What I did this summer: Recap and Update!

As summer has now come to an end (sorry guys, I know it’s hard to accept!), I find myself reminiscing about the past season and feeling quite content  that I really made the most of it this year. While I generally have a wonderfully fun-filled summer season every year, this one in particular felt very satisfying. I suspect that due to the lack of weddings (only one as opposed to the usual five or six!), I had an unusual abundance of time in which to spend on my own pursuits.

Because this summer was one of my favourites, I thought perhaps it might be nice to share some of the things I got up to and sort-of re-live the whole season in all it’s glory, all over again :)  Get comfortable, because photos abound!

This summer, I:

1) Traveled to Orlando, Florida

IMG_2294The gals :)

IMG_2271…and the gents (lol)

IMG_2314Driving down Daytona Beach!

2) Went away to Country Stiles B&B for my mom’s birthday

IMG_2376Country Stiles B&B in Amherst, N.S.

IMG_1062Breakfast!

IMG_1063Seriously…dude.

IMG_2385Party games! That’s my momma on the left ;)

IMG_2399The birthday girl

IMG_2440Blowing bubbles at Joggins Fossil Cliffs on the way home

3) Spent a few hours with the pup (aka our 6 year old chocolate lab Ally) at Martinique Beach in Nova Scotia (about an hour away from where we live)

IMG_1088Ryan and Ally

IMG_1090“Throw the stick, throw the stick, throw the stick”

4) Attended a wedding at Hatfield Farms (conveniently located 10 minutes from my house)

IMG_1091It rained for a moment…but then a beautiful rainbow came out!

IMG_1105Let me tell you, riding a mechanical bull is EFFING HARD WORK

5) Had a huge laugh watching co-workers get soaked participating in a charity dunk tank during Public Service Week (an annual event for federal public servants such as myself)

IMG_1122Fun costumes abound! 

IMG_1118Turn out was awesome!

6) Celebrated our anniversary :)

IMG_1125Unfortunately not in person…but in spirit (with beautiful flowers!)

7) Had a weekend away indulging in a lot of wine, laughs and beautiful scenery with my mom at Liscombe Lodge in Nova Scotia

IMG_2988Our spectacular view

IMG_2991And more…

IMG_2996…and more…

IMG_3008…keeps going…

IMG_3013…more…

IMG_3018~sigh~ Utterly wonderful!

IMG_3022Some neat abandoned ships on our way home. 

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8) Made two lots of strawberry jam to give away as gifts (and one lot of raspberry – my fave!)

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9) Saw the AWESOME Canadian band July Talk (amongst other acts such as Death Cab for Cutie and The Killers) at the Big Red Fest in P.E.I.

IMG_1141July Talk with good ol’ Matt Mays

IMG_1138Leah Fay is magnetic…that girl has stage presence! 

10) Bought some Hakuhodo brushes! (they’re lovely!)

IMG_3033Top to bottom: medium pointed Yachiyo brush, J142 brush, G5520BkSL brush, and the G5512BkSL brush

11) Watched a beautiful sunset and enjoyed nature with my mom and my uncle’s family at the Shangri-la Cottages in Noel, Nova Scotia

IMG_1151IMG_3040IMG_3042IMG_3041IMG_3044My mom and uncle

IMG_3049IMG_3051IMG_3059IMG_3061My wee momma ‘playing’ in the mud

IMG_3068My aunt being her sweet and hilarious self

12) Stood in crazy line-ups to eat at this years’ annual Halifax Food Truck Party….so worth it!

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13) Started a new tradition when I made hashbrown casserole for my friend, who’d never had it (we literally have HBC Fridays now lol)

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14) Played my hand (and lost as usual) during my friend’s family’s annual washer toss tourney

IMG_1160Ally lazing about in the middle of the tourney haha

And finally, the biggest event of them all was that we:

15) Created a new member to join our little family in March 2015!!

IMG_3705Our first baby gift :)

I’ve been dying to share the news with all of you, but obviously had to wait ’til the time was right. I’m 14 weeks along now – will be 15 weeks tomorrow – and things have been pretty easy so far, truth be told. Zero ‘morning’ sickness, and mostly just had the regular tiredness that comes along with the first trimester. I’m starting to experience some back pain, but all in all its been very stress-free and relaxed. I’ve been very fortunate! It definitely makes me love being pregnant that much more :D

So, aside from a very busy summer, this is another big reason why I haven’t been posting as often. Bedtime comes early! ;) And because I’ve been super busy with work, taking French lessons, working extra shifts at Clinique, and trying to get this darn condo sold, my spare time is often spent VERY low-key – mostly just reading and sleeping (lol). I’ve also started taking prenatal yoga classes once a week, which will be awesome but DAAAAAMN I’m not very good at slowing down, huh?

