Archive for category Styling Products

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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Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month Three – And a Little Tweaking

Well, hello dolls!  Ready for your monthly installment of what I’ve been buying vs tossing?  I’m pretty chatty in this post, so sit down, get comfy, and let’s jump right in!

Used Up (Mar. 20-Apr. 19):

Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance Free Body Wash  and Moisturizing Body Lotion

As boring as these two products are, I’m fairly certain that I’ll be using this duo for the rest of my natural born life – the body wash is the only one that doesn’t irritate my skin and keeps it soft and smooth, and the Aveeno lotions and creams work miracles at keeping my eczema at bay.  Since I’ve finally committed to using these continously, I’d had a lot less (body) skin issues, so dull and boring it is!

Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF15

I’ve been using Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen for years, and I love it (even though it IS a chemical sunscreen, which I try to avoid as they can cause irritation in sensitive skin).  They changed the scent when they changed the bottle a year or two ago, which I was disappointed in at first, but now I’ve come to like the new scent as it’s less overwhelming and it doesn’t compete as much with any fragrances you wear (though its still beachy-smelling).  I can’t comment on if this causes any breakouts anywhere (it doesn’t say oil-free or non-comedogenic anywhere) – I didn’t experience any, but I didn’t use it on my face and my body doesn’t usually have that issue.  I used up the rest of this bottle when I was in Jamaica, and was bummed when I had to switch to the other sunscreen we had, Coppertone.  When that runs out, I’ll likely pick up another bottle of this!

BedHead TIGI Foxy Curls Contour Cream

This is my second bottle of this stuff…the last time I bought one was back in May 2011 – so this lasted almost a full year!!  Holy moley.  I love the smell of this – like Skittles – but sadly that’s why I won’t be repurchasing in my effort to go as fragrance-free as possible.  It works well though, and you only need a tiny bit (clearly!) to do the trick :)

Clinique Turnaround Concentrate Radiance Renewer

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this loads of times before.  Great exfoliating product that doesn’t irritate the skin whatsoever.  Makes my face feel nearly like a baby’s bottom!  This bottle seemed to go faster than normal – I only got about two months out of it and I was only using it at night.  I’m glad it’s done though, because I’m eager to start using my new Kate Somerville Quench Serum (more on that later)!

Alpha Hydrox Enhanced Cream 10% Glycolic AHA Anti-Wrinkle

I got this in a swap ages ago, as I read in the MUA reviews that it was awesome.  Interestingly enough, the glycolic acid in this didn’t mess my skin up – it definitely tingles to the point of almost burning upon application, but the sensation dissipates within a minute and there’s no residual irritation afterward or the next morning.  To be safe, I only used it every few days or so (and not in conjunction with the Clinique Concentrate, but it did make my skin feel lovely!

Ole Henriksen Truth Revealed Super Creme with SPF15

I reviewed this product previously, and my thoughts still hold – it was thick and hard to spread, and generally just didn’t feel very nice on my skin (though it felt lovely).  I used this on my neck until it was gone so as to not waste it.  I’m SO glad to toss this!

The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Lip Butter / Nova Scotia French Vanilla Lip Balm

I bought The Body Shop lip butter back when I had a boyfriend who really liked grapefruit (how silly!) – except the taste of this is like ASS (well…not really, but you know…).  GAH, it’s horrible!  Somehow I managed to make a big dent in this but I haven’t touched it in years so it’s really pointless to keep it.

The Nova Scotia balm, well, I got this at our Pride Parade several years ago and I guess they just slapped a Nova Scotia label on it.  It’s nothing special.  It had SPF in it which has since expired, and I have other lip balms, so it’s time this kicked the bucket.

CND Cuticle Eraser AHA Cuticle Treatment

I think I read on All Lacquered Up that this was Michelle’s cuticle treatment of choice, so I picked it up to try it out about a year ago.  I found that while it might have kept my cuticles smoother, it irritated my skin (but the AHA cream above didn’t – go figure), so I used it very sporadically.  It caused little bumps on the skin just under my nails – whether that was an eczema reaction or not, I’m unsure, so I can’t say if this would happen to anyone else.  I love my Burts Bees butter so I think I’ll just stick to that :)

Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Anti-Chip Top Coat

I plan on doing a round-up of a few base and top coats in the future, so I won’t get into too much detail about this – just suffice to say, it was like Seche Vite in the fact that once it got half finished, it got majorly goopy and hard to use.  I can’t deal with screwing up my manicures, so out this goes!

Here are just some samples I finished up – nothing too stand-out.  Bioderma’s Sebium AKN, which is supposed to ‘restore the skin’s natural clear aspect’ – I used this as a spot treatment, but didn’t find it did much in that capacity.  It might be much more effective if used as an all-over face lotion.  Clinique’s 7-Day Scrub, which is too creamy for my oily skin and leaves a slight filmy feeling, which would be nice for dry skin but just feels unclean on mine.  However, it DOES exfoliate well, and gently!  I used Korres Yogurt Cooling Gel down South, and it was OK, but it was such a small sample that I can’t really give a fair evaluation.  I mainly used Clinique’s After Sun, which was admittedly AWESOME, so that doesn’t help.  Lastly, I used the sample of Ojon’s Instant Restorative Hair Serum while in Jamaica as well, and it left my hair feeling lovely and hydrated after penetrating in the sun all day.  It wasn’t too heavy or greasy-feeling either, or too strong-smelling as some Ojon products have been in the past. I’d consider buying this for the Summer to protect my hair from the sun and add a bit of shine.

…..Wow, right?  This is just pitiful.  Two products!?  Oh man.  I sincerely apologize for my miserable turnout this month!  What’s worse, I didn’t realize I did so crappy until RIGHT NOW.  I almost scammed you guys by accident and included three ‘tossed’ beauty products that I had already accounted for last month.  I guess I felt bad about throwing them out when there was so much product left, and kept them in the empties bag.  Oops!  Double-oops too because I thought I wasn’t doing THAT bad getting rid of makeup…shoot.  Oh well – maybe next month :D

ANYWAY, what’ve we got?  NYC’s Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder in All-Over Bronze Glow, which I mentioned last week, for one.  I tried to make it work in Jamaica and it just didn’t do much.  I’m done trying to make it work; no matter if I’m tanned or not, it just doesn’t seem to do it for me.  Second, we have Stila’s Smudge Pot in Black, a surprize toss.  I happened to open it up to use it last week and realized that it was pretty dried out and had pulled majorly from the sides (like a few millimeters!).  Er, yea, time to go!

