Archive for category Clinique

My new favourite base combo with Clinique and Benefit

Yikes! It’s been like, two weeks since I last posted…my bad! I find time gets away from me SO easily these days, and it’s not all baby planning. I’ve mentioned before all the extra-curriculars I’ve been partaking in, but (somewhat) happily, one of those has been wrapped up for the time being – my evening French classes have ended and I don’t plan to sign up for any more (I’m still taking lessons during work hours so hopefully that’ll keep me moving forward), so that’s one extra night a week I’ll have to do with as I please. Admittedly, this will probably involve a book and some tea most of the time, ha – I’ve been doing a TON of reading, like it’s going out of style. I just don’t know how much time I’ll have come mid-March (my guess is: ZERO) so I’m getting it all in now.

Nonetheless, rest assured that even if you don’t see me churning out a ton of posts, I’ve still got beauty on the brain! I scored a pretty large haul during the Sephora VIB sale (which I’ll be showing you soon), and I’m employing every trick in the book to really capitalize on the ‘pregnancy glow’ – I don’t really see it myself, but I must be faking doing something right because I’ve been told several times that I’ve got it in spades. Hopefully its being said in a positive way and they’re not referring to me looking like a grease ball O_o  I’m *fairly* certain that’s not the case, as I’ve got a new routine going that I’m really loving! Neither product is new, nor even really new to me, but I started using them together and it’s like a match made in heaven. The duo I’m referring to is Benefit’s The POREfessional and Clinique’s Stay Matte Oil-Free Makeup (in shade 19 Sand).

Clinique Stay Matte and Benefit The POREfessional

I’ve used both of these products on their own separately before, but wasn’t terribly wowed by either. Benefit’s primer seems much like every other, blurring the look of pores with a light, ‘cone-based formula; the Stay Matte formula from Clinique’s foundation range is a great choice for combination to oilier skin that requires little coverage (it’s quite sheer), but it doesn’t keep my skin from getting shiny throughout the day. However, the two together just seem to work. The Benefit primer slightly mattifies my skin (I apply it through the T-zone) and the foundation glides seamlessly on top and manages to leave my skin with only a healthy glow by the end of the day – and this is without applying powder on top!

This has been my go-to pairing for the last month or so – I’m always trying to achieve a ‘glow’ that doesn’t veer into disco-ball shine, and I’ve finally found the trick with these two products. If you’re looking for a completely matte finish, neither of these products, together or separately, will give you that look. But if you have skin like mine that tends to get a low-level shine factor by mid-day, you might want to check them out to keep the oilies at bay without sacrificing that ever-elusive healthy glow.

Clinique Stay Matte and Benefit The POREfessional

What’s your favourite primer + foundation combo?

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Clinique Cheek Pops in Berry Pop and Peach Pop {a delayed review}

Though I’ve worked for Clinique since 2005 (almost 10 years, crazy!), I’ve never been head over heels for their makeup – it’s always been a bit too mundane for me, a bit too soft. Ever since they re-launched and re-vamped the super-popular Chubby Sticks (we used to have them back in the day, did you know?), Clinique has been upping their makeup game, and I’ve been taking notice. In my last gratis from Clinique back in early spring, I ordered two Cheek Pops ($24CAD) to try as I had read so many great reviews on them, and since I was getting them for free – hey, why not? Being a *wee bit* into blush, I was excited to try these out.

IMG_1908 IMG_1905Left – Peach Pop; Right – Berry Pop. This is what they looked like when I first bought them…

IMG_3749…and what they look like now!

The two shades I went with were Peach Pop, a peachy-orange, and Berry Pop, a fuchsia-berry shade. As I discovered a while ago, fuchsia is kind of my JAM, and so I was unsurprized to find that Berry Pop looked lovely on my skin. Interestingly, the shade isn’t comparable to anything else I own – all my other fuchsia shades were MUCH cooler, whereas Berry Pop is, well – more berry!

IMG_3752Clinique Berry Pop

IMG_2018Clinique Berry Pop (natural light)

Orange-y tones however, are not often flattering on my skin tone, and Peach Pop initially seemed like a poor choice, as I found it looked kind of dull and blah. I stuck it in my train case (where all my ‘extra’ makeup is stored) and forgot about it throughout the rest of spring and summer months.

IMG_3751Clinique Peach Pop

IMG_2019Clinique Peach Pop (natural light)

When September hit, I did my annual rotation of makeup products – which I tend to do every season, and sometimes more if I’m feeling bored – and I decided to give Peach Pop another go, as I felt it’s soft peachy tones would work well with earthy, fall-appropriate shades, as well as not compete with any bold eye or lip looks I tend to favour during this season. Surprizingly, for whatever reason, I fell madly in love with the shade this time around, and find myself reaching for it the most out of my edited collection of ‘fall’ blushes. It gives a wonderful ‘fresh’ glow to my skin and wears equally well with heavier makeup as with very simple, basic looks. I should have known better, in truth – Peach Pop is very similar to Chanel’s Blush Creme in Revelation, which I love and wear the heck out of when my tan has faded (it’s too soft to wear otherwise).

IMG_1209 IMG_1208Left – heavy and buffed swatches of Peach Pop; right – heavy and buffed swatches of Berry Pop (in sunlight)

I must attribute some of this new-found love to my friend Larie, who recently discovered peach herself. She always gets me thinking outside the box!

