Posts Tagged beauty

Super-Quick Empties Post (from February – oops!)

Ok….so I took photos of some empties in February and then didn’t post about them – oopsie! Let’s get to it, because I want to also post my most recent empties soon – I have a big goal for myself this year in terms of reducing so I want to start entirely fresh!

Skincare

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Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Hand Therapy – I’ve had this seriously for like, 10 years, sitting in a cupboard because it’s scented and ya’ll know I DON’T DO THAT. But then, I wanted to get rid of some stuff so I used it as a foot lotion. Perfect!

Shikai Borage Therapy Hand Cream – ARGH that awful, awful smell of FEET and BO and DEAD MEAT. Thankfully this hand cream wasn’t all that fabulous, because if it were the most amazing thing ever I might have to buy it again and suffer the odour just to have healed hands. THE GODS HAVE SPARED ME.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser – It was fine. Just like Cetaphil, really. Which is MEH for someone who wears makeup or who wants a more substantial second cleanser. Even if I wasn’t sporting a ‘green’ skincare routine now I probably wouldn’t get this again, unless my skin was going absolutely batshit (in that case, it’s pretty darn gentle and not too bad at all).

Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner – This was also just OK. I didn’t love the smell nor that formula. It was my first organic conditioner and on the whole, it would probably be nice for someone with thin, fine hair that doesn’t need much moisturization like my bone-dry hair does.

Organix Coconut Milk Hibiscus Nourishing Body Wash – This was my second bottle for a reason – it SMELLS SO GOOD. I won’t buy it again because of the ingredients (still has fake fragrance, and is not really ‘organic’ – shame on the name!) but if you don’t care about this stuff, I enjoyed it overall.

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Ellovi Butter – I’m going to be the dissenting voice here and state that I didn’t love this. My eczema did not like this at all, which is surprising given the clean ingredients, but I found I needed more moisture, and my eczema was consistently present while using this, so it didn’t really do much at all. Full-price at $26 (I had a $5 coupon), this would have needed to blow my socks off for a repurchase.

Haus of Gloi Aether Pumpkin Butter - I still have a soft spot for this! I stopped buying it, but I might order a few of the smaller sizes to use as hand cream and such – I really liked the smell and it moisturized well. I feel like the ingredients are pretty decent, and while not totally clean…I just like it anyway.

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Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser – Though I think this might be a bit heavy for me during the summer, I did like this cleanser and I think anyone with normal to dry skin should definitely try it out! So gentle and leaves skin feeling very comfortable.

Stark Grapefruit Cleanse & Hydrate Balm – Minus the little balls of shea butter in this, I liked this balm fairly well. It didn’t cause any irritation – but the scent being so delicious constantly had me on alert for something, so I never used it with ease. I wouldn’t repurchase, but mostly just for that reason! I like using things that I know without a doubt will never eff with my fickle skin.

Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil - Honestly, still one of the best oils I’ve tried to date (and I’ve tried a fair number by now!). Affordable, great for most skin types, absorbs quickly – there’s really not much else to say. I went through two bottles, which saying a lot since I usually try something different every time. I might even come back to this at some point!

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Eumovate Eczema & Dermatitis Cream – I picked up this cream while in NZ, and though it was AMAZING at clearing my the eczema I got while away (like, the best product I’ve ever used for that purpose), apparently my doc tells me this shit is kinda dangerous. At least, it’s not to be used on the regular. O-KAY, then. I powered through it while I was away, and had just a bit left which I used here and there afterward. I was kinda sad to see it go (I really DID work wonders), but it’s probably for the best.

XLash Eyelash EnhancerJust updated you guys on how much ASS this kicks when compared to another lash growth serum…I WILL buy this one again, mark my words. So, SO good.

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Holy smokes, the samples. Let’s do this by notables, and not-worth-it’s:

Notables:

- OLO Brand New Day – Nice, gentle enzyme scrub that does have some manual exfoliating qualities as well; leaves the skin nice and soft but not ravaged.

- Kahina Eye Serum – Second time with a sample of this bad boy, and I still like it quite a bit. Sinks in quickly and isn’t greasy at all. But sometimes with stuff like this I think – do I really need a separate serum for eye? Nah, probably not.

- Babor Calm & Relax Cream – lovely cream thats not too heavy for my normal-to-oily skin, and really does ‘calm & relax’! I plan to buy this one day, but it’s $76CAD so maybe when I have a little bit more disposable funds, hmm?

- Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus – Not ‘clean’ but I had it in my samples stash and I though I’d use it up. And really, it works. Highly recommend for non-’green” skincare buffs.

- Lancome La Vie Est Belle (sample) – I still love this scent, and one day I’ll give in and buy a bottle. I just wish it was cheaper! 1oz (30mL) is $72CAD. Atrocious.

Not-worth-it’s:

- Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask – Honestly, the first sample I had I found this did NOTHING to my face, and the second time I tried it, I felt a little bit of irritation. I know a lot of people love it but I’m not one of ‘em.

- OLO Vitamin C Serum – Again, another ‘gem’ that gets raves, but I found it was a little heavy for my skin – it would be PERFECT for drier skin, and it gives the skin a glowy sheen (which turned a bit greasy on me).

- Vapour Illusionist Concealer - YIKES! All of these shades were so gray!! Even the darkest shade was ashy and awful. And the coverage as well was crappy. Probably if you’re super fair and have hardly anything to conceal, this would be great. Clearly not for me.

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The MAKEUPS:

Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara – I’ve had a sample of this before, and my opinion is the same – great for giving lashes curl (makes mine even CURLIER) and for separation and length. One day I might even buy the full size.

MAC Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner in Petrol Blue – I wish I had this in an eyeshadow, or perhaps just a better eyeliner formula. This ALWAYS smudged on the outer corners no matter what I did, and I didn’t love the more glittery-sparkly quality of it either. It’s old and starting to separate from the sides of the pencil, so I decided to toss it. Whoop!

Clinique Cream Shaper in Egyptian – I loved this shade (blackened olive) and the liner didn’t budge, but it’s also a billion years old (or maybe 7) and was doing the same shrinking thing, so out it goes.

Clinique High Impact Mascara – how many samples of this have I used in my life!? Too many. Still a great formula but I’m kinda bored of it now after years and years.

Clinique Lash Power Mascara – Still digging this formula (it’s newer) and I have a backup in my stash. Gets all the bitty little lashes and doesn’t budge. Awesome.

Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant - Hated. It. Tried to love it. Still Hated. It. TOSS.

YSL Touche Eclat 5.5 – I know Wayne Goss has showed us the error of our ways in using this pen, but I’d just rather have an illuminating wand do all that and not cost $50+. Next time I’ll buy the cheapy version if its not gonna make my dark circles disappear.