So that’s what we have for this month downsizing efforts – 11 full-size skincare products, 4 samples, and 2 makeup items.  Not too shabby, though I’m a little let down with the meager makeup empties.  Hopefully that’ll mean next month will be quite respectable!

Moving on to the scary portion of the post, lets take a look at what I purchased in the past month.  In fact, aside from two items, everything I picked up I bought in the span of a week.  Ah snap.

Purchased (Mar. 20-Apr. 19):

Yea.  All of these items I bought in one week.  Oh dear.  Oh, well the three items in the front right were part of a deluxe sample set I got for free from Sephora.  But the rest…no excuse.  Here’s the list:

- Hugo Naturals Shower Gel in Vanilla & Sweet Orange $9.99
– (ANOTHER) Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance Free Body Wash $8.99
– TRESemme Flawless Curls Curl Hydration Conditioner $3.99 (on sale)
– Kate Somerville Quench Oil-Free Hydrating Serum approx. $66 (15% off reg. price  – $78)
YSL Glossy Stain in #12 Corail Aquatique approx. $29 (15% off reg. price, $34)
– MUFE #17 Eyeshadow (matte brown) approx. $19 (15% of reg. price – $22)
– MAC Crosswires Lipstick $17.50

I know that I just preached a bunch about going fragrance-free, and that the Aveeno Body Wash is my HG…but it doesn’t mean I LIKE it, so I picked up the Hugo body wash in the ‘green’ aisle at the grocery store, as the fragrance is all-natural – so I’m hoping I’ll find a loophole in my own rule :)

To add to the above, I also picked up:

- a-England Nail Polish in Princess Sabra (Tristam Eyes) approx. $10 (30% off reg. price, approx. $14)
– Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait $7.99 (on sale)

And to round it all out, I also bought two blushes from Illamasqua, Lover & Hussy (approx. $13 each [half off reg. price - approx. $26]). *I have yet to receive these in the mail

BAM.

So yea…I had a busy month.  As you can see, I got some pretty excellent deals on almost all of my purchases, which is partially why I went a little crazy.  Sephora definitely reeled me in with the 15% off, and when I received the email about the Easter Egg Hunt sale from Illamasqua, I had to check it out (the day we were leaving for Jamaica, I got the one about certain blushes being half off, so I thought I’d take a look – I totally expected it to be unpopular shades, but each of the 5 shades were some of their top sellers!  How could I NOT buy Lover and Hussy!?  It would have cost me $65CAD to buy them full price (incl. shipping) and instead it came to $40 (with shipping).  Sa-weet!!).  So yea.  A bad month according to my guidelines, but kind of a great month too!  And it gives me LOTS of material for upcoming posts :D

However.  In light of my spectacular failure to adhere to ANY restrictions regarding my purchasing, I have decided to restructure my guidelines.  It just doesn’t make sense to me to pretend to follow a low-buy when in fact I seem to be on a ‘grab all you can’ buy.  I still need some structure, but I need to tweak it a bit.  So here’s the new rule for makeup (all other guidelines remain unchanged):

- 10 makeup purchases per season (previous: max of 3 LE purchases per season; non-LE items on a use two, buy one system)

Now, before you go and think that I’m being entirely too easy on myself (if I wasn’t already before!), let me explain why I’m making these changes.  First of all, to be clear: while part of this low-buy is to weed through my stash, over the past couple months I realized that it’s not necessarily to scale it back, but to eliminate items that just don’t really ‘do’ it for me.  I’ve come to grips with the fact that in being a beauty blogger, and being as obsessed as I am with beauty, the plain truth is that my makeup collection is going to continue to grow – there’s just no way I’m going to be able to use everything (c’mon, blushes last for YEARS) and I’m certainly not going to stop shopping until I do.  What I really want to do is make sure that everything I own I love, and I’m really making headway in that area, so I think that’s an achievement!

I have to be honest with you as well, that the other part of the low-buy is definitely related to cash flow.  While I’m managing my addiction fairly well, I do think that maintaining some sort of guideline is a smart thing to do, so that I don’t get too crazy or wrapped up in wanting everything – I find since blogging I want to be able to review every product that comes on the market, but I just can’t afford to!  This way I can make sure that I have ‘controls’ in place so I know when I’m nearing a reasonable limit.  AND it helps to ensure that whatever I’m purchasing, I absolutely love – which relates back to the first point!  It’s a win-win in my books :)  (ALSO…with Jamaica behind me, I have to get my butt in gear to save more $$ for New Zealand – definitely a huge priority!)

Fiordland, New Zealand *Photo courtesy of PacificIslands.com

You may think that it’s almost pointless to have any guidelines at all, since many others who are on a no- or low-buy are quite restricted in their purchasing.  However, I do find it difficult not to just buy every single thing I’d like, so I think the above restructure of the guidelines allows me to have some fun while still keeping me in check.  When I initially created the ‘Limited Edition’ rule, I had actually done so to make sure that I indulged in some of the great LE items, as I often missed out on them in the past.  Well, I think I’m definitely over that behavior (LOL!), and a purchase is a purchase, so I just lumped all makeup spending together and made it a number that seemed reasonable.  Again, if I get the urge to shop just for shopping’s sake, and buy something I don’t really love, that still counts as one – so I’ll be more likely to avoid doing that if I know my purchasing power has a limit.

Oh the silly things we do!  I’m sure some of you find these kinds of rambles terribly boring, and I don’t fault you for it :)  I just know that if I don’t have anyone to hold me accountable, I could go all sorts of crazy and buy everything I laid my hands on (I feel that urge more often than not!).  And since I know some of you are going through similar bans of your own, I hope that on some level you can relate.