Now that I’m starting to get a bit of my energy back, I’m hoping to post more regularly. I haven’t been buying many cosmetics due to saving for the new house and in preparation for the baby, but I have my ‘Operation Reduce‘ that is still on-going, and I’m working on a couple new ideas to talk about. And every so often, I do pick up a treat ;)

Overall, life has been pretty amazing these past few months! I can only imagine it will continue as we start on this new, exciting adventure. I’m so totally ready (as much as you can be, I suppose)!!!  I hope all of you have had equally wonderful summer holidays – don’t forget to think back on all the fun you had, once the weather turns and you’re cursing the bitter cold! Maybe those memories will sustain you ’til next year ;)

How was your summer? Do tell!

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I’m dreaming of… {Fall Edition}

I have been exceedingly good this season, and have picked up next to nothing from the Fall 2014 collections – only recently caving to the allure of Zoya’s Ignite collection and ordering both Remy (metallic indigo with gold and copper shimmer) and India (deep red with gold metallic shimmer) polishes. However, that doesn’t mean that my wish list still isn’t a mile long, or that I don’t pine away for products every minute of every day. Right now, my ‘Loves’ list on Sephora is like, 4 pages and growing daily…oops! I have been holding out for the usual 15% off sale they have right around the beginning of fall, and the products show above are on the ‘serious contenders’ list for purchase:

Sephora Wish List - Fall 2014

1) Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks ($26CAD)
2) Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in I746 Watermelon, and I220 Sapphire ($24CAD)
3) Ardency Inn Modster Manuka Honey Enriched Pigment in Rose Gold ($24CAD)
4) Becca Beach Tint Souffle in Watermelon/Moonstone ($33CAD)
5) Medium Z Palette ($35CAD)
6) Givenchy Le Rouge lipsticks ($38CAD)
7) Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder ($29CAD)
8) Formula X by Sephora The System ($40CAD)

I feel that this list is half frivolous, half reasonable. The lipsticks, shadows and blush I don’t *need* of course, but I’ve been dying to try both lipstick formulas so it’s probably time I do that; the shadows and blush, well ~shrugs~  I’m human, after all! I desperately need a Z palette to put all of my newly depotted shadows in, and I want to try the LM powder under my eyes to set my concealer – I’m hoping it’ll also give a nice brightening boost, as sometimes regular powder looks too flat and does nothing to improve the darkness. Finally, I’m running low on most of my base coats, and I’ve been curious about the Formula X ‘System’ so this might kill two birds with one stone.

What’s on your wish list this fall??

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Arm yourself for cooler weather with Korres skincare

I don’t know about everywhere else, but for the past few weeks it’s definitely felt like fall here in Hali (but at least it’s not SNOW, good grief). The days are still warm, but the mornings and evenings have a definitely chill in the air. Personally, I’m loving it because I love fall, and I far prefer to sleep in the cool than the sticky heat! But the drop in temperature does signal that it’s time to switch up my skincare routine – my lips are starting to get a bit flaky again and the skin around my mouth is more sensitive and dry.

A few products landed at my door last month that have been ideal to help my skin transition into fall with ease: Korres Lip Butters in Guava and Pomegranate ($19CAD ea.), and the Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Primer ($39CAD) from the brand.

Korres Skincare

Though I have tried a couple Korres skincare products before, it’s been a while since I’ve dallied with the brand. I’ve read numerous reviews on their Lip Butters before, but didn’t know too much about their slew of Primers (they also have a Pomegranate Mattifying Primer, and a Quercetin & Oak Age-reversing Primer, as well as a plain Face Primer).

Korres Skincare

The Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Primer is a ‘skin-perfecting and silicone-free face primer‘ which is formulated with Greek yoghurt, which is touted to be very nourishing. Like any primer, it assists with improving makeup longevity and smoother application. This particular formulation, which is free of parabens or sulfates, is also supposed to be idea for sensitive skin, and has a ‘breathable gel texture that glides onto skin leaving a dewy finish.’ The texture is more like a cream-gel, which I like as it provides light moisture without being heavy. I also like that it’s silicone-free, which again keeps it from really feeling primer-ish on the skin. The only real turn-off I have is the scent, which is fairly strong and a mix of floral-herbal. I wore this for several days in a row, and it didn’t seem to cause any irritation to my skin, but I will be wary during use nonetheless. The scent does dissipate after a while.

IMG_3684 IMG_3686

I actually found that using this in the summer was OK – while it didn’t keep oiliness at bay, if used alone as my moisturizer/primer, it allowed my makeup to wear longer and I didn’t turn into a complete oil-slick. However, I think this will be particularly effective in the fall and winter, when my skin turns more normal than oily. I’m hoping it will be just the ticket to get a dewy, glowing look, rather than dehydrated due to moisture-sucking blustery cold days and indoor heating.

