About a year ago, I finally decided that bright, bold, cobalt blue nails WERE, in fact, as fabulous (about 3 years after the trend surfaced), but as I wasn’t sure if the shade would suit me, I dipped a toe in by picking up Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Nail Polish in Pacific Blue for $2.99. If it didn’t work out, no harm no foul at that price. As it turned out, while I liked the shade I wasn’t over the moon about it, and I promptly put it away never to wear it again.
Still, the color haunted me. I wasn’t satisfied for some reason, and onto my wishlist went YSL’s Bleu Majorelle, one of the most iconic iterations of the shade (I believe Nails Inc. Baker Street was the first of it’s kind). The high $27CAD price tag deterred me however, and I kept holding off, until one day I came to notice that my local Sephora stopped stocking the YSL polishes altogether. At that point, of COURSE then I had to have it ASAP. Conveniently, my observation occurred during the Sephora ‘Love Notes’ spring sale, so into my online basket it went.
There are NO regrets, people. THIS is what I was really looking for. Though Pacific Blue is a close contender and would do in a pinch if you’re looking to get on the cobalt blue bandwagon on the cheap, Bleu Majorelle has a richness and brightness that the Sally Hansen shade lacks, and it truly makes all the difference (to me anyway). On top of that, the formula is TOP NOTCH – along with a ridiculously smooth and easy 2-coat application, note that these photos were taken 5 days into my manicure with not a chip in sight. This rarely happens for me – no matter what the brand, I almost always have chips by day 3. For once, I feel like the higher price tag is (nearly) justified.
These are the kind of polish purchases I enjoy now: one in, one out – I have no need for SH’s version so it will be passed on for someone else to enjoy. I should have known better, really, because I always prefer the ‘real thing’ and any time I try to make substitutions (with almost anything in life – food, makeup, etc.) I end up feeling unsatisfied and filling that void until I go ahead and get the real thing in the end. In this instance it wasn’t a big deal/loss, but something I really try and adhere to.
On a final note…bonus points for anyone who notices what is different in the picture above ;)
Did you get on the cobalt blue trend when it began? Are you content with ‘dupes’ or do you need the ‘real deal’?
This is what happens when you a) keep your beauty purchases to a minimum for longer than is natural for a beauty addict, and b) have too much time on your hands yet are unable to come and go freely and are relegated to sitting for prolonged periods of time.
I indulged in three – count ’em, THREE – separate hauls during the Sephora sale in April: one in store, and two online, the latter being a midnight impulse spree with minutes to spare before the sale ended. Yes, I’ve gone completely over the edge.
In the first shopping excursion (which I featured on Instagram), I picked up one product that had been on my to-try list for awhile – Peter Thomas Roth’s Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads (reg. $56CAD) (something different to try after using the FAB Radiance Pads for months) – and a product that I was in the market for, yet the item I chose wasn’t even on my radar: Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer (reg. $59CAD).
Then, in my first online spree, I purchased items I had pre-determined I was going to get: CoverFX Custom Color Drops in G60 (reg. $44CAD), Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum (reg. $100CAD), Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in 10 Senso (reg. $39CAD), and Givenchy Le Rouge in 209 Rose Perfecto* (reg. $40CAD) *I FINALLY picked a shade!*
Finally, in my ‘I’m awake at 1am and I need more things GIMME GIMME GIMME‘ moment, I put in my final order: Benefit Roller Lash (reg. $29CAD), a Beauty Blender Pro (reg. $26CAD) (wishlist item), YSL La Laque Couture in Bleu Majorelle (reg. $27CAD) (wishlist item), and Tarte TarteGuard 30 Sunscreen mini (reg. $14CAD).
Yea, I did some major wallet damage. I’m almost halfway to becoming a VIB Rouge member and the year isn’t even half over yet!! O_o
To be fair, as usual I saved up for most of these purchases, as I do for every Sephora sale. Additionally, I DO try and follow a method: 1 each (max) of each type of makeup product (eg. 1 eye product, 1 lip product, 1 cheek product, etc.); 2 skincare products (max); 1 fragrance, 1 body, etc. etc.. In this instance I bought 2 eye products and 2.5 skincare products, but I didn’t pick up any fragrance or body items so I’ll forgive myself this time.
