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Swatching ain’t what it used to be: OPI Hawaii Spring 2015 Collection

A day after returning from the hospital with my beautiful baby girl in tow, the new Hawaii-themed spring collection from OPI landed on my doorstep. Equal parts excitement and anxiety flooded me – I mean, HOORAY! for new, fun nail polish to play with; but OHMAGERD how in the EFF am I going to swatch all these with a new babe to look after 24/7?

Basically, you swatch one shade a day until you get through ‘em all.

OPI hawaii spring 2015 collection

I must say, once I finished I felt inordinately pleased with myself. NEW MOM, WHAT!?! However, its not perfection – my cuticles and hands are sort of a wreck, leftover from washing my hands 20 times a day in the NICU and then having no time to do damage control once we got home. Meh. Guess I can’t do everything.

Ok, less talky, more showy (time is a luxury, after all!).

OPI do you take lei away swatch

Starting with my favorite from the collection, Do You Take Lei Away? is a ‘creamy nude’ that applies very well for this kind of shade, smooth and even in 2 coats, and is neutral enough (not too warm or cool) that I think it will flatter most skintones.

IMG_0323Left to right: Tom Ford Toasted Sugar, OPI Do You Take Lei Away?, OPI Maintaining My Sand-ity, Essie Jazz

I was unsurprised when I started pulling similar shades to compare against ‘Lei Away’ and discovered the closest match was a much-loved favorite, Essie Jazz. The OPI shade is just a hint more pink and less grey than Jazz and as such it looks a bit better against my skintone. My bottle of Jazz is halfway done (which means its almost finished, in polish terms), so I’m pleased to have a  sort of newer, better version to take it’s place.

OPI that's hula-rious! swatch

‘Pastel mint green’ That’s Hula-rious! is the kind of shade that I love in theory but which doesn’t always compliment my skintone. As is common with pastels, the formula is a bit streaky and needed 3 coats. The swatch above portrays it more vividly than it is – this shade was swatched during a snowstorm (one of many!!) so the natural light is much more dim and I had to overcompensate when taking the photo. The comparison photo below gives a more accurate indication of the shade.

OPI that's hula-rious! swatch comparisonLeft to right: China Glaze Re-fresh Mint, OPI That’s Hula-rious!, butter London Bossy Boots

China Glaze Re-fresh Mint is very similar, but is a smidgen lighter and less green, and the formula for it was atrocious. I far prefer this version.

OPI lost my bikini in molokini swatch

A ‘reef-inspired purple’, Lost My Bikini in Molokini feels like the perfect shade for spring – its vibrant and playful but not too bright. 2 coats were required to achieve opacity; the formula is good but not perfect and needs a tiny bit of attention to avoid streaking. This polish stained my nails a tad when I removed it, so keep that in mind.

OPI lost my bikini in molokinii swatch comparisonLeft: OPI Lost My Bikini in Molokini; Right: Rescue Beauty Lounge Mismas

I thought that RBL’s Mismas would be a close dupe to this color, but in fact it’s a few shades darker. I think I like the lighter tones of the OPI shade actually – I really like wearing colors according to seasons (so sue me) and Mismas doesn’t seem to fit into any of them, in my view.

OPI just lanai-ing around swatch

Described as a dark, creamy mauve, Just Lanai-ing Around is one of those midtone shades that I’m not a fan of – I prefer a strong contrast against my skintone. Personal preferences aside, the formula on this color is excellent and only required 2 easy coats to reach opacity.

OPI just lanai-ing around swatch comparisonLeft to right: OPI No Spain, No Gain, OPI Just Lanai-ing Around, OPI Diva of Geneva

In my mind, ‘Lanai-ing‘ was very similar to OPI No Spain, No Gain (another midtone shade I dislike), but it’s much lighter. OPI Diva of Geneva is a shimmer, of course, and in any case it’s also much darker and richer in tone.

OPI go with the lava flow swatch OPI go with the lava flow swatch

Go With the Lava Flow is a ‘golden red’ that leans coral and has a slight orange flash, which you can see only at the right angle. Normally this type of color isn’t my bag, but looking at these swatches makes me want to give it another go – it’s kind of intriguing, no? It took 3 coats to get the opacity I desired, but the polish applied well with no issues. I don’t have any shades comparable to this.

