Posts Tagged Beauty Blog

Beauty Envy Bag Giveaway Spring 2014: Radiant Orchid Edition!

Beauty-Envy-Bag-Spring-Edition

Hey dolls! The ladies behind the Beauty Envy Bag Giveaway have come together to share some our favorite Radiant Orchid products with one lucky person. I’m sure you all didn’t think we just wanted to show them off last week in our first themed post! In case you are a new reader, here is a quick look at the bloggers behind the giveaway.

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

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.

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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.

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Latoya is a beauty blogger from the East Coast of Canada. While she loves all things girly, she also has a serious geeky side. She is the blogger behind Beauty Obsessed.

So what is going into that gorgeous makeup bag? Read on! (Links to each blogger’s reviews included)

So how do you enter? Here’s the lowdown:

  • You must leave a blog comment (just on one blog, doesn’t have to be all four) letting us know whether you’ve tried any Radiant Orchid products this year. If so, tell us about them.
  • Score additionally entries by following each blog on social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
  • Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only (sorry, this is due to issues with overseas mail and nail polish).
  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Giveaway closes Saturday, April 5th at 12:00a EST.
  • Winner has 48 hours to respond to our email or a new winner will be chosen.
  • Giveaway is not sponsored by anyone.
  • Note: We are not responsible for items lost, damaged, or stolen in transit. If the prize is lost, we will not be sending a replacement, nor will we provide money for the value of the prize. We are not responsible for any customs fees you may incur.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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RapidLash Eyelash & Eyebrow Enhancing Serum

Continuing my adventures in ULTIMATE LASH PLUMPING, I’ve been given an opportunity to try out the cult-product RapidLash® Eyelash & Eyebrow Enhancing Serum, a lash treatment clinically proven to help you achieve fuller-looking lashes in as little as 30 days!

Following the success of XLash, I was sad to see the end of the product earlier last month.  Over the past month, my lashes have almost returned to their former state, though they are still a bit longer than they were previously.  I was excited to get the chance to try and compare RapidLash’s formula, which I have heard about from several different sources.  I’m eager to see how it compares to the XLash formula!

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The RapidLash serum is a paraben-free, over-the-counter formula that features a breakthrough formula of six highly effective ingredients, including polypeptides, biotin, and panthenol.  It is dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested.

As with the XLash product, application and use is easy-peasy.  Brush the formula along the baseline of lashes (you can also apply it to the lower lash line) every night at bedtime, and away you go.  Additionally, this formula can be used on the brows by applying directly to the brow line.

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The RapidLash product is comparable in price to XLash, at $59.95CAD.  Unlike XLash however,  you can get this from Shopper Drug Mart, so it’s more accessible (though it’s also available at RapidLash.com for those without access to Shoppers!).

I will report back in a month on my progress and results – I have high hopes! Having thick, long, fluttering lashes is really becoming addictive, I gotta say!

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

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Final Empties Post of 2013!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Le makeup.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Holiday Wish List: NYC Edition!

So my most excellent boyfriend has been planning a secret trip for the two of us for the past two months, to which I was aware but not privy to our destination.  Earlier this week I was finally told where we were headed so that I’d have a little time to plan what I’d like to do…..in NEW YORK CITY!!!!!!!!! ~jumps up and down excitedly~  We leave this Tuesday!!  I am SO EXCITED, GUYS.  I’ve never been, and I cannot WAIT to go!

Having a few days to figure out our plan of attack (because I AM going to take on the city in a BIG way), I have a number of things on my list. It should come as no surprise that aside from the usual touristy-type excursions, plus taking in a few awesome cultural events such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular, and the Moscow ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, my sights are largely set on SHOPPING MY FACE OFF.  Oh yea.  It’s goin’ DOWN.