I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m bailing on my original terms or that I’m making things too easy on myself.  This plan IS easier in the fact that I don’t have to bust my balls trying to find products I can use up or toss, which just started to feel ridiculous to me, but it is more in line with my true feelings about makeup.  While I still get overwhelmed at how much I have and the impossible notion of how to use it all, I am actually developing a collection of products that I simply adore, and I can only get rid of so much before I am just basically throwing away money for no good reason.  The low-buy has really opened my eyes and I feel SO much more at peace with my stash and all the connotations that come with it!  That in itself to me is the best achievement I could ask for :)

I will continue to do monthly updates on my progress, as I still plan on challenging myself on holding back from making any ‘unnecessary’ purchases, and also because it’s a great way to give you an overall picture of my beauty world – what I’m using (up) and what new items I’ve been enjoying.  I can’t wait to read about everyone else’s progress as we continue to push forward – I support each of you in your own reasons for your no/low-buy, and hope it’s going well.  For you and anyone else engaging in a beauty challenge, I wish you good luck and hope you stay strong!!

END RANT.

(So sorry if you stuck with me through the whole thing!  I try not to do too many of these lengthy posts :S)

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Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month Two

Well…I’m pretty much sucking at this whole low-buy thing.  You’d think, a gal who could give up buying cosmetics altogether during Lent last year could do a silly low-buy that consequently enables her to ALSO buy up to 5 nail polish a month and 3 LE items per season?  Er, no.  Seems I can’t.  I am simply struggling to finish enough products in order to justify the amount I’ve purchased!!  I tell you, it’s becoming impossible.  There are just too many awesome products out there, it’s *sooo* not my fault!~Boo Hoo~ Enough with the whining I guess…you want to see the damage, I take it?  Check out what I bought/swapped for in the last month (reviews for products will be eventually forthcoming):

1) Olay Foaming Face Wash Sensitive Skin (bought)

2) Neutrogena Moisture Oil Free Sensitive Skin (bought)

3) Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eyeshadow in Corinthian (bought)

4) Milani Liquif’Eye Metallic Eye Liner Pencil in Aqua (bought)

5) Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation in Warm Beige (bought)

6) Laura Mercier Full-Blown Volume Mascara (bought)

6) MAC Refined Golden bronzer (swapped for*)

7) MAC Pigment in Melon (swapped for*)

8) Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick in Nectar (swapped for*)

9) Estee Lauder Illuminating Powder Gelee in Shimmering Sands (LE) (bought)

10) Zoya Cho (bought)

11) Nfu-Oh #51 (bought)

12) Nfu-Oh Aqua Base (bought)

*For the swapped items, I exchanged for my MAC Soft Ochre Paint Pot, MAC Electra and Strike a Pose eyeshadows, Urban Decay Zero 24/7 eyeliner, the Fyrinnae Shinkirou eyeshadow, and a Marc Jacobs perfume and a handful of perfume samples.  So that totals to 5 makeup items.

OK.  So I am at a surplus with my polish allowance – all good.  I’m already down one for my Summer LE quota (which I can already forsee is going to be a HUGE problem with all the amazing items coming out!!!).  Otherwise I picked up 2 skincare products and 7 makeup items.  Hmmm…let’s see how I did in the *purge* category.Last month I was kickin’ butt at using up my makeup, but this month hasn’t been so successful.  I did get rid of a couple of straggler products overall, but still…I’m disappointed.  Take a look:

Skintimate Signature Scents Moisturizing Shave Gel

Suddenly, this was finished this weekend – I had no idea I was on my last pump, but I am SO happy about it!  Shave gel = useless product.

Live Clean Moisturizing Body Wash

I used this to soak my feet in after realizing I wasn’t a fan of the generic soap-scent.  Worked well in that area, at least!  It foamed up really nicely.

Redken Real Control Crema Care (50mL)

This is a great styling lotion if you’re looking for a travel product – it holds and softens hair at the same time, but it’s a bit sticky feeling.  I wouldn’t buy the full size version.

butter London Nail Foundation ($20CAD)

I enjoyed this for the first couple months, loving how *flawless* it made my bare nails look, and how it helped eliminate VNL, but it didn’t adhere my polish any better than any other base coat, and it got thick fast.  I added thinner to no avail.  For that price tag – bye bye!

Clinique Clarifying Lotion #3 (200mL) ($15CAD)

I know a lot of people have issues with the Clarifying Lotion.  I don’t dislike it, but I’m not necessarily a fan, and if you have sensitive skin it can be a pretty harsh exfoliant.  I’d recommend the mild version for most skins, which I may try some day.  For now, I’m glad this is gone.  I got it for free, so you know I *had* to use it.

Ole Henriksen Truth To Go Wipes ($10CAD)

I have yet to have luck with any wipes which don’t seem to harm my skin in some way.  The first time I used these, I loved how soft they made my face feel (and still with that lovely orange-y scent, yum!).  But then the next day my face seemed to be extra-reactive, and I think these may have been the culprit.  There were only 10 wipes, so I just used them on the nights when I was just TOO lazy to wash my face.  All done now :)

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser (50mL) ($17.50CAD)

Travel size of this cleanser.  I bought it to check it out, and when I realized it wasn’t much of anything, I used it to travel with.  However, I’ve been slowly running out of cleansers and I am trying to use them all up before buying more, so I started using this in the shower daily.  It’s pretty fragrant so I worry about the effect it has on my skin – seems OK but I’m always suspicious.  I wouldn’t buy this again.

Josie Maran Argan Oil (15mL) ($18CAD)

I sadly can’t get behind the hype of this product; it didn’t do anything amazing for my skin, and I was SO prepared for it to!  I might be great in the warmer months for a nighttime product, but during the Winter days and nights, it was both greasy and yet not quite moisturizing enough some how.  Fail.

NARS Sheer Glow in Syracuse ($55CAD)

I finished a foundation!!  I can’t remember the last time I did that :)  I’ve spoken of this one before – I really liked it; the color match was superb, the coverage just right (sheer to medium) and it didn’t irritate my skin in the least.  I could use this on the sensitive skin around my mouth and it never caused any problems, and actually hydrated it a bit.  I can’t use this in the Summer because it’s a bit too much for my oily skin, but in the cold Winter month it was just what the doctor ordered.  I’d even potentially buy this again next year!

Clinique All About Eyes Concealer in Medium Honey ($20CAD)

- This used to seem like the perfect shade for me…but lately I found it to be a bit grey, for whatever reason.  So it was a good thing that it was nearing it’s end.  It’s pretty old too, probably 4 years+, and the sides are cracking so that I’d get concealer on my fingers when I squeezed too hard.  How annoying.  Time to go!