Korres Lip Butter in PomegranatePomegranate Lip Butter

The Lip Butters are a lovely, medium-thick balm which applies easily to the lips and is not waxy in the least. It’s my favourite kind of texture to a balm – extremely comfortable to wear, yet doesn’t disappear in seconds requiring you to apply more every five minutes. And the scent isn’t too shabby either ;)  (it says it contains ‘aroma (flavour)’ in the ingredients but doesn’t elaborate what that could be – they also say that the product contains no synthetic fragrances, and so far it hasn’t caused any irritation for me, so we’ll just go with it)

Korres Lip Butter in Pomegranate ingredientsPomegranate Lip Butter Ingredients

I’ve been wearing the Guava shade regularly (below) as my daily balm, as it’s just clear – as I said, my lips have been dry and rough the past week or so, and this has helped keep them hydrated and comfortable. I plan to start incorporating the Pomegranate shade (above), a ‘sheer coral’, into my lip wardrobe as well to give me that nice, stained lip that looks so lush in fall.

Korres Lip Butter in GuavaGuava Lip Butter

Korres Lip Butter in Guava ingredientsGuava Lip Butter Ingredients

I just want to note a few things that kind of alerted me when I first read the ingredients – polybutene is a liquid ogliomer which is used as a binding element in cosmetics and is derived from petroleum (EWG score of 1); trimethylolpropane triisostearate is a occlusive skin-conditioning agent (EWG score of 0); hydrogenated polydecene is a skin-conditioning agent (EWG score of 2); and polyethylene is a binding agent as well (EWG score of 1).  The reason I wanted to share that is because as a consumer who reads ingredients, I was a bit concerned that all these things that sounded rather ominous – but turns out they’re relatively harmless.

Korres Lip Butter in Guava & Pomegranate swatchesSwatches, left to right: Guava Lip Butter, Pomegranate Lip Butter

Overall, I’m pleased with these products and encouraged to try more Korres products in the future. Unfortunately, the brand is phasing out it’s makeup line to focus more on skincare, so I suspect primers and lip conditioners will be the extent of it’s offerings moving forward. Happily, both are quite lovely and there are primers to suit everyone’s needs, so it’s not a total loss! I’m really keen to see how the Greek Yoghurt primer works in the late fall/winter and if it gives me the dewy (and not greasy) look I’m always trying to achieve!

Korres Skincare

Have you tried Korres skincare products before? Do you ever use a primer to double as your moisturizer? What kind of texture do you like in a lip treatment?

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

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Amie *Naturally Kind* Skincare – Now at Shoppers Drug Mart!

I know Tracy just reviewed this brand, but that’s what happens when you’re a blogger in Canada – there is bound to be overlap! And I always feel that each person can offer a different take on products, due to different skin types etc. A well-rounded view of a product is always a bonus :)

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In this neck of the woods, I’m loving all these new skincare brands landing at Shoppers these days! Launched in Canada on August 11th, the newest kid on the block is Amie Naturally Kind Skincare, which is an award-winning, gentle skincare line that uses high-quality, naturally-derived plant and botanical extracts in their formulas. They have a range of products, from cleansers, to masks, to moisturizers – and a few things in between (toners, exfoliants, and even a makeup remover!).

I received a nice array of products to test out, and unsurprisingly I got right to it! Here’s what I received, with it’s description along with a few of my thoughts:

IMG_3608Radiant Dawn Exfoliating Daily Wash and Spring Clean Deep Cleansing Mask

Radiant Dawn Exfoliating Daily Wash

“Gentle enough to use every day. Contains green apple, lemon and exfoliating blueberry seeds. Soap-free, oil-free.”   This daily wash is exceptionally gentle on the skin. I’m not sure how truly ‘exfoliating’ it is through the blueberry seeds so just a heads up if you’re looking for a nice scrubby feeling – but I guess the inclusion of green apple offers some chemical exfoliation through it’s acids. It foams up quite a bit, but I found that it left my skin feeling really nice – clean but not stripped in the least. The only real issue I had was that it didn’t rinse away too easily; the gel sort of stuck to the skin a bit so it took a bit of elbow grease to wash it all off.

IMG_3597Itty bitty scrubbies

IMG_3611Ingredients

Spring Clean Deep Cleansing Mask

“A wonderfully refreshing deep-cleansing treatment that draws out dirt, oiliness and impurities leaving skin feeling clear, clean and smooth.”  The first time I tried this mask, I was terrified – a minute after application, there is this SERIOUS cooling sensation that bordered on burny-tingly, and I worried I was going to have a terrible reaction. However, after a few more minutes, the sensation dulls considerably and it’s just nice and refreshing. When I rinsed it away after 10 minutes, my skin felt lovely – fresh and smooth. I didn’t experience any adverse reaction to it at all, despite the scary-intense feeling at the beginning.