And so, I bring to you my next wish list instalment – the NYC edition :)

The ‘Way Overpriced in Canada’ Wish List

Cheaper

1. Giorgio Armani – prices for Armani products in Canada are hiked way up on almost every single item, which is absolutely ridiculous – especially considering that almost all other brands sold here are near on par with US prices now.  I used to order all my stuff from Neiman Marcus, but since they stopped shipping makeup to Canada (WTF!?!?) I haven’t bought a single item from the brand in over a year.  I’ve been interested in trying out one of the new(isn) Flash Lacquers ($29US/$38CAD), as well as finally picking up a Rouge d’Armani ($32US/$38CAD) lippie, but I’ve needed a chance to try out shades, so you can be sure I’ll be taking the opportunity this week!  Additionally, I’ve been lusting after all iterations of cream/liquid/stain blushes, so I’m gonna eyeball the Blushing Fabrics ($39US/$45CAD) and see if they pique my interest.  And…if I’m feeling especially spendy, I might pick up another ETK Intense shadow for good measure – $33US to our $42CAD???  Uh, YEA.  C’mon, I gotta take advantage of ‘normal’ prices while I can! ;)

2. Burberry – The markup on Burberry here in Canada is as extreme as Giorgio Armani, if not more so – and as another brand that I enjoy but rarely have an opportunity to shade swatch, I’ve definitely got a few items to seriously investigate.  High on my to-buy list is either their Lip Covers ($30US/$40CAD) or Lip Velvets ($30US/$60CAD???????????), and I’ll likely pick up one of their new nail polishes ($21US/$25CAD) as I just can’t resist their packaging.   I also wouldn’t mind taking a good hard look at their Light Glow blushes ($42US/$50CAD), the shade Russet which I own having been bought unseen a couple years ago.  I’m going to take the opportunity to swatch their eyeshadow singles and palettes ($59US/$70CAD) as well, as I’ve never had the chance, but I’m sort of on mega-shadow overload, so we’ll see if any win me over enough to come home with me.

3. YSL – We have YSL here at our Sephora in Halifax, but I’ve been eyeing their Faux Cils Eyeliners in Sea Black and Cherry Black, and being $6 less in the States ($28US vs $34CAD) I might finally give in.  Or I might wait till the next VIB sale – I haven’t yet decided ;)

4. Hourglass - Another overpriced product here in Canada, the Aura Cheek Stains ($38US/$54CAD) have been on my wish list for a while.  Again, with my desire to bolster my non-powder cheek products, its likely I’ll pick up one of the two shades at this MUCH better price.

5. Becca - Seems I’m on a blush kick, yea (or I guess it’s just another regular day :P)?  Though I’m opting for less powder blushes for the most part, I’ve been dying to try these Mineral Blushes, and again, the price is right ($32US/$38CAD).  If nothing else, I want to at least swatch the shades so I know what to order during the next VIB sale.

The ‘Can’t Access in Canada’ Wish List

Untried Brands

1. Dolce & Gabbana – This is a brand I’ve been casually interested in over the past few years, but I haven’t felt strongly enough about it to order anything sight-unseen from Sephora.  I plan on giving it a good look while away and see if it’s worth a purchase or two (or if anything should be added to a future wish list).

2. Ilia Beauty – I have yet to foray into organic makeup, mainly because everything is only online and I don’t have the option to swatch any shades first, something I try to avoid with makeup.  I don’t think I’ll purchase anything while in NYC, but I plan on swatching as much as I can so that I have an idea of what I might like to pick up in the future when the time is right.

3. RMS Beauty – Prices for the above two lines are relatively comparable in Canada as they are in the US; however, RMS does have a somewhat noticeable price increase – therefore I just may have to cave and pick up a few things if they suit my fancy.  I’m mainly looking at the “Un” Cover-Up, the Living Luminizer, and the Lip2Cheek colour balms.

4. Tom Ford Beauty - Oh, HECK yea.  Without a doubt, some Tom Ford makeup will be coming home with me this week! I have been lemming this brand for what feels like a lifetime, and as they don’t ship the brand to Canada I have been sorely out of luck.  I’m getting my chance, bitches!!!!  Unless I am totally unimpressed with it all, I plan on buying a blush, lipstick, and nail polish, as who knows when I’ll get my chance again?