IMG_1218Wearing Clinique Peach Pop…sorry for the less than stellar photo, it has been overcast for the past few days, and late afternoon sun can by tricky! But FYI – this photo was taken with my new iPhone 6! Not a bad shot when you think of it that way, eh? The camera on it is pretty sweet :)

Though I haven’t worn Berry Pop too often (to me it’s a more winter/spring shade), I suspect I will enjoy it just as much as Peach Pop when the time comes. These blushes are fool-proof to apply, going on softly and subtly if you so desire, but building up to a beautiful bold color if that’s your preference instead. I adore the satin finish that imparts a soft glow to the skin without any shimmer whatsoever (this is my favorite blush formula), and they blend out like a dream. And as much as I’m not a ‘cute-sy’ person when it comes to packaging, I think these little pots are adorable! Love the clear glass packaging, bypassing anything tacky or twee-looking, and the flower pattern inside is intricate and sweet without being saccharine.

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I probably should have written about these a long time ago, eh!?

What was the last product you bought that ended up being a sleeper hit for you?

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Final Empties Post of 2013!

Woohoo!  My last empties post of the year.  As these are always lengthy (because I am too damn chatty) (and even though I just did one last month…how do I use up products so quickly?), I’m going to get right to it.

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Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Conditioner – I do like the Organix conditioners, and this worked quite well to hydrate and detangle, but I preferred the heaviness of the Macadamia Oil version to this.  Smelled DELICIOUS in the summer though!

Earth Science Deep Conditioning Masque – 2nd tube of this, and I still feel the same as I did when I first tried it.  It’s really good shit, dudes.  For $13CAD, it’s one of the best deep conditioners I’ve ever used, and to top it off – all natural!  If I were so fickle I’d buy another tube, and I still may…I’m just too curious to settle *just  yet* ;)

Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil – I really liked this oil a lot, much better than the Ojon Restorative oil that preceded it.  It just had a great consistency and smell, and it never irritated my scalp or caused any breakouts around my forehead, which can happen with products like this.  Good stuff, and lasted AGES.

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Haus of Gloi Komodo Pumpkin Butter – don’t mistake mangosteen for mango, my friends – NOT THE SAME.  I found the scent of this quite intrusive and it has this slightly rotten fruit smell…so ya, just not diggin’ it.  So, I used it as a foot cream!  Problem solved.

Nutiva Coconut Oil – great stuff.  I used this as my primary body moisturizer throughout last spring/summer and it was awesome – it really kept my skin in great condition, prevented eczema flare-ups and helped heal old scars that I sometimes get from past eczema patches, which tend to result in the absence of pigmentation.  However, once the weather cooled it wasn’t quite enough, so I would either layer it with a moisturizer, or use it in my hair periodically as a deep treatment.  I’ll definitely be picking up another tub of this – so many uses! However, keep in mind that coconut oil is highly comedogenic – except when it’s in the form below:

Fractionated Coconut Oil – fractionated oil is non-comedogenic, perhaps due to having had all it’s triglycerides removed.  It has a super-long shelf life and increased stability, and it’s antioxidant potential is more jacked up than regular coconut oil.  It’s also in a TON of things and usually listed as ‘caprylic/capric triglyceride.’  My roommate had left this behind when she moved so I used it up – it was a lot easier to use than the solid coconut oil (though a bit messier at times) but I found it slightly less moisturizing on my body.

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Getting through my non-organic products!  I’ve only got a few last products and a couple straggler samples to get through and I’ll be essentially fully ‘green’, woot!

eos Lip Sphere - this balm works really well and was exceptional under lipstick, offering just enough hydration without much slip, but honestly the size of it sometimes felt very cumbersome.  It’s a cute novelty, but not the most practical – though I do maintain that they’re terribly easy to find in your purse!

Indeed Labs Hydraluron – I’m sure this does have a purpose, but I don’t think I have dry or dehydrated enough skin to see a difference.  I don’t miss it.

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector – this stuff does work well, for those of you not concerned about using non-organic products.  I really do like serums because you can pile them on and they generally don’t have heavy moisture to the skin which can make you greasy as the day wears on.

RoC Soft Smoothing Scrub – too gentle for my liking, though this is a good choice for a morning cleanser just to wash the night’s oils off, or as a second cleanse.  But as a ‘scrub’?  No thanks.  One more non-organic product down!

Avene Thermal Spring Water – I love misting my face before applying any serums or oils, as it just feels good to seal the moisture in…but paying for water in a can kinda irks me.  I far prefer the facial mists with a little bit extra in them, like hydrosols etc. that add something more.  Right now I’m using Kahina Giving Beauty’s Facial Mist and I quite like it (though its just so darn SMALL at 1.6oz for $46CAD…ouch!).

