Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Empties #3

empty beauty products

empty makeup products

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer - Ginger
I use this shade when my skin has gotten darker and it covers up scars and hyperpigmentation pretty well. This is is definitely up there in my favourite concealers, but the new Urban Decay one could be beating it out!
Repurchase: Yes

Nivea A Kiss of Milk & Honey Lip Balm
I finally finished up the last one I have of this lip balm. It's an ok pick from the drugstore, but I have a bunch of other lip balms/lip butters that I want to get through before considering buying more.
Repurchase: No, not right now

empty skincare products

Biore Nourish Moisture Lotion SPF 15
I bought this as a backup when I was in university and I graduated from university 3 years ago. The lotion in this bottle started separating and I'm pretty sure the SPF would've expired by now. I enjoyed this lotion when I was using it almost 5-6 years ago, but I've moved onto better daytime moisturisers that contain higher SPF levels.
Repurchase: No

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Make-Up Remover
This was my favourite drugstore makeup remover for a long time until I discovered something even better! This does a pretty good job at removing waterproof mascara, but you do have to hold the soaked cotton round on the lashes for a good 10 -15 seconds to work better.
Repurchase: Yes

Marcelle Gentle Make-Up Remover for Sensitive Eyes
This is the better drugstore makeup remover I just mentioned above! Seriously the best at removing waterproof makeup. You only have to hold your cotton round on the lashes for around 5 seconds and it magically removes waterproof mascara. So good! I wish the travel size was more readily available so I can bring it with me on vacations!
Repurchase: Yes

Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub
I absolutely love this scrub and I'd say it's the most consistent skincare product I've had and used since I became serious about my skincare routine. Unfortunately, this contains microbeads, so I hope Aveeno will be able to reformulate it without ruining the gentle exfoliation and cleansing properties.
Repurchase: Yes

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
I finished this cleansing balm quite a while ago, but I enjoyed it. I find it's more of an extra step in my cleansing routine since it does leave my skin feeling a bit oily. I prefer having just one cleanser that removes makeup and leaves my skin feeling clean.
Repurchase: No

cotton pad packaging

Muji Cut Cotton Pads
I'm not too picky with the cotton pads I use. I tried out the Shiseido ones and was quite disappointed with it considering how expensive they are. The Muji ones are very similar, if not the same as the Shiseido ones and at a fraction of the price (around $3-4). I liked how soft the cotton felt against my skin, but I do prefer cotton pads that have quilting since it helps to scrub off makeup. However, if there were more Muji stores in Toronto, I'd consider buying these more often since it's quite inexpensive.
Repurchase: Yes

Quo Cosmetic Pads
I've finished so many packs of these, since they're one of the cheaper options at the drugstore. It has the quilting which helps with removing makeup.
Repurchase: Yes

empty haircare products

Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist
One of the best anti-frizz leave-in conditioners I've used. This helps keep my hair smooth during the hot humid summers we get here in Toronto. I've done a more in-depth review and featured it in my summer haircare essentials.
Repurchase: Yes - already repurchased!

Tresemme Heat Tamer Spray
This is the only heat protection spray that I've ever used. It works well and smells great after applying  heat to the hair. Plus, it's readily available at the drugstore. I still have one bottle left to get through and it's going to last me quite a while since I don't typically heat style my hair.
Repurchase: Yes

Dove Oxygen Moisture Shampoo for Fine, Flat Hair
I loved the scent of this shampoo! It's a nice fresh scent and I felt like it only did an ok job at giving some life to my flat hair. It is a decent shampoo, but not the greatest at giving some volume. I would repurchase this for the scent, but not so much for the results I expected.
Repurchase: Yes

Living Proof Full Shampoo
This actually used to be my favourite frizz-free shampoo, but over time, I found it left my hair pretty limp, even though it helped with taming the frizz. I also found that this shampoo started aggravating my dandruff after using my dandruff shampoo to help control it. I still have one more bottle to finish, but after that, I'm moving on to other shampoos. Also, did the price for this go up? I remember it being around $26, but it's now $30 for a bottle. I definitely don't think it's worth the $30 price tag.
Repurchase: No

Herbal Essences Honey I'm Strong and Touchably Smooth Conditioners
These are staples in my haircare routine. Just like I've said in my other empties posts, these are cheap, smell good and get the job done. The Touchably Smooth conditioner is probably my favourite scent out of all the ones I've tried.
Repurchase: Yes

empty bath and body products

Philosophy Cinnamon Buns Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath*
This was part of a holiday set of 4 shower gels that I received from one of my previous managers. Overall, this did what it was supposed to, but the scent got old and annoying and I just couldn't stand it anymore. I'm glad this is done.
Repurchase: No

Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille Souffle Body Creme
Lovely rich, but airy body cream that smelled wonderful. I only use this at night, or else the scent is much too strong for my liking during the daytime. I prefer to use it at night so it doesn't make all my clothes smell like it and clash with my perfumes during the day.
Repurchase: Yes

nail polishes

Dior Nail Vernis in Incognito
This is a nail polish that I'm trashing. It is one of my holy grail nail polishes. The perfect nude pink shade for me. It's not too nude, but not too pink and makes your nails/hands look put together. I finished more than half of the bottle, but it eventually got quite thick and goopy that it was hard to get a thin even layer. It could be the old formula that contributed to it getting thick, but we'll see how long it takes for my new bottle in the new gel shine formula to get thick.
Repurchase: Yes - already have!