Benefit Watt’s Up - This was an OK cream highlighter, but I’ve found plenty others I like far more (Becca, to name one!). I was so glad when I finished this sample!

BAM. Empties #1 for 2014 DONE. #2 to come shortly!

Have you tried any of the products above? What are your thoughts?

 

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These are {13} of my favourite things (of 2013)

The New Year is almost upon us!  Even though the number 13 conjures up some unsettling feelings, 2013 was kind of a great year for me!  Though it started out a bit rough, with a lot of talking and support it turned around for me (a big thanks to all of you who sent kind words – and a care package! – my way!).  As always, the hardships make the good times feel that much sweeter.  I had the immense pleasure of standing in my friend’s most amazing wedding; I started dating a guy who makes me feel loved and truly content in a way I never have before; I’ve had the opportunity to work in several different positions at my work and found my niche; and I finally got to go to New York City, a long-standing dream of mine!  Not too shabby 2013, not too shabby :)

Over the month of December I’ve been pondering what beauty products in my collection really stand-out and get the most use.  Though I could probably add one or two more, the 13 items below really have rocked my world this year and have been very well-loved.  I would even go so far to say that I would repurchase most of them (and that’s saying something!).

Beauty Favorites of 2013

And so I present to you, my favourite (beauty) things of 2013:

1. Osha Mae Calendula Salve ($15CAD).  On it’s own, without any cortisone products, this can clear up the chronic eczema on my hands overnight – absolutely unheard of!  I first got hooked on a sample of M.J. Herbals Calendula Salve ($15CAD), but when I saw this very similar version at our local market I picked it up, as I always like to support local!

Osha Mae Calendula Salve

2. La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask ($65CAD).  When LBF was introduced on the Clementine Fields website, they had a promotion for 15% off it’s pre-sale.  I ordered this mask as I was looking for something hydrating that could replace the uber-scented derma-e mask that I’d been using for a while (uncomfortably).  I didn’t know what to expect, and was completely bowled over once I tried it – its truly amazing!  It hydrates, it heals, it calms, it brightens…I honestly feel like it’s almost a one-stop shop as a mask, because my skin just looks SO DAMN GOOD after using it.  I attribute it’s awesomeness to it’s inclusion of raw manuka honey (it’s the first ingredient) which is noted for it’s therapeutic, antibacterial and nourishing qualities.  Other ingredients include kaolin clay, rosehip seed oil and calendula extract – be still my heart!  Oh, and it’s also BRIGHT PURPLE (due to the aronia berry).  I want to get my hands on the Purifying ($65CAD) version next.

La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask

3. Lina Hanson Global Body Serum ($64CAD).  I really wish this didn’t cost so damn much because I just want to drown in this fantastically scented body oil for the rest of my life.  As it stands, I’m still trying to ration it, but I still fear it won’t last long as I keep using it every few days because it’s so addictive!

Lina Hanson Global Body Serum

Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille ($130US).  Yum.  And YUM.  You all know my penchant for vanilla-based scents, so my love for this probably comes as no surprise.  With notes like sandalwood, coconut milk, musk, vanilla and tonk a bean, it’s a gourmand fragrance-lovers paradise.  I was surprised however that it also contains notes like black liquorice (which I hate) and bitter almond – but I suspect they help round out the scent and keep it from being too OTT vanilla, which can get headache-inducing fast.  I have worn this and only this since purchasing it in NYC; the only gripe I have with the fragrance is that I don’t find it lasts on my skin – but I guess that just gives me an excuse to spritz, spritz, spritz!

Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille

Make Up For Ever Medium Highlighting Brush in #152 ($43CAD).  I didn’t quite understand just how much I would love this brush until I really put it into practice and had a while to play with it.  This brush is absolutely integral in my makeup application – aside from applying cream or powder highlighters like a dream, it also blends all formulas of blush or bronzer perfectly.  I don’t quite know how it does it, but somehow the fibers of the brush, its density, and it’s softness all contribute to a beautifully seamless complexion.  LOVE.

Make Up For Ever Brush #152

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (full-size, $50CAD).  Though I only have a deluxe sample size of this product, you only need the slightest amount to get amazing, glowing skin, so it’s lasted me ages!  I usually pull this out when I am either going for a really ‘natural’ look that focuses on the skin, or if I’m looking to amp up the glow factor for an event.  Though the full-size would probably last me a lifetime – something that doesn’t appeal to a fickle beauty fiend like myself – I still think I’ll repurchase this when I DO run out, because it’s truly the most beautiful yet natural-looking illuminator I’ve ever used.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (5)

Buxom Full-Bodied Lipsticks (full-size, $26CAD).  My love for this lipstick formula is still going strong.  I use the little sample bullets I’ve got more than any other lipstick I own, and I’m looking forward to the day when they run out – so I can justifiably buy some full sizes!  Just so, so creamy and comfortable to wear, with awesome full pigment.  For the price especially, you really can’t beat ‘em!

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Chanel Le Blush Creme de Chanel in Revelation ($43CAD).  I have been on a cream blush kick for a while now, as I find it just looks so darn natural, which fits my makeup M.O. these days.  The newish Blush Cremes dry to an almost powder-like finish, so they don’t have quite the same effect; nevertheless, this natural-looking apricot shade gets a lot of regular use because it goes with just about every makeup look I wear.  The only downside is that its a touch too light when my skin is tanned – but at the moment it’s just right :)

Chanel Blush Creme in Revelation

MAC Eyeshadow in All That Glitters (pro-pan, $12CAD).  Though I have lessened my use of this shadow recently due to switching up my makeup routine, this baby got some SERIOUS love for months after I bought it early last spring.  It gives my eyes the most subtle yet beautiful sparkle I’ve ever seen, and accompanies a bright lip look beautifully.  The hype is TRUE, you guys.  BUY IT.

MAC All That Glitters

Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Trench ($30CAD).  Even after owning this shadow for a year and a half, I’m still amazed at how perfectly it blends and melds on the brow bone to give the perfect level of highlight to the eye.  As I have a lot of shimmering shadows, it keeps them grounded without making me look too ‘show dancer,’ but also isn’t so flat that it looks dull.  On top of all that, it’s HELLA soft.

Burberry Sheer Eye Shadow in Trench (2)

Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Noir Intense ($29CAD).  I wasn’t big on black pencil eyeliner until I purchased this early in the year – I didn’t have one and thought I should at least have one in my arsenal.  I don’t use it as a traditional liner, but rather as a tightliner on my upper lash line.  It a nice, dark black that gives great definition when I’m doing a more natural look (see a theme here?) and doesn’t budge – in fact, it’s difficult to remove at the end of the day, so keep that in mind.  But as I find a long-wearing liner hard to come by, it’s far from a deal-breaker!