Typically, I also try and limit my purchases to items that I would normally have deep reservations about buying due to price – for example, I can’t normally justify spending $40 on a lipstick, or $39 on 1 eyeshadow (even with the sale I STILL have issues with this price, GAH!). I also try and buy items that I can’t get here in Halifax, which is why the bulk of my purchasing was done online. Lastly, I TRY and keep the items I buy to wishlist only – that is, things that I already was lemming before the sale, rather than any impulse purchasing. In this case, only the Tarte sunscreen and Benefit mascara weren’t already on my to-buy list; the Marc Jacobs bronzer wasn’t on my radar but I was looking to buy a bronzer so I’ll call that a wash.
Overall, while I feel touch guilty for going out of control a bit during the sale, I feel good about most of my purchases (I’m somewhat regretting buying the Armani Eye Tint in that shade…more about that in a future post) and I don’t feel overwhelmed since I stuck to my ‘1 type of item’ rule. HOPEFULLY this mega-spree will tide me over for a bit? I don’t feel entirely confident about that, but here’s hoping ;)
How did you make out during the Sephora sale?
…it IS Wednesday, right?? My days blend all together lately…
ANYWAY, whatever day it is, this post is going to be short on words – just couple snapshots of my empties so far in 2015. If you have q’s about a specific product, ask in the comments!
Hair & Body Care
What do your empties look like right now?
So…I’ve been going a little bit skincare crazy since being on maternity leave. Yep. What can I say? I get bored and I need to indulge my beauty habit somehow, and hoards of makeup just doesn’t make sense right now (though I did pick up a few things during the Sephora sale…purchases to be revealed once I receive them all [I made a last minute 3rd order late last night :S]). I actually purchased the products in this post before the ones I wrote about last week; I was trying to get my fix in a more economical way…clearly that didn’t work. But what, ho! – the brand Graydon is a sweet little homegrown eco-conscious brand (based out of T.O.!) that I think deserves some attention, and what better day to do it than on Earth Day?!
First, a quick primer. Graydon’s tag line is Clinical Luxury by Nature – quoted as such because: 1) their products contain bioactive ingredients that work to nourish the skin, such as antioxidants, linoleic acids, and vitamins and minerals; 2) they aim to create products that not only work but feel lovely to use and look great on your vanity; and 3) they utilize ‘plant powered’ ingredients and ‘choose to source organic plant based ingredients from Canadian growers and manufacturers such as broccoli and berry seeds oil.’ They do not use any nut-derived ingredients due to the potential of allergies, and do not use any mineral oils, chemicals, parabens, sulfates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrance. They’re also gluten-free!
Ok, now that you’ve got the background scoop, here we go. I picked up 3 products so I could form a somewhat well-rounded idea of the brand – a facial mist, a moisturizer, and a facial oil. To begin, let’s start with the Face Food Mineral Mist.
The Face Food Mineral Mist ($29CAD) is an elemental mineral mist that boosts hydration in the skin via minerals copper, silver and zinc. Copper is purported to help the production of collagen and elastin, while silver is said to kill bacteria and help neutralize the harsh sodium-fluoride in our tap water. The 3rd mineral, zinc, has been noted to decrease inflammation by helping stop bacterial infection which can make one’s face look red and blotchy.
It’s hard to say much about the effectiveness of this mist I’m used to using facial mists with aloe or glycerin, which leave a trace on the skin – but I do appreciate its simplicity. I don’t have a lot of redness which would be the one way I could judge its efficacy, so I just have to trust that this is in fact doing something! If you’re looking for a no-frills mist however, this is a good option.
Ingredients: ionic copper, silver and zinc infused in purified water and nothing else!