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Samples!  Lots of good organic stuff here.  The Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Oil is excellent for keeping oily, pore-clogged, acne-prone skin in check.  I don’t have the latter, but I do get clogged pores on my nose and cheek area, and I found the sample really refined my skin nicely.  I actually just purchased the full-size last week!  I tried the new Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Body Serum this past weekend, and while it worked nicely on my skin, the scent it NOT for me – far too spicy and heady for me.  I’ll stick with my Lina Hanson Global Body Serum, thanks.  The Soapwalla Deodorant sample lasted ages, and I enjoyed it so much I purchased it last week as well – it smells awesome and actually works a treat, even on wetness!  It’s not entirely as effective as traditional antiperspirants, but for every day wear its perfect and I really like it a lot.  I thought the Pai Chamomile & Rosehip Sensitive Skin Cream was gonna be my JAM for the dry patches I get sometimes from my eczema, but it sometimes made my skin itch a bit rather than soothe it, so I’ll have to keep looking for a nice nighttime hydrating cream.  M.J.’s Calendula Cream on the other hand, was a freakin’ miracle product – this honestly cleared up my eczema overnight on my hands, which tends to be a persistent problem for me.  I ended up buying a similar product from the local market, but I’m not sure it’s *quite* as effective, though I do like to support local.    The Eminence Blueberry Soy Exfoliating Cleanser was a strange product.  I used it as either a morning or second cleanse and I didn’t notice any exfoliating, and it left a slight film on my skin so I’d recommend using a washcloth to remove it.  Not something I’d spend my money on, overall.  The Rahua Shampoo was fine, but I didn’t enjoy the smell at all, and to spend $$ on a shampoo that I don’t love is just not gonna happen.  One of our local high-end department stores here, Mills, will soon be stocking the organic brand Babor, and the SA’s gave me a few samples of this Calm & Relax Cream to try.  It was pretty great, truth be told!  I used it after doing an intense masque treatment, and it was soothing and hydrating without being heavy at all.  I just may purchase a full-size when the line becomes fully available.  Finally, another Eminence sample I snagged was this Red Currant Rapid Infusion Masque…suffice to say it was a total dud.  I have no idea what it was supposed to do, but I wasn’t wowed.  PASS.

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Le makeup.

Sephora She Sparkles Gloss – decent gloss formula, decent shade.  Despite the fact that I didn’t love it, I actually used this up fairly quickly in the grand gloss scheme of things.  Huh.

NARS Gold Digger Gloss sample – HATE the brush on these Larger Than Life glosses, uh.  So. Tiny!  I liked the shade well enough, but the formula isn’t my favourite – similar to MAC lipglasses, which means they wear fairly well, but I’m not a fan of the stickiness.  It still looks quite full here but I wasn’t getting any more product, so out it goes.

Marc Jacobs Blacquer Mascara – this was such a weird product, like webbing for the eyes!  I loved that it had this kind of patent-leather shine, but it applied horribly and made a total mess of my lashes every time.  Yuk.

MUFE Eyeshadow #17 Espresso – I thought I’d use this a ton and then hardly did.  Then I dropped it and it crumbled, and then honestly, I just was OVER IT.  Plus, I now have a similar shade in my Laura Mercier palette, so I don’t NEED YOU ANYMORE.  *I really hate broken makeup!*

NARS Pro Prime Pore-Refining Primer – this was just meh.  I used it regularly for a couple weeks to use it up, and I wasn’t wowed – I still got shine after a few hours, and though my makeup wore a bit longer, it wasn’t anything to write home about.  Plus, non-organic…I’m not totally converted to organic makeup (or at all, really) but primer is like skincare, so I don’t think I’d buy this even if it did work well.

Marie Veronique Organics Everyday Coverage – the darkest shade offered is still too light for me, so this was a no-go.  Bummer, as I’ve ready a lot of great things about it!  Can’t beat coverage plus SPF in one.

I’m now finished my empties for the year!  I was going to do a tally in each category, but honestly that’s just too much damn work LOL.  Suffice to say, I feel really good about how many non-organic products I’ve used up, and I’m pretty stoked that I used up a whole gloss (and a half!) – I’ve been trying really hard to use up any lip products that are at least half-gone, because they’re much more feasible to finish (as opposed to blush…let’s not go there).  I’m going to make a real effort next year to cull my stash to only products I really love – I know I’ve said this before, and I continue to make progress, but I think next year will be THE year.  I’m loosening my grip on keeping things because they ‘should’ work or because they were expensive and therefore I have to use them.  I just want to pull out any shade of any product and be like ‘Yep, looks great’ with minimal effort.  I learn more and more what looks good on me and what doesn’t.  And also, it’s a lot easier to reduce the stash when you focus all your effort / money on skincare!!  I certainly haven’t saved a dime not buying makeup, because organic skincare costs a pretty penny in many cases, but the whole ritual of applying oils etc. is really up my alley, so I don’t mind.  And less makeup means less anxiety in that area – I never overbuy skincare so I never have to worry about having too much of that!

So, out with the old (thinking) and in with the new (skincare, not makeup).  Now I need to put my 2014 resolutions to paper!

How did your empties go this year?  Do you think your reducing or expanding?  

 

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Empties, Empties, Everywhere!

I am terrible at keeping up with these posts…honestly, I should probably just give up!  But NO.  I will persevere, because SOMEONE has to see that I am not only continuously exercising my strong consumerist muscle, but also actually using shit up (and possibly at a faster rate than I’m buying, which is the ultimate goal).  And so here we go again.

Many products means we’ll jump right in lest we be here all night.  To begin, let’s start at the exciting end – the makeup.

IMG_0703Left to right: Clinique Lash Doubling mascara (sample), Fresh Sugar Honey Lip Treatment, Clinique High Impact mascara (sample), Make Up For Ever Star Gloss Diamond Collection in S0, Clinique High Impact + Bottom Lash mascara (sample), Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant mascara, Guerlain Maxi Lash D’Enfer (sample).