Maybelline One by One Volum’ Express Mascara in Blackest Black

- I know some people really enjoy this mascara, and the first time I used it I LOVED how long it made my lashes look – but it quickly got dry and super-clumpy, and I never felt like I had enough product on the brush since it comes in the package with the brush separate from the mascara tube to begin with.  I dunno.  It got old quick, literally :P

Buxom Mascara in Blackest Black (sample)

- I received this back during the Sephora opening, and only started using it about two months ago.  Could be because it was older, but it just never gave enough *oomph* for me.  It was absolutely AMAZING for getting every lash and for not clumping, ever, but it almost somehow faded throughout the day and my lashes seemed to get more and more puny as the hours wore on.  I’m not into the au naturale look with lashes so this is not for me.  And NOT Buxom by any means!

Clinique Surge of Color Lipstick Palette

- I got this in a gratis or through a school or something…and it’s SO not for me!  Not only am I not a huge lipstick wearer, I don’t wear ANY of these shades, and I get irritated having to use a lip brush every time I want to apply it.  No thanks man!  I had this in a drawer at work just collecting dust – it’s time it kicked the bucket.

Annabelle Lipliner in Spice and Smashbox Sheer Lip Pencil in Smashing Content

- I think I picked up the Annabelle liner looking for a recreation of MAC’s Spice liner, which I heard a lot about.  Whether or not they’re dupes, I dunno…I barely used this because a) I just don’t use liner, and b) it was a muddy color on my lips.  Boo.  I’ve had this for like, 10 years – why am I keeping this kind of crap!  BEGONE.

The Smashbox lip pencil, well…it’s sheer, and its a lip pencil.  Not. For. Me.  TOSS.

MAC Gleam Lipstick ($17.50CAD)

- I went through this kick a few years back where I wanted that pale nude-lavender lip look (see my post with Keri Hilson’s look) and this was the shade I picked up thinking it could help create it.  Uh, no.  This is like a pale silvery-beige-purple sheer lippie that makes me look dead.  I tried mixing it with other shades to make it work, and I could, but good gosh – I don’t want to have to work so darn hard!  It’s going, I can’t deal with it any longer.  And it looks ugly in the tube.  I hate when my makeup gets ugly-looking. GET OUT OF MY LIFE.

MAC Venetian Lustreglass ($17.50CAD)

- A couple years ago I had my makeup done at MAC for a Christmas party, and this was part of the look.  It looks fantastic then, and then…never again.  It’s too much of a blue-based red, and because it’s more on the sheer side, it looked weak as well.  I am the most proud of this getting tossed – I mixed this with every friggin’ lippie I could to get rid of it, and hallelujah – success!!  I could probably get a couple more uses out of it, but NO.  NO, I REFUSE.  I AM DONE WITH YOU.

So….yea.  Getting a bit angry there, sorry!  It’s just that those items that were long overdue to get the boot and it was driving me insane that they were hanging around forever.  I hardly have any of those kinds of items left now though, sa-weet!  …Except that means that I have very few products that are going to get used up any time soon, which means…very little allowable purchases for awhile (supposedly – hopefully I get some willpower this coming month).  DANG.

Anyway, lets do the tally:

Limited Edition (Summer) – 1 of 3

Acquired – 9 (2 skincare, 7 makeup)

Got Rid Of – 22 (7 skincare, 1 hair, 14 makeup)

Skin- and haircare don’t even really warrant discussing – I think I’m always going to have more going out than coming in (although…how is that even possible?  Hmm…eventually it’ll be one to one I guess) – but on the makeup side, I managed to achieve my use 2, buy 1 guideline by the skin of my teeth.  I’m going to be up-front – I pretty much ransacked my stash to see if there were any items I didn’t want or even like and got rid of them just so I could ring in on the level.  I know I need to strap down and really take this more seriously; the whole point of engaging in this challenge was to use and appreciate what I have…and lately I feel like I’m just chasing after the next thing and the next, and barely even registering what I’ve gotten.  Which is a terrible habit to get into, and more than anything else I want to stop that cycle.

Next month, I PROMISE to do better!  And hold me to it – there’s no point in engaging in another 9 months of this if I’m just going to continue on the same way I always have.  My arse needs a good kick sometimes!

How do you keep your purchases in check?  What are your suggestions on how to truly slow down and appreciate what you already have, and resist the siren call of new products?

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Review: L’Oreal Eversleek Sulfate-Free Smoothing System Humidity-Defying Leave-In Crème (aka Longest.Name.Ever.)

Though I’m becoming more and more of a makeup snob (which I think is in part due to the fact that the more expensive it is, the less able I am to hoard things lol), there are some products that I will generally only spend a few dollars on – and hair styling products are one of them.  Every so often I’ll splash out and buy something pricier, but with the hefty amount of product I need to use in this curly mop of mine, it could get tres expensive.  I’m especially a fan of picking up anything that’s on sale at the drugstore – which is how I stumbled acrossd L’Oreal’s Eversleek Sulfate-Free Smoothing….ah, jeez, just read the title (really, why do they have products with such ridiculously long names?!).Silicone, sulfate, paraben, and protein-free, this leave-in crème seems to be the ideal pick for someone like me who tries to steer clear of these ingredients when I can.  Protein-free might seem like a weird claim, but if you know anything about African-American hair, certain proteins can sometimes make this hair type feel coarse and brittle, because we generally have an abundance of it already.  Where my hair is a lil half-and-half (crazy-curly but fine), I’m not sure if I need protein or not, so I just avoid it to be safe.

Aside from what this crème lacks, what it does contain is a whole lotta moisturizing ingredients, such as various oils like jojoba seed, olive fruit, and argan – as well as emollients like fatty alcohols, and humectants like glycerin.  And boy, you can feel it!  As someone with dry hair, I am loving the way this makes my hair feel instantly hydrated, smooth and soft.  It doesn’t leave a greasy or sticky feel like I find I get with a lot of serums; just control and moisture.  One pump does my entire head – but I wouldn’t recommend using that much for ‘normal’ hair; probably all that’s required would be a dime-sized drop or less.  My hair EATS product so I tend to use a lot.I’ve used this product both alone and with a separate styling lotion, and while I do find it keeps my hair soft and smooth and totally shiny (no more dry-looking ends!), it doesn’t control much on its own, so on a humid day you’ll need something more – even though it’s designed to ‘defy’ humidity.  It does a pretty good job, but not perfect.  I usually use some sort of leave-in plus styler anyway so to me this isn’t at all a drawback.  The fact that my hair stays smooth and doesn’t get flyaways or feel bone-dry during the Winter weather is proof enough for me that I’ll be definitely repurchasing this.

