Several months ago, the lovely Chase Polan and her team sent along 2 products from her outstanding organic skincare line Kypris as a gift for me to enjoy. I was beyond excited to try more products from the brand, as I’d already fallen in love with the retinol alternative, Moonlight Catalyst (review here) and the newest addition to the family, the Body Elixir: Inflorescence (review here). However, I had skincare coming out of my ears at that point, and I didn’t want to open the bottles until I was ready to use them. In December, I finally had an ‘opening’ in my morning skincare routine, so I cracked open the Antioxidant Dew eagerly. Then, this month after finishing up another oil, I started applying the Beauty Elixir III in the evening as my final step, so now can talk about these products and share with you my experiences!
The Antioxidant Dew ($67US for 47mL) is an extremely lightweight, milky serum that is designed to restore strength, vitality and radiance to skin. As the name suggests, it’s loaded with antioxidants such as ferulic acid to fight free radicals, while also soothing inflammation and hydrating the skin.
There are many things to love about this serum: the beautifully light texture (SO perfect for layering!); how supple, calm and healthy my skin looks after use; how incredibly hydrated my skin feels with absolutely NO greasiness whatsoever. Though I generally use this sandwiched between a Vitamin C serum and a sunscreen, I’ve used alone on occasion and have felt no need for an additional layer of moisture. I also enjoy that this is free of essential oils so that all skins, reactive or otherwise, can use it without worry. Below is the ingredient list:
Water/Aqua, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Xylitylglucoside, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Algae, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phospholipids, Phragmites Communis (Reed) Extract, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Poria Cocos Extract, Xylitol, Anhydroxylitol, Waltheria Indica Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Calophyllum Inophylum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Superoxide Dismutase, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Mannitol, Dextrin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Levulinate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Gluconate, Xanthan Gum.
I think the biggest selling point for me is that I can wear this serum in the day – as many organic treatment products are oil-heavy, I find they can leave my skin a touch too shiny (though I suspect for the more dry-skinned out there that this isn’t a problem). I love that I can pair this with other products without feeling weighed down or suffocated. So beautiful!
The Beauty Elixir III – Prismatic Array ($150US for 47mL) is a face oil that is filled with actives like CoQ10 (antioxidant) and Vitamin C ester (boosts collagen), as well as phytonutrients and essential fatty acids, all without essential oils to accommodate especially sensitive complexions (like mine!). It’s designed to help repair signs of environmental stressors as well as softening, nourishing and moisturizing skin so it looks more luminous.
This oil is extremely nourishing – you can tell as soon as you press it into the skin that you’re getting a treat. It’s rich amber color gives it away, anyway! This is packed with awesome oils like grape seed, baobab, kukui nut, tamanu, pumpkin seed and prickly pear (aka barbary fig seed), as well as black raspberry seed and cranberry seed. So much goodness! I apply this at night as my last step over a peptide serum and it gives me the best glow. In the morning, I wake up with plump-looking, soft skin that doesn’t feel greasy (though I do avoid using this around my nose where I get the most oily). While I love oils, I don’t always find I notice their effects in the same way as a serum – the biggest factors in whether or not I will repurchase one are: Does it irritate my skin? (Nope.) Does it have long-lasting hydration? (Yep.) If it’s a blend, does it contain many of my favourite skincare oils? (Yep!). Check, check and CHECK.
Even though there are no essential oils in this mixture, I also love the way it smells! Like the best blend of natural oils with a hint of sweetness. It’s not your typical ‘earthy’ scent; you know, the kind that isn’t offensive exactly but it smells like dirt and trees and herbs? This is nothing like that – maybe it’s the inclusion of coconut oil. Which, while we’re on the topic, I was very nervous about (it’s why I hadn’t ordered this myself previously), but this serum hasn’t been a problem for my skin in the least, happily!
Helianthus annuus (Sunflower Seed) Oil, Cocos nucifera (Virgin Coconut) Oil, Vitis vinifera (Grape Seed) Oil, Adansonia digitata (baobab) Oil, Aleurites moloccans (Kukui) Oil, Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamanu) Oil, Curcubita pepo (Pumpkin Seed) Oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Opuntia engelmannii (Prickly Pear Seed) Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Extract, Hippophae rhamonides (Seabuckthorn Bearry) Extract, Punica granatum (Pomegranate Seed) Extract, Rubus occidentalis (Black Raspberry Seed) Oil, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry Seed) Oil, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (From Licorice), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C Ester), Non- GMO Mixed Tocopherols.