Chanel Eyeliner Noir Intense

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack ($19CAD).  Black pencil liner may never have been my thing, but I can’t say the same for black cream/gel/liquid formulas, which have always been a staple in my arsenal.  When I ran out of my last black liquid liner, I decided it was about time I tried the cult fave Blacktrack.  It’s nice and dark, and its creamy texture makes creating a winged look (a regular go-to for me) incredibly easy.  I’m not convinced I would repurchase, only because there are several black cream/gel liners that I’d like to try, but it’s been a faithful staple for me since I purchased it.

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack

XLash Eyelash Enhancer ($59).  You’re all probably sick and tired of hearing me trumpet on and on about my love for this lash serum, but seriously, just get some and then get back to me – I promise you’ll be converted!  I won’t repeat my gushings yet again, but I will say that I am actually planning to buy more of this when I run out (still haven’t!).  SO. GOOD.

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That just about rounds up my year in beauty in a nutshell!  I’ve tried many things, some duds, some *pretty good*, but this collection here have been raised to the level of HG status for me.  As I learn and grow I find my selections have become more and more curated to the point where I rarely have a miss (at least if they’re purchased by me) and I’ve grown quite fond of my collection, to which I’ve whittled and culled to include *almost* only products that are a pleasure to use.  I still have a bit of work to do (which I plan on laying out for you in a future post), but overall I’m quite pleased and have passed the ‘GAH! My-stash-is-overwhelming-OMG-the-anxiety!‘ stage that I was in for a long time since starting the blog.  Which I deem a HUGE success :)

So say farewell to 2013 and welcome in the New Year with a bang!  I appreciate each and every reader of my little beauty haven, whether you’ve been with me or a while, or stumbled upon my ramblings by accident.  You’re the only reason I keep on writing!  I wish all of you a very excellent finale to the year soon past and hope that the very best is yet to come in 2014!!!  Let’s make it all sorts of great, yea? :D

happy-new-year-2014-wishes-2880x1800Image credit: ilovehdwallpapers.com

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Tom Ford Lacquer, Lip Color and Cheek Color Comparisons!

Here is my Tom Ford comparison post as promised!  I’m pleased to say that I don’t have any ‘dupes’ within my collection, which helps to make more expensive purchases like these much more enjoyable, no matter how fabulous they are ;)

I’ll begin with the polishes:

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust comparison Left to right: Essie Limited Addiction, OPI Lost on Lombard, Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust, Zoya Anja

In the bottle, it’s clear that none of these are copies of Bordeaux Lust (though you’re not wrong that the Essie and OPI shades are QUITE similar, urgh).  Even after 1 coat, Anja is out of the running.  The 3 other shades however, look strikingly alike.

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust swatch comparisonLeft to right (1 coat): Zoya Anja, Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust, OPI Lost on Lombard, Essie Limited Addiction

However, after a second and then third coat, the vampiness of Bordeaux Lust becomes readily apparent:

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust swatch comparison2 coats

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust swatch comparison3 coats

Though it appears only a touch darker than Lost on Lombard, as a full manicure it’s vamp qualities far surprass the dusty, muted quality of the OPI shade.  Essie’s contender is far too bright to even be in the running.  Win number one :)

The Lacquer in Black Sugar is next on the hit list:

Tom Ford Black Sugar comparisonLeft to right: China Glaze Ingrid, Tom Ford Black Sugar, Sally Hansen Commander in Chic, Chanel Paradoxal

Though the shade is not replicated in my collection, it does comes close, though darker, to Commander in Chic, another fave shade.  Ingrid is too brown, and Paradoxal has too much purple to be a match.  Score number two!

Tom Ford Black Sugar comparison swatchesLeft to right: Chanel Paradoxal, Sally Hansen Commander in Chic, Tom Ford Black Sugar, China Glaze Ingrid

Tom Ford Black Sugar comparison swatches Tom Ford Black Sugar comparison swatches

Following the polish success, I had to check out the Lip Colour in True Coral against my existing red lipsticks.  I suspected it wouldn’t have an equal, but there were 2 shades in particular that I thought may compare.

Tom Ford True Coral comparisonLeft to right: MAC Russian Red, Tom Ford True Coral, Make Up For Ever N46

Russian Red is a very bold red that is almost as stand out as True Coral; MUFE’s N46 leans more blue but in swatches it looks quite close as eell.  Though it’s difficult to see the differences between the 3 shades in swatches (though easily apparent in the photo of the bullets, above), trust me when I say that aside from it’s coral tone, True Coral retains a brightness that makes it quite different than your standard red.

Tom Ford True Coral comparison swatches Tom Ford True Coral comparison swatchesLeft to right: MUFE N46, Tom Ford True Coral, MAC Russian Red

Finally, the item that I felt I would most likely have a comparable facsimile – the Cheek Color in Flush.  Like many blush fiends, coral blush is sort of an obsession, as it just looks so. damn. good.  Surprizingly, I don’t own any shade that is exactly the same, though a few look similar once worn.  Let check them out!

Tom Ford Flush comparisonClockwise from left: NARS Torrid, NARS Boys Don’t Cry, Tom Ford Flush, MUFE First Kiss, LORAC Coral Crush

In the pan, Flush and Boys Don’t Cry look very alike aside from the slightly glowing quality of Flush, while BDC is completely matte.  When worn lightly, the two do look quite similar on the cheek, but in swatches you can see that BDC is much deeper in tone.  I love them both equally, truth be told ;)

Tom Ford Flush comparison swatches Tom Ford Flush comparison swatchesLeft to right: NARS Torrid, LORAC Coral Crush, Tom Ford Flush, NARS Boys Don’t Cry, Make Up For Ever First Kiss

Otherwise, the swatches reveal that none of the shades are quite like Flush, though Coral Crush comes close in the depth of pigmentation and finish – though it’s much more pink.  Happily, I feel entirely justified in owning Flush, though I think I REALLY need to take a break on the coral blushes, eh?  I think I’ve got enough for a few lifetimes, anyway!

When you are a makeup junkie, its always nice to be able to validate your purchase with evidence to prove that you are not, in fact, just purchasing the same shades over and over – a feat that gets harder the more your collection grows.  While I have significantly reduced the amount of makeup I buy and am much more selective in my purchases, replicates are bound to happen – you can only have so many shades, right!?  Nevertheless, I think I did fairly well with my Tom Ford splurge, and am enjoying every item with relish.  Ultimately, that’s what counts, AMIRITE???

What have you splurged on lately?  Do you have a hard time avoiding ‘dupes’ in your collection?

