Latoya

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Homepage: http://beauty-obsessed.com/

So…I had a baby!

Cutting right to the chase, eh? ;) Well, if you haven’t been following me on Instagram, as the title suggests my sweet little babe has been born (which is why I’ve been MIA for the past few weeks)! If you’re doing the math, you may realize that she (yes, it’s a girl!) was born much earlier than her anticipated due date of March 20th. My impatient little girl arrived on February 6th, exactly 6 weeks before she was ‘scheduled.’ The story is long and convoluted, but to give you a brief synopsis – I was having some serious pelvic pressure/pain earlier in the week, which turned into what I thought *might* be contractions – but of course not having had them before, I wasn’t sure what they would really feel like! I had Ryan bring me to the hospital in the early hours of the 4th, to discover that YES, I was having contractions; but the doctors were keen to get baby girl to 34 weeks, so they gave me Adalat, a drug that stops contractions, and two rounds of steroid injections over a 48 hour period to boost her lung development. After her heart rate dropped several times over the course of the next couple days, they decided that the first day of her 34 week, February 6th, was going to be her birthday. Initially they were going to schedule a C-section for later in the morning, but her heart rate dropped again and it was suddenly game time. At 9:24am, at 4lbs even, Elena Bell Monminie was born :)

IMG_1495I get a lot of comments about the fact that I was wearing nail polish lol…it wasn’t like I painted them in preparation for her birth! Obviously they just happened to be painted :)

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Because she’s a pre-term baby (she’s not technically a ‘preemie’ at 34 weeks), she’s been in the NICU since she was born. Once I was discharged, three days after the birth (standard for C-section births), Ryan and I spent the next two days at the hospital, from 8am to midnight, and slept at home for a few hours. Unfortunately, Ryan had to then return back to work out West, so from then on I stayed at the hospital in a parent room – which is where I still am (and where I’m currently writing this post!). It’s not glamorous, and it’s easy to go a little stir-crazy in a dimly lit room with nothing to do and no one really to talk to, but I’m managing! The nice part is getting to spend my days with Elena and enjoy watching her do mundane things like stretch, frown, stick out her tongue…pretty much everything she does is amazing lol. I hit a bit of a wall yesterday and was quite ill, with chills and sweats and a massive headache – I was majorly sleep-deprived and my diet hasn’t been terrific (though my family is doing pretty well at keeping me fed) – but I see the light at the end of the tunnel, as I suspect she’ll be discharged within the week. She’s a rockstar – she’s had nothing wrong with her except for her small size and a bit of jaundice, so at this point she’s off the monitors, being breastfed exclusively (she was originally being fed through an NG tube), and she’s sleeping in the room with me :) Once she gets her weight up a little bit, we’ll be able to break free of this joint!

And now, a photo-palooza!

IMG_1514So glad that NG tube is out now!

IMG_1565She had to wear a little mask while under the phototherapy lights to protect her eyes – made it look like she was in a tanning bed ;P

IMG_1541Alert and awake!

IMG_1519This picture makes me laugh every time I look at it. She does this all the time!

IMG_1604Peek-a-boo!

IMG_1616You can really get an idea of how small she is in this photo (and how cute!).

IMG_1635They have these awesome tube tops you can stick your baby in while you wear them to get skin-to-skin contact, which is super-great for mom and baby. Love this so much.

IMG_1648Her ‘superman’ pose after a good feed lol

IMG_1680Here’s a clearer face shot…it’s still hard to capture her cute though!

So I just heard today from my nurse that it could be that baby girl is discharged today or tomorrow! This is very exciting news :)  It will be much easier to get back to posting once I’m in my own space again – and unsurprisingly, my cosmetic routine has been next to nothing, so I’m lucky if I wash my face once a day and shower every three (scandalous, I know!). I’ve left the hospital only twice – both times to go to baby showers that friends and co-workers so graciously changed around to suit my schedule – so I’ve only worn makeup twice in the past 19 days. That is most definitely a record for me! The only thing I’m religious about using is lip balm and hand cream – it is DRY up in here, my friends, and you’re required in the NICU to wash wash wash your hands constantly; needless to say, my hands are a MESS. Ah well, soon enough we’ll be out of here. Everyone keep your fingers and toes crossed for us, will you? It’s time to go home.