Clearly, I need to add these 2 fantastic products to my regular roster. There are just so many things to like about them, and about Kypris in general – Chase seems to be one of the loveliest people (she always sends hand-written, personalized notes with her packages); they consistently use one of my favourite oils, tamanu, in their formulations; and I appreciate their ethos on so many levels (some of which I talked about here). And, a newly important factor for me is that they’re cruelty free!
Though I do try and avoid essential oils when I can, the other 2 Beauty Elixirs (versions I & II) sound so appealing; I’ve never really tried any products where rose oil was a predominant feature (as it is in the Beauty Elixir I) so I think that’s next on my list! I will mention that though the Elixirs feel a bit cost prohibitive (upwards of $150US), you do get more bang for your buck as general oil blends are only 30mL – and I just discovered that they offer seasonal pairings on the site which give you a discounted price (for example, right now you can get the full sizes of the Beauty Elixir I and the Antioxidant Dew for $265US, which would normally cost you $292US). And recently I heard a tip from Sugar Mamma that resonated with me – if you truly love something, you won’t mind paying full price. I have a habit of sometimes trying to find alternatives for items that I love, and always feeling dissatisfied (and sometimes spending more in the process!). Don’t do it! Of course, you don’t know if you love something before trying it, so Kypris kindly offers ‘mini’ sizes of their products for a fraction of the price :)
Have you tried Kypris products before?
Ok. It’s 9:01pm and I try to end my screen time at 9, but I am determined to get a post up so I’m going to make this snappy! [Edit: I went to bed before this was finished…what’s a couple more hours?] I received the Hello Kitty collection from OPI last week and it’s quite good! I know absolutely NOTHING about Hello Kitty and it’s popularity (not really into cutesy stuff as a general rule) but almost all of the polishes in this collection have a great formula and the shades are on point for spring. I’m not a fan of the cheap white ‘Hello Kitty’ print labels they’ve stuck over the regular OPI bottle tops, but it’s not a deal breaker either.
I’ve gotten all fancy today and thrown in some quick comparisons for you guys as well as the swatches. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Let’s Be Friends! & Charmmy & Sugar
Let’s Be Friends! is a pale lilac-pink. The first coat was patchy and I worried it would be a typical pastel cream, but by the second coat it evened out beautifully – with a little care you could get away with 2 coats (I used 3 as I slept on it before taking these photos, oops). In the end this is a lovely color with a glossy finish. I wore Charmmy & Sugar (a sheer lilac shimmer with violet, blue and silver glitter and a slight greenish duo chrome) on my index finger alone (3 coats) and over Let’s Be Friends (ring finger), because let’s get real, no one wants to remove more glitter polish than necessary. It’s a great layering shade, though I prefer the ethereal look it gives on it’s own. I kind of wish this had no glitter as I love the shimmering base color but the glitter takes away from it IMO. Fairly smooth glitter and easy to apply.
Small + Cute = <3
A light pink cream. I love this color, but the formula is a PITA – the first coat was very streaky, the second a bit better, but it really requires 3 coats (or a very steady hand) if you want it to look flawless. A shame as this was one of my fave shades of the bunch! The formula is also a bit on the thicker side to give yourself time for it to dry (aka not before bed). Due to all the coats required and the thick formula I found this chipped within days.
Look at My Bow!
A soft orchid pink cream. This only needed 2 coats to opacity but its not 100% perfect – it’s a touch streaky. Beautiful color but not really for me, I think it’s a bit too saturated or something. I prefer the more muted look of Chanel Sweet Lilac (below).
Again I paired up to avoid glitter removal. Super Cute in Pink is a medium-deep orchid crelly (creme/jelly formula). Gorgeous! You can see very slight VNL with two coats but I like it this way to preserve it’s squishy-ness. This is a perfect spring shade and was effortless to apply. Starry-Eyed for Dear Daniel is a semi-sheer orchid shimmer with violet, pink, blue and silver micro glitter. It required 3 coats to opacity on the index finger (worn alone) and 2 layered (ring finger). It’s grittier to the touch than ‘Charmmy’ but not terribly so. While I liked ‘Charmmy’ on it’s own, I prefered ‘Starry-Eyed’ layered, as it gives it more depth and punch in color.