OPI aloha from opi swatch

Aloha From OPI is a ‘bright creamy coral’ that has just enough pink to keep it from being a true red. It’s been so long since I’ve worn a bright like this, it gets me in the mood for warmer weather! Though its a cream, it applied a touch streaky and I needed 3 coats to even it out to my liking. I don’t find this shade particularly unique, but it’s pretty nonetheless.

OPI hawaii spring 2015 swatch comparisons - Version 2Left: OPI Aloha From OPI; Right: Essie Come Here

A very close dupe for this shade is Essie’s Come Here, a favourite of mine. Essie’s version is ever so slightly more pink, but to me they’re essentially the same. Come Here has it’s own application issues, but I think I’d keep it over Aloha From OPI simply because I like square bottles better ;)

OPI hawaii spring 2015 collection

Halfway through, guys. At this point I was on day 7 and getting better at painting my nails between one feed, and then stealthily putting Elena down long enough to take photos between another. Swatches over showers, oh YEA.

OPI pineapples have peelings too swatch

Pineapples Have Peelings Too is…well, it’s just bizarre, what can I say? A ‘gold shimmer with colorful sparkle,’ when I pulled this shade out for the first time I was like ‘What the…?’  It is NOT pretty, you guys. Whoever thought up this shade was reaching, big time (though the name is perfect, I think). As the gold base is quite sheer, it required 3 coats to build up opacity. Interestingly enough, I actually quite like the base color, and I’m very picky about my golds (if you recall…). But the glitter bits are garish and the base covers over their sparkle to make it all look dull and blah. ME NO LIKEY (does anyone?). Obviously, this is a one-of-a-kind shade.

OPI is mai tai crooked? swatch

Is Mai Tai Crooked?, an ‘orange crème’, is one of those polarizing shades I think. Though it’s base isn’t too yellow, which can go terribly wrong on some people (like myself), it’s still not a flattering color on me. I do love the name though ;) 3 coats are needed to help even out patchiness, though if you were really careful you could probably get away with 2. Patchiness seems to plague most of the cream shades in this collection I find.

OPI is mai tai crooked? swatch comparisonLeft: OPI Is Mai Tai Crooked?; Right: Essie Resort Fling

The comparison above is a perfect example of the small nuances that can make or break a shade on my skintone. Essie Resort Fling is more peach than orange, of course, but the pink-leaning base versus the yellow-leaning one makes all the difference for me.

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Suzy Shops & Island Hops…oh how I love the look of this shade! Described as a ‘light and happy pink,’ I find this color super-flattering on my skintone. But of course, pastel shades often come with issues, and this shade needed 3 coats to even out the patchiness. But I don’t mind TOO much, because PRETTY.

OPI suzi shops & island hops swatch comparison

I must be having a pink moment, because I also love RBL’s Oh Slap!, which is close to ‘Suzy Shops’ though without as much white in the base. I’m tempted to only keep the RBL, but I really love the way the OPI looks so despite it being kind of a PITA to apply, I’ll hang on to it for a while, anyway.

OPI hello hawaii ya? swatch

Hello Hawaii Ya? is a ‘dusky purple’ and the type of color that used to appeal to me, for whatever reason. But though it works with my skintone, it’s kind of drab, and I prefer bright and punchy for spring shades. Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly, for this collection), the formula wasn’t great and I needed 3 coats to smooth out patchiness, which still didn’t fully even things out. I think this color would be lovely on a lighter or darker skintone than mine, but it veers into that ‘midtone’ territory and I have too many other polishes in which to devote my time.

OPI hello hawaii ya? swatch comparisonLeft: OPI Hello Hawaii Ya? Right: OPI Parlez Vous OPI?

I think the reason I thought I’d like this shade is because when I first got my hands on OPI Parlez Vous OPI?, I adored the way it looked on me. But my tastes have changed over the years, and now I find it looks dull and muddy. These are clearly not dupes but they’re definitely distant relatives.