IMG_1688Just took this one yesterday…I’ve never taken so many photos of the same thing in my life! (oh wait, I write a beauty blog…erm, still think I’ve taken more photos of her than I ever have for any one post!)

 

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30 Days of Decluttering

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I’ve been talking for ages about trying to pare down my makeup collection, by both using things up as well as slowing down my purchasing of new products (and may I just say – I have only bought ONE color makeup item over the past three months [the YSL Golden Gloss] – that deserves an award!), but now it’s time to get serious. I’ve decided to embark on a 30 day decluttering project, in which I have to get rid of a beauty item a day for 30 days. This could mean using up an item; giving away a shade I never wear but keep hanging on to for no good reason; tossing old, expired products; etc. It includes both makeup, skin/hair care, and nail polish – basically any beauty cosmetics I own.

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To start off with a bang, these are a handful of products that I’m going to dedicate time to finishing – they’re nearly done already, and were the inspiration to start this challenge. Beginning something like this with a few products already ‘ready’ to go is a bit of a cheat, but eh – the results are still the same really, and it gives me an extra incentive to really use these up!

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I’m beginning the challenge tomorrow – Friday, January 30th – and ending it on February 28th. I plan to track my progress on Instagram daily, so you can keep up with me there – or better yet, join me! #30daydeclutter

I’m excited to get cracking on this! Skincare is easy, as I usually only have just my current rotation of products with not much duplication (eg. only a couple cleansers, moisturizers, oils, treatments etc. at a time). Makeup, on the other hand, is much harder to part with – even if it’s a shade or formulation that doesn’t really work for me. I have been slowly pulling items from my collection and really scrutinizing whether they should be there or not – no point keeping stuff that I don’t love/wear – but it’s still hard to part with products that were purchased with my hard-earned cash. I just keep telling myself that the more I let go that just doesn’t DO it for me, the more new products I can buy that do!

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Time to get ruthless….wish me luck!!

Anyone else in the process of decluttering / reducing their beauty stash?

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Miniature masks (and miniature reviews!)

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Somehow, I find myself in possession of a number of miniature-sized masks, and it came to me that perhaps before I blow through them all (their bitty sizes allow for quick empties), I should give them each a brief review. The masks in question? Peter Thomas Roth’s Cucumber Gel, Rose Stem Cell, and Pumpkin Enzyme masks (from the ‘Mini Mask Magic’ holiday set, $25CAD); Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel Sensitive (a sample my aunt put in my Christmas goodies, full size is $39US), and the Odacité Hydration Mask* (full size is $55CAD).

Mini Masks

The PTR masks offer three diverse treatments – the Cucumber Gel Mask is designed to soothe, hydrate, and detoxify dry, irritated skin; the Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask is anti-aging, and assists in repair of dehydrated, dull and sagging skin; and the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask is a powerful exfoliating treatment that boosts dull, aging and congested skin.

PTR Mini Mask MagicPTR Cucumber Gel, Rose Stem Cell, and Pumpkin Enzyme Masks

I like the gel texture of the Cucumber and Rose masks, as they seem to hydrate my combo-oily skin without feeling greasy or heavy. However, I’m not sure I notice a difference between the two – could be that I don’t require much anti-aging yet, but I use them interchangeably and with similar results. My skin after use feels soft, soothed and comfortable; I don’t notice any major radiance boost, but my skin certainly doesn’t look worse for wear either. Though I probably wouldn’t purchase full-sizes of these since I’m not sure of their true effectiveness, I like that I can use these without fear of irritation, and I would consider buying maybe another round of these minis just so I have them on hand in a pinch. It’s certainly made me want to try other gel masks at the very least!