A sheer white shimmer. Sorry for the change in lighting, I found this needed sunlight to show off it’s pearlescent quality. These kind of shades aren’t really my bag, though it is pretty. Not much to say about this one, depending on your nail length you could get away with 2 coats (or if you don’t mind VNL) as I’ve done here. I’d think 3 would still not have it entirely opaque though.
Though ‘Grayt Lengths‘ looks a lot more gray than ‘Kitty White’, when held up to the light they’re VERY similar:
Never Have Too Mani Friends
I’m not much of a black nail polish wearer except for layering purposes, but this is a great black nonetheless – another crelly finish, super shiny, super easy to apply (all of the crelly-type shades in this collection are a dream to apply). This is just 2 coats. It would be a great choice for anyone in the market for a black polish (or anyone who loves a good black polish).
My Pal Joey
A saturated cobalt blue. It’s not as in-your-face as some other cobalt shades (think YSL Bleu Majorelle, Nails Inc Baker St.) – it’s a bit lighter and because of the crelly texture it’s not so bold in finish. I really like this – it’s playful and eye-catching, and these textures are seriously out of this world. 2 coats for opacity (no VNL in sight here). LOVE!
5 Apples Tall
Some of these shade names I don’t get at all…ANYWAY, this is a gorgeous coral red that has a crelly finish but is fairly pigmented – if you were in a serious rush you could damn near get away with 1 coat (though I prefer the density of 2, as usual). Love the look of this! I don’t always like reds on me but this looks really flattering on my skintone (I think). So easy to apply with zero issues. It’s extremely close in color to Essie ‘Come Here!’ and I like the formula better, so I’ll be swapping this in for that!
Spoken from the Heart
A lovely saturated warm pink. I love this one as well! Again, it has that crelly texture though it’s not as pigmented as ‘5 Apples’ so I’d suggest 2 coats for sure. Even then it gives a hint of VNL but as mentioned I don’t mind that with formulas like this, the slight translucency is what gives it that squishy finish. Again, super shiny on it’s own and a cinch to apply.
My Twim Mimmy
Again, WTF with the names? Anyway, this is a saturated medium yellow, very primary color-stuff (this along with the blue and red are like the most true representations of primary colors I’ve ever seen in a polish collection together). This doesn’t have the crelly texture (which would probably be a feat with yellow anyway since they’re the most annoying polish shades to work with) and is a touch streaky (I think 3 coats probably would be best so it looks flawless, but I was lazy and did 2), but as far as yellows go it’s actually not half bad. I don’t love it on my skintone especially as it’s so dense in color, but it might look better when I’m tanned.
Overall, I thought this collection was really well-done and even not knowing a lick about Hello Kitty, I could enjoy all the shades. These are all without base coat as well and the majority are SO SHINY! Pretty, pretty, pretty.
What are your thoughts about this collection / about Hello Kitty? What is the DEAL?
I have to admit, I have a bit of a bias when it comes to Arbonne…my experiences with the Associates who work for the brand has been nothing but ABSOLUTE BOMBARDMENT – any of my friends who have started selling Arbonne have been VERY intense about it, and truth be told the pyramid scheme feels a little cult-y to me. But hey, the perks must be rockin’ for people to go from laid back and chill to total pushers! So, maybe I’m just missing out? O_o
In any case, it’s kind of a conflict for me because I have tried a handful of things from the line and I’ve pretty much enjoyed them all. I think the two lippies I have to show you today come out on absolute TOP though; these are AMAZEBALLS, guys! Let me break it down for ya:
Arbonne’s Smoothed Over Lipstick ($34CAD) is an über creamy formula with a satin-glossy finish, that soothes and moisturizes the lips with fruit extracts and helps lips look more plump and smooth. I know matte lips are still pretty trendy, but I’ve realized in the past few weeks that my lips don’t really love mattes – and not in the way you’d think. I mean, my lips can be dry, yes, so matte lipsticks don’t always feel (or look) so glorious over my flake-prone lips. But this winter season my lips have actually been more hydrated than usual, and yet some matte lipsticks still look a little craptacular. It’s all the lines, dudes! Though I have full lips, I never realized how many lines they have until recently, which is why certain matte lipsticks make my lips look super old :'( I remember Kate talking about this and I couldn’t figure out what the heck she meant – I GET IT NOW, KATE, will you come back and blog again plz? ~sigh~
Anyway, since realizing this I’ve been keeping clear of the Offending Lipsticks (those that make my lips look crypt-like), and trying to wear ones that minimize the cragginess. These two Smoothed Over shades, Guava (a bright coral) and Currant (a bold red), couldn’t be more perfect in helping me achieve a better looking pout. Not only do they keep the lines at bay, but HOLY HECK these feel fantabulous! These are so comfortable and hydrating and lovely to wear, they truly feel like the best lip balm you’ve ever tried – except they’re a LIPSTICK! KA-BOOM. I’m 110% sold
Though I don’t wear red lipstick too often (for no good reason – I LOVE a red lip!), Currant might change that because it just ticks all the boxes: fabulous color (a true red I think would look great on everyone), flawless formula, and the shape of the bullet makes it really easy to draw on the perfect lip without the need for a brush (at least, until the tip is worn down some). I have two shots below, both in different lighting – the sun was setting as I was taking these photos – and you can see that it would look great in both the summer (the first shot with the sun still above the horizon) and winter (once the sun had set). GOR-GE-OUS.