One of the only drawbacks for me with L’Oreal’s product is the fact that fragrance ranks fairly high on the ingredient list (though I don’t find you can notice the scent throughout the day at all).  Somehow I missed that when I bought this (the on-sale cheapy price tag may have had something to do with it).  So far it hasn’t seemed to cause an issue so I’m going to just go with it and keep it in the back of my mind if something crops up.  Additionally, something of note is that because it’s loaded with oils, it might not be ideal for those of you who are acne-prone, as I think it *might* be causing a bit of clogging on my temples (though not yet confirmed).  It’s very minimal, so for me, the pros far outweigh the cons!

Overall I’m quite pleased with this crème and truly look forward to using it every day.  I don’t fight with my hair much, and I’m not even very particular with it, but my main concern is dryness, which I find this alleviates quite a bit.  For that, it earns a big gold star from me :D  See the ingredients below (please excuse the crookedness, I may or may not have had a couple glasses of wine while taking these shots):What’s your hair must-have?

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A Proud Moment: Downsizing at it’s Best

This post has been a long time coming, as I’ve got quite a few empties to show you that have been piling up over the past weeks.  I kept putting it off as I had a handful of makeup items that were nearing completion and I wanted them to be included.  Even still, I have about three more that are thisclose to being finished, but I couldn’t wait any longer.  This is gonna be a doozy, so let’s get right to it.  Note: In an effort to keep my inherent wordiness down, I won’t be giving my usual lengthy descriptions of each – otherwise you’ll be here till Christmas :P  But, if you do want further details on any product mentioned, don’t hesitate to ask!

First up, we have the hair products.  From left to right: Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm, Phyto Phytolactum+ Intelligent Shampoo, Paul Mitchell Smoothing Super Skinny Relaxing Balm (sample), Alterna Bamboo Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist (sample), and Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother (sample).

Joico Moisture Recovery:  I bought this at Chatters for something like $17CAD.  It has good reviews on MUA and I wanted something to hydrate my parched hair.  I don’t heat style for the most part, or do any coloring or other treatments to my hair, so it’s pretty healthy but bone-dry.  I don’t like Joico much but this worked fairly well – though I wouldn’t repurchase.

Phyto Phytolactum+ Intelligent Shampoo: I picked this up from Sephora last March (see how often I shampoo?) and had high hopes it would sooth my dry scalp and not strip my hair.  Mistakenly I thought this wouldn’t contain sulfates (it does) – though it was pretty gentle nonetheless.  But it did nothing for my dry scalp, so I wouldn’t repurchase.

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Relaxing Balm: I was in a buying mood when I picked up this travel size sample at Chatters – I don’t know why I get these ‘smoothing’ products because it’s really meant for people who blow out their hair, which isn’t me.  I know you’d like that smoothing might be helpful to tame my curly hair, but I really find it doesn’t do much of anything.  This product smelled lovely but that made me nervous (due to my eczema) so I was glad when it was finished.

Alterna Bamboo Kendi Oil: I had just read a couple good reviews on this and then they offer this as a 100-point perk at Sephora so I got it to try out.  Again, pointless product for my hair type.  Also contained fragrance so I was happy to finish it and be done with it.  Can’t comment on it’s effectiveness, unfortunately!

Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-Prep: ANOTHER smoother.  I know.  Anyway, this actually ended up being quite a gem – if I used this after I applied my usual styling creme, it really kept my hair soft and frizz-free.  I’m not a huge fan of the herbal Aveda scent, but it’s also not a deterrent either.  I probably wouldn’t buy the full size though; I find Aveda products so expensive!Next – Hand and body creams.  Left to right: Aveeno Eczema Care Cream, Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream (frag. free), Eucerin Aquaphor.  I’ve discussed all these in length here and here respectively.  I’m using a different body lotion right now and I can’t wait till it’s done, it doesn’t measure up to Aveeno’s cream at all.  Sometimes you should just stick with what works.  I have a new tube of the Norwegian Formula at work – I really like this a lot – but I don’t think I’ll buy the Aquaphor again, it was a bit too thick and contained …. so I’d just rather not.Facial products.  Left to right: Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus (sample), Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream SPF15, Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild (sample).

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus: I extolled the virtues of this product here, and I still stand by my view – it was a great serum that make my skin feel uber soft and look radiant.  However, now I’m onto Ole’s Truth Serum (though it’s almost finished, waaaah!) and I think I’d opt for that over this just because 1) I LOVE the scent of the Truth Serum, 2) Ole’s is slightly cheaper (by about $3CAD), and 3) I think Ole’s serum is more targeted for my age, whereas I was really using Clinique’s serum prematurely.  I still think it’s great though!

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle: I’ve used this a few times in the past, and while I really like it – it leaves the skin really smooth – I think my sensitized skin can’t handle the retinol any more, which is pretty bad considering this is a very low dosage.  But, for some one with hardier skin who’s looking for a great, cost-effective (it’s around $24CAD) moisturizer with SPF and anti-aging benefits, I highly recommend this.

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild: I got this in a GWP or something I’m sure, and hung on to it because it’s great for travel.  But then I realized I had all these samples and they were starting to annoy me so I began the ‘war on samples’ to mega-reduce my stash.  This isn’t really the best formula for my skin, as I’m more oily, but it does the trick for an AM wash, especially in the cooler months.  It contains emollients so that it doesn’t leave the skin feeling dry, so that’s a nice perk.

Now, get excited…here comes the makeup portion!!!!Mascaras etc. Top to bottom: Benefit They’re Real!, Clinique High Impact, Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill, Diorshow Maximizer Base (sample), and Clinique Bottom Lash.

Benefit They’re Real!: See my initial review here.  I really enjoyed this mascara and may even repurchase in the future.  It was easy to use and gave me nice looking lashes.  ‘Nuff said.