I actually quite like all of Clinique’s mascaras and it has nothing to do with me working for the brand.  I just find they go on nicely, don’t dry out too fast, and stay on all day while washing off easily at night.  I always seem to have a lot of samples because I get a free gift every time I work a GWP.  I don’t mind one bit ;)

After I determined that the fragrance in the Fresh lip balms cause my lips to be perpetually chapped, I hardly used this for close to a year.  Then I decided I just wanted to get rid of it, so I used it like crazy down to a nub and then tossed it.  Not sorry to see it go, even though the shade was a nice nude that looked good with a variety of looks.  The MUFE gloss seemed to finish extremely quickly so I question it’s size, but I’m not complaining – another lip pie down!  The MUFE mascara ended up not being so bad as I thought it might be in my original review, but I still didn’t love it and was happy to see that it was drying up.  The Guerlain mascara was CRAZY clumpy and annoying and scented and just NO.  Buh bye.

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Above are two concealers I’ve had for well over 3 years a piece (possibly 4 for one) that I was tired of trying to ‘use up.’  The NYX Concealer in a Jar was decent but the shade wasn’t great except when I was tanned and could use it under eye.  The other pot there is theBalm Time Balm, and it was OK but too pink.  I checked both shades recently in natural light and was like ‘NO MORE’ so out they go!  The other two little pots there were samples of foundation – the one with ‘MJ’ on it was the Marc Jacobs foundation, which I actually liked a fair bit and would possibly purchase.  Not right now though, not until I use up at least 3 of the 5 or 6 I have kicking around :S  There are some Becca foundation samples in the back there that were just too dark for me – toss.  Finally, we have the pièce de résistance – the NARS Loose Powder I bought back in 2010 that JUST WON’T DIE.  So very, very done with this!

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There’s still some dregs in there but I don’t care, I’m OVER IT.  Also finished is the MUFE HD Powder that I got in a kit probably two years ago – POOF!  Hence why I was justified in buying the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette :)

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Ok. that’s it for the makeup.  I’m trying to slog through a few other makeup items that I’m hoping will be done in the next couple months.  Wish me luck!

Next, we have skincare.  Oodles and oodles!

IMG_0715Clockwise from top left: Clinique Moisture Surge Intense (sample), MD Formulations Moisture Defence Antioxidant Hydrating Gel, Clinique Even Better Eyes, Boscia Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF15 (sample), Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream, Clinique Moisture Surge (sample)

The Clinique Moisture Surge original is a great aloe-based hydrator that just feels good on the skin.  It doesn’t treat dry skin long-term but it’s great for oilier skins like mine that just need a little somethin’ somethin’.  However, I DO NOT LIKE the Intense version, and I actually think it does funny things with my skin.  If I get any more samples of it I’ll be passing it along.  The MD product was great, as previously mentioned; the Even Better Eyes product was OK but didn’t blow my mind so I’d never spend my own money on it.  I think I liked the Boscia lotion, but my skin was getting irritated for some reason by something (I think it might be the sample I had of the UD foundation but not sure) and I was using this at the time so I’m hesitant to buy the full size. Lastly, I always like the Neutrogena cream and it’s a cheap and effective retinol product (albeit quite gentle).

Then we have the cleansers and exfoliants:

IMG_0718Clockwise from top: Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, Vichy Purete Thermale (sample), Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover (sample), REN Glycol Lactic Masque (sample), Kiehl’s Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion

Another Clinique product line that I enjoy is the Take the Day Off (TTDO) products. Every time I get a sample of the TTDO eye makeup remover I’m glad to have it on hand, as it’s effective and gentle. The cleansing balm is great at getting off all makeup and sunscreen, and rinses off well without drying out the skin.  I probably wouldn’t use my own money to buy either, but that’s mostly because I sort of feel like all Clinique products should be free for me LOL.  The Vichy cleanser was OK for makeup-less skin, but otherwise meh.  The REN masque that everyone loves?  Not for me, really…it’s kinda scary on my sensitive skin, and I’ve since used other masques that blow my mind and work much better without any irritation at all (hint: La Bella Figura’s Bio Active Healing Mask.  Get it.  SOO GOOD.  Review forthcoming).  Lastly, the Kiehl’s scrub I got in a swap, and it was right around the time that I was over-exfoliating my skin in a bad way, which took a good year and a half to recover from.  Once I did, this was a nice product to buff the skin smooth but it is quite intensive, so I’d never repurchase and would caution against it for less hardy skin.

Now for my pile of organic samples and one full-sized organic product!

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I’ll start with the Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Eye Treatment.  This was one big MEH from me.  Didn’t do any harm, but it didn’t do anything that wowed me either.  It didn’t feel nearly as lovely as the Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum sample I tried (above) which lasted me long enough to know that its GREAT and I will be buying it as soon as I use up my 10238 eye creams (or…5.  Still.  TOO MANY).

As for the other samples…lets divide them according to ‘awesome and will buy’ status or ‘save your money’ piles.  In the latter, we have May Lindstrom’s Youth Dew and the Problem Solver (too heavy / too messy), Lina Hanson’s Global Face Serum (odd smell, too heavy), Rahua Conditioner (odd smell, not heavy enough, and full-size is PRICEY at $34!), and the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (didn’t feel it did much of anything).  In the ‘awesome’ pile, the Babor body cream felt lovely on my dry body skin, with zero reactions; the One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin B Cleansing Oil takes off all traces of makeup, and rinses clean away without a cloth or left-over residue (though I still don’t love the strong fruity smell); the Kahina Giving Beauty Brightening Serum felt great going on, with no reactions, and though I didn’t have enough to get a full test, will likely be purchased in the near future; the aforementioned Eye Serum by Kahina; and Lina Hanson’s Global Body Serum (which I DID purchase and wrote about here).