The Pumpkin mask, on the other hand, seems to have much more ‘actives’ in it (pumpkin enzymes, AHAs, and aluminum oxide – all exfoliants), and there’s no mistake it’s doing *something* while it’s on there. When I first put the Pumpkin mask on cleansed skin, my face FEELS it. I hesitate to say it burns because that sounds scary, but it does – intensely, though somehow at the same time it doesn’t feel like it’s truly irritating the skin. My skin is fairly sensitive, but it manages to handle the burn like a champ and it doesn’t cause any lasting issue at all. The ‘burn’ only lingers for about 30 seconds before it fades away – and the mask is only to be worn for 3-8 minutes, so it doesn’t sit too long in any case. Once removed, my face looks a bit red, but that too seems to dissipate within a short while, and then I’m just left with smooth, radiant skin. I quite like this mask – it really feels like it’s deeply exfoliating my skin, and though it’s probably the most hardcore mask I’ve ever worn, it still seems to not go TOO far, even for my finnicky skin.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel

Speaking of exfoliating masks, I was keen to try this Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel mask finally, and I was happy to see it was the ‘Sensitive‘ version, as I AM usually careful to watch out for chemically exfoliating masks like these, as it can go downhill more often than not. On the whole, this refining mask felt extremely gentle – I had no reaction whatsoever, no burning sensation – and when rinsed away my skin felt smoother, though nothing crazy. It’s also designed to brighten, though I haven’t used this often enough to witness those effects just yet. I’m not fully sold, but I was happy at least that it wasn’t too intense, and I’m looking forward to trying it a few more times to see what kind of results I get.

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Finally, we have the Odacité Hydration Masque*, which I received along with some other skincare items from one of the brands ‘Fresh Collection’ sample sets. This treatment aims to rejuvenate the skin and help it look younger, healthier and more hydrated after just one use. The texture of this reminds me a lot of the Limited Edition Pai Bioregenerate Rapid Radiance Mask (review forthcoming), which is a creamy hydrating mask that feels like a thick lotion when applied. The Odacité mask is a bit different though in that once applied, it quickly turns to a liquid rather than retaining it’s cream texture, and looks quite greasy. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to clog my pores or cause any breakouts after using it, but I think this is best suited for drier skin types than mine – it contains coconut oil as one of the main ingredients, and personally coconut oil on my face is just asking for trouble. I will say though that many of the Odacité products I was sent contain coconut oil, and so far I haven’t had any breakouts anywhere, so perhaps they use a more refined type? Nonetheless, if you are an oilier skin type, I think there are probably other masks better suited to you than this one. My skin certainly felt hydrated after use, but maybe a touch more than is necessary.

So, though none of these masks have truly ‘wowed’ me, it’s been fun having a lot of options to choose from when I do a treatment, and I find because of that I’ve been doing a mask several times a week (versus usually only once or twice). I liked that the PTR Pumpkin Mask really seemed to be doing something, but the rest were more elusive in their results. One thing to note, is that my skin is in quite good condition, and so it’s often hard for me to see results from most treatments, so I may not be the best judge of what’s effective or not. I certainly think each of these masks are worth a look in any case, depending on what your skin’s needs are!

Do you have a mask that you really love? 

*Product was provided by the PR Company/Brand for my unbiased consideration.

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Trialing a few more goodies from Amie Skincare

I meant to write this post much sooner but alas, I have been delinquent. As mentioned, straight review posts don’t DO it much for me lately, and sometimes I’m hard-pressed to come up with a unique way to showcase a product. I haven’t been struck by inspiration for this post, either (sorry), but these two products deserve a mention so let’s get to it!

Amie Skincare

If you recall, I wrote a review on a handful of Amie products already – a gentle skincare line available at Shoppers (yay!) that focuses on high-quality, naturally-derived plant and botanical extracts in their formulas. This time around, I was sent their Bright Eyes Very Gentle Eye Make Up Remover, and the Morning Clear Purifying Facial Wash.