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The Luxury that is…TOM FORD

Sooo….I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday!!  I have been living it up in a big way, despite the fact that I came down with a wicked cold two days before Christmas :S  Probably why I haven’t yet shaken it a week later, oops!  Nevertheless, I didn’t let it stop me from having a really lovely holiday :D  I hope you all had the same!

I have so many products to write about that it’s kind of criminal.  I feel particularly guilty that I haven’t shared with you the handful of Tom Ford goodies that I picked up while in New York – I mean, it’s TOM FORD guys, probably the ultimate in luxury cosmetics (in no small part due to the price lol).

Tom Ford Beauty

First up, the nail lacquers.  I have been searching for a great deep red polish for a while now, and none were doing the trick for me – either too dark veering on black, or too light.  When I visited the counter at Bergdorf Goodman, I had a plan that I was going to buy a polish, lipstick, and blush from the brand.  As soon as I saw the shade Bordeaux Lust, I knew I had found a winner!

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Bordeaux Lust ($32US) is truly the perfect shade of dark red – it’s clearly not black, but it’s more vampy than your typical red.  It’s got a somewhat sheer, slightly jelly-ish formula which adds to it’s uniqueness – from reviews I know that some dislike this aspect, but I actually like the way it looks, and it’s UBER glossy on it’s own.  Due to the formula it does require 3 coats to avoid streakiness, but again, I’m so pleased with the colour that it *ain’t no thang*

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust nail polish Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust nail polish Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust nail polish

Sexy, no???  IRL it’s even more fabulous.  All I’m sayin’ is that I LOVE THIS COLOR and I don’t even mind the insane price tag.  Also, the bottle shape with it’s clean lines and dark bronze cap with just a hint of gold is totally up my alley.  This checks all the boxes for me!

Next we have the shade Black Sugar ($32US), which I picked up separate from my initial Tom Ford splurge, at Saks on Black Friday.  I had seen this shade in swatches several times before and it intrigued me with it’s secret red shimmer in a perfect mauve-taupe base.

Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish

Of course, as with most secret shimmer, you really can’t capture it once worn on the nail, and in particular with this polish it’s next to invisible altogether, even in sunlight.  Kind of a bummer, but for some reason it doesn’t bother me too much – guess I’m getting used to these kinds of polishes pulling fast one on me.  I’m content to admire the shimmer in the bottle – although I’m hoping that in the more sunshine-y days (of which we have been lacking of late) I’ll get a surprise glimpse here and there.

Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish

The formula of this one was good – two coats here, and easy-peasy application with a great viscosity that allows it to dry in a reasonable amount of time.  It’s not as glossy as Bordeaux Lust, but a top coat would fix that right up.  I really enjoy shades like this and find they work on a variety of skin tones, so another thumbs up here!

Moving right along, we come to the covetable Lip Colour, a creamy lipstick that has a wonderfully opaque finish.  After trying on several ‘nude’ shades at the Bergdorf counter that just didn’t do it for me, the SA Maria (SO great, by the way!) tried out the fabulously bright True Coral ($49US), a punchy coral-red that pretty much forces you to stand out anywhere you go.

Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral

The formula feels great on the lips, creamy but not slippery and long-lasting – it’s such a rich colour that it stains the lips, leaving considerable colour behind so touch-ups are required less frequently.  If you have particularly dry lips, you might want to put a bit of balm on first, as while it’s not drying, its slightly matte and that combined with the outrageous colour can make dry flakes noticeable if your lips are parched.

Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral swatches Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral swatches

 It was hard to capture the coral aspect of this shade in photos – it tends to look just like a bright red, but trust me when I say that it’s not nearly that simple.  It has an almost neon quality to it that makes it completely unique to most reds I’ve ever seen!  Its not a shade for the faint of heart, that’s for sure – but if you like bold colour, this is a great bet.

Finally, probably the item you’re most interested in – THE BLUSH.  I present to you the Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush ($56US).  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush

Pow!!  Look at that colour, will you?  How can you resist a bright, gorgeous coral like this one?  And it obviously compliments the lipstick perfectly, which was actually just a happy accident.

Maria told me that the blush was extremely pigmented and only required the slightest touch of brush to pan to pick up plenty of colour.  How right she is!  The blush packs a serious punch with only a hint of effort.  Its finely milled, super-soft texture blends out beautifully and is a great shade to brighten up the face, stat.  I don’t have a shortage of shades like this, truth be told, but nevertheless this has become one of my go-to’s since purchasing it – which is good because the cost is kind of crippling, hey?  It’s unlikely I’ll be buying anymore Tom Ford blushes, but I’m certainly happy to have this one in my possession nonetheless :)

Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush swatch Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush swatch

Below are a couple shots of me wearing the lipstick and blush so you can see them in real time.  I also want to point out that I’m wearing nothing else aside from the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Dim Light (all over) and Radiant Light (on cheekbones).  I hadn’t seen them in action before in pictures and I am HELLA impressed at how well they blur imperfections!  My skin is in pretty good shape right now due to my organic skincare regime (which I promise to write about soon!), but I still have some unevenness which needs attention.  I’ve been preferring to skip foundation altogether lately to keep a more glowing look to my skin, and these powders have helped that cause immensely.  Oh, and also – no mascara!!  Witness again the amazingness that is XLash growth serum.  I honestly think I might have to buy a barrel of this stuff, I still can’t get over the difference in my lashes.  SO good.

Tom Ford Cheek and Lip Color swatchNatural light

Tom Ford Cheek and Lip Color swatchWith flash

Overall, my first foray into Tom Ford Beauty has been a complete success.  Despite the fact that these 4 purchases did some significant damage to my bank account, I am 100% pleased with them all so the cost doesn’t hurt my heart (much).  In terms of originality, I think Bordeaux Lust and True Coral stand out the most, while Flush is one of many coral blushes on the market and you may find one better suited to your chequebook.  Black Sugar looks original but I’m sure there are similar shades available as well.  Stay tuned for a comparison post for all, just to cover the bases!

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Holiday Wish List: Organic Skincare

Ok.  So I’ve been going a little crazy with this whole organic beauty thing.  Or maybe a lot crazy.  I guess it depends on your perspective.  For me, I FEEL a little crazy, which is probably the most important opinion, right?  Eeep.  Oh well.  Stockings with coal in them for everyone this year!

