Saturday, August 29, 2015

Samples Challenge Update #7

Guess what? This is my 100th post! Can you believe I'm into the triple digits now? I didn't have a specific post planned for my 100th post, so it's business as usual in today's post. Since it's the end of the month, it's time for another sample challenge update.

This month, I was concentrating on finishing off a lot of full-sized products that were close to being done. So, I didn't use up too many samples.

empty used up beauty and skincare samples

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes: This is one of those random samples that companies send to households to try out. I've used these before and have repurchased them multiple times. I like how effective they are without leaving the skin feeling stripped. These facial wipes are one of my favourites!
Purchase: Yes

Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Toner: I got two uses out of this little sample, but two uses really isn't enough to see any difference in my skin. This toner is a brown colour which kind of threw me off. I like using clear toners so I can see what leftover dirt is being wiped off my face, but it's just a preference. This toner is alcohol-free, so my skin didn't feel stripped after using it and it did feel soothed, as it claims to do.
Purchase: No, because the smallest bottle is $30. Too expensive for me!

L'Occitane Amande Milk Concentrate: This was a nicely scented light lotion. It didn't feel heavy and it sank into my skin pretty quickly. It's a great lotion to use during the hotter months if you don't want to use something too thick and heavy. Unfortunately, L'Occitane products do tend to be on the more expensive side.
Purchase: No

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Cream: I already really like the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream, so I figured I would like this too. It's a nice cream that can double as a primer. When I first used it, I wondered why my skin felt so smooth. This is due to the high amount of dimethicone (I think it's second on the ingredient list!). If your skin is sensitive to this ingredient, I would suggest you avoid this, but I have no problems with it.
Purchase: Yes

Lancome Genefique Yeux: One of Lancome's cult skincare products, I was excited to try this out. First off, my sample didn't come with much product - maybe about half the bottle was full. But it's a sample, so I'm not too fussed about it. I like the metal applicator which helped with massaging the undereye area, while helping with de-puffing. The thing is, because it is a little on the thicker side of a serum, I would apply it then leave it to sink in a little before massaging the rest into the skin. My undereye area did feel hydrated and less puffy, but I didn't see too much of a difference.
Purchase: No

We're now up to 58 samples! I'd like to think I'm doing pretty well in getting through my collection of samples. I hope you're also having success in getting through some of your samples!

Thursday, August 27, 2015


This post contains PR samples

THEFACESHOP sheet masks

I was recently sent three sheet masks from THEFACESHOP to try out. Now, I'm already familiar with the brand and have tried a couple of their other sheet masks in the past. But, the ones I was sent were all new to me.

I love that the THEFACESHOP is popping up in many locations which makes Asian skincare more accessible to the Western market. I remember when Pacific Mall and T&T grocery stores were the best places to find sheet masks, but now you can get a whole range of them at THEFACESHOP in many of the bigger malls.

Of the many sheet masks that THEFACESHOP offers, I was sent the Real Nature Face Mask Honey, Real Nature Face Mask Mung Bean, and Hydro Gel Mask Sheet Vita B.

Real Nature Face Mask Honey* ($2):
This mask claims to leave the skin moisturised and radiant after being used and letting the serum soak in. Due to the honey extract, with its nourishing properties, it's supposed to reveal younger looking, invigorated skin.

Verdict: I really liked this mask! My skin felt so smooth, plump and soothed after using it. It did look a bit more radiant the next day, moreso than just using the products in my daily skincare routine. Like the other sheet masks that I've tried from THEFACESHOP, this one came soaked in serum. I like to squeeze out a little bit of the excess serum before putting it on my face. I find it makes it easier to stay on my face and for my skin to be able to absorb the serum without having excess sitting on top of the skin.

Real Nature Face Mask Mung Bean* ($2):
Another one of THEFACESHOP's fabric sheet masks, this one contains essence of ground mung bean to eliminate impurities that clog pores, while also smoothing the skin and leaving it clear and radiant.

Verdict: This felt nice on the skin and was a good way of injecting some moisture into the skin, but I don't think it helped with clearing out my pores. I prefer to use a clay mask when my pores are feeling clogged, or even a pore strip. Whether this mask purified my skin or not, I'm not entirely sure. My skin did look a bit clearer and scars were tiny bit lighter, but that could've easily been the combination of scar fading and lightening products I use. Just like the honey face mask and the other sheet masks I've tried, I had to squeeze out a little of the excess serum or else it would drip down my neck and everywhere.