The Eye Make Up Remover contains cornflower water and chamomile to gently remove eye makeup without irritation. There is something about these cornflower-based makeup removers that I really enjoy – it’s the basis of the MaxxEffects Naturals Eye & Face Makeup Remover that I’ve been using for months now, and it’s so effective yet gentle on my eye area. I found this version to behave in the same way, so when the MaxxEffects runs out, this will be my next go-to.

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There is only one thing funny about the remover that I noticed when taking photos of the ingredients:

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Uhh….WHAT? So, you want to avoid contact with the eyes when using this EYE MAKEUP REMOVER???? I don’t get it, dudes. Nonetheless, this doesn’t cause me any irritation or issues, so maybe don’t worry about this bit too much? Still, it IS kinda strange…

Next, we have the Purifying Facial Wash. This pH balanced cleaner is soap-free and is designed to remove all dirt, oil and makeup without stripping or drying the skin. You can use it day or night, and it claims to leave your skin feeling soft, deeply cleansed and refreshed.

Here’s the ingredient list:

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Erm, so the first issue I have with this cleanser is that it’s creamy – like, REALLY creamy, guys. Not at all what I was expecting from a ‘purifying’ cleanser, though with cocoa seed butter listed as the 3rd ingredient, I’m not surprised. This reminds me a lot of Clinique’s Comforting Cream Cleanser, but maybe even a bit thicker. Clinique’s cleanser is ideal for drier skins, and is actually quite nice – it leaves the skin feeling comfortable which is imperative if you’re very dry. This gives me the same feeling – it doesn’t rinse off squeaky-clean, and leaves a hint of moisture behind after rinsing. That’s all well and good if you DO have a drier skin, but for my combination-oily skin, this is a no-go. I think this cleanser would be well-suited for drier skins with congestion or maybe suffering from breakouts – the fruit extracts are supposed to assist with purifying and decongesting the skin, as well as help tone pores and refresh skin. For me, this cleanser was just too heavy – I didn’t feel refreshed but rather a bit over-moisturized, truth be told.

The second issue I have with this is the fragrance, which is the biggest complaint I had with the products I tried in my original review. For a scent-phobe like myself, this is just too much – and ‘parfum’ is listed quite high on the ingredient list, so it’s no surprise. I didn’t use this consistently enough to notice if it would cause irritation, so I can’t say for sure if it would be a problem or not, but if you’re sensitive to fragrance in product, I would just keep that in mind. It didn’t seem to be an issue with the eye makeup remover (which also contains fragrance), but you just never know.

So – we have a hit and a miss (for me, anyway). I really wish that brands would stop putting fragrance in their products, at least to such a high degree – it really is a drawback in my eyes. I know it’s part of the enjoyment when using skincare, but I just think it needs to be used with more discretion. ~shrugs~

Have you tried Amie Skincare yet? What are your thoughts on fragrance in skincare?

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Pregnancy Update: 2 months to go!

Lately it seems that a fair number of us bloggers, as well as blog readers, are getting a little worn out with the same old thing; the same old beauty reviews just don’t seem to cut it: we want something to inspire us and to pique our interest. At least, I know I do! I love all things beauty just as much as ever, but reading about it is starting to get a bit boring, and writing about it can sometimes fall into a routine. While I do have a few ideas I’m hoping to post on over the next couple months, I’m also interested in posting more personal things as well – especially with everything going on, it’s near impossible to keep this as a beauty-only space, and once the baby comes I suspect that will only increase. I still intend to focus on beauty primarily, but I’m going to start injecting a good dose of *life* into my writing, too. ‘Write what you want to read about’, is the motto I’ve always used to generate blog content, so nothing’s really changing, I guess!