Obviously, I can explain my behavior in a variety of TOTALLY justifiable ways.  As I noted in my green beauty Part I post, I’ve been using up old stuff and making way for the new.  That includes a new facial mist (Kahina Giving Beauty Toning Mist) and a new exfoliant (Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask - 20% off this past weekend, hel-LO!) to replace the ones I’ve finished.  Then, I HAD to buy the Ellovi Butter that both Taylor and Megan raved about, because I was given a $5 coupon for the site.  And with the change in weather, my skin has been unusually dry and I needed a booster product on top of my Pai Rosehip oil, so I bought Soapwalla’s Restorative Face Serum – CLEARLY I can’t be walking around with dry skin.  The only purchase I can’t justify is Lina Hanson’s Global Body Serum, which I bought last month - $64 of pure CRAZY there, yep…but I will say, it’s actually kind of a miracle on my eczema.  I’ve had persistent patches on my legs for months, and a few drops of this mixed with my Haus of Gloi pumpkin butter has fixed them right up.  Could I have tried a basic carrier oil like avocado mixed with my cream for a much cheaper and likely similarly effective result?   ….Let’s not go there, shall we?

Anyway.  Like I said, I’ve been a little CRAZY lately, it’s true.  What makes me even more crazy, is that I’ve still got a list a mile long of other products I want to try…but thankfully for the moment I’ve put a stop to the madness and am exercising restraint for the rest of the month (and yes…I realize I’ve done most of this damage in 4 days  O_o).  For the time being, I’m just going to ogle my *little* list here and lie in patiently wait until my wallet cools off it seems reasonable to purchase something.  Which of course is up for interpretation ;)

Organic Wish List

1) Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum $78CAD – A light eye treatment rich in peptides and antioxidants, designed to alleviate dark circles as well as address fine lines and wrinkles.  I had a sample of this that lasted almost two weeks, and in that time my eyes looked brighter and felt HELLA smooth.  Sign me up, please.

2) One Love Organics Vitamin B Active Moisture Cleansing Oil $39CAD – Another product I had a sample of, I found this oil cleanser worked well to remove my makeup at the end of the day and rinse away cleanly without needing a cloth to wipe it off, like many other organic oil cleansers.  It also contains papain, a fruit enzyme that helps exfoliate the skin – I love me a good dual product.  Though I am not a huge fan of the super-sweet, tropical scent, it’s manageable for a product that’s effective.

3) La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask (may buy soon as there is a 15% off coupon code till Nov 15th) $65CAD - With my skin on the drier side these days, I’m in need of a nice restorative, hydrating mask.  I’m currently finishing up the derma-e one I purchased last year (thank god…that heavy floral smell, gah!), and this one sounds just about perfect.  It contains honey, which is kind of the be-all in skincare lately, and it both balances, moisturizes, and exfoliates the skin (again with the multi-functional produts!).  It’s also chock-full of antioxidants…me likey.

4) Graydon The Balm $29CAD - Here I am again, trying to stock up on the heavy-hitters that will keep my skin hydrated throughout the cold days and the moisture-sucking central heating we deal with during wintertime.  I had a sample of Pai’s Chamomile and Rosehip Sensitive Skin Cream which I thought may work, but it was a bit heavy and my skin felt a bit reactive after using it.  The Graydon Balm (a Canadian brand!) has super-light hydrators that I should be able to apply over oils at night without fear of clogging my pores, and it’s supposed to be ideal for eczema.  Perfect!

5) Aster & Bay Glow Facial Serum $32 - Nourishing and moisturizing oil with essential fatty acids and antioxidants to repair the moisture barrier and protect the skin from environmental aggressors.  It’s supposed to give skin a great glow and contains a slew of ‘dry’ oils (like hazelnut and macadamia nut) that are great for day use on my combo-oily skin.  I plan on wearing this under my Pai Geranium & Thistle moisturizer to get that dewy look I’m losing with the cold weather.

6) Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Oil $82CAD – I’ve only read a few things about the MVO line, but as I like to be well-rounded I started looking into each of the products to see if anything would suit me. Lo and behold, I read the details and the ingredient list on this oil and wow!  It’s not terribly suitable for my skin right now where I’m not experiencing any breakouts – more so dry patches – but in the warmer months I think this will be amazing.  It’s got a handful of wonderful oils and extracts that are considered especially effective for acne-prone and/or oily skin, such as willow bark (a natural salicylic acid) and watermelon seed oil (which helps dissolve excess sebum), plus gentle ingredients to reduce inflammation.

7) Consonant Intensive Therapy Organic Hand Cream $20CAD – I’m currently using an organic hand cream that contains Borage oil, which is super-high in Gamma Linoleic Acid and hence awesome at repairing the skin’s barrier function (a must for my eczema-prone hands).  However, it smells like rotting meat.  I’m not even kidding guys, it is the WORST smelling product I’ve ever used in my life!!  Its effective enough and the smell dissipates after 5 minutes, so I’m going to struggle though it, but after that I’m gonna get me some of THIS stuff – a lovely rich hand cream that is made by a Canadian brand.  You can’t get much better than that (although you can get MUCH worse with this Borage oil cream…blech!).

8) Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave-In Conditioner $23CAD – I haven’t been using a leave-in since last winter, and its come time to get on the wagon again.  This has jojoba and olive oils as it’s two primary ingredients, both excellent for hair, so I’m giving it a go.  Hair care with really basic ingredients is equally important to me as it is in skincare, as most contain a whack of artificial fragrance that kills my scalp and can irritate my face if I’m wearing my hair down.  I don’t like to spend too much on hair care but I’ll give anything a shot once.  If it lasts for a few months it’ll be worth it.

Innersense Organic Beauty Quiet Calm Curl Control $20 - Designed to eliminate frizz and smooth textured hair, this is one of the few organic styling creams I’ve found on the market so far specifically targeted toward curly hair.  Again, it’s a bit more than I like to spend on my hair, but I use very little product, and the TIGI curl cream I’ve been using I’ve had for a good 6 months and am just nearing the end, so I can deal with it.  I haven’t gotten my hair professionally cut in over 3 years now, so spending a little extra on my hair is not really all that bad!

May Lindstrom The Honey Mud *not yet released* - I don’t know much about this soon-to-be-released product, but it looks and sounds amazing from what I do know!  It’s described as a lush, velvety cleanser that can also be used as a masque (dual-purpose, hurrah!).  And just yesterday I heard that there is another new release coming out this month as well, called The Blue Cocoon (a balm)…oh May, I have yet to own anything of yours, and I wasn’t wowed by The Youth Dew (thank GOD…$125 is the height of crazy), but I will get my hands on something of yours yet!

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You may notice the title of this post – indicative of a series of wishlists, perhaps??  And…you would be right :)  Though skincare is my primary focus these days, I still ogle makeup and polish on the regular too. Keep your eyes peeled for those wish lists in the coming weeks! (I’m a lost cause, I know)

What’s on your wishlists lately??  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Switching It Up: Clean Beauty and a New Laptop!