The Super Sensitive Skin Stuff ($29CAD) moisturizer was created for ‘people with skin that reacts to everything’. Though this hasn’t been an issue for me lately, my skin can be finicky at times so I wanted to have an option for when that situation arises. It has a high aloe content so it is very soothing; it has a medium-heavy consistency (likely due to the plethora of oils such as evening primrose, pomegranate seed and rosehip seed) which sinks in fairly well, but which might be a tad heavy for oilier skins. If I have time, I’ll put this on and let it sink in before doing my makeup so I don’t have a problem with greasiness. I actually love the texture for body though, and often apply a touch to my hands as well.
Ingredients: purified water (aqua), aloe vera juice (aloe barbadenis), cetyl alcohol (coconut product), stearyl alcohol (mixed plant), black currant seed oil (ribes nigrum), evening primrose seed oil (oenothera biennis), pomegranate seed oil (punica granatum), rose hip seed oil (rosa rubiginosa), vegetable glycerin, sodium chloride (mixed plant), vitamin e (mixed tocopherols), grapefruit seed extract (citrus grandis) and nothing else!
Finally, we have The Serum ($46CAD). Graydon states that ’50 pounds of fresh Canadian berries go into this [serum],’ and the array is what drew me to the product (and actually the brand itself) in the first place. Cold-pressed blueberry, cranberry, and red raspberry seed oils (the latter which contains natural SPF and is also great at combating blemishes) are mega-antioxidant powerhouses, and are high in linoleic acid (which if you recall, my skin favours) and alpha-linolenic acid. A serious source of Vitamin E by the way of tocopherol, as well as Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, rounds out the blend nicely.
The color of this oil should tell you just how concentrated and pure it is – it smells faintly of blueberries. The viscosity is a touch thick but not too much so, though the oil spreads much more easy with a damp face. Though the brand suggests mist the skin after application (?), I recommend misting first then applying the oil straight away. Sometimes I will mix the oil with the ‘Skin Stuff’ for a lighter application (though either way, I like to leave it to soak in for a bit before applying makeup). It leaves my skin feeling plump and well-protected. I tend to use this oil in the daytime to take advantage of the natural SPF benefits of the red raspberry seed oil. EDIT: I forgot to mention that this has a pump dispenser that gives you the perfect amount to apply to your face. Droppers are all well and good, but give me a pump that keeps me from over-applying any day of the week! GENIUS.
Ingredients: cold pressed blueberry seed oil (vaccinum myrtillus), cold pressed cranberry seed oil (vaccinium macrocarpon), cold pressed red raspberry seed oil (rubus idaeus), meadowfoam seed oil (limnanthes alba), grapefruit seed extract (citrus grandis) and nothing else!
Overall, my foray into the Graydon brand has been quite fruitful – though the products are quite simple in design, they still feel well thought out and are a nice addition to my routine. I like that they don’t compete with my more aggressive treatment products but rather support them without being too plain. If you’re looking to try some eco-conscious products but don’t want to break the bank, this is an excellent brand with which to start!!
FYI I bought the trio from Clementine Fields.
Have you tried Graydon products? Is your skincare routine more basic or very involved?
Remember my post about the key makeup prodz for new moms? The implied message was that all you needed was some concealer, bronzer and a subtle lip color and you’re good to go. HA. And another HA I say. While there may only be TIME to apply 3 products, the reality (for me anyway) is that you look so haggard from lack of sleep, and a bit janky from hormone-induced breakouts, that you need a wee bit more than that to look ‘normal.’ Though my skin hasn’t gone completely bat-shit crazy like it did after the miscarriage, I’ve had a few spots crop up that really reflect just how little I’m able to dedicate to self-care these days (my feet, you guys – OMG they are so dry and ragged that putting on socks is like scratching nails down a chalk board!). On top of that, I’m a little – nay, A LOT – sleep-deprived, which does nobody’s skin any favours.
