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!

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