So last night I got a little crazy and bought myself a new MacBook Air.  Yep, sure did!  Impulse purchase, ho! :P  To be fair, I’d been saving for it for a while, and was planning to buy it in the next month or so anyway – but perhaps with a bit more planning in mind.  Needless to say, ITS FRICKIN’ AWESOME.  Light as a feather, and super-fast.  If you recall, my old laptop crashed last year shortly after I came back from NZ.  Even though I had the hard drive replaced, it was still sluggish due to it’s 5+ year lifespan.  Time for an upgrade, yea???

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There are also other things I’m switching up lately, namely my skincare routine.  Slowly but surely, I’ve been finding myself more and more drawn  to organic cosmetics – and over the past month, I’ve decided to fully make the switch. I’ve been using up my current arsenal of products and bit by bit have been purchasing new items to replace the old.  The reason for the switch was – literally – pretty simple.  With my eczema and skin care sensitivities, I started researching products that had fewer ingredients and were free of artificial fragrances – essentially, items that were as pared down and basic as you could get.  The less going on, the less chance for irritation, right?  So, as I’m nit-picking my way through ingredients lists on just about anything and everything, naturally organic products kept coming up in my search due to their beautifully simple nature.  On top of that, I happened to stumble upon two blogs that essentially made me start lemming every organic and green beauty product on the market: No More Dirty Looks, which is a chic and fun blog that showcases readers skincare routines, and reviews some of the more well-known organic brands such as Kahina Giving Beauty, RMS, and One Love Organics; and Seed to Serum, which I found through another blog (can’t remember which one!) but which has a TON of information about a variety of green brands, popular to lesser-known (Aster & Bay products sound amazing – and you can order samples first!), as well as posts highlighting different organic ingredients and their benefits.  She’s pretty much tried all it all it seems, and my list of ‘to buy’ items has expanded exponentially since coming across her blog a mere month ago.

Atlanta Photographer | LeahAndMark & Co. | Aster & BayAster & Bay…how can you not love that visual!?

Revamping your whole skincare routine can be a big task, and while the research that goes into choosing products is exhaustive, I’m fortunate that I don’t have a whole lot of ‘excess’ product to get through first, so that I’m able to replace as I go without having a stockpile of soon-to-be-unloved items cluttering up my bathroom.  However, I will say that because there are just SO MANY lovely sounding products to try, my streamlined routine could get backlogged real quick.  However, as it stands now, I’m not doing too bad.  I started with Stark Skincare’s Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm (which is fab and an amazing multitasker – review forthcoming), and last week I added a trio of Pai products: the Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream, Rosehip BioRegenerate Fruit & Seed Oil Blend + Vitamin E, and Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser (the latter which was a freebie thrown in when you buy a Pai skincare cream from Fresh Faced).  So far so good on all three, but it’s too early to tell just yet.  I have high hopes!  Oh yea, and I also picked up a Konjac sponge to try out – I can’t tell if it’s doing much of anything really, but its a cute little thing and it works well to massage my cleanser into my skin every morning so hey – rituals like that are kinda nice! :)

The massive wish list I’ve been compiling while I’ve been doing a ton of research probably needs to be shared.  That’ll be in my next post though, as it’s gonna be a doozy!  Prepare thyself.

Have you dabbled in green beauty products yet?  Are you jumping right in like I am, or more of a slow starter?  Or do you think organic beauty is a bunch of hooey?

Oh yea, and you only have two more days to enter our Beauty Envy Bag giveaway!!

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Epic Empties (As Per Usual)

Sooo…..it’s been about 149345 days since my last confession empties post.  Honestly, I haven’t used anything really exciting lately that I haven’t already written a review about, so the empties just kept growing and growing until it was honestly freaking me out to write about them all.  But tonight I’m feeling energetic so I figured it was time to get ‘er done!

Empties July 2013YIKES! Chaos…

Since this is going to be sort of long, I’m going to get right to it.  First up, we have all the items that I’ve previously reviewed.  Feelings on those products remain the same unless otherwise noted (or have notes about them in general):

Empties July 2013 (2)

Orly In a Snap

Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil (note: returned Boscia Tsubaki Oil – too heavy I think – and exchanged for a new bottle of this)

Fresh Sugar Lip Polish

Glysomed Hand Cream (frag. free) (apparently I haven’t officially reviewed this but it’s certainly had a number of *great* mentions!)

La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF60 (sample)

Clinique City Block Sheer SPF25 (again, no official review, but this has been a repeat product in my stash many times)

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus

Marcelle Hydra-C Facial Exfoliating Gel

Derma E Vitamin A Wrinkle Treatment Moisturizing Gel

Consonant Organic Foaming Face Wash

Boscia Clear Complexion Cleanser

Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Butters (Aether x 3, Snow Wolf, Plotters Breakfast)

Haus of Gloi Soft Bubbling Scrubs (Selkie, Twice is Nice)

Haus of Gloi Sugar Exfoliant in Lassi

Moving on, we have the items that are kinda ‘meh’ and which I don’t care to review because they are non-note-worthy – not bad, but not stand-out either:

Empties July 2013 (3)

Kniepp Gentle Body Wash Almond Blossom (too fragrant for me)

Barefoot Venus Save Our Skin Extra Rich Cream in Ruby Red (smells awesome but…too fragrant for my skin)

Montagne Jeunesse Mud Pac masque

Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream (nice and lasts ages but still meh)

Perlier Moisturizing Lip Balm

Sibu Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil (weird and stinky)

Ojon Damage Reverse Instant Restorative Hair Serum (sample) (decent)

Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser (travel size)

Avon Foot Works Therapeudic Cracked Heel Relief Cream

Finally, we get to some new (mini) reviews!  We’ll start first with the non-makeup items:

Empties July 2013 (4)

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser (deluxe sample) - I really liked this at first, but now I’m not so sure.  It seemed to cleanse well without stripping or making my skin dry, but I am not confident that it really cleansed as well as I imagined now.  *most confusing review ever*

Paula’s Choice Acne Fighting Treatment 5% Benzoyl Peroxide (sample)didn’t work.  The end.  Wouldn’t buy the full size.

Lancome La Vie Est Belle (sample)this is my kind of fragrance (which is to say, it smells edible).  I got a ton of compliments every time I wore it, so I think I’ll buy the full size this fall.

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo (sample)really didn’t like the smell of this…and as I have tons of hair, a thickening shampoo kind of (ironically) falls flat on me.

A-Derma Exomega Emollient Cleansing Oil (deluxe sample)a sensitive skin line that has fragrance in almost every product.  WTF!?!?!!?

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Cleanserprefer this over the Sebium, which has fragrance (annoying).  I like micellar waters for the AM but that’s about it.  Possibly would pick up again if it were on sale.