IMG_3600Thick clay texture

IMG_3612Ingredients

Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturiser

“Controls oiliness and shine, while hydrating and keeping skin soft. With rosehip, bilberry and Vitamin E.”  A beautifully light moisturizer, that absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave the skin feeling sticky or greasy. I found that this minimally controlled oiliness and shine on my combo-oily skin, but honestly – nothing has been working on my skin to keep the oiliness at bay on my t-zone, so I wasn’t surprised. If nothing else, it’s a great light hydrator that would work particularly well with combination to normal skins. And I gotta say, I love that rosehip is included in the ingredients!

IMG_3593Texture was somewhat gel-like – and beside the swatch, I rubbed some in; you can see how it didn’t leave my skin shiny or greasy

IMG_3614Ingredients

Morning Light Hydrating Daily Moisturiser

“Keeps skin soft, smooth and nourished all day long. Rich in rose extract, rosehip seed oil and mallow.”  As this sounded a bit heavier than the Morning Dew moisturizer, I used this in the evening. Again, it was nice and moisturizing without being heavy at all. It didn’t dry as ‘matte’ on my skin as the Matte-Finish moisturizer, but I still think it would be ideal on combo-normal to even slightly dry skins.

IMG_3595Slightly richer texture – and you can see it has a bit of sheen on my skin where I rubbed it in

IMG_3613Ingredients

I’m going to be up front with you: these products are all quite scented. It’s a wonderful scent – clean and fresh and quite pleasant, truly – but for this scent-adverse gal, it freaked me out A LOT and made my testing of these products somewhat limited. With the exfoliating wash and deep cleansing mask, I didn’t mind too much because they washed off, but I felt very uncomfortable wearing the two moisturizers, the scent of which I could smell on my skin all day long.  I only tested them a couple times each, because I just could NOT get past how scented they were. If you’re into scent in your skincare, or if it doesn’t bother you, I’d say these are great products to check out – affordable and free of paragons, sulphates, mineral oils and animal extracts. I don’t know if I’d recommend them for sensitive skins, as they say, due to the fragrance – but not all sensitive skin is sensitive to fragrance, so if scent doesn’t seem to irritate you, you should be fine.

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Have you seen Amie Skincare in Shoppers yet? How do you feel about scented products?

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

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Beauty Envy Bag – End of Summer Giveaway!

We’ve dished about our favorite products that help shift our summer beauty routines into fall, and now it’s time for one of you to win a bag filled with these essentials. If you haven’t yet gotten to know all of the ladies behind the Beauty Envy Bag, here’s a quick intro:

refined-and-polished

Lakeisha is a nail polish blogger living in Georgia. She is obsessed with polish, fashion, and merging the two together. She is the blogger behind Refined and Polished.

beauty-obsessed

Latoya is a beauty blogger from the East Coast of Canada. While she loves all things girly, she’s also a closet gamer and is a die-hard Walking Dead fan. She is the blogger behind Beauty Obsessed.

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 Leticia is a beauty blogger from the Pacific Northwest. She is a dog lover, sci fi nerd, handbag collector, and makeup junkie. She is the blogger behind Cosmetics Aficionado.

burbbeauty nail blog swatch review Ozotic Pro 505

Lola is a Midwest blogger with a passion for polish, science, and music. She is the blogger behind Burb Beauty.

Check out the reviews for the featured products in this season’s Beauty Envy Bag:

Here is what you need to know to enter in the Rafflecopter widget below:

  • Must leave a blog comment (just one blog, doesn’t have to be all four) letting us know your favorite way to shift your summer beauty routine into fall.
  • Additional entries for following each blog on social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Open internationally
  • Must be 18 or older
  • Giveaway closes on Sunday  September, 21 at 12:00 AM EST

Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Operation Reduce: Eyeshadows, Part II

Hooray for getting on the ball again! After being re-inspired by Maggie and her recommended viewing material (Tati’s Makeup Graveyards), I got back into the swing of things and started going through my eyeshadows and meticulously swatching each to see which should stay and which should go. I was on a TEAR yesterday, you guys! Highly recommended watching these kinds of videos while culling your stash – it made me more ruthless than ever! Continuing on my ‘palette cleanse’ (hehe), I finished weeding through the shades from the Urban Decay Book of Shadows III and started attacking the Kat Von D Spellbinding palette. Exciting!

Check out part I of Operation Reduce.

Without further ado, let’s see what made the cut (and what didn’t)!

Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister & Kat Von D Babe

IMG_3374Clockwise from bottom left: Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, MAC Paint in Infamous, and Kat Von D Babe

I’m not generally a fan of violet eyeshadow, truth be told. I love deep dark shades like eggplant or plum, but more vibrant shades like these tend to look a bit garish on my skin (at least I think so). I rarely wear any of the shadows above, so it was time to make an ultimate decision – to stay or go?

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The MAC Paint is incredibly old and the shade long since discontinued. I keep hanging on to it for sentimental reasons, which I don’t do very often, but it’s like a relic now! And it’s not dried up and crusty, nor does it separate or smell bad, so I’ve been unable to part with it thus far. Perhaps it’s time has come?

MAC vs Urban Decay vs Kat Von D shadow swatchesLeft to right: MAC Infamous Paint (d), Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, Kat Von D Babe

Upon swatching these, it was immediately clear to me that Babe has got to go. It’s too light for my skin tone, and since I don’t do complicated eye looks EVER, I know I’ll never use it as an accent shade or anything of the like. Psychedelic Sister is somehow both bold yet a touch sheer, a combination I don’t particularly like on my skin tone. I do like having a variety of shades however, so I initially put it in the ‘maybe’ pile. I was gearing up to also let Infamous go, as it does apply a bit patchy, when I decided to experiment by putting that on the eye first and then layering PS over it. BOOM! It paired beautifully with PS and gave it more depth of pigment – win win win! I’m actually excited to wear this combination now :)

One down!

Urban Decay Radium

IMG_3426Left to right: MAC Paint in Blue Boy, Urban Decay Radium

There wasn’t any real doubt in my mind about keeping Radium – for a bright eye it’s one of my favourite shades to wear (it’s what I’m wearing in my ‘About Me’ photo, so yea – I kinda like it!). In this case, I was more trying to find a reason NOT to keep my other ancient MAC Paint, Blue Boy – a fun shade to be sure, but one I never ever wear.

IMG_3422Left to right: MAC Blue Boy Paint, Urban Decay Radium

In comparing the two, initially I was disappointed to see that they aren’t the same shade – Blue Boy is more blue, while Radium takes on an almost teal look next to it. However, Blue Boy has really had it’s day – when I tried the same layering trick with it and Radium, it applied WAY too patchy (much more than Infamous) and it doesn’t enrich Radium but makes it somehow less wearable.

I feel no sadness in letting this one go – it’s time has come, and I’m ok with that :) Out it goes!

Urban Decay Kush & Kat Von D Gunner

IMG_3462Clockwise from left: MAC Jealousy Wakes, Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow in 8E, Kat Von D Gunner, Urban Decay Kush

Clearly, none of these greens are really very similar, but it’s a another shade I find I don’t wear very well, so I put them all into one pot to see which one would come out on top. The rest – sayonara!

IMG_3465Left to right: Kat Von D Gunner, Urban Decay Kush, MAC Jealousy Wakes, Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow in 8E

Maybe it’s just my bias, but I don’t really think any of these look very good! Gunner wouldn’t be too bad if it had better pigment (and lost the glitter), but if you recall from my original Spellbinding palette review it was one of the worst of the bunch. Kush isn’t terrible, but again I feel like it’s too light for my skin tone – where are the deeper jewel tone shades, huh? – and I’d rather turf it so I can buy a great deep green than hang on to it just because. Jealousy Wakes has a stiff, slightly gritty formula which I don’t like very much, but layered over a dark shadow it’s quite pretty, and I’ve decided that it’s the only green I’m going to keep for now until I find something better. MUFE’s 8E is my favourite SHADE of the bunch, but I’m tired of avoiding this formula because it’s so dry and hard to apply and smudge out.

Three of the four are getting the boot here! Yeehaw!

Urban Decay Money & Kat Von D 8 Bit

IMG_3473Left to right: Kat Von D 8 Bit, Urban Decay Money, Maybelline Shimmering Sea

Obviously, Shimmering Sea is only here for comparison purposes, as there is no way I’m giving this baby up – I love it too much! The other two look similar in the pans, but there are discernible differences (hard to tell in this light – my sun went away :() – are they enough for me to keep them both?

IMG_3478Left to right: Kat Von D 8 Bit, Urban Decay Money, Maybelline Shimmering Sea

8 Bit is definitely more of a teal-blue, while Money is more of a pale sky blue – Shimmering Sea just looks at the both of them and is like ‘Pfffft. That’s all you got? Where’s your GOLDEN SHIMMER DUOCHROME?’  O_o

…ANYWAY, while neither 8 Bit nor Money are the kind of shades I wear often, 8 Bit has such a lovely, smooth formula (while Money is smooth but has gritty glitter in it), and I CAN wear this as a pretty wash of colour easily. And it would probably layer over Shimmering Sea very nicely! So, in this round – Money = 0, 8 Bit = 1.