OPI this color's making waves swatch

This Color’s Making Waves should look familiar… This ‘shimmery, lagoon blue’ is a pretty marine shade makes me long for summer in a big way! It’s kind of a pain though, as it needed 4 coats to reach this opacity. It’s quite thin and watery, and as it’s not terribly unique I am less than enamoured by it. I have a very close dupe in…

OPI this color's making waves swatch comparison

Chanel’s Azure. Obviously. For the nitpicky among you, they aren’t exactly the same – Azure has more green in it, and OPI’s version has tiny silver flecks of shimmer running through it to set it apart. Both have a duo chrome flash, but Azure’s is more teal-blue-green, whereas ‘Making Waves’ is more teal-blue-purple. Meh. To me they’re damn near identical, and Azure only requires 2 coats (and, um, it’s Chanel), so it’s the winner in my books!

OPI my gecko does tricks swatch IMG_1934

Finalement. My Gecko Does Tricks. A ‘bright and pearly green’ that has a sort-of orange flash in the right light (as seen in the second photo, which I took with my phone and I previewed on Instagram). I’m not a fan of green polishes generally, which I’ve mentioned on several occasions. Though I probably won’t wear this much if at all (except St. Patty’s Day and maybe Christmas), it kind of grew on me a bit – it isn’t too yellowed (blech)/saturated (due to the shimmer)/dark (and therefore murky) to turn me off, I guess. It’s almost…flattering, if you like greens. It did need 3 coats however, so there’s that.

OPI hawaii spring 2015 collection

Overall, the collection was a mixed bag in terms of formula and shades. Many of the polishes were somewhat subpar in terms of performance and some of the shades weren’t to my taste (that’s just my opinion though!). I did have some favorites though, namely Do You Take Lei Away?, Lost My Bikini in Molokini, Go With the Lava Flow, and Suzi Shops & Island Hops (despite the crappy formula).

The Hawaii Collection by OPI is available now in both nail lacquer and GelColor formulas, at professional salons nationwide as well as ULTA and Nail Polish Canada.

*Product samples were provided for my unbiased consideration.

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3 makeup products every new mom needs

During my pregnancy, I resisted the urge to buy many new makeup items, because I figured I wouldn’t have any time to really wear makeup (for a while, anyway) once the baby was born. I wasn’t wrong – especially while in the hospital I didn’t wear a lick of makeup, and most days I’m lucky if I wash my face more than once. But there are times, like when you have non-familial visitors, or when you actually venture (briefly) out of the house, that you want to look just a bit less worn out and sleep-deprived. In those moments, a handful of makeup items have been helping me boost my lacklustre appearance to semi-normal, with the minimum amount of effort and time (because honestly, when you have any ‘free’ time, you want to spend it catching up on sleep!). The trio I’ve been relying on for this purpose is concealer, bronzer, and lip stain.

new mom makeup

The Clarins Instant Light Concealer in 03 and the Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in Tan have replaced the two NARS Creamy Concealers I’d finished in January. Both are nice concealers with medium coverage – the Tarte offering is quite tacky and moist, and I find the creamy finish looks youthful and deflects light, helping me makes look less tired; it also is a very good match for my skin. The Clarins version, a lightweight concealer with a second-skin-like quality that’s currently having a HUGE moment in the blogosphere, also brightens the eye area and is suitable for other parts of the face as well (love it around my nose), but the shade is just a hint too light and grey to be perfect for me. I like and use both for similar purposes but they yield slightly different results due to their different formulas. Neither are holy grail as I still can see my dark circles peeking through…but I’m not convinced anything will obliterate them completely, anyway. #pipedream

new mom makeup

I’ve been having an on-off love affair with NARS Laguna Illuminator over the past 6 months – originally when I bought it I thought it the perfect bronzing product for someone who is already…brown (lol), just giving me some illumination with a hint of golden color. But the small specks of glitter in it really turn me off, especially in the summer when the sun is shining. However, in the dead of winter when most days are dreary and grey, this has been a go-to to perk up my skin or warm up any foundations I have that are a touch too light or cast a grey pall over my skin when worn alone. Right now, it’s been a quick way to both give my skin some much-needed color plus add back some radiance – it can be blended with fingers in seconds. If I have a few more minutes to spare, I’ll layer a bit of Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzing Powder (previous review here) on top for extra color and glow.