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masqueguys…I’ve had this for 5 years.  TOO EFFING LONG.  Just sayin’.  It was alright and fairly gentle for a clay masque, but nothing special.

John Masters Organics Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditionerherbal smell, thinner consistency….this probably would have been great for someone with fine, thin / limp hair looking for a deep conditioner, but for my super-dry, super-curly hair, I need something with more weight to it. Would not repurchase.

L’Oreal EverCreme Nourishing Leave-In Sprayoverwhelming scent, reminiscent of moroccan oil or something.  It took me probably a year to finish this because of how infrequently I used it, partially for the fragrance and partially because my hair care routine is extremely minimal and I have no use of a leave-in right now.  Would not repurchase.

Mill Creek Botanicals Biotin Shampoovery runny, but with a nice tingly effect, though I’m not sure if it did anything for hair growth/health

Ojon Damage Reverse Restorative Conditionerhonestly, this was just…fine.  Perhaps I should have put it with the ‘meh’ list above, but it was such a gigantic bottle (a gift) that I felt it needed to get some mention.  I wouldn’t spend the money on this though if I were in the market for a conditioner.

And then.  *Fan fare* We have some makeup items!!  Wooooooooo!!!!  And a fair number of ‘em too.  Heads up though that some of these are not ‘empties’ but discards as I just couldn’t hang on to ‘em any long.  TIME TO PURGE.  Let’s DO this:

Empties July 2013 (5)

Tarte BB Cream in Medium and Tan (samples) – there were things I really liked about this product, such as the sheerness (as I personally didn’t want a ton of coverage) and then stuff I didn’t like, such as how it felt a little suffocating even though it was so sheer.  Overall it was just OK but I wasn’t fully convinced to buy the full size.  Additionally, shade matching for my skin SUCKED.

MUFE HD Elixir – this is essentially a serum to boost skin’s hydration levels, that plays well with their HD foundation.  To be honest, I didn’t notice much effect, though I also noted that about Hydraluon’s serum as well, so maybe I’m just not dehydrated!  Nonetheless, I used it all :)

Clinique Chubby Stick in Graped-Up – uuuggggh.  I HATED this shade on me, these kinds of greyish-mauve-plum tones are horrible on my skin.  I scooped out the rest and put it in a tiny jar to use on others when I do makeup applications.  I just didn’t want to see this package anymore in my stash.  BEGONE.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Mascara – yikes!  I bought this on a whim as it was on sale one, and it was NOT good.  I got a couple uses out of it but had to give up the ghost because it made my lashes look wonky.  Not a fan.

Clinique Touch Tint for Eyes in Gold Glimmer – I got this tester way back when I worked on the counter full time and the product was discontinued.  Like 7 years ago.  So, even though it’s pretty and sparkly, it’s probably time to go.

OPI DS Desire – I don’t want to toss this at all, but the cap absolutely won’t come off and I’m tired of trying everything to get it off!  I like this shade but not so much that I’m willing to break my hands trying to get at it.  Plus, it helps me in reducing my polish numbers (which if you recall I’m trying to keep at 100…and I’m hovering around 116.  Gotta get to work!).

Dior Addict Glitter Collection Lipstick in Show It – I got this as an extra in a swap, and it’s kind of pretty but also pretty glittery…it’s a muted red with gold glitter bits that looks great during the holidays but inappropriate any other time.  I scooped the last of this out too and put it in another little jar for times when I was a little something special.  The old packaging is kinda ugly and annoyed me.

MUFE Uplight Face Luminizer Gel in #23 – I got this in my treat bag back when we had the Sephora grand opening here in Halifax, and maybe used it twice…it’s so glittery!  I just can’t.  I left it so long that the color has morphed and it looks pretty wonky.  Bye bye!

MUFE Aqua Cream in #10 – I reviewed this back in the day and while it’s a cool color, it’s essentially unwearable unless you want to put in some major leg work.  I don’t – and it’s shows because there’s cracks in the product where it’s drying out.  See Ya!

Tarte Vitamin Infused Gloss in 40 Winks (deluxe sample) – I actually liked this quite a bit, though it started to smell a bit funny at the end.  Nothing special but the golden shimmer was pretty on the lips.

Annabelle Le Big Show mascara – sorry to be the dissenting voice here, but this mascara was not my thing.  I personally found it mediocre and it irritated my eyelashes.  I had to toss well before it dried out.  Sorry guys! *ducks*

Hourglass Film Noir Full Spectrum mascara – now THIS mascara I liked.  It was a touch on the dry side, but otherwise it made my lashes look pretty great and was easy to use.  I’d possibly even buy it again, which is a big deal with mascara for me.

Wet n Wild Mega Liner Liquid Liner Black – this smudged like crazy!!!  I only used it a handful of times and then I had to toss it, it drove me nuts.  Absolutely do not waste the $3 or whatever for this.

Dalton Lash Fix Tilting mascara – um.  Yea.  This was a weird product gifted to me by my aunt – weird as in I’d never heard of the brand, and also the tilting brush was ridiculous.  AND.  This mascara was NOT GOOD.  After a couple times I had to trash it.  Totally bizarre stuff.

Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum (deluxe sample) - still diggin’ this stuff hard.  I have another deluxe sample that I use sparingly when I want to look extra good.  I’m not sure I’d buy the full size as the scent makes me nervous, but this size lasts ages for me so by the time I run out of my other one, there will probably be some new-fangled primer that’ll have taken over anyway and this will be a memory.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF15 (deluxe sample) – I liked using this as my sunscreen when the sun was a scarcity in the winter/spring.  I’d consider doing that again if I was feeling spendy, but I’m not entirely sold.  It’s good but not HG status for me.

MUFE HD Primer (deluxe sample) – I liked the consistency of this a lot – which was much more runny and watery and non-silicone-y feeling than most other primers – but probably for that reason it didn’t work very well at keeping everything in place.  I wouldn’t buy the full size.

HOLY SMOKES.  Sorry guys.  I know that was a lot to power through (and if you did – YOU ARE TENACIOUS).  I will try and keep up with these posts more consistently moving forward, it’s just….DAMN they’re boring to write.  When something is done for me, it’s done.  I like to talk about the new and shiny :D :D :D

One final note I want to share with you about buying and consuming.  As you know, the past months have been quite financially restrictive, and I was really putting in an effort to keep my spending to a minimum.  However, what started as a cost-saving endeavour has turned into a lot more.  I read all of these fantastic blogs and see all the haul posts and pretty purchases, and rather than feel deprived, I feel kind of anxious and stressed out.  I just can’t get behind all these makeup purchases.  I’m not judging, truly, it’s just that more and more it works me up to think of all that makeup just sitting there – you only have one face, how much of all those products are really getting the love they deserve?  ~sigh~ So while I still get enticed here and there to buy a bunch of stuff because DAMMIT ITS SO EFFING PRETTY, I just can’t pull the trigger as easily as I used to.  I already have too much  stuff that doesn’t get used, and I just don’t want to go on like that.  I’ve made huge strides in this area and have only bought 4 makeup items in the last 3 months, which may still seem like a lot but which I feel is a good improvement – and I am determined to keep it up.  So while this empties post seems sort of ridiculous, these have been building up since early spring, and most have not been replaced – it’s been more of a 2-3 out, 1 in sort of system that really eases my mind a whole lot.  Here’s to hoping I stay in this mind frame for a while!