5. Givenchy – It may come as a surprise to many of you that I haven’t tried this brand, as it seems like everyone and their dog raves about their lipsticks and polishes.  Unfortunately, we don’t carry it anywhere near me and again, I wasn’t comfortable with ordering anything sight-unseen.  It is ENTIRELY possible that I’ll be purchasing both a ‘Le Rouge’ lipstick as well as a nail polish, and it is going to be GREAT.

Last but certainly not least is…

The “I Haven’t Bought a Full-Sized Fragrance in Years and It’s About Damn Time / Go Big or Go Home” Wish List

Fragrant things

1. Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur – I’ve read so many things about this eponymous fragrance house without ever experiencing why it’s so popular, so it’s about time I change that.  The first scent I ever heard about was ‘Carnal Flower,’ so of course it’ll get a sniff or two, but I’m more interested in this warm, spicy, vanilla-heavy scent that sounds right up my alley.  I’m hoping to be wowed.

2. Love by Kilian - I know very little about this brand though I’ve heard it’s name often enough.  My impression is that it’s hit or miss, but I still plan on giving this gourmand oriental – again heavy on the vanilla – a look to see what it’s all about.  If nothing else, I like the bottle!

3. Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille – While my local Sephora carries a few Tom Ford scents, we do not unfortunately have this one, which is THE one I’ve been dying to smell!  It sounds SO my kind of jam – clearly I love me anything with vanilla, but am trying to graduate from sickeningly sweet smells into something a bit more…mature, shall we say.  I’ve heard differing opinions on this one, so I’ll just have to see for myself.

4. Diptyque Eau Duelle – Initially certain I was only interested in purchasing a candle from the brand (I tried last year to order one from BeautyHabit only to be told the shipping cost would be something like $36…uh, NO), once I started researching scents I came along this one which boasts – surprise – vanilla, but this time with a hit of boozy bourbon along with spicy cardamom and pink pepper.  It also contains ambergris, which if you recall from my review of the fragrance from Sephora’s Ariel collection is derived from whale sperm.  YES!  How very…sexy.  LOL

5. Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille – The last contender in my search for a grown-up vanilla-based scent, this fragrance contains sandalwood, an inclusion which I favour in my scents, as well as musk and tonka bean.  It may be a touch too summery with the addition of coconut milk, but I’ll give it a whiff nonetheless – I’m rarely discriminatory when it comes to gourmand fragrances :)

And there you have it!  A rather comprehensive look at what I plan on drooling over while away.  What’s scary is that this just encompasses my potential beauty purchases – I haven’t even TOUCHED on what I hope to buy for fashion (and jewelry…Tiffany’s, here I come!)!! O_o  As Christmas is looming, I’ll also be picking up a few treats here and there for friends and family….so, essentially, I’m coming home very, very broke.

…But also very, very happy!!!  New York City, here we come!!!  See ya’ll in a week! :D

Have you been to NYC?  Do you have any recommendations on where to go, what to see (and where to shop!?)?

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Beauty Envy Bag – Winter Edition

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It’s that time of year again, and the bloggers behind the Beauty Envy Bag are bringing you our winter favorites in our winter edition of the Beauty Envy Bag Giveaway! In case you are a new reader, here is a quick look at who is behind the giveaway.

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

 

 

 

refined-and-polishedLakeisha 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.

 

 

LeticiaLeticia 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.

 

 

beauty-obsessedLatoya is a beauty blogger from the East Coast of Canada. While she loves all things girly, she also has a serious geeky side. She is the blogger behind Beauty Obsessed.

 

 

So what is going into that gorgeous teal bag? Read on! (Links to each bloggers’ reviews included)

So how do you enter? Here’s the lowdown:

  • You must leave a blog comment (just on one blog, doesn’t have to be all four) letting us know what is on your holiday wish list.
    Note:
    We are not responsible for items lost, damaged, or stolen in transit. If the prize is lost we will not be sending a replacement, nor will we provide money for the value of the prize.
    We are not responsible for any customs fees you may incur.
  • Score additionally entries by following each blog on social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
  • Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only (sorry, this is due to issues with overseas mail and nail polish).
  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Giveaway closes Friday December 6th at 12:00 midnight PST.
  • Winner has 72 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
  • Giveaway is not sponsored by anyone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Empties, Empties, Everywhere!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next, we have skincare.  Oodles and oodles!