Urban Decay Last Call & Kat Von D Stupid Autocorrect

IMG_3490Left to right: Urban Decay Last Call, Kat Von D Stupid Autocorrect

I really love the way Last Call looks in the pan – all rich burgundy gorgeousness – while Stupid Autocorrect (what a name!) looks muted and dull by comparison. Nevertheless, I swatched the two just to be sure.


IMG_3498Left to right: Urban Decay Last Call, Kat Von D Stupid Autocorrect

…which didn’t help me much at all! The two are incredibly similar, with Last Call being slightly darker but overall similar in tone. I decided I’d need to try them on my eyes to really see what was up. Surprizingly, I found Last Call to be just a hint too purpley-red and metallic on my eye, and gave me kind of a sickly look, while SA’s more muted tones worked well in it’s favour. I debated on the two for ages, but in the end knowing that I tend to wear more simple eye looks, I went with Kat Von D’s version because I knew it would get more use.

So there you have it! I think that Part II went swimmingly – I’m making real headway with condensing my eyeshadow collection, and I’m even more pleased that I’m taking those bulky palettes and reducing them to just a handful of shades I’ll actually wear. Get ready for Part III, which will focus on the last of those two palettes – I hope to post on that later today.

I’m feeling lighter already!

Are you doing any kind of inventory of your own makeup? What is your ideal size for a makeup collection?

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Things I do in my spare time: Research skincare oils

Alright guys, prepare yourselves for a MASSIVE post! I know that I haven’t been posting as much over the summer, but trust me when I say that just because I’m not talking about cosmetics here does not mean that they’re not on my mind 24/7 (sad but true). Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time doing research on various things, and one of the biggest time consuming endeavours was reading up on skincare oils. Over the weeks, I’ve been compiling information on various aspects of oils, trying to figure out what’s best for my skin. The green/organic beauty world is just so FULL of new products and things to try that it can get a little overwhelming. I decided to take matters into my own hands and trust in my own research to decide which products are worth my time. There are two main components that I look at when choosing a skincare oil: it’s comedogenic rating, and it’s fatty acid profile, both of which I get into detail below.

If you’re at all interested in this kind of stuff, I suggest to grab your bevvie of choice and get comfy, because this is a DOOZY.

1400355998527Photo source

Comedogenicity

The first criteria I have when choosing a facial oil is it’s comedogenicity. Though my skin is not very acneic (usually), it is on the oily side and does get congested fairly easily, so I try to avoid any oils that may clog my pores and exacerbate the situation. I think this point is extremely important for everyone to note, because while facial oils are becoming more and more accepted in skincare, there are still some who get nervous at the thought of wearing oils on their skin, especially if they are acneic or feel their skin is already oily. So, it’s important to know that there are some oils that are better suited for particular skin types – some oils have no or low comedogenicity, and can likely be used without fear of breakouts or clogged pores. A final point to note on this topic is that clogged pores and acne are not a concern for everyone, so to those with perhaps drier skin or skin that never breaks out and pores are a myth (I know a gal that literally has ZERO pores that I can see – bitch!), you can likely use oils with a higher comedogenicity without fear. I also use this list to determine which oils might be well suited for my body skin, as it’s much drier due to my eczema and can handle an oil that’s more comedogenic because it rarely breaks out.

Below, I have a list of oils and a few other common skincare ingredients with their corresponding comedogenic scores out of 5 (I found this information through researching several different articles on comedogenicity).

Non-comedogenic:
Hemp seed oil (0/5)
Mineral oil* (0/5)
Petrolatum* (0/5)
Shea butter (0/5)
Sunflower oil (0/5)
Safflower oil (0/5) *high linoleic acid variety only
 
Low Comedogenic Properties:
Castor oil (1/5)
Jojoba oil (1/5)
Pomegranate oil (1/5)
Rosehip oil (1/5)
Calendula oil (1/5)
Emu oil (1/5)
Squalene (1/5)
Grape seed oil (1/5)
Sea buckthorn oil (1/5)
 
Med. Comedogenic Properties:
Almond oil (2/5)
Apricot kernel oil (2/5)
Avocado oil (2/5)
Baobab seed oil (2/5)
Borage oil (2/5)
Pumpkin seed oil (2/5)
Olive oil (2/5)
Hazelnut oil (2/5)
Tamanu oil (2/5)
Sesame oil (2/5)
Beeswax (2/5)
Vitamin E (tocopherol) (2/5)
Vitamin A palmitate (2/5)
 
Comedogenic:
Corn oil (3/5)
Evening primrose oil (3/5)
Soybean oil (3/5)
Cotton seed oil (3/5)
Cocoa butter (4/5)
Coconut oil (4/5)
Wheat germ oil (5/5)
 
*Some of you may be surprised to see mineral oil and petroleum as non-comedogenic – I was! There are a ton of articles out there for and against mineral oil, so I suggest doing some of your own reading and coming to your own conclusions on it. But it looks like if you were avoiding it because you felt it clogged your pores – that might not be the case! As I said, do a little reading on it to get the full picture.
 
