as I was thinking it would be.

Once the nail polish arrived, I was relieved and happy to see that it truly was a grey shade that fit what I was looking for. I tried it right away and this polish has the wonderful formula, and wide and rounded brush that I love.

As I was photographing this nail polish for this post, I found that it did look different in various lights. Depending on the lighting, it'll look like a true grey, or a light purple-y grey, or a grey with some light brown undertones. I managed to get pictures of the grey and light purple-y grey looks, but couldn't seem to capture the light brown undertone with the lighting in the room I was taking pictures in.

dior palais royal swatch

dior palais royal swatch

I absolutely love this nail polish! It'll be a shade I'll be wearing straight through fall and winter. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: Tom Ford Quad in Cognac Sable

tom ford cognac sable

How do I put into words how gorgeous and luxurious this palette or any Tom Ford products are? From the velvet pouch to the sleek and smooth feel of the palette to the magnetic closure, I've spent a long time deciding on which quad to get. I eventually decided on Cognac Sable, but with enough hemming and hawing to my boyfriend (now fiance!), he surprised me with this palette as my early birthday present back in June. And, I also said I wouldn't buy another eyeshadow palette again (who knows if that's a promise I'll be keeping...).

tom ford cognac sable

This palette includes a slightly glittery vanilla shade, a shimmery medium warm brown, a shimmery sable colour and a copper pressed glitter shade. The shimmery shades have amazing pigmentation and are buttery smooth. You don't need to use a primer for these! As for the pressed glitter shade, I prefer to use this over some kind of base so it has something to adhere to. I like using my fingers to apply this. The best part about these shadows? There's absolutely no fall out.

tom ford cognac sable swatch

At first, I was so happy to have this in my hands, but then I had some difficulty trying to figure out how to use all four shades. Since getting this palette, I've figured out the following ways to use it:
  1. Sweep the vanilla shade all over the lid on those lazy days
  2. Sweep the vanilla shade all over the lid, with the medium brown shade in the crease
  3. The vanilla shade all over the lid, with the sable colour concentrated in the outer-v
  4. The vanilla shade all over the lid, medium brown shade in the crease and the sable colour in the outer-v
  5. Again, vanilla shade all over the lid, the medium brown shade in the crease, the sable colour in the outer-v, and the copper glitter patted on the middle of the lid 
Now that it's fall, my preferred look is #3, or #1 when I'm lazy or am pressed for time. As I continue playing around with this palette, I'm slowly falling in love with all the colours.

You can find this at Holt Renfrew in Toronto, however, my boyfriend (now fiance) bought this at Saks Fifth Avenue while we were in New York.

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