You may notice I skipped a few samples….those would be in the ‘what the heck do I feel about these?’ pile – I just haven’t made a full decision on them yet and more samples may be required.  I only got one use out of the Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser so I can’t make any kind of judgement on it at all, sadly.  I really want to love May Lindstrom’s The Clean Dirt and I don’t feel like I got a good trial run with it, so I might try it out again and see how I feel the second time around.  The OLO Active Moisture Vitamin C Serum seemed great in some ways (it gives a FABULOUS glow), but it was another product I was using while my skin was getting a little irritated a while ago, so it’s possible this was the culprit.  Finally, OLO’s Easy Does It cleanser is a nice price at $29 for a big bottle, and can be used on face, body and hair (yay dual-purpose!), but I felt it might have been irritating to my skin (also using during that funny time period).  Probably all of those things I was using then I’ll have to re-try separately to weed out which was the baddie.

Wowza!  Thats a lot ‘o samples, yes.  We’re almost done folks, I hope you’re still with me!  We now come to body products.

IMG_0726Clockwise from top left: Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm, Organix Coconut Milk Hibiscus Creamy Body Wash, Kniepp Lavender Herbal Bath Soak, A-Derma Exomega Body Cream (sample), Haus of Gloi Aether Pumpkin Butters (x3), and Burt’s Bees Lemon Cuticle Balm 

Alrighty.  Clinique’s After Sun is a fave of mine that I just enjoy using in the summer after being out in the sun.  Soothing, cooling, and repairing.  The Organix body wash I liked so much I bought a second which I’m just finishing up now.  I probably won’t repurchase though where it’s still quite scented.  It didn’t seem to irritate but I should still watch what I’m using carefully.  The Kniepp soak I could never actually SOAK in (fragrance is right up with the first ingredients), but I used this for soaking my feet and its was lovely.

More evidence of my Haus of Gloi love with 3 jars gone; the A-Derma cream was actually quite nice, very hydrating and one of the few fragrance-free products from a line that designed for sensitive skin (WTF?!  You’d be surprised how often that happens, actually); lastly, my final jar of the Burts Bees cuticle balm, which I always enjoy.

Right, so let’s wrap this up eh?  The grand finale – hair products:

IMG_0725Left to right: Living Proof Satin Hair Serum (sample), Bumble & Bumble Texture styling cream, Desert Essence Coconut Conditioner, TIGI Bedhead Catwalk Curls Collection Curls Rock Amplifier (longest name of life!), Schwartzkopf Extra Care Deep Nutrition Shampoo, OJON Restorative Hair Treatment

The serum – meh.  Not notable to me.  The conditioner – smelled AMAZING and worked fairly well on my curly mop.  The fragrance seemed to be naturally sourced.  The TIGI product was actually really great – just a small pea size was needed and it controlled my hair well without being crunchy.  Lasted AGES too.  But I’m in the process of looking for an organic replacement, so…  The Schwartzkopf shampoo was a left behind product by a friend while in NZ.  Yes I’ve had it that long and just finished it!  What, I don’t shampoo often lol.  It was OK but I don’t think they sell it around here even if I wanted to repurchase (I don’t).  And lastly, the OJON treatment.  I remember getting a full size of this crap back in the day when it was a big deal and thinking it was just great.  I am SO over this brand now it’s not even funny, and my aunt keeps giving me more and more of it, ugh.  At least this was just a sample!

~nudges self awake~ OK So we’re done, yes!?  Woot!  Not only are these hard to get through, I know, but they’re hard to write! (at 10pm on a Sunday night, no less!).  Nonetheless, I’m glad I got ‘er done.  I hope it was *somewhat* helpful/interesting??  If not…well, maybe it will serve as a sleeping aid ;)

And with that, I bid you adieu!  Till next time, my friends.

How are your empties coming along???

 

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Going Green: Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without

I’m in a mood guys.  Or rather, a mode – a research mode.  I have spent that past several days doing MUCHO investigation into different ‘green’ brands and the products they offer, trying to weed through them all (they all sound FABULOUS) to find the right ones for my skin needs and type.  In doing so, I realized a few things: 1) I don’t make enough money to fund this new-found obsession, and 2) I better start using up what I currently have that doesn’t ‘fit the bill’ so to speak, before I go all shopaholic and buy every last amazing organic product out there.  Thankfully, as mentioned before, that pile is not TOO large.  Let’s take a look!

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CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser: This cleanser is really lovely – non-foaming (which also means non-stripping) and gentle and leaves me skin feeling soft and supple due to the ceramides and hyaluronic acid.  I don’t feel too bad about using this as it doesn’t cause any issues for me and its a relatively basic product.  I’m in no hurry to finish it.  Note to oily gals that I used this in the summer every AM and found it entirely effective – I really believe that trying to dry out the skin in an effort to ‘reduce oiliness’ is NOT the way to go; my skin has been better behaved and less greasy when I keep it hydrated the right way.  Just sayin’.