Nails Inc. 45 Second Top Coat with Kensington Caviar
Another one I'm trashing. It's almost done anyway and it got too thick and goopy as well to continue using it effectively. It would also leave a ton of bubbles after I applied it. However, when it's a fresh bottle, it's the best top coat I've used to date. It gives the nails high shine, with a really short wait time and the best part is the really thin consistency of it. This is actually the old bottle, which I purchased for $5.99 when Shoppers Drug Mart was clearing out all the old bottles.
Repurchase: Yes - already repurchased!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer Skincare and Haircare Essentials

summer skincare and haircare products essentials

This weekend is probably the hottest weekend we'll have this summer in Toronto. With temperatures hitting the low-40s with humidity, the products I'll be talking today are must-haves. If you haven't already read about my summer makeup essentials, read about them here!

Let's start off with the haircare products. There are two absolute must-haves for me during the summer months. First is the Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist. This is a leave-in conditioner that's a dry oil. Because it's a dry oil, it doesn't leave the hair feeling oily and weighed down. At the same time, this dry oil magically controls the frizz, even with the high levels of humidity we get here in Toronto.

My second haircare must-have is the Klorane Oil Absorbing Dry Shampoo. I try to wash my hair every other day or every third day and to keep my hair looking fresh, dry shampoo is the best thing to use. The Klorane dry shampoo is my favourite one to date. The powder does come out white, but it's so easy to blend in and does such a good job at absorbing the excess oil in my hair. This dry shampoo and the Alterna dry oil mist were my two biggest haircare discoveries of 2014 and it's no wonder I'm still using them! They're just that good.

Now for the skincare products. Sun protection is extremely important all-year round, but even more so during the summer. My top picks for SPF for the face are the Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF30 and the Shiseido Ultra Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 50. I use the Kiehl's moisturiser as my daily facial moisturiser. It's light weight, absorbs easily and makeup sits well on top of it. As for the Shiseido sunscreen, I use it on all other occasions where I won't be wearing makeup, especially when I'm doing things outdoors. I really like the high SPF and the fact that it doesn't break me out.

Continuing with the sunscreen, I will use pretty much any sunscreen that has a high SPF level, doesn't leave my skin feeling sticky, and isn't expensive, on my body. One of my favourites is the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen. The one pictured is SPF 45, but I've seen it go up to SPF 100. Since I started driving long distances for work, I've been religiously applying sunscreen to my arms and hands when I drive to and from the office. This one absorbs so quickly and doesn't make my skin feel sticky afterwards.

Then there are the lips. I think a lot of people so often forget to apply SPF to their lips, but they're just as important as the skin on the rest of the body. I have multiple lip products that contain SPF, but at the moment, I'm using the Jack Black Moisture Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 in Grapefruit. It's kind of like vaseline in texture, but it keeps the lips quite moisturised, while providing much needed sun protection.

What are your summer skin and hair product essentials?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer Makeup Essentials

summer makeup essentials in a box


Toronto is finally in the thick of summer. The temperatures are hitting the 30s and now I'm looking for all the ways to keep my skin protected and my makeup lasting all day. Today, I'll be featuring the makeup products that are my summer essentials and Saturday will show my summer skincare essentials.

To prep my face, I always use a primer and my primer of choice is the Benefit Porefessional. It fills in my pores, helps control the oil and makes my face a smooth canvas. For my base, I use a long-lasting, mattifying foundation. At the moment, I'm really loving the new L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte foundation. It's quite a light feeling foundation that provides medium to full coverage, while keeping the skin matte and actually lasting all day without breaking up. It's the foundation I've been reaching for the most, especially on those humid 30+ degree days.

For the complexion, I will always have Benefit Coralista on hand for the summer months. It's the blush that reminds me of the hot summer weather. The coral is just the perfect shade for glowing cheeks. Not to mention, the gold shimmer and the beautiful sheen that makes the cheeks pop. To add even more glow, I've been loving the Kevyn Aucoin Candelight highlighter on the tops of my cheekbones and the bridge of my nose. Some days, I add this in the middle of my lids to give an added shine.

To lock in all the face products I've applied, I use the Urban Decay All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray. This is the only makeup setting spray I've tried, but it works. It locks everything into place and also helps with keeping the oil under control. Whenever I use this, it extends the wear time of my makeup by at least 3-4 hours.

clarins ombre iridescent eyeshadow aquatic rose, benefit coralista, kevyn aucoin candlelight


For the eyes, I like to keep it simple. I've been slapping on the Clarins Ombre Iridescent Eyeshadow in Aquatic Rose all over my eyelids and that's it. A beautiful shimmery rose gold shade that catches the light. This stays on my lids all day with no primer and no creasing. Then, I layer on the Shu Uemura Petal Lash mascara. I normally use waterproof mascaras, but it's even more important during the hot humid months. The Shu Uemura isn't labelled as a waterproof mascara, but it might as well be! It doesn't smudge and it's one of the hardest mascaras to remove.