Fact is, I need a little extra help in the makeup department lately. Fortuitously, 2 products have recently crossed my path that have helped do a little ‘damage control’ – Make Up For Ever’s Pro Sculpting Duo in 2 Golden ($45CAD) and their Mist & Fix setting spray ($34CAD).
As contouring has suddenly gone from being an optional step (and viewed somewhat derisively at times), to the current ‘BIG THING’ in makeup, it’s no surprise to see a true makeup artistry brand like Make Up For Ever join the ranks with their own vision of what a contour product should look like. Conveniently including both a contour shade as well as a highlight in the compact (which comes in two shades – 2 Golden for medium-deep to deep skintones, shown below with their 156 Large Flat Blush Brush [$43CAD] ideal for just this purpose; and the lighter 1 Pink Beige for fair to medium skintones), the weightless gel-powder is designed to ‘blends seamlessly for traceless highlighting and contouring.’
I was very excited to try this product, not only to try my hand at contouring (something I’ve never really done), but also because – HELLO, that powder looks beautiful! However, when I dug into the product, I was a bit disappointed, and I’m sure those of you who ‘know’ about contouring can guess why.
The color of the darker powder is too warm to be used as a contour (in my opinion). I tried it, and while it applies soft and subtle – a must, as contouring is supposed to be undetectable – it mostly looks like I used bronzer to sculpt my face, and not like I naturally have covetable cheekbones. To be fair, people have been using bronzer as a contouring product for ages, but I just feel like it should be marketed as such, you know? Nonetheless, it does make for a lovely bronzer, which is how I’ve been wearing and enjoying it.
The highlight shade, on the other hand, is as it should be, and imparts a lovely glow to the high planes of the face. Its a *touch* more frosty than I usually like my highlighting products, but not so much that I haven’t been wearing it often. It’s a particularly flattering warm golden shade on my skin – I just might not use it during the height of the summer sun.
Both powders are very smooth with an almost creamy feel, and though I sometimes feel like I need several passes to pick up enough product, this keeps one from overdo-ing either one, an easy mistake to make with these types of products. Overall, though this wasn’t exactly what I expected, I quite like it and have been wearing it frequently to give my skin that extra ‘oomph’ I so desperately need.
After bringing life back to my skin with the Sculpting Duo, the pièce de résistance is the brand’s Mist & Fix setting spray, which helps ‘lock in makeup and keep color fresh.’ I was really pleased to try this product, as I had been contemplating buying MAC’s Fix+ – I really wanted something to set my makeup and give me a bit of a dewy sheen so my makeup would look more natural. I didn’t even realize Make Up For Ever made a similar product (though I should have known!), and all the better that they do!
The spray is designed to create a ‘sweat-proof, rub-resistant barrier for fresh-looking makeup that lasts up to 12 hours.’ It also helps to increase skin’s hydration and is ‘formulated with a complex to boost oxygenation and deliver a healthy-looking, radiant glow.’ I can’t speak to the 12 hour claim (when I DO wear makeup these days, it’s only for a few hours) nor the oxygenation part (uh, sure?), but I can attest to the awesome glow this gives the skin – that kind of dewy radiance that I’ve been trying to achieve for so long is finally in my grasp! SO happy. The only beef I have with the product is the scent – kind of reminds me of bug spray or something? Not that strong, but it’s a sort of mildly unpleasant chemical smell which is a touch off-putting. But, it does dissipate and doesn’t linger on the skin, so I can live with it. Also, hooray for spray nozzles that work properly (huge pet peeve of….probably everyone, AMIRITE?!) – this mists nice and evenly on the skin.
So there you have it – two additional secret weapons I’ve been using to look like an upstanding citizen again. I feel like the days when I venture out of the house has me wearing more products than ever before! At least, the basics…I wear less fun color and more stuff to make the skin itself look better. Ah well, it’s all only temporary…and things change so quickly! Just within the past week Elena has started sleeping for longer stretches at a time (she’s also awake for a bit longer) and more deeply…which means mama gets more sleep too ;) I might be back to wearing bold lippies and fun eyeshadows sooner than I thought!