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Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Night:  I’ve used this off and on for several years, and I always find it quite effective and keeping my skin clear, soft, and smooth.  As you can see its on it’s last legs, and I won’t be repurchasing as I’m hoping my Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil will be it’s replacement, but if you’re looking for a cost-effective anti-aging/anti-acne moisturizer with retinol, this is a good bet for most all skintypes (I find it quite moisturizing, but it isn’t greasy).

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Clinique Acne Solutions Oil-Control Clearing Masque, and Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector: Good ol’ free Clinique products.  The clay-based masque is pretty decent, it helps to deep clean the skin but doesn’t leave me feeling completely sucked dry of moisture afterward.  The serum is really kinda useless to me, as I don’t have any dark spots, but it has antioxidants so I’m using it up just for that.  I also get the occasionally pimple scar (which are dark on me) so it helps with that too.  Needless to say, when these are done I’ll be moving on to other, organic replacements (Stark’s Green Tea Detox Mask, as well as about a BILLION other oil/serum-type products, come to mind).

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La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF60, Clinique Super City Block SPF40, Shiseido Ultra Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF50: I ended up not using the LRP sunscreen as much as I thought I would, as I found it didn’t play well with other skincare products unless I had the time to let them really sink in and absorb first (time which I rarely leave myself).  The Clinique was my go-to, and is nearing the end – I have used the City Block products more times than I can count now, and I will turn to it again if I can’t find a suitable organic replacement.  The Shiseido I received as a 500 pt perk at Sephora, and oddly enough I’ve deemed it my ‘running’ sunscreen – I think because it has quite a strong scent, and I worry about wearing it for very long.  Since I shower after my runs, I can throw this on and then wash it off no more than an hour or two later.  Then it gets used and not wasted!  Bizarre possibly, but effective :)

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Avene Cicalfate and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream: These are my two ‘emergency’ products for when my eczema gets wacky.  The Avene is more of a protectant so if I’m really rashy, its like a barrier to the outside world so my skin gets a chance to heal.  It’s also very soothing.   The F.A.B. product on the other hand, is fickle – sometimes its just what my skin needs, other times it actually makes my skin burn and itch – so bizarre!  Due to that aspect, I don’t use it much.  I may relegate it to a hand cream or something just to use it up.  Neither product I would repurchase – even though the Avene is somewhat helpful, it gets used relatively infrequently.

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Aveda Botanical Kinetics Toning Mist, Indeed Labs Hydraluon, Boscia Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF15, derma-e Hydrating Mask w/Hyaluronic Acid: These are the suspect ‘green’ products in my arsenal, that aren’t really organic but contain more basic, ‘natural’ ingredients.  I don’t trust ‘em.  The Aveda toner has a horrible spray mechanism which requires me to use a cotton pad to apply – for that reason alone I can’t wait ’till this is gone.  The Hydraluron only contains one ingredient so on principle its very basic, but it’s really to be used with other hydrators that contain water – which many organic products do not have.  So once it’s gone, despite the fact that it’s fairly effective, I won’t repurchase.  The Boscia moisturizer is actually really nice.  It balances my skin to make it less oily during the day, and the sunscreens are physical so they don’t irritate my skin.  I’m tempted to buy this again in the summertime when I won’t want to be layering a bunch of moisturizers and sunscreen…we’ll see how it goes.  At least there is no preservatives!  The derma-e mask is a puzzling beast.  It hydrates, softens and smooths my skin like a charm, but OMFG the scent on this thing is outrageous!!  It’s floral and uber-strong, even though the scent is natural and is the last ingredient.  It’s unreal.  I will find some kind of replacement for this, because when it’s done, I WILL BE SO HAPPY.

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Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion +, Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus, Clinique Moisture Surge Intense, Murad Instant Radiance Eye Cream, Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Eye Cream, Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream, Clinique Take the Day Off, Boscia Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF15, Kate Somerville Ret-Asphere 2-in-1 Retinol Nigh Cream, La Roche-Posay Derm AOX Multi-Corrective Day Care, NUDE ProGenius Treatment Oil: Samples!  Please excuse the Boscia in here again, I changed my mind about where it should be afterward.  I feel like I’m never going to get through those eye creams – they are generous samples that will probably last forever!!! ~sigh~  The rest shouldn’t be too hard to finish up – the Moisture Surge and the TTDO are nearly done, and the others for the most part will just be a few uses.  I’ll be glad to see the end of them all.

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…and more samples!  I won’t list ‘em – suffice to say, these gotta go.  I’ll probably use one a week just so my skin doesn’t totally freak out.  None of these nor the ones above really intrigue me now that I know I won’t be repurchasing any, anyway.  But I’ll soldier through nonetheless :)

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The last of the samples.  Kniepp is a sneaky brand that kind of portrays themselves like they are natural and ‘green’, but they contain synthetic fragrance in heavy doses in all of their products.  I won a basket full of ‘em from my spa last year, and have hardly used a thing.  I tried to use some bath salts and my skin paid a dear price for it.  I should just give ‘em all away…

Ok, so there you have it.  All the skincare I gotta use up before going whole-hog and buying all the pretty organic beauties out there!  Some of these will be easy, and some not so much (the masques in particular will take a while).  Its helpful to have these all laid out though to see where I stand and keep my trigger finger from pushing the ‘order now!’ button… it’s tough though.  Especially because I’ve really found that my skin has changed even in the past week or so from altering my routine.  My pores are significantly smaller, and my skin hasn’t felt itchy, irritated or inflamed once – and I committed a cardinal sin and started all three of my Pai products in one day! (I usually try to incorporate new products in slowly so as to minimize any potential flare-ups)  But, you guys know me and excess – stresses me out too much, so I’m determined to employ a hard one-in, one-out rule here until I’ve literally *cleaned up my act*  Lets hope the process moves quickly, huh?