This past weekend I spent HOURS working on the baby room. I hesitate to call it a ‘nursery’ because that sounds much more formal than I’d like, and more put-together than it’s ever going to be. As we’ve STILL got the condo on the market (since June – GAH!), we’re still holding out hope that we will sell in the next couple months – but it would be a damn near miracle if we sold and were moved into a new place before the baby comes. So, it seemed a good idea to at least set *something* up for the baby, and since we had this empty spare room, well…it wasn’t a big deal to do so.

Back in November, I painted the spare room – which was a hideous honeydew melon shade left over from the last owner (since we never used the room, I hadn’t bothered re-painting it) – to the same neutral tone that’s throughout the rest of the condo. It was partly strategic, as I hoped it would help sell the place, and partly in tentative preparation for the baby.

IMG_1306Green walls, pre-paint – I know it may LOOK like a nice shade in these photos, but trust: it was NOT.

IMG_1305Gettin’ er done! 

IMG_1311 IMG_1310Et voila! Hooray for normal-colored walls :)

Shortly thereafter, we bought the crib and dresser, but the room was still completely undone, with boxes and piles of other baby bits and bobs taking up space.

IMG_1326All we had at this point were these items plus the car seat.

A couple weekends ago, a friend of mine came over to shoot a few photos of Ryan and I and ‘the bump.’ When she arrived, she suggested that we take a few photos in the baby room first before heading outside to take photos of he and I. Of course, having NOTHING done in the room at all, that idea went by the wayside – but it was an excellent catalyst to get me moving and get started on making the room more baby-friendly (and cute!).

IMG_1349This was the only decorative non-furniture item in the room when she arrived…

IMG_3562…nonetheless, she still made it work!

I am by no means a creative or stylish person when it comes to home decor. While I know what I like (and don’t like), and I think I have good taste, putting things together is definitely out of my comfort zone – I find it very challenging to imagine what might look good without seeing it already complete in front of me. I often defer to either my mother, or my interior designer friend – both extremely talented in this arena – and rarely buy much for the home because I’m too scared to take a chance and make a bad decision. However, with encouragement from my mom, I went ahead and took a few ‘risks’ (which weren’t, in fact, that risky, but hey – gotta start somewhere).

First, I had to begin with a color scheme. Preferring to not know the gender didn’t make a difference in my choice, as I’m not one who would go for an all-blue or all-pink room anyway. I know yellow is often the default for gender neutral rooms, and some people balk at the shade for that reason, but I like the bright and sunny nature of yellow. I decided to pair it with gray because the two shades go so well together, and I plan to add some splashes of aqua in there as well for fun.

IMG_0217My first purchase (with my mom’s help) – a yellow lamp :)  The stuffed rabbit was a gift from my mom early on in the pregnancy.

IMG_0214First solo risk-taking was purchasing these curtains – I wasn’t sure, but they were affordably priced, and I quite like them! They’re fun and playful. The shelving below was also a economical purchase – I had to put it together myself, which took some time. Once I can find the right shade of storage containers, I’ll stick those in 3 of these squares.

Then, I needed a theme. Several months ago, I had seen a nursery that had prints of baby animals on the wall, and I absolutely loved the way it looked. While perusing Etsy, I found a seller who had prints of all different types of animals – barn animals, forest animals, ocean ones, etc. – that were so darn cute (and affordable!) that I had to put in an order. The prints are electronic, so once you’ve paid, you receive a PDF & JPEG copy of each print you’ve purchased, which you can then get printed off like a photograph. I opted for 6 prints, which I put into white frames – 4 small frames, which I picked up from the Dollar Store, and 2 large frames which I bought from Target. After measuring and checking and measuring for what seemed like AGES (and in fact, it was ages…it’s hard doing that stuff with only one set of eyeballs!), I managed to get them up, and DAMN if they don’t look great! EXACTLY what I was aiming for :)

IMG_0220GAHHH so freakin’ cute! We went with all safari-type animals – I particularly love the monkey :)

The Dollar Store frames were designed only to sit on tabletops, so I had to do a little DYI with hanging apparatuses, another time-consuming endeavour. Well worth the effort though; I’m really pleased with the way this turned out! I purchased two framed canvas prints from Target as well, which had NO hanging mechanism at all, so the hanging process for all was a bit cumbersome. Still – decorating success!