Clinique High Impact: Still one of my favorite mascaras – lots of volume and some length, and makes my lashes stand out.  Also very easy to use.  I wouldn’t recommend to those who want a really natural look however, as I’ve heard complaints of it getting clumpy (though personally I’ve never experienced this).  And the $18CAD price point is much more reasonable than any other department store brand!

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill: I have been waiting to re-review this, as I have some sad news – this is the root cause of all my eye sensitivities and irritation!  I’m makes me slightly disappointed (since it was great….but tres expensive, hence why I’m only slightly disappointed), but mostly really pissed off, because my eyes have been a trial ever since I used this.  I blamed it on the cat (as I’m allergic), and while I am still very careful of Vegas (the cat – yeah baby!), this mascara is the real reason my eyes aren’t like they used to be.  I had stopped using it in August because I fell in love with Benefit’s They’re Real, and my eyes improved – then I realized that it was going to dry up and be wasted, so I started using it again, only to find my eyes get totally itchy and messed up!  I stopped using it immediately, and while my eyes aren’t as bad, they still get irritated pretty easily ever since.  SO not cool.  I couldn’t find the ingredients online anywhere so I don’t know the offending irritant, unfortunately.  In any case, all I’m saying is that I recommend trying this out somehow first before fully committing!!

Diorshow Maximizer Base: I got this via a coupon code at Sephora.com.  Meh.  It made my mascara harder to apply and I didn’t see any maximizing whatsoever.  I wouldn’t waste the $$.

Clinique Bottom Lash: Awesome.  Seemed like the most gimmicky thing in the world, but ended up being really great.  For $12CAD, you get this mascara with a mini brush that makes it ridiculously easy to apply mascara to your bottom lashes.  It only removes with warm water, so you can cry your heart out with it on (or swim, or sweat) and it won’t budge.  It lasted for AGES too (I know you’re not supposed to use mascara for longer than 3-4 months, but this seemed like an exception :P).Lips and cheeks! Left to right: Clinique Superbalm in Currant, Lancome Juicy Tube in Simmer (sample), Cover Girl Wetslicks in Guava Splash, Clinique Blushwear Cream Stick in Rosy.

Clinique Superbalm in Currant: I love these balms!  They’re a bit thick and very glossy, and wear pretty well while keeping my lips mega-hydrated.  I’ve had this for like, 4 years now so while I’m a little sad to see it go (the shade is neutral and goes with everything!), I’m mostly glad it’s finally done!  Having anything for more than like, two years just seems like too much to me!

Lancome Juicy Tube in Simmer: I read once that Denise Richards liked this lip gloss in this shade…she commented that it ‘looks good on everyone.’  While that may be true, I didn’t particularly like this shade for some reason.  I used to love Juicy Tubes but thankfully grew out of that stage – it seems like one of those things to buy when you’re just getting into high end makeup so I guess the memory of being a newbie turns me off a bit lol.  Nonetheless, these are nice glosses that wear well, but for me their time has come and gone.  And this one in particular has had it’s time – I’m sure I’ve had this for well over 7 years!  Yikes!

Cover Girl Wetslicks in Guava Splash: I bought this after seeing a makeup shot in Allure in which they suggested this gloss to re-create the look.  It was pretty close, so good call by them – but I really didn’t like the formula of this at all.  It was soo thin and slippery, I had to reapply it constantly!  Blah.  I’ve only had this gloss a year so the fact that it’s already gone is a testament to how quickly it wears off.  Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Clinique Blushwear Cream Stick in Rosy: I got this as a gift from Clinique a couple years ago, and wasn’t enamoured with it as it seemed too light for my skin.  However, I reintroduced it in my rotation this Fall and realized I was missing out!  It gave me cheeks the best natural flush ever.  I am partial to cream formulas because I like the way they leave the skin glowing, and this one was nice because it wasn’t greasy at all.  It had OK wear time – nothing terrible but not spectacular either – so I wouldn’t repurchase, but I sure did enjoy it while it lasted.  It went with every makeup look I’d try – can’t beat that!Unfinished but still must go.  Clockwise from left: Revlon Streetwear Double-Ended Liner (discontinued), Revlon Luxurious Color Eyeliner in Blackened Sapphire, Lancome Color Focus Eye Shadow Quad (sample), Rimmel Metallic Eye Gloss in Equinox (discontinued).

Revlon Streewear Double-Ended Liner: I brought this product up in my eyeliner post, and committed to tossing it, so here goes!  I’ve definitely had this for over 10 years, I don’t know what I was waiting for!

Revlon Luxurious Color Eyeliner: Also discussed this in the eyeliner post.  My mother has this too, and when she wears it (usually on her bottom lash line),  it looks awesome – but since I’m too ~fragile~ to wear liners on my bottom lashes now, I just don’t get a good effect from this liner.  On my top lashes its just kinda blah.  So, time to go!

Lancome Color Focus Eyeshadow Quad: The shades are Daylight (the pale cream), Contrast (deep purple), Blink (khaki shimmer), and Peep (pale pink).  I’ve also had this for way longer than I want to admit, and I never use it, so it’s really gotta go.  I’m not really a fan of sample eyeshadow palettes anyway, they annoy me – when I get them from Clinique I always give them away.  I want the real thing, darn it!

Rimmel Metallic Eye Gloss: Do you remember when eye gloss was a ‘big thing’ back in the day – around 8-10 years ago?  Yeah, this was bought then.  Oops!  I couldn’t get it to work without creasing like crazy so I may have only tried it a handful of times.  Fun idea, but just not easy to translate into real life.  Toss!Honorable Mention.  Seche Vite’s Dry Fast Top Coat.  This bottle isn’t finished, though you can’t really tell from the photo.  There’s about 40% left, but you KNOW how goopy and impossible it gets around that time!!!  I kept it in my drawer, hoping for a miracle, but it’s time has come.  Begone, you most-awesome-of-top-coats-until-that-time-when-you-become-absolutely-NOT-awesome-and-in-fact-a-total-nightmare top coat!!