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

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

Then we have the cleansers and exfoliants:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How are your empties coming along???

 

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A Fall Color Story (Swatches Abound!)

Ok.  So fall has officially sprung arrived.  I am SO ready!  I know you summer babes who love your heat are crying “WTF Latoya?!” and for you I say – I’m sorry :(  I’m not hating on warm weather and sunshine, I love it as much as the next person.  But after a few months of bright polishes and ‘au naturel’ looks, I’m eager to get down and dirty with some sultry, vampy makeup.  I love change, what can I say?

As I’ve mentioned before, my makeup purchasing has slowed down considerably over the past 6 months +.  One of the best ways for me to curb the impulse to buy something new is to go through my own collection to revisit old shades and swap out colors to reinvigorate myself.  While doing the official ‘switch over’ for autumn, I got the idea to put together a few color stories that I felt were appropriate for the start of the fall season!

Russet

Russets

I’m starting you off slow with a shade that it incredibly wearable for almost all skintones – russet.  These colors would be great for an easy going fall walk through the woods, that add a bit of life to the face but not a whole lot of color, per se.  I picked up LMbD’s Rumour blush in a swap in early spring, and started wearing it fairly regularly during the summer as it added the nicest warm, radiant glow to my cheeks.  It looks a bit scary in the pan but with a light touch for fairer skins, this is a great alternative to bronzer and leaves my skin looking naturally healthy.  This is one of those awesome transitional shades that also works well in fall – the color reminds me of the turn of the leaves.  L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Colour Caresse Shine Stain in Eternally Nude (a product which shall henceforth be known as CRCCSS) was a spurr of the moment purchase back in the spring, and was initially a bit of a disappointment – on my lips, it’s not terribly nude, but rather a sort of warm reddened brown – but I ended up liking the color for what it is, anyway.  Another super wearable shade, and the formula is quite close to the YSL version, enough for me to probably opt for these over those due to the huge price difference.  Sadly, the Urban Decay 24/7 liner here, in Lucky, a wonderful coppery shade, has been discontinued.  I honestly need to start shopping for a dupe now, because this is probably one of my top favorite liners and I’m gonna be heartbroken when I finish it (which will actually happen because I use it regularly).  Sigh.

Swatchy time!

Fall Makeup - Russet swatches (3) Fall Makeup - Russet swatches (2)Left to right: UD 24/7 Eye Liner in Lucky (DC), LMdB Blush in Rumour (swatched heavily, then buffed out), L’Oreal CRCCSS in Eternally Nude

Rose

Mauves

Rose is not normally a shade I gravitate toward, as it tends to look very drab on my skintone, but these particular shades are both light (the lippies) and dark (the blush) enough to work well on me.  Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge in Velvet Plum, a discontinued shade (sorry!) in the old packaging, was something I picked up when I had my makeup done at the counter several years ago.  It would never have been a shade I’d have picked, but it ends up being one of my favorites for it’s exceptional wearability.  It looks great with tanned skin, but is also perfect for fall/winter as well with it’s plummy tones.  I quite like the formula of these as well – easy to apply and blend, and doesn’t leave my oilier skin greasy-looking.  Laura Mercier’s Lip Glace in Discrete was kind of an impulse purchase – I don’t think I realized at the time that it was like $36, which is kind of a lot for a gloss – but its been well-used (despite the fact that it contains lanolin and I try to avoid wearing it two days in a row).  It’s an easy nude-type shade that wears well with cooler toned smoky eyes, and isn’t TOO glossy.  Lastly, I snagged a sample of BITE Beauty’s Luminous Creme Lipstick in Pepper a couple months ago, and it is a dusty rose shade that is similar to my natural lip color but a bit deeper and warmer.  The formula is creamy and feels great on the lips, and goes with just about everything!