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Once I cleaned out and/or found a home for most of the straggling bits kicking around the room, things started to look a lot better. Once we have a mattress and sheets etc. for the crib and a rocking chair, I think we’ll really be in business! I’d also like to have a floating shelf above the dresser for a couple last decorative items.

IMG_0212Still untidy and unfinished-looking without a mattress, but it’s coming along!

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Overall, it was a fun way to spend my weekend. Despite some of the extra work I had to put in, even though there’s not much going on in the room, it is still satisfying to see it coming along, and to have finally made some solid decisions on decor by myself. It’s something I do very rarely, but I feel just a wee bit more inclined to do this more often – I always wish my home looked a bit more put-together, so…baby steps! (pun not intended, ha)

Aside from the baby room, things are well. I’m in the single-digit week countdown now, and I’m still feeling pretty good – my energy hasn’t waned yet (clearly, if this post is any indication!), I’m sleeping fairly well most nights, and no major aches or pains. The only thing I’m struggling with is some pelvic pain, which happens when I walk – it’s manageable for short distances, but anything longer than 15 minutes and I’m left with residual pain and major stiffness, which is a bummer. I’ve upped my prenatal yoga to twice a week, but I’m going to have to figure out some other kind of cardio I can do aside from walking – perhaps the recumbent bike? I’ve been thinking about going swimming, but that would require me to a) buy a maternity swimsuit, and b) get wet and then go outside in the cold. Also, chlorine and my eczema are MAJOR ENEMIES so it might not be the best choice. I’m sure I’ll figure something out!

One last thing – it is CRAZY how fast you start growing once the baby starts to put on fat in preparation for the birth. Here’s a shot of me at 29 weeks…

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…and then again at 31 weeks (this pic was just taken a couple days ago):

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DUDES. That is frickin’ NUTS!! I feel like every day the baby gets exponentially bigger. I’m getting more slow-moving by the day as a result, too. I find it quite humorous most days, though I’m still not used to having to slow down so much. You should SEE the process I go through to get out of bed. Sad state of affairs LOL.

Here’s a shot I took today (which is far cuter than these bare belly shots) – just for good measure:

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My mom hooked me up with a TON of maternity clothes for Christmas, this dress being one of them. It makes it SO much easier in the mornings to get ready when you have a handful of things that fit!

So that’s the full update! Sorry for the novel, I guess I had more to say that I realized ;) All this baby stuff is so fun, and the reality of everything gets closer every day, so it takes up more and more brain space the closer we get to the big day. It’s become more real – and SURREAL – each day that passes. I’m feeling a bit of nerves with the excitement, but I also know that everything will be just fine – it will be hard at times, and exhausting, and I’m certain there will be tears and frustration, but I’m just as sure that there will also be some of the most joyous moments of our lives. BRING IT ON.

Me and Baby, Jan 10 2015

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Toeing the ‘natural skincare’ line with Boscia

For whatever reason, the last couple months of 2014 saw me researching and wish-listing non-green beauty products, though I’ve been dedicated to ‘clean’ skincare for well over a year now. I think the combination of interesting new releases plus just getting bored with my current routine (I am a fickle Gemini, after all) led me to this phase; even so, I scrutinized every ingredient list and in the end turned down a lot of potential products that just didn’t pass my ruthless inspections. One brand did make its way into my routine was Boscia, which toes the line between conventional and more ‘natural’ skincare, due to the fact that it doesn’t contain preservatives in it’s formulas. It’s also botanically-based, but that doesn’t really mean much to me – there are a ton of cosmetic lines that make the same claim (Clarins comes to mind) but they still contain fragrance and a few other ingredients of which I usually steer clear. In any case, Boscia does have some nice products that do not contain such ingredients, and so I felt confident in picking up a couple of items from the brand during the Sephora VIB sale, namely the All-In-One BB Eye Brightener w/SPF 20 ($47CAD) and the Cool Blue Hydration Essence ($60CAD).