new mom makeup

Finally, the last touch to my quick and dirty perk-me-up routine is a bit of lip color, which can be applied on the go at any time, like when you’re trying to manhandle your baby into submission lovingly carrying your wee one around. A lip stain is a good choice if you can’t manage reapplication, though I find a low-maintenance lip product is probably the one item I CAN find the time to slap on here and there, so I always have something (often just balm) handy. YSL’s Glossy Stain in Corail Aquatique is a good option because it leaves color behind even as it wears, and is a soft shade that doesn’t need a mirror to apply.

If I have a full 10 minutes to do my makeup, I’ll throw on some mascara and groom my brows a bit – but the luxury of that much time occurs infrequently. I could never understand before becoming a mother why other mothers never had enough time to do things that take just a few extra minutes, but now I get it; it’s because those ‘few extra minutes’ could be spent, oh I dunno – brushing your teeth, changing your underwear, EATING, daydreaming about sleeping. I’m learning how to do so many things with just one hand, it’s getting quite impressive. I thought I was an excellent multi-tasker before; I am a WORLD CLASS, GRADE-A MULTI-TASKER now!

IMG_0306Gratuitous photo of my sweet little girl

Do you have any time-saving makeup tips? To all the moms out there – how did you manage your time?

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Make Up For Ever gives ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ a touch of class

When I was in New Zealand, I spent a lot of time traveling around on a bus. To pass the time, I read a handful of books, two of them being part of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. There are a couple points to note here: I only read two of the three books; and I read more than one of the books only because at that time I had nothing else to read. Are you getting the picture yet? Quite honestly, I found the ‘Fifty Shades’ books ridiculous – the sexy bits were repetitive and silly, and I actually started to skip over them to get to the ‘meat’ of the novel. I struggled to get through the second book, and I had NO desire to read the third novel and find out how Christian and Anastasia ended up.

NEVERTHELESS. This should not be taken to mean that I will not give a ‘Fifty Shades’ themed makeup collection my full attention and appreciation – particularly one from a favourite brand of mine, Make Up For Ever. The Fifty Shades of Grey Give In to Me make-up coffret ($90CAD) by the brand is especially worthy of a serious look – even though I could take the books as anything but!

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The kit contains a handful of Make Up For Ever’s most iconic products: their popular Smoky Extravagant mascara (review here – though please note that while my original review was less than stellar, the one in this set is quite lovely!), their new Graphic Liner (review here), two natural-hued lip products – a Lab Shine Lip Gloss in D14 (a shimmering indian pink) and a Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N4 (a pink-beige), and four neutral shades of the exquisite Artist Shadows, in I-514 (‘pink ivory’), S-556 (‘taupe grey‘), ME-612 (‘silver brown,‘ previous review here), and I-628 (‘reptile‘ {WUT?}).

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The Artist Shadows have been taking the beauty world by storm, and for good reason – they’re silky, smooth, pigment-rich and come in a vast array of colors and textures. The shades in this set are neutral but not boring and are all very different, so a variety of looks can be created (sometimes I find palettes like these contain shades that vary by only a fraction). I also enjoy that the palette can be worn by both cool or warm skintones – both the highlight shade (I-514) and crease/liner shade (I-628) are tonally neutral, with the taupe shade (S-556) leaning just a touch cool, and the shimmering brown shade (ME-612) warm. Lastly, can I just say that it’s so nice to see a palette like this in which the shadows are still as good quality as you would find if you bought them singularly (*cough* MAC, I’m looking at you *cough*)?

IMG_0294 IMG_0234Clockwise from top left: I-514 (‘pink ivory’), ME-612 (‘silver brown’), I-628 (‘reptile’), and S-556 (‘taupe grey’)

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The lip colors are complimentary to the shadows, both MLBB shades that would work with most looks and on most skintones. The Rouge Artist Natural lipstick in N4 is a pretty shade of dusty rose, and the formula (previously reviewed here) is comfortable and lightweight, with a softly creamy finish. The Lab Shine lip glosses, here in D14, are some of the only glosses I’ve ever finished (previous shade reviews here and here) – in part due to their beautiful shine and wonderfully moisturizing qualities, and in part because they’re kinda small at 0.09oz (a YSL gloss by comparison is 0.2oz). I don’t mind much as it’s quite gratifying to finish a makeup item! – but something to note all the same. You can see below that in just using this regularly for the past few days that it’s already on it’s way to being used up.