Fall Makeup - Mauves swatches (3) Fall Makeup - Mauves swatchesLeft to right: Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Discrete, BITE Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Pepper, Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Velvet Plum (swatched heavily, then buffed out; DC)

Deep Red

Deep Reds

Now these are the shades I can get behind!  I love me a good deep red anything in the fall – makeup, clothes, you name it.  L’Oreal’s La Couleur Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany is still one of my favorite eyeshadows, particularly so after wearing it in my friend’s wedding with such success, and was quite honestly MADE for fall.  It’s gorgeous brown-red tones work with just about any cool-weather outfit I can come up with, and the color compliments just about every eye shade beautifully.  NARS Turkish Red Cream Blush (another discontinued shade…oops) is a fabulous shade of blood red that is awesome for that windswept/windburnt look – however, it does require a bit of a skilled hand.  It can go on a touch patchy due to it’s intense pigment (which also means a light hand is necessary), but when its done well, the effort is SO worth it!  And, I just had a brainwave that MAC’s Dare You lipstick, shown here, could potentially be used as a cream blush if you were aching for that kind of shade.  It has the similar deep red tone – which is particularly fabulous on the lips!  This is a more wearable red for those of you who are a bit gun-shy of an in-your-face bold red, and looks amazing in the cooler months.  LOVE.

Fall Makeup - Deep Red swatches (3) Fall Makeup - Deep Red swatchesLeft to right: MAC Dare You lipstick, NARS Turkish Red Cream Blush (swatched heavily, then buffed out; DC), L’Oreal La Couleur Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany

Berry

Berries

I am also particularly partial to berry tones in the fall/winter…they’re just so delectably sexy!  Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102 is still one of my absolute favorite lipsticks and hands down the shade I get the most compliments on.  If for no other reason, THIS lippie is why I love fall so much!  The fussy packaging is totally worth the drool-worthy, long-wearing shade.  Illamasqua’s Crush Cream Blusher was a sale find I scooped up last winter, and while it didn’t get too much love from me since then, I plan on rocking this baby out all season long.  When my skin isn’t tanned, it turns a bit pinkish, but right now with my fading tan, it looks more like it does in the pan – a gorgeous deep berry shade.  YUMMY.  Another Illamasqua fave is their Precision Ink in Havoc, which is still honestly capturing my heart some two years later.  I mean, it’s a dark wine -colored eyeliner that doesn’t look black – how badass is that?!  I wore it over the weekend while working at Clinique, and I swear I sold more because customers just thought I looked THAT GOOD.  LOL!

Fall Makeup - Berry swatches (2) Fall Makeup - Berry swatchesLeft to right: Illamasqua Precision Ink in Havoc, Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102, Illamasqua Crush Cream Blusher (swatched heavily, then buffed out)

Violet

Violets

Here comes the trickiest shade to wear of the bunch – violet.  Too much red and it can make you look like you’ve been crying; too much blue and you look like you just had a throw-down with one of the ‘Real Housewives.’  It can quickly veer in to goth territory if you’re not careful – thankfully, all of you know just what you’re doing at all times, right!? Right.  So, first we have the most challenging of the bunch – MAC’s Mattene Lipstick in Bing, and LE shade from 2008 or 2009, that has been making my life difficult since then.  I WANT to rock this blackened purple shade full force, but alas I am still a scaredy-cat.  However, I have managed to find various ways to wear it in a toned down way, either mixed with a red lippie or as a stain, so that will have to do for now.  The lovely violet shadow you see here is a new acquisition (in fact, the three shadows are) from Inglot, shade # 325, a matte purple.  I have yet to wear it, but I’m going to make an attempt this week – wish me luck!  Finally, we have another UD 24/7 Eyeliner, in 1999….which is discontinued…but which I JUST purchased from Sephora two weeks ago (so that makes it better, right!?).  They had several of the old shades up for sale, at $7.95CAD a pop, and I couldn’t resist.  This is an awesome toned down version of violet, that does have a hint of red but seems to work perfectly on my eyes to subtly add a touch of color without going to crazy town.  I’ve been wearing it on my lower lash line to give just a bit of definition and I’m really loving it.

Fall Makeup - Violet swatches (2) Fall Makeup - Violet swatches (9)Left to right: MAC Mattene in Bing, Inglot Matte Eyeshadow in #325, UD 24/7 Eyeliner in 1999

What are your favorite shades/products to wear in the fall?  What color story do you like the best?

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