Boscia Skincare

The BB Eye Brightener was a planned purchase, as I needed a new eye cream and was keen to pick one with an SPF. The fact that this claimed to also brighten the eye area optically (as it’s tinted, and provides sheer coverage due to the physical SPF titanium dioxide) as well as over time (via wakame, which is purported to brighten skintone and diminish dark circles) made this an easy choice for me – sleep can sometimes be elusive in pregnancy, for various reasons (finding comfortable positions, thoughts about the future, peeing every few hours, etc.), so I’ve been battling my dark circles more than usual of late.

Boscia All-In-One BB Eye Brightener

I’ve been using the Brightener regularly every morning and I like it; the texture is perfect – not too thin, but not too thick that it’s hard to smooth around the eye. It does lighten up my undereye area because of it’s BB/tinted properties, and it sinks in quickly while leaving the skin around my eyes lightly hydrated (I don’t suffer from dry undereyes). It’s not a miracle worker, however, and I don’t suddenly look fabulously rested from using this – I find most of the brightening effect comes from the tint of the cream and not from the formula itself improving my eye area over time. But honestly – what does? I have yet to find that elusive treatment that will actually lighten up my eye darkness long term (however, if you know of a product that does this – SHARE, PLEASE!!).

Ingredients: 1,2-Hexanediol, Algae Extract, Allantoin, Alumina, Arginine, Bakuchiol, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylyl Methicone, Carbomer, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Extract, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dipeptide-2, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Epilobium Angustifolium Extract, Glycereth-26, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Hydroxyethylcelluose, Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Lactobacillus Ferment, Methicone, Mica, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Panthenol, PEG/ PPG-20/15 Dimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Polypropylsilsesquioxane, Polysorbate 20, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Silica, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Sodium Chloride, Sodium PCA, Steareth- 20, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Undaria Pinnatifida Extract, Water.

The Cool Blue Hydration Essence seems to be something of a mystery to many. Designed to ‘create lasting moisturization and firmness while calming and cooling the skin,’ I picked this up on a whim – I always love a good serum, and as winter was fast approaching I figured I could use a little extra boost in the hydration department, without going overboard on my normal-oily skin. At first glance/use, this reminds me a lot of Indeed Labs Hydraluron – it sort of seems like it’s not doing anything, but I suspect it’s getting to the dehydration in a deeper, less visible way (or so I tell myself).

Boscia Cool Blue Hydration Essence

Quite honestly, I’ve been using this for about two months now, and I don’t see any huge changes in my skin – but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it! Though our winter for the most part so far has been quite mild, I’ve found that using just this and a light moisturizer on top has been sufficient to keep any flakiness or dry skin entirely at bay. It feels lovely going on – it’s quite thin and spreads easily over the skin, and leaves just a hint of a cooling sensation behind (it lasts only briefly). Leaving it to penetrate for a minute or two, I follow up with my moisturizer, and I’m good to go. I DO find that without moisturizer on top, it can leave my skin feeling a touch tight (which likely attributes to the negative reviews of this on Sephora about it being drying – but people, the instructions say to use it PRIOR TO MOISTURIZER. Cam on!).

One thing to note about this product which I found particularly interesting, is that the star compound in the essence, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate (fermented yeast filtrate), is the same top ingredient found in the cult-favorite SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. The SK-II is $131.25CAD for 2.5oz, or $52.50/oz…while the Boscia product, sized at 1.7oz, works out to be $35.29/oz. Additionally, the SK-II contains parabens, while the Boscia does not. Something things to consider, anyway!

Ingredients: Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Dipropylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol,Glycerin, Lactobacillus Ferment, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Sea Whip Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Allantoin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Caffeine, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Rose Flower Oil, Rosmarinus Offinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Water, Menthyl Lactate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Citrate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Acrylates/Vinyl/Isodecanoate Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Hydroxide.