Hydro Gel Mask Sheet Vita B* ($3):
Part of the Hydro Gel Mask range, this mask contains starfruit extract and vitamin B derivatives to nourish and soothe the skin. The skin is supposed to look luminous and feel silky soft after being used. 

Verdict: This post came in two halves, with each half protected in a plastic covering. Unlike the above two masks, this mask is more of a gel/soft plastic mask, rather than fabric. I found it was hard to line up the halves, with the top half being too big for me (or my forehead's just tiny) and the bottom half too small (couldn't wrap around my jawline). After using the mask, it left a sticky residue on my face, but my skin did feel and look plumper. Again, it's probably because of the added moisture from the serum and having the mask on my face for about 15-20 minutes. Otherwise, I didn't see much of a difference.

All in all, I really do enjoy using THEFACESHOP's sheet masks and think the prices for them are pretty good. If you want extra moisture and hydration in your skin, you can't go wrong with any of their masks. Personally, I would stick to the fabric sheet masks mostly because they're cheaper and I feel like they work better than the hydro gel range of masks.

Disclosure: The products included in this post were sent to me for consideration. I am not affiliated with the company and am not being paid for this post. Opinions expressed are based on my own personal experiences with the products. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: Chanel Fall 2015 Entrelacs Palette

Chanel Fall 2015 Entrelacs Palette

Fall is my favourite season out of the four, but I'm not all that ready to let go of summer yet. That is, until I saw how gorgeous the palette Chanel released for this fall season is! I've always wanted to own a Chanel palette, but didn't see one where I love all of the shades. The Entrelacs palette is very much me in a palette (if that's even a thing).

The Entrelacs palette includes a combination of matte and satin neutral eyeshadows that are embossed with the design that inspired the double-C Chanel logo. It's so beautiful that I don't want to use the eyeshadows just to keep the embossing intact. 

There have been so many neutral brown eyeshadow palettes that have been released, but this is the first palette that I've seen where I truly know what to do with each shade. The palette contains a good range of light to dark shades, so it's easy to create both day and night looks. The shadows are soft and buttery and blend out easily. Some of the shades do have very subtle micro-shimmers to give a pearly finish.

Chanel Fall 2015 Entrelacs Palette closeup

The palette features 5 neutral shades that have been thoughtfully put together:
-Light shimmery white gold, perfect for the inner corner highlight and on the browbone 
-Light medium brown with warm undertones and matte finish, best for the crease and as a base shade
-Medium-dark brown with warm undertones and subtle golden shimmer, can be used as an all-over shade or to add depth to the outer-v
-Dark taupe brown with cool undertones, sparse gold shimmer and satin-to-matte finish, best for the outer corner 
-Light shimmery golden peach with a sheer finish, great for patting over the other shades as a finishing touch

Chanel Fall 2015 Entrelacs Palette swatches

These shadows aren't the most pigmented ones out there and I don't think that was the intention. They give more of a subtle look, but they are buildable to a certain extent. 

The Entrelacs palette is an extremely beautiful palette that will work for anyone. It's definitely not a must-have if you already own some brown neutral palettes, but for the collector and those obsessed with makeup, you need this!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hauling For The Points

sephora makeup product haul

sephora makeup product haul

I have to admit, I got sucked into the whole 2x/3x/4x the points event that Sephora held in order to get one of their epic rewards. Unfortunately, I didn't get one of them, but I did end up hauling a few goodies!

too faced baby love blush, becca shimmering skin perfector opal, hourglass ambient lighting powder dim light

I ended up getting quite a few face products. I got the new Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation. I've never tried the old formula, but I'm super excited to use this and test it out! Then, I got a trio of products for the finishing touches for the complexion. I heard such great things about the Too Faced Love Flush blush in Baby Love from Sandra, that I had to get it and try it out for myself. The second of the three, is the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal. After using Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight for the past few months, I wanted to try a highlighter that's more glowy and apparent on the skin. Candlight is beautiful, but is quite subtle on my skin. And the third is a product I'm giving a second try. I talked about the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light in my Return to Sender #1 post, but I loved the finish on my skin enough that I'm willing to give it second chance. The best thing is it comes in a mini version now!

bumble and bumble surf infusion spray, make up for ever ultra hd foundation

And the odd bits - Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion Spray and a couple of the new Laura Mercier Lip Parfaits. I've wanted to try out the Surf Infusion Spray for a while now. My hair is pin straight which can get quite boring day in and day out. Hopefully it'll give some character to my hair!