The second shade, Guava, is still lovely, though perhaps a hint too bright for my deeper skintone – or perhaps, just for this time of year when my skin is more sallow. Nevertheless, I think this is a lovely spring shade and if you’re into corals – you NEED this in your life.
I have to tell you guys, I *just* received these lipsticks today and the moment I put them on I just had to write a post about them ASAP. I can’t get over how amazing this formula is, easily the nicest I’ve ever tried. Considering Givenchy Le Rouge (till now probably the nicest lipstick formula I’ve used) are $40 a pop, I feel like the Smoothed Over lippies are a steal for how great they are. Oh, and did I mentioned they smell delicious!? I can’t pick out the scent is but YUM – it’s some kind of fruity smell that isn’t overpowering, sickly or chemical-like. SO good.
Smoothed Over Lipsticks are vegan and formulated without gluten or parabens. BAM!
Hello and a Happy New Year to you all! I hope that 2016 has started on the right foot for everyone so far :) The holidays, as usual, came and went lightning-fast and suddenly I only have 2 months left until I go back to work – yikes! I’m a bit anxious about returning to work but I feel like I fully enjoyed my maternity leave spending my days watching Elena grow and develop. She’s got such a personality now! She’s quick to smile and really just brightens my day, every day. I’m going to miss being with her 24/7 but I suppose I will just have to make sure I fully appreciate the moments I do spend with her!
Becoming a mom has obviously changed my life in a lot of ways. Whereas before my time was essentially my own to do as I please, it’s now dedicated to Elena and fulfilling her needs. I was and still am surprised at how easily I adapted to this change; being an only child I’ve come to fiercely love my alone time, but I haven’t minded having much (MUCH) less of it since she was born. Having said that, it does change how I spend those small windows of down time, and one of the first things to suffer has been this blog. It’s not that it isn’t important, or that I don’t love beauty as much as I used to (despite the fact that I wear much less makeup these days, I still obsess about beauty constantly)…but blogging requires effort, and I’m already at maximum output when Elena is up and about, bootin’ around the house. Mindless tasks are where it’s at when I have a moment to myself.
Clearly, I am at a crossroads. I can’t maintain a level of involvement with the blog anywhere near what I have in the past, but I’m also not ready to give up blogging yet either. I think what makes it difficult is when you’re blogging at a level in which you’ve got a bit of a reader base, you’ve made connections with people and other bloggers, and on top of it you’re receiving products from PR companies and brands, you feel like you have to maintain a certain output of posts, that you should be aiming for some level of success. But for me, I don’t blog to be ‘successful.’ I don’t blog to receive free product. I blog because I effing LOVE beauty and when I discovered there were other smart, badass people out there who also love beauty like I do, it opened up a whole new world for me. And that’s why I can’t let go, not just yet.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that just because I haven’t posted in a few weeks, doesn’t mean I’m gone or that I’ll never post again. I realize that some readers aren’t ‘here for the ride’, they’re here just to read about new product and see swatches etc., and that my lack of posting might mean I’ll lose readers. It sucks, but the reality is that I just can’t keep up with that kind of demand. Ultimately, I just want to write, and talk about beauty, or even life if I’m feeling so inclined. All I can offer is me. If you’re reading because you like what I have to say, you like my obsessive list making, you like that I always ramble on longer than necessary – SWEET. Stick around, I’m not going anywhere. If you need more than that from me – I’m sorry, truly I am. I wish I could give everyone what they want, but that would mean I’d miss out on my OWN life; watching my little girl grow and enjoying being a mother. I can’t get that time back once it’s gone. At least I can rest assured that there are SO many other blogs out there that do what I do (did?), only MUCH BETTER.