Overall, I kind of like this step in my routine, buuuuut…I’m not sure if I’d repurchase. It’s just so hard to quantify the effectiveness of these kinds of products, truthfully!

As for the eye BB, I would potentially repurchase; I’ve been into these tinted eye creams for day for the last while (I’ll take all the help I can get), as I think that’s about as much lightening as I can expect to receive from any eye treatment, and this one does that job well, with the added benefit of protecting my eye area from the sun.

Have you tried any Boscia skincare products? What tricks or products do you use to help you look rested?

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Make Up For Ever is feeding my black liner addiction

Like most everyone else, I go through phases with things. I remember one year during university, I kept buying white clothing – white skirts, pants, dresses, blazers…you name it, I had it in white. It was my JAM. And I am a fairly careful, non-klutzy person so my white clothes stayed white (except that one time I bought a white pant suit to wear to a formal event [nothing underneath but a bra {scoundrel!}] and I got drunk and spilled a purple candle down my front…not good, my friends]. It was a good year. Strangely enough, a few years later and I found myself with hardly any white clothes, and a closet full of black. UGH! Yes, it’s classic, but honestly black is so blah – I’m still recovering from THAT phase, trying to introduce more color into my wardrobe. It’s a process.

Needless to say, of COURSE I go through phases in makeup as well. As evidenced in my 2014 purchases post, I bought a LOT of lippies last year – I was on a huge roll. But when I realized I had oodles of eyeshadows going unused in favour of a bold, bright lip, I started wearing shadows more than lipstick, and I flipped the game yet again.

MUFE Graphic Liner

Lately, though you might not know it to see me (still wearing a lot of shadows…), I’ve been on a big black eyeliner kick. When I was wearing a lot of fun lip colors, black eyeliner was the perfect companion to polish off my look without seeming overdone. Apparently, that idea has a strong hold on me, as somehow I’ve managed to amass SIX black liners over the past couple years (a bit excessive, don’t you think?). The most recent addition to my collection is one of Make Up For Ever’s newest addition to the line, their Graphic Liner ($29CAD) – an inky black liquid liner pen.

MUFE Graphic LinerMUFE Graphic Liner swatch

The Graphic Liner pen is much like any other liquid liner out there – it has a foam-tip applicator that allows for good control and the ability to draw a thin or thick line. It’s a nice, dark black – not charcoal like Rouge Bunny Rouge’s Nocturnal Ink – and it applies easily and wears very well throughout the day. If I hadn’t *just* purchased Kat Von D’s Ink Liner a month earlier, I’d be very pleased with this – it’s an exceptionally good black liquid liner that does everything is promises. However, it’s almost identical in function and form to the KVD version, and only slightly larger in size (0.03oz vs. KVD’s 0.02oz), though it’s $6 more here in Canada (KVD’s is $23). I don’t usually like to write a review on a product and compare it so plainly to another, but honestly these two are so, SO close in how they perform, down to their applicators and the color of line.

IMG_0081The tip on the Kat Von D liner is slightly shorter and thinner, but they operate exactly the same to me.

In fact, the color of the Graphic Liner is similar to most my black liners…but of course, the application of a liquid vs a gel or cream vs a pencil is not comparable at all.

IMG_4030Chanel Waterproof Liner in Noir Intense, Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Eyeliner in 1, MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner in Black, Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper, and Rouge Bunny Rouge Nocturnal Ink in Friesian

I guess what I’m saying overall is that Make Up For Ever’s offering is quite lovely, but there are other options out there that are equally as nice. If you’re a big fan of the brand (I am!), then you might choose their version over another just because. But if you already own Kat Von D’s liner, or another similar one, you probably don’t need to rush out and buy this one.

Currently, I’m trying to re-introduce the black liner to my routine in an effort to lessen the hoard…think it might take a while, hmm??

IMG_0083

What is your favourite black liner? What formula do you prefer? 

*Product provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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