For the new Lip Parfaits, I got Cinnful and Pink Grapefruit. I'm sure you all know by now I like lip formulas that are hydrating and moisturising that can be applied as a sheer wash of colour or by its full-on pigment. These seem to fulfil both of those criteria, so I'm excited to try these out!

Did you end up getting anything during the Sephora multiple points event?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Preparing For A Wedding - Part 1

makeup products and cinema secrets makeup brush cleanser

In less than a month, my maid of honour will be getting married and I have the honour to do her bridesmaids' makeup (myself included). I'm no makeup artist, but I think I've learned enough over the years and hoarded enough makeup to be able to do this. I'm extremely excited for this opportunity, which also means an excuse to buy new makeup to play with!

Between the three of us bridesmaids, two have dry skin. Since I have products that's mostly suited to normal to combination skin, I've had to get some skincare products suited to dry skin. I bought the Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentrate and the Make Up Forever Hydrating Primer. The Embryolisse lotion is supposed to help restore balance to the skin and nourish areas of dryness, while the hydrating primer will give some additional moisture in the skin so it doesn't suck up the base products I'll be applying. 

makeup products and cinema secrets makeup brush cleanser

Then there's the YSL Touche Eclat. I have to admit this was a splurge item that I've wanted to try for a long time. It's a good thing the three of us are pretty similar in skintone and colour that I can use it on all three of us! This will be a great way to conceal and brighten the face. 

For the tools, I needed to get a bottle of brush cleanser. Despite owning many brushes, it'll be useful to have a brush cleanser to spot clean eye brushes. After reading numerous reviews of the Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleanser, I figured this would be the best one to get. And since I won't be using too much of it, I got a smaller bottle.

These are just a few items that I've bought to prepare for the wedding (and my own upcoming wedding in May!). Over the next few weeks, I'll be gathering even more items and hopefully you'll get some insight into what's needed to do wedding makeup for the non-makeup artist.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

New Look!

picture of old blush and simplicity layout

It's been a long time coming. If you haven't already noticed, my blog has gotten a refresh and I'm loving it so much. It makes me so happy to have a layout that looks exactly how I want it to look. I really wanted a simple and clean look that's easy on the eyes. And I hope you all feel the same way!

The previous layout was really blah and it looked like a whole bunch of things slapped together and it never looked cohesive, as you can see above. Because I didn't really like how my blog looked, I always felt like I forced myself to blog on something that didn't really reflect my tastes and style. Now that my blog actually looks nice (to me at least), I feel encouraged to keep creating and writing.

I hope you all like this new look as much as I do!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Review: Beauty Origin Lab

This post contains PR samples

Beauty Origin Lab products

I'm not the pickiest person about using organic and natural ingredients in my skincare routine, but I do recognize that using products that have organic and natural ingredients can have great benefits. I don't actively seek out such products, but when they do contain more natural ingredients, it makes me feel better about the things I put on my face and body. 

Recently, Beauty Origin Lab reached out to me to try some of their products. They are a Canadian company that's based in Toronto (support local companies!) that produces a range of handcrafted skincare products using organic and natural ingredients.

Beauty Origin Lab products

Beauty Origin Lab detoxifying mask, pumice exfoliant, lavender body butter

I was kindly sent the Detoxifying French Green Clay Mask, Face Exfoliant with Extra Fine Pumice, Lavender Body Butter, and two lip balms. 

I was quite excited to try out the Detoxifying French Green Clay Mask* ($23). I already use and love the Aesop Parsley but it's quite expensive. The French Green Clay mask is a great alternative and works exactly like the Aesop mask. Apply it to clean skin, wait for it to dry, and watch the clay suck out the excess oils and impurities in the skin. After rinsing off the mask, my skin felt quite smooth and clean. Because this is in a jar and quite loose, it's hard to take out with your fingers. I used a spare flat foundation brush to apply which helped with getting around the eyes and in crevices on the face. 

Next is the Face Exfoliant with Extra Fine Pumice* ($19). I've never used an exfoliant containing pumice, but I was quite intrigued. The first thing I noticed was it smelled quite peppery, but nothing that bothered me. I expected this to be extremely rough on the skin, but because it's extra fine pumice, I find it's gentle enough on the face, but still abrasive enough to use on the body, if you choose to do so. You just have to be careful with gently rubbing the exfoliant on the face so you aren't too rough on the skin. My skin on my face and body were so smooth after using this!