IMG_0298My organic super-team plus a few extras and samples to try!

Do you have any organic / grean beauty products you just love and can recommend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Summertime Skin Saviors

The past few days have been insanely, impossibly, stinkin’ (on the bus…literally :S) hot.  I mean H.O.T.!!  Tempuratures have soared into the low 30s with a humidex of near 40 degrees since Wednesday, and barely go lower than the mid 20s in the evening.  I don’t like to complain, because before that we had days upon days of rain, but….DUDE.  It’s frickin’ crazy up in here.

Since the sun has been beaming its beautiful yet harmful rays down hard over these last days, sunscreen and skin repair has been heavy on my mind.  Thankfully, even though half of our summer has been spent enduring overcast, rainy skies, I’ve been prepared for the eventual more seasonally-appropriate weather since May, with an arsenal of serious-business sunscreens as well as antioxidant-laden treatments to stave off any damage occurred from those times I do venture out into the heat.  I’m having enormous success with these products so I just have to tell you about them!

Sun Saviors (2)Clockwise from left: Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe, La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion Face SPF60, Vichy Capital Soleil Sheer Lotion SPF45 Bare Skin Feel Face and Body, MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel

I have pretty high requirements when it comes to sunscreens.  It needs to be non-greasy (especially for face), fragrance-free, and gentle enough for my sensitive, eczema-prone skin – which often means physical sunscreens, except they generally leave a whitish cast that is super-noticeable on my darker skin, especially once I’m tanned.  These demands don’t seem that serious, but it is a TRIAL to find physical sunscreens that leave a trace behind.  I finally caved this year and picked up two products that do contain chemical sunscreens to avoid this problem, but both are extremely forgiving to my finnicky skin.  Additionally, they are both exceptionally light-feeling and are fragrance free.  The products in question are La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion Face SPF60 ($27CAD), and Vichy’s Capital Soleil Sheer Lotion SPF45 Bare Skin Feel Face and Body ($30CAD).

Vichy and La Roche-Posay sunscreenLa Roche-Posay Anthelios on left; Vichy Capital Soleil on right

Let me just say now how madly in love with these products I am!!  Neither cause any irritation to my skin whatsoever – yahoo!!!!! – and disappear without a trace once rubbed in.  They both have a thin consistency, especially the La Roche-Posay, which is very liquidy and rubs in so easily on my face.  The Vichy product, a new formulation this year, is thicker but still very silky to the touch, and is invisible once rubbed in with zero stickiness or heavy feel.  Both are absolute superstars in my books and I’m really pleased to have discovered them.  I purchased both from Shoppers Drug Mart and managed to score them both on sale too, for around $21CAD.  They aren’t cheap but for me they’re well worth the cost.

Ingredient lists for your reference:

La Roche-Posay Anthelios

La Roche-Posay Anthelios

Vichy Capital Soleil

Vichy Capital Soleil

Next, we have damage control.  I mentioned to you a couple weeks ago that I picked up MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel ($47CAD) and was quite liking it.  The sentiment still stands – this product is awesome!  The texture is VERY thin, and quite watery, so move quickly.  However, one pump will do your whole face and neck, and it sinks in instantly, feeling like I put nothing on.  I love that I can use this every single morning without worrying it might cause excess shine due to the humid, hot weather.

MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel

Of course, as it’s preventative with no real treatment, I can’t see the effects of it’s hard work, but it is absolutely one the loveliest products I’ve had the pleasure to use on my oily skin. It is designed to moisturize the skin as well, but I can’t comment on that because my skin isn’t currently dry in the least – so for someone who required extra moisture, this might not be for you.  But for you other oily or normal-combination skins out there, I highly recommend this product if you’re looking to prevent the aging effects of the sun.  I plan on picking up the Antioxidant Spray next!

Ingredient list:

MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel

MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel

Finally, I make sure that my body is well looked-after.   To resist aging everywhere else, any time I spend a longer than normal time in the sun, I use Clinique’s After Sun Rescue Balm.  This product feels glorious on sun-parched, over-heated skin, and is terrifically soothing if you’ve accidentally gotten a bit of a burn.  The high aloe content and other moisturizing properties help soothe and minimize peeling, and the ingredients boast antioxidants to combat any crazy free-radicals trying to prematurely age you.

Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe (2)

The texture is sort of reminiscent of a gel-cream, and it leaves a bit of a glow behind which absorbs fairly quickly (see photo below) and does not feel sticky at all.  Even on my sensitive skin, this product is exceptional, and I’d use it as an everyday body lotion all summer long if I had the cash (it costs $24CAD, which isn’t horrendous, but its not cheap either).

Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe

Ingredients for reference:

Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, PEG-8, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Caprylic/Capric/Myristic/Stearic Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract, Stearic Acid, Tribehenin, Micrococcus Lysate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Cholesterol, Isostearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Sucrose, Polysorbate 60, Tromethamine, Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Linoleic Acid, Squalane, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Beta-Sitosteryl Sulfate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Hexylene Glycol, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Blue 1, Yellow 5, Green 5

I’m really feeling full-on prepared for summer, and I have to say it feels pretty darn good!  I don’t burn easily or often, but I like to think that’s because I take precautions to avoid that happening.  I think that high-powered sunscreens, in conjunction with repairing products, will keep me looking good throughout the summer and beyond (I hope!).