Last but not least, we have the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in Rose Shimmer. I like to keep the lips light and this gives a hint of colour with some hydration. I love that this isn't sticky and feels comfortable on the lips.

Now that it's finally summer, what are some of your summer makeup essentials?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Summer Blushes

blushes

blushes

We've arrived at the final part of my seasonal blush picks. It's no secret that blush is my favourite makeup item. I've written about my picks for fall, winter and spring, and you can take a look at part of my blush collection.

For the summer months, I've discovered a couple new favourites to go along with two oldies, but goodies that I always pull out during the hotter months. So, let's start off with the two staple summer blushes.

benefit coralista

Benefit Coralista: This is the summer blush for me. Once the days get longer and brighter and the weather gets hotter, I pull this out. It's everything I could ask for in a summery blush - just the right amount of shimmer and sheen, a blush and highlight in one, a beautiful coral pink shade that works on both light and tanned skin. I actually prefer it on tanned skin because it gives the cheeks such an amazing glow, without being overly shimmery. The pink in this blush also helps the blush to not lean too orange.

nars deep throat

NARS Deep Throat: This is probably one of the more shimmery blushes I own, which says a lot about my blush preferences. Summer time is really the only time I wear blushes with shimmer and I like that once Deep Throat is applied to the cheeks, the shimmer isn't too obvious. The pinky peach colour also gives a beautiful flush on tanned skin. Just like Coralista, the pink helps with balancing the colour on my medium olive skintone.

clinique cheek pop in plum pop

Clinique Cheek Pop in Plum Pop: I bet you didn't see this one coming! (I sincerely hope you heard the sarcasm while you read that.) One of the best buys of the year and possibly one of my all-time favourite blushes. It's a plummy pink with blue undertones that's different from all the peaches and corals that are favoured for the summer months. I like that this gives a fresh colour to the cheeks, while also giving a luminous glow to the cheeks. It's hard to go overboard with this blush, but it's pigmented enough that you don't need to pile on layers of it.

burberry light glow natural blush in tangerine

Burberry Light Glow Natural Blush in Tangerine: I bought this blush a few months ago, out of impulse (I couldn't help myself) and since then I haven't really used it. I've finally figured out that this gives a natural glow (as the name indicates) to the cheeks, especially on tanned skin. This is a soft browny-peach and is a very natural colour. Think of Tarte Exposed but peachy. The powder is finely milled and super silky which makes applying it a dream. I'm sure I'll end up using it throughout the year, but for now, it's perfect for the the summer.

summer blush swatches

And that's a wrap on my four-part series on my blush picks for each season! I hope you enjoyed each part of this series and maybe you found some new blushes to consider picking up. Hopefully you now understand my obsession with blush and the wonderfulness of them all.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Samples Challenge Update #5

empty skincare samples

REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial: I got this as a freebie with one of my Sephora orders and I really liked the short-term results of this quick mask. Unfortunately, it became dry and extremely crumbly and wouldn't squeeze out of the tube anymore. Such a shame to waste so much of this product, but for $58, it's quite expensive for such short-term results. I also have other masks I enjoy much more.
Purchase: No

Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser: It cleaned my face but I didn't find it did much else. I'm not exactly sure if the anti-oxidant properties had much of an effect on my skin. I don't prefer foaming cleansers, but this wasn't too stripping like other foaming cleansers. Personally, I don't mind scented products, but for some reason, it was too woodsy which caused me to get headaches. Plus this cleanser lasted for a long time and I couldn't wait to finish this off. At times, I was tempted to throw this away. 
Purchase: No

Gold Bond Moisturizing Lotion with Aloe: This was a sample that was handed out outside the subway stop of my previous workplace and I wasn't expecting much out of it. I think of itch cream when I think of Gold Bond, not moisturising hand creams. This had an interesting thick gel-like texture which absorbed very quickly. Though this was a good hand cream, I have other hand creams I prefer. 
Purchase: No

Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage: This was an eye serum that used a metal ball to apply on the eye area. The metal ball helped with cooling and de-puffing my undereye area in the mornings, but the serum didn't absorb quickly enough for my liking. It also wasn't very hydrating. 
Purchase: No

Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm with Alguronic Acid: I've used up a few Algenist samples in the past and they didn't live up to the price tag that their products have. Unfortunately, this was also one of them. I liked how lightweight it was, but it wasn't hydrating at all. The alguronic acid supposedly helps with anti-aging, but I feel like that's just science mumbo-jumbo since I didn't see any difference in my undereye area. And for something anti-aging, the lack of hydration was disappointing. For $81 for a jar of this stuff, I could buy 2-3 jars of other eye creams that actually work for me. 
Purchase: No


For the mid-year mark, I've used up 42 samples, which means I'm averaging about 7 samples per month. Hopefully I'll be able to keep this up to the end of the year! 

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