PHEW!!!!!  OMG I’m so sorry to submit all of you to that uber-lengthy post, but it had to be done.  25 items (though 8 were samples, to clarify)!  Are you proud of me or what?!  I have been chomping at the bit to get this out so you can all revel in my awesome downsizing abilities.  What’s that you say?  I have in fact replaced many of these products with new ones?!  Oh, well, forget that part then, will you?  The whole purpose to reduce is to buy more, is it not??  No?  Huh.   Well, I will keep trying, in any case.  Looking at this post alleviates some of my guilt at least. ‘Till next time!! :D

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A Year’s Worth of Favorite Products: My Top Ten of 2011

I started to write my regular ‘Fave Product of the Month’ post, but realized that 2011 is nearing it’s close, and there are many other products I’d like to write about before the year comes to an end.  Since December is looking like a crazy-busy month for me (and likely most of us!), I figured I’d do the Top Ten post now, rather than later, where it might get put on the backburner and come 2012, I’ll have never done it (case in point – this post has been in the works for three days and I’m just getting it out now!).  And so – in ten separate categories, here are my personal fave products of 2011:

1) Primer:  While I have been impressed by both MUFE’s HD Primer, and the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, my true fave of the bunch is NARS’ Smudgeproof Eyelid Primer.  I have been a faithful devotee to UD’s Primer Potion for a couple years, but found it somewhat drying and could make certain shadow formulations too intense (metallic, in particular).  NARS’ version is colorless, blending seamlessly into the skin, and feels like nothing on.  It doesn’t change the color or intensity of my shadows/liners, but they wear infinitely better and longer with this applied first.  A must-have if you want your eye products to last all day, or for a night of dancing.  Absolutely no negatives on this one!  $29CAD.

2) Foundation/Concealer:  I’ve tried my fair share of concealers this year, and none of them have really lived up to my hopes.  However, my NARS Sheer Glow foundation (reviewed here) surpassed any dreams I had – while I don’t *need* too much coverage, I like a nice wearing foundation that gives my skin a natural, flawless look without too much fuss.  This formula in the shade Syracuse matches my skin to a T.  I worried that this might be too heavy for my oilier skin, but it’s proven not to be the case – rather, it’s improved the look of my skin and kept it hydrated during cold, windy days and nights.  I wouldn’t choose this in the warmer months, as I prefer something very sheer and lightweight, but for Fall and Winter, this is an definite go-to for me. $55CAD.

3) Eyeshadow: This is a toss-up for me, because different shadows do different things.  For a basic, dress up or down shadow, I’d reach for Urban Decay’s Smog in a heart beat.  This bronze-y/brown shadow is close enough to my skintone to be natural looking, but metallic enough to be perfect for a special evening or event.  Not to mention that most of UD’s shadows ($20CAD) feel like absolute butter (this one being no exception) – it’s a smooth, evenly pigmented formula that wears really well.

Following close behind, another versatile shadow I have is Chanel’s Emerveille (reviewed here).  Worn all over the lid, it’s very subtle but the beautiful shimmer in it is far from boring.  It’s makes a truly fabulous highlight for inner eye and brow bone, and is terribly easy to apply with a finger or dense brush.  I’ll never get bored of this shadow!  $37CAD and worth every penny.

4) Eyeliner: Though I really adore MUFE’s Aqua Liners, particularly #14 (a gorgeous, multi-colored shimmer liquid liner with a charcoal base – $26CAD), my heart is forever taken by Illamasqua’s Havoc Precision Ink Liner.  OMG.  Seriously, I gaze at this liner lovingly and sigh.  It’s so unusual and yet so ridiculously amazing and flattering – that combination of pretty yet unique is hard to find, and oh-so-covetable.  And the wear on this baby is outta this world!  C’mon, if I can sleep with this on and wake up without nary a budge or smudge?  Yeah, that’s kind of awesome.  $27CAD.

5) Lippie: I actually thought at first that I didn’t have anything of note in this category, but then I took a look and realized I was forgetting two gems – Buxom’s Big and Healthy Lip Stick in Sydney, and MAC’s Dare You lipstick.  I know….I have two products in this category too – seems I’m not so good at making decisions, eh?  Regardless, both of these should be mentioned anyway, because one came out this year and the other didn’t, so we’ll leave the latter as an honorable mention (since I’m also having difficulties chosing products from the right timeframe!).  Also, both are classics that every gal should have in her lippie wardrobe – maybe not these specific shades, but as a general rule ;)

And so.  My first choice is a nude lippie, which is a great staple color to own, particularly as it pairs very well with the more intense eye makeup looks I tend to wear.  As some of you may know, I was on the hunt for a great nude shade – and I found perfection in Sydney.  Not too pink/peach/beige or otherwise, this just mutes my lips enough so that my eyes take centre stage.  A touch of gloss on top (because it’s fairly matte), and I’m ready to go ($23CAD).Runner-up notable lippie is MAC’s Dare You ($17.50CAD), which you’ll be happy to hear is a permanent shade, and is also one very sexy deep red.  For my complexion, and taking into consideration my fuller lips, this is the perfect shade of red for me as it’s classic, stand-out, yet demure enough that it isn’t aggressively in your face.  As much as I love the bright lips look that’s so popular right now, it just doesn’t work for me, sadly.  Or least I haven’t figured out how, yet.  In the interim, this makes me feel powerful and beautiful, and requires very little else on the face.  I’m completely sold!

6) Nail Polish: I’ve tried and worn a plethora of polishes this year, more so than any other in my (relatively) short 29 years.  It’s extremely hard – nay, impossible –  to narrow it down to only one shade that was above all others, but if it must be done…I’d pick Chanel’s Peridot ($27CAD).  Are you surprized?  I think not :P  It just captivated me so completely over all the other new offerings this year.  To be fair, there were some serious runners up, Essie’s Power Clutch ($11CAD)being among them.  Also, some shades that were not necessarily released this year – Illamasqua’s Baptiste ($22CAD), and butter London’s Snog ($18CAD), could even unsurp Peridot, but in keeping with my faves of 2011 – Peridot takes the prize.  Slam and…DUNK.

7) Face (Skincare) Product: Even though I’ve been singing praises for Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum, and I’m loving the effects on my skin, I have to give this one away to Clinique’s Turnaround Concentrate (or Night Moisturizer, depending on the season – $47 and $51.50CAD, respectively).  This product takes care of it all – clogged pores, acne, flakiness, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin texture – the nature of the exfoliation really handles most problems that can crop up with your skin.  I certainly notice a difference in my skin when I’m “off the blue stuff” (as my Mom would say).  I lied – this also is a repeat product in my stash, though I get this one for free :)  If I had to buy it with my own hard earned cash though, I would.  It’s really the workhorse in my skincare regime.