Aroma Therapy

Fatty Acid Profiles

This is a topic to which I’ve only recently been doing extensive research on. After coming across Minimalism Beauty Dawn’s post on using carrier oils to cleanse the face and her finding that oils higher in linoleic acids may be better suited to acneic or clog-prone skin, I started looking up the fatty acid profiles of a number of oils that I see listed in a lot of my skincare. Without getting too technical, different oils contain different types of fatty acids, and each acid type behaves differently on the skin. Below is a list of the most common fatty acids I’ve noted, along with a brief profile.

Oleic acid - very moisturizing, absorbs well, regenerative, anti-inflammatory
Linoleic acid - improves skin’s barrier function, soothes itchy, dry skin, retains moisture, anti-inflammatory
Linolenic acid - helps reduce acne, retains moisture, strengthens skin’s barrier function, anti-inflammatory
Gamma linolenic acid – exceptional at improving skin’s barrier function, soothes itchy, dry skin, retains moisture, helps with acne-prone skin, absorbs quickly, improves skin suppleness and flexibility, anti-inflammatory
Palmitic acid – forms occlusive barrier on skin and protects it
Palmitoleic acid – prevents burns, wounds, scratches; anti-microbial, heals damaged skin
Stearic acid – improves moisture retention, increases skin flexibility, repairs skin damage

In her research, Dawn found that sebum in oily, congested and acne-prone skin tends to be made up of mostly oleic acid, and they need a balance of linoleic and oleic acids to avoid or lessen breakouts and congestion. So, by applying predominantly linoleic acid-based oils to these skin types, you can achieve this balance. Though she doesn’t mention it in her post, I would think the flip side would also be true – drier skins probably lack oleic acid in their sebum (conversely having more linoleic acid in their natural oils), and therefore using oils high in these fatty acids would help balance them out and make them less dry over time.

Of course, being the nerd I am, I put together yet ANOTHER list that notes the fatty acid profiles of many of the oils we see in skincare today (note that I omitted some of the fatty acids that had extremely low values or which were not part of the common list of acids I noted above).

Higher in Linoleic Acid:
Black Cumin Seed oil - 56% linoleic, 23% oleic, 12% palmitic
Borage oil - 39% linoleic, 20% GLA, 18% oleic, 10% palmitic
Evening Primrose oil - 73% linoleic, 9% GLA, 8% oleic, 6% palmitic
Grapeseed oil - 71% linoleic, 16% oleic, 7% palmitic
Hemp Seed oil - 52% linoleic, 10% linolenic, 10% oleic, 6% palmitic
Kukui Nut oil - 40% linoleic, 26% alpha-linolenic, 25% oleic, 6% palmitic
Pumpkin oil – 57% linoleic, 23% oleic, 13% palmitic
Rosehip oil - 44% linoleic, 34% linolenic, 14% oleic
Safflower oil - 68-85% linoleic, 8-30% oleic, 4-10% palmitic
Soybean oil - 53% linoleic, 23% oleic, 11% palmitic, 7% linolenic
Wheat Germ oil - 58% linoleic, 17% palmitic, 12% oleic, 9% linolenic
 
Balanced:
Argan oil - 42-48% oleic, 30-38% linoleic
Baobab oil - 30-40% oleic, 24-34% linoleic, 18-30% palmitic
Cranberry oil - 30-38% linoleic, 22-26% oleic, 20-38% linolenic
Sesame oil - 46% linoleic, 39% oleic, 9% palmitic
Tamanu oil - 41% oleic, 30% linoleic, 15% palmitic, 13% stearic
 
Higher in Oleic Acid:
Apricot kernel oil - 69% oleic, 22% linoleic
Avocado oil - 63% oleic, 16% palmitic, 10% linoleic
Camellia oil - 79% oleic, 7% linoleic
Carrot Seed oil - 68% oleic, 11% linoleic
Hazelnut oil - 79% oleic, 12% linoleic
Macadamia Nut oil - 54% oleic, 21% palmitoleic, 8% palmitic
Olive oil - 55% oleic, 20% palmitic, 18% linoleic
Palm Fruit oil - 43% palmitic, 41% oleic, 10% linoleic
Shea Nut oil - 73% oleic, 14% linoleic, 9% stearic
Sunflower oil - 70-88% oleic, 3-20% linoleic, 3-6% palmitic
Sweet Almond oil - 67% oleic, 25% linoleic, 6% palmitic