Sun Saviors

Are you prepared for summer? What are your go-to products?

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May Marvels: What I’m Loving This Month!

Admittedly, May has FLOWN by with everything that’s been going on, and for once my brain hasn’t been consumed with thoughts of new beauty products and pretties as it usually it (perhaps sad, but totally true normally).  However, just because I’m not plotting my next purchase doesn’t mean I’m not thoroughly enjoying what I already have!  I’ve got a handful of items that have been in heavy rotation this month – see for yourself!

EOS Lip Balm

I came  SUUUUPER late to the EOS party it’s true, as these cute, all-natural spherical balms ($3.99CAD) were all the rage, oh, 2-3 years ago?  Nonetheless, I’m fairly certain they deserved all the hype, and they still seem quite popular as evidenced by a pretty badass dude on the bus whipping one out to smooth and hydrate his pucker on the bus a couple weeks ago.  It was AWESOME.  As are these – I have been using the one in Pomegranate Raspberry on the regular (a light, fruity scent that dissipates once on the lips), and it’s just got the absolute best texture – not too thin so as to wear off quickly, but not so thick that you can’t easily apply lipstick over it without it smearing or diluting the color.  Due to the shea butter, vitamin E and jojoba oil, I find them quite adept at hydrating my lips – though I would like them to be a bit more smoothing when they’re chapped and flaking.  Overall I’m loving it and am trying to resist also keeping the other two I have – Strawberry Sorbet and Passionfruit – instead of being generous and giving them to friends and family :)  Note that these are petroleum-free, paraben-free, and gluten-free, and can be purchased at Lawtons, Sobeys, Pharmaprix, Target, and Jean Coutu.

Mont Bleu Glass Files

As someone who manicures her nails twice a week, I am careful to be gentle as too much fussing can weaken them and cause splits and tears in the nail.  I’ve been using an old file that was given to me after my last pedicure, and it was doing the trick – or so I had thought.  I’d heard that glass nails were IT in terms of filing, and had tried them to only feel frustrated at how long it took to get anything done!  However, these files from Mont Bleu (approx. $13CAD) are AH-MA-ZING!  I was totally skeptical but thought I’d give them a shot again, and I’m SO glad I did.  Made with tempered Czech glass and embedded with Swarovski rhinestones (swanky!), I’ve been using one of the longer files religiously on my nails and on my friends nails for the bachelorette party/wedding (love that you can clean these) and they are crazy-effective, but still super gentle.  I had my nails quite long for the wedding, longer than I’ve been able to grow them in ages before they normally break, and I contribute that success to these babies.  LOVE!

Wedding ManiMy wedding mani! OPI Witch is Which over OPI Dazzled by Gold, just on tips

Late last month I ~FINALLLY~ finished my massive tube of Queen Helene Mint Julep Clay Mask – OMG I thought it was going to last forever!!  I bought it in 2008 if you can believe it…Anyway, I replaced it with Clinique’s new-ish Acne Solutions Oil-Control Cleansing Mask, also a clay mask, and have been using it once or twice a week with good results.  It seems to heal my breakouts faster without irritating my sensitive skin or making it feel tight and uncomfortable.  It does seem to make me a bit more oily the next day, but overall it’s quite effective and a little goes a long way.  For $26CAD for 100mL, it’s a pretty decent deal for a mask and I suspect it’ll last a while too (though hopefully not 5 years long).

Clinique Acne Solutions Mask Clinique Acne Solutions Mask (2)

Lastly, at the very beginning of May, I finally finished Denyse Beaulieu’s ode to parfum, The Perfume Lover.  When I say finally, it’s not because this was a dull, painful read – it was just because I kept stopping between parts to google all the things I learned!  For a relative fragrance newb, this book was exceptionally compelling and totally piqued my interest about the world of fragrance.  For someone already firmly entrenched in the beauty and joy of perfume and the history of scent, I believe you will find this wholeheartedly captivating.  Though I felt the storyline was a bit scattered at times, I didn’t care, as Denyse spun such an enthralling tale about the origins of fragrance while weaving throughout her own personal love affair with scent.  It was a fantastic read and I am all the more informed and better for having read it.  The accompanying fragrance, Seville a l’aube, is an orange blossom-heavy fragrance with hints of lavender and tobacco.  I am admittedly not a huge orange blossom fan (I believe it’s the reason I can’t fully commit to either Prada’s Infusion d’Iris nor Lancome’s La Vie Est Belle), I don’t mind this.  I think if I were to smell it on someone else, I’d be drawn in and wonder exactly what they were wearing.  It’s enveloping and definitely sensual – and there is something about it I like – but also something about it that repels me.  A strange mix, to be sure, and one that absolutely needs to be sniffed (don’t they all?) to make your own assumptions.

The Perfume Lover

So, these are the things that have gotten me through May!  It has been quite handy to have a few items on hand that are easily grab and go without any serious thought required (as I didn’t have time for it!).  I have a few more fun items to show you (hello, Boy’s Don’t Cry blush!), but I’m waiting for a sunny day to take some FOTD shots.  Hopefully we’ll get lucky this weekend!

What items, beauty or otherwise, have you been loving this month?

All products reviewed in this post were provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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