OK, ramble over. Just needed to get that out there. I hope everyone is doing well and loving life in the present. I do have a couple of posts percolating in my mind so you may see something else from me soon. Or not. Depends on what life brings this week ;)
HUGS TO ALL XX
Ugh, you GUYZ. I’ve had these swatches done for a few days but Elena is keeping me on my toes, as usual! She’s been waking up at 4am for the past few weeks and is ready to PAR-TAY, she thinks it’s time to get up for the day and I’m DANG tired. Today she also thought resisting nap time was a great idea, so I’m just plain worn out. BUT I did finally get her down (I keep checking the monitor with fingers crossed that she’ll stay asleep for awhile) so what better time than to get these pics & post up?
I am extremely surprised at how much I’m enjoying the Starlight holiday collection from OPI – metallics and glitters are generally NOT my jam, but these are really doing it for me so far! The sparkle on a lot of these really is ‘out of this world’ (cue the cheese) and they look so pretty and festive in the dim light cast by the fire and/or Christmas tree. I keep wanting to change my mani every day to try them all fully (but ain’t nobody in THIS house got time for that, sadly). I’m working my way through the swatches though so I will have them all up before Christmas, I promise! Today I’m bringing you the first 6 which are the more moody, mysterious hues of the 18 shades in the collection (which, if I’m being honest, is INSANE – 18 colors!? When did polish collections get so HUGE?).
All swatches were taken in natural light unless otherwise specified.
Guys & Galaxies – a deep dark brown-red. It looks a touch streaky in the swatch above, but IRL it’s not, though you do need 3 coats to reach full opacity. It’s very glossy on it’s own – the shot above is with no top coat. It’s an easy formula to work with overall, despite needing that extra coat (though it’s a *touch* staining). I think this is a very sexy shade – and it’s NOT near black, which makes me happy.
I’m in the Moon for Love – this is a medium plum shimmer with golden micro-shimmer. Every time OPI comes out with a shade like this (Dutch’ya Love OPI?, Lost My Bikini in Molokini, Purpletual Emotion…), I’m like ‘eh’ – even though they all look flattering on my skintone, I just can’t get into these types of purples. There is a depth and richness to this shade that appeals to me (you can see it better in the 2nd photo, taken under artificial light), but I know it’ll just be another purple that I keep NOT wearing regardless. Good formula though, two coats to opacity, with no application issues at all.
Cosmo With a Twist – a royal blue with lighter blue shimmer that looks purple in some light due to a duo chrome finish. This SHADE, you guys!!! So, so gorgeous – it really looks like Outer Space to me. It needs 3-4 coats to reach full opacity, but it’s totally worth it. I would have never picked up this shade if left to my own devices, but I’m SO happy I got to try it out. Perfect holiday shade that’s not your typical red/silver/gold.
Give Me Space – a bold, medium blue with silver shimmer. This has a VERY slight prismatic effect that’s really only visible in sunlight – so don’t let that be a reason you pick it up! The first coat went on sheer but it managed full opacity in two coats. I found this shade a touch fussy to apply, it can pull in spots if not applied with a relatively quick hand. I suggest loading up the brush and applying coats in one go, versus dipping back into the bottle. This is a beautifully rich shade, but along with the shimmer being a let down it didn’t wow me.
No More Mr. Night Sky – a sparkling gunmetal. This is quite sheer; it requires at least 3 coats and looks best with 4. Despite that: he-LLO, gorgeous! This is another polish I would have never picked up as I don’t gravitate toward shimmers, but holy smokes – this is so pretty!! It’s the most beautifully sparkly, twinkly polish I think I’ve ever seen. It looks particularly amazing in low lighting (the 2nd photo), so it’s PERFECT for the holiday seasons parties and hanging out by the Christmas tree.
Centre of the You-niverse – a charcoal with silver shimmer and black glitter bits. This is 2 coats, though depending on how thickly you apply your coats you may need a 3rd. Even though it’s got minimal glitter, they’re so tiny they’re a pain to remove entirely. For black polish lovers though this is a great shade; top coat makes it really gleam.
Sooo, basically I want to keep 4 of the 6 shades shown…that does NOT help me decrease my polish collection! Dang it. I just think these are so lovely for the holiday season or for any time you want a bit of sparkle that’s a little understated (re: not a full-on glitter) but still fabulous. Well done so far, OPI!