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Below are swatches of the shadows and lip colors!

MUFE 50 Shades of Grey Makeup Coffret swatchesLeft to right: [Shadows] I-514 (‘pink ivory’), S-556 (‘taupe grey’), I-628 (‘reptile’), and ME-612 (‘silver brown’); [Lipstick] N4 (pink beige); [Lipgloss] D14 (shimmering indian pink).

MUFE 50 Shades of Grey Makeup Coffret swatchesClose up of Rouge Artist Natural in N4 and Lab Shine Lip Gloss in D14. 

Overall I think this kit is kind of awesome, and I’m not really one for makeup sets like this. Every item is a stand-out, and the palette is extremely wearable and appealing. If they had included a blush I would have died and gone to heaven! If you haven’t tried the brand yet, this would be the opportune moment to do so – though I see that this set is no longer on the Sephora website, so my apologies if I just created a lemming you can’t fulfill! I would definitely head to your local store to see if you can still score the set – but if you can’t, happily all of these shades are in the permanent line-up, so though it’s not a ‘deal’, you can still grab any shades/products that have caught your eye!

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The moral of the story? Even if you weren’t a fan of the books, don’t let that deter you from looking at Make Up For Ever’s take on the ‘Fifty Shades’ franchise – theirs is probably the best thing to come from the phenomenon, hands down!

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Did you read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy? Will you see the movie? 

*Product(s) were provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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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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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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Quickie Post: Rescue Beauty Lounge Oh Snap! swatches

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I’m trying to clean up any lingering photos I have kicking around that I haven’t yet posted, start the year off fresh. I actually am feeling a bit more inspired lately so hopefully that translates into some interesting stuff for you guys to read/see! But I gotta do a little housekeeping first :)

Last year there were some pretty good promos coming from Rescue Beauty Lounge – free shipping being one of them. Almost every time Ji offered free shipping (I think it happened at least 3 times), I ended up picking up a shade or two; I just couldn’t resist. Truth be told, I’m actually not a HUGE fan of some of her shades – they’re a little too ‘out there’ for me at times (guess I’m boring like that) – but her formula has always been spot on, if nothing else. Over the course of the year I picked up 3 shades: Stormy, a moody grey creme; Mismas, a bold purple creme; and most recently, Oh Snap!, a girlish pink crelly. I have yet to wear any of these shades as full manicure yet (shame on me), but I hope to rectify that very soon. However, I already have a favorite – Oh Snap is such a feminine, pretty pink that I can’t resist it’s charm.

RBL Oh Snap! swatch

This is 3 coats, and though you can still see VNL, I don’t mind it at all. It flows on the nail so nice and evenly that the sheerness doesn’t seem to detract from the polish itself (in my humble opinion). It’s just so darn gorgeous!

As always, I checked for dupes in my existing collection, and was nervous at first because another RBL polish I own, Poco a Poco, seemed mighty close to Oh Snap! in the bottle. However, when applied, the two are definitely different. While they run in the same color vein, Poco a Poco is completely opaque, and leans a bit greyish. Additionally, Poco a Poco has very fine reddish shimmer, whereas Oh Snap! is just one creamy tone.

Below you can see the differences clearly; Oh Snap! is on my index and ring fingers, Poco a Poco is worn on my middle and pinky.

RBL Oh Snap! vs Poco a Poco swatchDirect sunlight.

IMG_4023Shade.

RBL Oh Snap vs Poco a PocoArtificial light.

I think Oh Snap! is going to be THE perfect shade to wear come spring (though it’s suitable for any season, really), and I can’t wait to pull it out again and again. It’s a great shade that would go with a lot of looks but isn’t too neutral or boring in the least. Now all I need to do is just WEAR it already!!

Do you own any RBL polishes? What are your thoughts on the shades in general?

 

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