I have never tried a body butter that's 100% natural, so I was quite interested in the Lavender Body Butter* ($24). First off, I love the scent of this body butter - it's a light lemony lavender scent and I do find it's quite calming. Because this contains mostly oils (coconut, olive, mango, jojoba, almond and lavender) and shea butter, it actually feels like you're spreading soft butter on your skin. It's quite oily feeling on the skin and can take a while for it to fully absorb into the skin. I'd suggest using this at night and leaving it to soak into the skin overnight. I do find it's quite moisturising. 

And lastly, the lip balms* ($4.50). I was sent the Cherry and Coffee flavours (scents?) and both of them contain oils to keep the lips moisturised. I find they last for about 2 hours before I need to reapply. As for the scents, they smell so good that it makes me want to lick my lips! I expected them to have that fake artificial scent, but they're quite close to what the actual food/drink smell like.

Beauty Origin Lab product swatches
L-R: Face Exfoliant with Extra Fine Pumice, Detoxifying French Green Clay Mask, Lavender Body Butter

I'm really glad that I got the opportunity to try out some of the products Beauty Origin Lab offers. I feel good about using them on my skin since they contain natural and organic ingredients. Their full range of products can be found and ordered online if you're interested in reasonably priced organic and natural skincare products that are made locally in Toronto. 

Disclosure: The products included in this post were sent to me for consideration. I am not affiliated with the company and am not being paid for this post. Opinions expressed are based on my own personal experiences with the products. 

Friday, August 07, 2015

Scents for Summer

bottles of perfume

If you know me in real life, you'll know that I always have some kind of perfume or scent on me. It all goes back to this one specific incident that happened when I was a teen, but that's not something I'll get into right now.

I wear perfume all year round in hopes of always smelling nice. I tend to wear scents that are appropriate regardless of the time of year, but there are specific ones that I'll only bring out during the warmer summer months.

I personally like light fresh, floral and slightly fruity scents. My holy grail perfume is DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom, which unfortunately, is discontinued. It's fresh, floral and fruity all in one. It contains notes of rose, jasmine petals, and grapefruit, and I appreciate that all elements are nicely balanced. This is the one scent that I use year-round and could never tire of.

Another wonderfully fresh scent is Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia. I find that even though it's quite fresh, it's a little heavy on me. If I spray on a little too much, it can give me a headache, but I can't give this scent up! This perfume contains jasmine, peony, lemon, mint, brown sugar, pink pepper, cedarwood and labdanum.

The next two scents are my most recent additions. I have a mini rollerball of Elizabeth and James Nirvana White and I became obsessed with it the first time I used it. This scent has notes of peony, muguet and tender musk. Much like Nirvana White, the newest addition to my perfume collection also has notes of peony. Stella Eau de Toilette actually smells quite similar to Nirvana White from the bottle, but on the skin, it has a little more depth and the masculine undertone is more revealed.

What are your favourite summer scents?

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Current Makeup Rotation: August 2015

makeup products

This month's makeup routine contains a mish-mash of old and new items. I'm sure you're already quite sick of me talking about certain items, so I won't ramble too long about them.

To prep the skin, I'll be using the Benefit Porefessional, one of my favourite primers. It smooths the skin to allow base products to apply better. Because it's been quite hot lately, I'm sticking to minimal makeup - Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer for the dark circles and Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer for any redness, blemishes and scars. To set everything, I've started using the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder and oh my goodness, this stuff is good! It's possibly one of the best setting powders I've used lately. Everything just stays in place with very minimal creasing by the end of the day. I also find this helps brighten the undereye area a little.

For the eyes, I'm keeping it simple, once again. A sweeping of Burberry Pale Barley all over the lids and a couple of layers of Shu Uemura Petal Lash (review). Even though this mascara isn't marketed as a waterproof mascara, it stays on the lashes for so long, with no smudging, but it is pretty hard to remove at the end of the day.

Last month, I found a combination that I'm still currently loving and talked about in my July favourites. It's Benefit Coralista and Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight. A beautiful peachy coral paired with a soft golden champagne highlight which gives me the perfect glowy cheeks.