Photo outtakes: Last night when I took the bottle shots Elena hightailed it to where I was and got her grabby hands in there lol…at least I got one good shot (above) before the destruction!
You know you’re a beauty junkie when you buy things and forget about them. During the Sephora sale, I kept thinking I should buy something festive from one of the holiday collections, since I didn’t pick anything up from any of them….OH WAIT, YES I DID – the YSL Carmin D’Or polish from the ‘Kiss & Love‘ holiday collection, a gor-ge-ous scarlet with fiery golden shimmer throughout. Oops. I forgot. (I also bought Dior’s insanely beautiful Gris-Or from the ‘State of Gold’ holiday collection, which I ALSO forgot about….eeks. Review to come!) Right. But! Now it’s December, and it’s time to wear all my pretty festive nail polishes! So, we’re starting with this beauty:
It’s actually got a significant blue lean that I had a hard time capturing on camera – meaning it’s not a true red at all but more of a pink-red. I didn’t realize that when I swatched it in store, but I kind of like that because it makes it different than your standard golden red polish. The shimmer is incredible, it absolutely GLOWS no matter what light you’re in (although my outdoor pic doesn’t show that). The formula is also wonderful, with a thin-to-medium viscosity to allow easy application – two coats to full opacity, no fuss. This is my second YSL polish and so far I’m very impressed. It hurts to pay $27CAD (although it pleases me that it’s the same price in the US) but the upside to buying less polish overall is that when you do, you don’t feel so bad spending the big $$ on a shade you love. And that squared off bottle? SEX-AY.
I just received the OPI Starlight Collection yesterday so I have a bunch of holiday polish shades coming your way. I may do a countdown with a different shade each day…I’ll try my best! I’m in a major holiday spirit, we put up our lights on the house last night and it looks fab! I’m working on the inside now – we went to Homes for the Holidays here in Halifax on the weekend and looking at all the decorations makes me feel so festive! And also brings out my inner Martha. Check out this wreath I made!:
Yahooooooo!! Let the holiday season truly begin! :)
Do you remember when Elena was first born and I complained about barely being able to shower, let alone take care of my skin? It feels like forever ago that I was struggling to take care of myself in any way, shape or form; thankfully, those days are (mostly) past and though I don’t have much time for myself, I have made a point to dedicate some time every morning and evening toward my skin. In fact, I think I’ve never treated my skin better! I think the combination of products along with maintaining a solid routine has made all the difference. Lately I’ve been placing a heavy emphasis on brightening products that help even out the skin tone, and tailoring my application according to what my skin needs in specific areas. This AM I looked in the mirror and was like ‘DA-AMN girl, your skin looks good!’ …So I figured I should share with you my skincare ‘secrets’ :) Here’s what my routine looks like, morning and night:
Cleanse with NUDE Perfect Cleanse Clarifying Cleansing Oil ($45CAD). The reason I picked up this cleanser in the first place was because it contains grapeseed oil as the 2nd ingredient, which is great for oilier / clog-prone skin as it’s high in linoleic acid (see my post on skincare oils and their compositions here). I’ve been searching for a grapeseed oil-heavy oil cleanser but they’re hard to come by for some reason, so when this came on the market a few months ago I snapped it up ASAP. Happily, it was a great purchase as I absolutely love it. It doesn’t contain a host of fragrance or essential oils to potentially irritate my skin (which it doesn’t), and it cleanses beautifully without drying my skin out at all. Though you can use it as a first cleanse to remove makeup etc., I actually use it as my morning cleanser on it’s own as I want my skin to benefit from the good oils and ingredients, rather than washing them away in a second cleanse. It’s a perfect beginning step to prep and protect my skin for the colder weather outside. I’ll be repurchasing it without hesitation.
Tone with Algenist Hydrating Essence Toner ($30CAD). Because I am a beauty junkie, I’m susceptible to any new fad on the market, and I became determined to find and use an ‘essence‘ – essentially a hybrid between a toner and serum, and which is used in between those two steps. Algenist’s Essence Toner has high rating on both Sephora and Paula’s Choice (though I don’t think she knows it ALL, I do appreciate the research done on that site and use it to cross-reference product research often), AND it’s affordable for a high-end brand, so I picked it up back in October. I can’t tell for sure how hydrating it is, as my skin isn’t particularly parched, but I do prefer to keep my skin as moist as I can anyway (seems to keep me from over-producing sebum) with lightweight products, and this can be used all over my face, even in my sensitive areas like around my mouth, without any issues at all. That in itself makes this a total winner in my books!