As I have been using facial oils now almost exclusively for several years, I can say with confidence that I believe this theory of using linoleic acid-rich oils on oilier skin does work! At least for my skin, I’ve found that by using oils with lower oleic acid profiles, I’ve had much more success in keeping my skin less congested and less oily overall. It’s certainly been trial and error, especially when a lot of the oils that are being marketed to death right now are also often high in oleic acid (camellia and argan come to mind). My skin reacted VERY poorly to camellia oil, and argan, which is a more balanced oil, hasn’t been the miracle cure-all that it’s touted to be in my experience. I can use it sparingly when I feel a bit on the drier side (at this time of year its mostly after I’ve done a clay mask or something of that sort), but regularly use has not been very fruitful, as it leaves my skin feeling very oily and not as soft and smooth as other oils have done.

So far, I’ve had great success with several linoleic acid-rich oils, such as rosehip (probably my favourite to date, with a low comedogenicty rating) and currently organic grapeseed (another one with low comedogenicty), with which I’m using to oil cleanse my face at night. In fact, after I cleanse with the grapeseed oil, my skin is left feeling so comfortable that I’ve been skipping applying anything else at all, and I wake up with baby-soft skin. Seriously, it’s been absolutely amazing! (If you’re curious, I purchased the oil from Mountain Rose Herbs for $17.50US for an 8.5oz bottle) Eventually, I’d like to try something with hemp seed oil in it too (a drier-feeling oil with zero comedogenicity and a low oleic acid profile).

There are a number of other facial oils that do not have the average acid profiles of those above – these I like to think of as ‘speciality oils.’ A lot of these oils have exceptional qualities not found in the oils above, and my plan is to incorporate some of them into my routine as well to reap their unique benefits. Here are a few on my radar.

Other Acids:
Pomegranate seed oil - 78% punicic, 7% linoleic, 6% oleic (cell regenerating, helps repair sun damage, helps reduce collagen damage)
Castor oil - ricinoleic 88%, 4% oleic, 4% linoleic (alcohol soluble, humectant, analgesic)
Unrefined coconut oil - 49% lauric, 19% myristic, 9% palmitic, 8% caprylic, 7% capric, 7% oleic (anti-oxidant, helps with sun damaged skin, penetrates hair shaft)
Sea Buckthorn oil – 31% palmitic, 29% palmitoleic, 28% oleic, 7% linoleic  (very healing, anti-microbial)
Jojoba oil - 71% gadoleic, 14% erucic, 11% oleic (astringent, forms non-occlusive barrier on skin, easily penetrates)C
Meadowfoam Seed oil - 62% gadoleic, 18% bras sic, 13% erucic (similar to jojoba, forms non-occlusive barrier on skin, easily penetrates)
Palm Kernel oil – 48% lauric, 16% oleic, 16% myristic, 8% palmitic (anti-bacterial)

You can bet that I’ll be getting my hands on some pomegranate seed oil, stat! I currently use unrefined coconut oil as my sole body moisturizer and have been for well over a year, to great success. I have a facial oil now that contains jojoba oil as one of the main ingredients, and I’ve found it very satisfactory in it’s efficacy – not greasy and penetrates quickly.

After doing all this research, I have a good list of oils that I always keep a lookout for when making a purchase. Just to make this post EVEN LONGER, I’ve noted them below:

Face
- any time; non-comedogenic and low in oleic acid: rosehip, grape seed, hemp seed, kukui nut, safflower, jojoba, pomegranate
– night; med. comedogenicity, but low oleic acid or balanced acid profile: pumpkin, argan, cranberry, sesame, baobab, tamanu
day, winter; med. comedogenicity but very protective: baobab, pumpkin, tamanu

Body
– baobab (balanced, occlusive)
– tamanu (balanced, occlusive)
– avocado (moisturizing, occlusive)
– argan (balanced)
– sesame (balanced, occlusive)
– macadamia nut (moisturizing, healing, occlusive)
– olive (moisturizing, occlusive)
– palm fruit (occlusive, moisturizing)

Marketplace-palm-oil-largePhoto source

Final Word

With all these considerations in mind, learning the basics of these oils has made choosing skincare products much easier overall. If I see a product that sounds appealing, I scan the ingredient list first, and if the oil content is composed of a mix I think that will not benefit my skin type, I pass it over. It’s reduced my wish list considerably (which really needed to happen anyway), and I love feeling informed and confident in my purchases.

I know that using oils in skincare may not be for everyone, and that this post might not be as helpful to you. But my hope is that it IS useful for some, and I figured that since I literally have spent hours doing this research for myself, I may as well share it with you guys too! I really do always have beauty on the brain, even if I’m not posting about it as frequently at the moment.

Do you use facial oils? What do you look for when purchasing an oil or other skincare item?

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