To top it all off, I've dug out an oldie but goodie - Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Peach. I wish Revlon would bring back this lipstick range! Peach is exactly what it sounds like - a peach shade that doesn't lean orange. It's comfortable to wear, isn't too pigmented, but also gives a sheen to the lips.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Samples Challenge Update #6

What? New posts two days in a row? This week, my goal is to post everyday. Hopefully you'll enjoy all that I have to write about!

used skincare samples

Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation: One of my favourite moisturisers that I use as part of my evening skincare routine. It's an oil-free moisturiser that's light on the skin, but works well to hydrate the skin. I don't know if using this alone helps with lightening up scars and hyperpigmentation, but combined with other brightening and lightening products, it works. I used this sample up when I did a mini staycation for my friend's bachelorette party.
Purchase: Yes 

Origins Planscription Anti-aging Power Serum: I really liked this serum! Considering this is an anti-aging serum, it's not too thick or heavy. I woke up with super plump skin the morning after, however I couldn't see any other visible differences since this one sample gave me about 2 uses.
Purchase: Yes

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate: I've been wanting to try out this serum for a long time! For some reason, I didn't expect this to be an oil, despite all the reviews I've read about it. It took me a few times to adjust to using an oil, rather than a serum. I'm not used to using oils on my skin. But I loved the effects of this concentrate. My skin always looked better the morning after and felt so much smoother and plump.
Purchase: Yes

Lancome City Miracle CC Cream - 02 Peau de Peche: I didn't have any expectations for this, but I was hoping it would work well for me. It is quite a light and easy-to-blend formula with SPF 50, but those are the only good things. Now for what I disliked - it's heavily fragranced and this is technically the medium shade but it is very dark and ridiculously orange for what it is. This also didn't last very long on my skin.
Purchase: No

Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector: I used up 6 of these samples and got most of them from a wedding convention. I used this as sort of a serum before my daytime moisturiser. I did find it helped give some luminosity to my skin, but I don't think it did anything to even out my skintone or lighten up any of my scars and hyperpigmentation. The finish of this product is like a primer, so I think it would be appropriate to use this after your moisturiser. Even after using up 6 samples of this, I'm not convinced of all the claims it has.
Purchase: No

We're now up to a total of 53 samples! I'm quite excited to see the final number at the end of this year!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

July 2015 Favourites

makeup and skincare products

It's been a while! Yesterday was a holiday, which meant a day off from work and some much needed rest, but also time to focus on some wedding planning. It's now 9.5 more months until the wedding day and I still have yet to feel the pressure to continue planning certain things.

Today, I'm bringing you my favourites from July. It's was a hot month. One weekend saw days reaching 40 degrees and we had a heatwave just last week. 

makeup and skincare products

I've been relying on the Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 as my moisturiser and sun protection all in one. I love how light it is and how well it sits under my makeup. Which leads me to my foundation of choice this past month - the L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte foundation. I wore this during the 40 degree weekend while running around doing a scavenger hunt for 2 hours and pretty much being outside and baking in the sun for at least 8 hours. This stuff did not budge and my makeup still looked pretty awesome by the end of the day. 

Another favourite during the hot days was the Caudalie Beauty Elixir (review). It's a fine mist that helps with refreshing and giving a cooling effect. I use this to help refresh my makeup, but also after cleansing and using it as a toner. 

My other favourite bits and bobs include the Bobbi Brown Corrector (Light Peach). I recently got a pretty bad scar from a pimple and I've been using the corrector on my scars before applying concealer. It has made such a huge difference in covering up my dark scars (and dark undereye circles!). Why haven't I used this sooner?! 

For the eyes, I've been using the Tom Ford quad in Cognac Sable* (review), but mostly the 2 left shades. I use the top left shade all over the lid, with the bottom right shade in my crease and outer-v. If I want to darken my look even more, I'll use the bottom right shade in the outer-v. Then, there's the Benefit Gimme Brow (Medium/Deep). I couldn't be bothered to use a pencil this month and this has been a great product for quick brows. Though, I do find that I sometimes go back with a pencil to fill in some sparse areas if I'm being nitpicky. 

To finish off the face, I've been loving the combination of Benefit Coralista and Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder in Candlelight. Coralista already gives a really pretty sheen and highlight, but I like the added highlight that Candlelight gives. I also find that on my darker skin, the highlighter is subtle enough for everyday wear. 

What are some of your favourites from July?

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