G.M. Collin Oxygen Puractive+ Treating Mist. I was kindly sent the Normalizing Travel Kit ($42CAD), among a couple other products, from G.M. Collin and I was so keen to try them out once they arrived. Having mostly normal skin with some oiliness in the t-zone, the Normalizing kit is perfect for me as helps keep skin balanced. The Treating Mist is designed to enhance the effectiveness of your other skincare, much like other facial mists, and leaves skin with a matte finish. I spray this on my t-zone only after using the Algenist Toner and it really does keep that area less shiny throughout the day. The nozzle is a bit powerful so I make sure to spray it about a foot away from my face to get a more even misting.
G.M. Collin Bota-Peptide Eye Contour ($96CAD). I was most eager to try out this eye treatment from G.M. Collin as it’s been on my wishlist for years now, but I could never bring myself to buy it. It gets amazing reviews and is purported to reduce the appearance of dark circles, expression lines and wrinkles, and is de-puffing. I’ve only been using it for about 2-3 weeks now, so I can’t report major changes to my undereye area just yet, but I do find that it looks smoother and incredibly hydrated, and I feel like I’m less concerned about my perpetual darkness. The texture is PERFECT, thick enough to be hydrating but not at all greasy or heavy, and it absorbs extremely well and quickly so it works fantastically under eye makeup. My concealer has never looked better or more natural.
derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum w/Vitamin C (see full review) ($39.99CAD – now on sale at Well.ca for $29.99!). Still totally digging this serum! It is the perfect consistency – more like a gel than a silicone-heavy serum, so it feels lovely and lightweight and I am entirely comfortable layering additional product over it. It really does help lighten any dark spots and even out my skintone, and as a bonus it contains niacinamide to also protect my skin from environmental aggressors. I love this stuff!
Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Face Lotion SPF 30 ($15.49CAD). After searching high and low all summer for the Neutrogena Pure & Free liquid that sound right up my alley, I scoured the drugstore aisles at Shoppers for another facial sunscreen alternative that wouldn’t break the bank (the higher the cost, the more I want to skimp on application, and that’s counter-productive, no?). I ended up choosing this SPF lotion from Eucerin as it contained physical ‘screens (my preference) as well as chemical. I was a bit wary as some chemical sunscreens aren’t friendly to my sensitive skin, but I’ve had zero issues with this – in fact, I actually think it might be the best facial sunscreen I’ve ever used on my skin! It leaves my skin looking moisturized and with a lovely, healthy glow, minus ANY shine or greasy effect. Though it’s of medium viscosity, it blends in easily and absorbs quickly. Fragrance free with an SPF of 30, at a totally great price point…you kind of can’t go wrong with this.
G.M. Collin Oxygen Puractive+ Mild Cleansing Gel. Another step in the Normalizing Kit, I use this gel as my second cleanse after oil cleansing (currently I’m trying to finish a bottle of pure Pumpkin Seed oil). I am surprised at how much I enjoy using this – I’m not one for gel and/or foaming cleansers, as they often leave me feeling drier than I’d like; this, however, truly IS mild as I feel absolutely NO tightness after use and my skin feels incredibly soft. Definitely the nicest gel cleanser I’ve tried!
Joe Fresh Refresh Facial Toner ($12CAD). I picked this up on a whim when I needed a new facial mist/toner-type product, and I fell for the clean, classic packaging of the Joe Fresh skincare line. Honestly, I’m not a total beauty snob, I just like great packaging – if something is cheap but looks luxe, I’m all for it! On top of the fabulous bottle, the product itself is great – the ingredients are simple (such as glycerin, aloe and green tea & cucumber extracts) and it’s effective at toning my skin in an incredibly soothing way. I will be buying this again and again, no question.
G.M. Collin Oxygen Puractive+ Cream. The final step in the Normalizing Kit, this cream is formulated to purify and hydrate the skin while also refining it’s texture. As it’s essentially winter now, I only use this in my t-zone as that is my ‘trouble’ area, and so far it’s been doing a great job at refining the pores on my nose and inner cheeks. This would make an excellent moisturizer for someone looking for a product to mattify and keep any oiliness or large pores in check.