8) Body Product: My body care routine is terribly boring, unfortunately – wash, moisturize, repeat; that’s about it.  But, due to the simplicity of my regime, I absolutely needed to find products that would be effective.  There are a million and one moisturizers out there, half of which I can’t use because of their fragrance; the others are either not moisturizing enough, or so occlusive that they make my skin sticky and bumping (due to clogged pores).  Aveeno’s Eczema Care Cream ($10.49CAD) is a miracle in a tube – it keeps my skin hydrated all day, but doesn’t make me greasy and leaves my skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom.  I never thought I’d see the day where I was buying a product hand over fist, repeatedly – SO not my style!  But, here it is, I’ve become devoted to a product – call me a convert :)

9) Hair Product: Sadly, my hair care system isn’t much more interesting than my body care – there’s not a whole lot you can do with this curly mop!  However, there is one product that has been my standby for the last year or so (though…also not released this year, dang!) – TIGI’s Foxy Curls Curl Contour Cream ($19CAD).  Smells like skittles (mmmm), and makes my curls soft and springy, but never stiff, crunchy or sticky.  I really love this styling lotion, and it lasts AGES – probably about 8 months start to finish, which is crazy – particularly for my hair as it EATS product.  Sadly…due to my new fear of fragrance, when this is finished, it’s finished – I’m too nervous to keep using it for fear that it’s affecting my skin in some detrimental way.  We had a great run though, and I highly recommend trying it out if you have curly hair or waves that need a little boost!

10) Fragrance: Despite my avoidance of fragranced products, I actually don’t have any issue wearing fragrance itself – I guess because it’s placed in specific spots rather than all over.  Sadly, the product that wins this category for me is not yet something I own (nor was it released in 2011)…but Prada’s Infusion d’Iris perfume is AH-MA-ZING!!  and therefore well worth mentioning, despite the fact that it was launched in 2007 (LOL).  This is SO not my usual choice for fragrance – I’m typically into very gourmand scents, ones that smell like food, like Hanae Mori’s Butterfly, but every so often a scent like this will take hold of me, and won’t let go until I give in and buy a bottle.  I have a sample of this, which I wear for only special occasions and which has lasted for a lot longer than I expected it to – but it’s nearing it’s end, which means I’ll have to bite the bullet and invest the better part of $100 just to have a small bottle of it (which is all I ever buy for fragrance because I never wear the same one twice).  This woody floral boasts notes of mandarin, vetiver, and cedarwood, which compliment the Iris Pallida perfectly.  By the end of 2011, I WILL have my very own bottle…and won’t I be smelling sweet :)

I feel like I’m missing some products that surely deserve major love and attention, but at this very moment I can’t think of what they might be!!  What I am thinking of though, is to add one more additional category – my favorite BLOGS of 2011.  There are some amazingly wonderful reads out there and I think they deserve props for doing what they do so darn well.  Most of these are well-known and likely will come of no surprize, but nonetheless they bring me immense reading pleasure.  So, here are my five absolute must-read-every-day faves:

Beauty Editor – Though I’m not entirely a fan of the shorthand words that are in heavy rotation on the blog (its totes about the prodz!), I am LOVING the in-depth posts that don’t scrimp on information about the latest makeup trends, skincare innovations, or celebrity styles.  I devour each and every post from start to finish, and I always leave with much more knowledge than I started with.  I feel like I am getting insider knowledge every time I visit the page.  A definite must-read if you want to learn as well as look!

Beauty ReductionistaBest.Idea.Ever. for a blog – beauty reduction!  As cosmetic junkies, we all know what it’s like to have just too much - and Liz lets us join in on her journey towards reducing her stash and quelling ever-present lemmings that never go away.  Of course, sometimes she indulges, and that just makes her human – there are so many pretty things out there, how do you resist!?  Liz infuses her posts with hilarity and insight, which make for a powerful combination and a terrific read.  She recognizes her weaknesses but never gives up on her quest, and I admire her tenacity every day.  It helps keep ME on the straight and narrow too!

Ommorphia Beauty Bar – OK, I mean, who comes up with an amazing blog name like this in the first place?!?  Sheesh.  From the very first time I stumbled upon this blog I knew it was something special.  Not only are her photos (and nails!) first-rate, but she injects a little something extra into each post – you know she’s not just firing them off without putting in a lot of time and effort into each one.  She oozes kindness and this positive energy that you can feel right through the blogosphere.  Looking for swatches of the latest nail polishes to hit the streets?  Eugenia has got you covered.  Go!  Now!!

Cafe Makeup (and The Beauty Look Book) – I tied these two together because when I think of one, I can’t help but think of the other.  The ladies of these blogs are absolutely some of the classiest I’ve come across – their taste is impeccable and the cosmetics stash they each have is to be seriously revered.  To spend a day at their vanity (or wherever they store their collection) would be akin to Scrooge McDuck swimming in his sea of money – pure bliss.  The infinite number of high-end products they own is something I look up to – quality all the way.  I appreciate their genuine admiration of the very beautiful nature of cosmetics in general – to them, it seems more about the experience of the product itself, and not just the prestige of owning the more luxurious items of the beauty world.

She Cooks, He Eats – This is somewhat off-topic as the nature of this blog is food- rather than beauty-related, but I just can’t help but be continuously drawn to Kat’s delicious pictures of either her own current culinary pursuits or of possible gastronomic adventures to be taken.  I am left drooling at the sight of cake batter pancakes, or five different types of nachoes (yum!!), and I just enjoy the simple, down-to-Earth (yet far from boring) approach she takes to relating her passion to her readers.  As someone who is just beginning to take a real interest in having fun in the kitchen, Kat’s blog appeared on my radar at just the perfect moment.

I’m sure that I appear biased toward these blogs, but truly – each one of them is something I look forward to reading each and every day, and I feel that they all take a truly unique, and fabulous approach to the task which I love.  I measure my own blogging path against these ladies, and only hope that I can provide my readers which half as much awesomeness as they do.  I’ll keep trying! :)

So there are my faves of 2011, whether they were created in 2011 or prior, they’re what have been rocking my world this year.  I’d love to hear what some of your own favorites are – I’m always in the market for new inspiration!

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