Kahina Giving Beauty Brightening Serum ($95CAD). I’d read a review on No More Dirty Looks awhile back saying this was excellent at evening out the skintone and ever since it’s been on my radar. When it popped up on Petal & Post months ago at a considerable sale discount – down to something like $54! – I scooped it up, even though I was flush with other brightening products (I’m kind of obsessed). After using up another serum, it was time to give this a shot, and I am beyond pleased at the results – aside from making my skin feel baby soft upon waking in the AM, it truly has evened out my skin significantly; it’s the best it’s looked in years. I rarely wear foundation now as it’s just an extra, unnecessary step and I feel I look a lot better without it, truth be told. This is another *repurchase* product for sure (buuuuut…maybe when it’s on sale, yea?).
G.M. Collin Bota-Peptide Eye Contour. Lather, rinse, repeat. I use this day and night :)
There are a few other products I didn’t mention (namely, a face oil that I add to my sunscreen if it’s particularly chilly out; a hydrating mask and a purifying mask I use when needed; and two different exfoliants, one manual, one chemical) – mostly because, as much as they seem to be working for me, they’re aren’t game-changers in my books and I’ll probably replace them with something new when the time comes. Otherwise though, this is it – and I gotta say, I can’t remember a time when there were so many products in my arsenal that I plan to repurchase (and with so many of them reasonably affordable too)! I’m a fickle beast and even if I like something, I usually am keen to try something else out of boredom – but these products are working so well for me that I’m not sure if making a switch is wise! Maybe I’m just getting too old (erm, or not OLD but just lacking an excess of time in which to spend the energy researching new products to try)…either way, I’m really happy with my routine, and if it means I’m boring – so be it!
I love the holidays – the sparkling lights, the crackling fires, the joyful get-togethers….oh wait, right, this is the HOLIDAYS we’re talking about! You know, that time when most people are stressed out from too much shopping, not enough money, and too much family – so maybe those get-togethers aren’t all joyful, right? I don’t put too much emphasis on gifts, both giving and receiving, and I LOVE getting together with my family pretty much all the time, so I bypass most of the anxiety-inducing factors, but like most (ALL? don’t lie!) of us, I still endure my fair share of family drama every year. It typically goes the same way each time so I guess being prepared for it helps :P In any case, for those of you who deal with any type of drama during the holidays, I say – DO IT FABULOUSLY, really ramp it up! If it’s going to get crazy, at least you can look the part, and no better way to do that than with Make Up For Ever’s new Lash Show Instant Drama False Lashes ($22CAD).
There are 4 different styles of lashes depending on your mood (and level of drama required) – natural volume, dramatic volume, winged and artistic – a total of 50 handmade, 100% synthetic fiber lash types for each and every occasion. Each pair comes with a latex-free adhesive – that’s safe for sensitive eyes – with an eyeliner tip that makes applying the glue to the lash band a snap (versus those tubes of glue that you just run along the lash band and pray it doesn’t glob everywhere!). I received pairs N-205 (natural volume) and C-706 (winged) to try – as someone who used to wear false lashes every time she went out (which was a lot back in University!) I was eager to have some fun and play.
My lash game not being what it used to be, I expected it to take me a bit of effort to get the lashes on properly. With the natural volume N-205 pair, I had minimal trouble applying them to my lash line – after a small adjustment on the first eye, the second lash went on without a hitch. I ADORE the look of these lashes – they’re incredibly natural looking but make my lashes look A-MAZE-BALLS. You could easily wear these during the day and no one would be the wiser, really – the lash band is super-thin, which is usually the giveaway that someone is wearing falsies – and the hairs progress from shorter at the outer edges to longer in the middle, giving you a great wide-eyed look but still in a subtle way.
Check out my Instagram pic below to see them in action:
The second pair, C-706, are decidedly more dramatic – a full, thick fringe of lashes that lengthen gradually as you near the outer edge for an intensely fierce look. There are brown lash ‘hairs’ interspersed with the black which gives them a particularly lush look while still being softer and less harsh than if they were all black. Though I tried them several times on separate occasions, I could not get them to sit tightly on my lash line – the band is much thicker to accommodate for the density of the lashes and therefore does not curve nicely along the eye. The edges kept losing adhesion at the inner corners and this tired old mama just doesn’t have patience (or time!) for that! But for an experienced lash wearer, I think these would look fabulous – even applied inaccurately, my eyes looked amazingly feline and sexy.
Though I haven’t been wearing much makeup these past months, and I’m well out of practice in wearing fake lashes, these are kind of getting me in the mood to wear them more often! Especially for the holidays – bring on the drama!