So…how are you doing on your empties?  And your purchases??

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POPSUGAR Beauty: Wedding SOS Beauty Essentials

Exciting news my friends!  An article I wrote on wedding beauty essentials has been posted on the POPSUGAR Beauty site!  As I have been involved in what seems like countless weddings, I’m starting to consider myself an expert ;)  I chose my tried and true top 10 picks on how to stay looking great no matter what the situation or emergency.  Hop on over to POPSUGAR to check out my post!!

POPSUGAR Bridal Beauty

Hope you enjoy! :)

What are your emergency essentials for a big event like a wedding?

 

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9 Comments

I’m Ba-ack!!! So….Whatcha Been Up to Lately???

Well, hello there!  It’s been uh, a long, LONG time since I’ve been around, no?  And I left without barely saying goodbye, please forgive me!  The days leading up to my trip to New Zealand were absolutely insane – all the plans I had for pre-trip posts and a handful of scheduled posts pretty much went right out the window, unfortunately.  It was a truly stressful week – thankfully at the end of it I was on vacation for 5 weeks :D  How’s everyone been doing since I left!?

A rainbow just outside of Queenstown, NZ

I won’t go into major detail about the trip, because this IS a beauty blog after all – and it’s hard to sum up 5 weeks of some of the best times of my life!  It was an absolutely amazing, wonderful, fantastic time, and I can’t wait till my next adventure (no, I don’t have anything planned yet but I hope to soon!).  I made some truly solid, lasting friendships with people from all over (most notably: Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, and even some fellow Canadians!); saw some of the most beautiful landscapes; did some daredevil stunts (SO unlike me!); and even had a wee bit of a romance ;)  I even got a tattoo (I will post pics!)!  I guess I could summarize the trip by saying, I got majorly out of my comfort zone and did things I never thought I’d do, and I came back a better person for it all.  It was the trip of a lifetime, and in all honesty, I struggled to come home.  But alas, here I am! :D

90 Mile Beach in the Bay of Islands, NZ

One thing I did NOT do, was think much about beauty (for shame!).  I wore minimal makeup on the best of days (most days I skipped it altogether) – opting for concealer, mascara, and a dab of cream blush when I did wear any.  If we went to a bar, I put on a bit of black eyeliner to really go crazy (lol).  I wore my hair au natural without any product most days, and actually loved how it looked – kind of beachy-kinky.  Unfortunately, I’m trying to recreate the look now that I’m home and it is NOT working for me – it’s too humid here, and it just does NOT look the same.  Boo :(  Anyway, makeup etc. was the furthest thing from my mind on this trip (though I confess when I was in the LAX airport en route to NZ with 7 hours to spare, I DID buy a MAC mascara – Haute ‘n’ Naughty – because I was planning to buy it when I returned, and with duty free and the price difference ($23.50CAD vs $20US), I ended up saving $7-8 bucks – sweet!  Will review soon!).  Oh, I’m lying, I did buy one other thing, but I think I might use it for a giveaway soon, so I’m gonna keep that to myself for now!

Pauanui, in the Coromandel Penninsula of NZ.  Check out that hair!  No product whatsoever :)

Anyway, enough rambling – time for pictures!  Since this could easily get lengthy, in this post I’m just going to summarize the ‘beauty’ portion of the trip – tomorrow I will post actual photos of New Zealand itself :D  (I know, waiting sucks, but it’s tough to find time when you’re majorly jetlagged – I keep sleeping in till the afternoon :S – and trying to fit in seeing everyone again…it’s crazy-busy!).

What I packed for cosmetics:

I put Bumble & Bumble deep conditioner in the Ojon jar, TIGI styling lotion in the Aveda container, and TRESemme conditioner in the Bioderma container lol (reuse and recycle!).  Everything in this picture was entirely used except for all of the styling lotion – still some left!

The Curel lotion was used up in about two weeks, max – I had to give in a purchase a small Aveeno lotion to get me through the rest of the trip.  I’m just finishing the Glysomed hand cream, the Dove soap is still kickin’, and I barely used the Vichy sunscreen – I know, I know, and they have a big ol’ hole in the ozone layer over NZ which on bad days can burn you in 2.5 minutes (no, I’m not exaggerating, this is fact!), but dudes – it was pretty damn chilly there!  I wore sleeves and pants almost every single day… :(  The Burt’s Bees cuticle cream took a beating, and the deodorant was entirely used up, it lasted *just* until I made it home!

I bought the travel size of the Purity cleanser before I left – even though I’m leery of the ingredients, I still really like this cleanser and don’t have any issues with it.  The Simple cleansing cloths I had bought a while ago but had only used a handful – these were awesome when you were out in the wilderness or if you were sharing a bathroom/shower and wanted to get it done quickfast.  They also served as my exfoliant on the trip, and worked quite well! 

My trusty facial SPF standby, Clinique’s City Block Sheer, is still going despite using it every day; the Clarins Sun eye cream is on it’s last legs and expired at the end of Oct so it’s going in the trash now.  The little pot beneath it is my 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine eye cream, which I squirted into this container – I used almost the entire pot to try and combat those late, excessively boozy nights of which I had FAR too many.  Vaseline – the cureall, and of course not even near finished.  Next to it is Weleda’s Almond Facial Lotion, which was very nice and which I used up completely.  The Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion and the Moisture Surge samples I’ve finished only since I got home, though note I did have TWO of the Moisture Surge packed.  I used the Clinique Even Better SPF20 sample up the first week I got to NZ as the weather was still cold enough to justify a heavier moisturizer.  I carried the La Roche Posay moisturizer sample around with me everywhere and dabbed it on when needed – that tiny thing lasted about two weeks!  Lastly, the sample of Clinique’s All About Eyes serum I used in the AM and it’s still probably half full, it lasts ages!

In an effort to get rid of the millions of perfume samples I have, I brought a handful with me – but forgot to apply it most of the time!  As such, I only used up the Escada sample (last one on the right), which was a sweet scent and perfect for summer (not that it was quite summer in NZ…brrr!).  The rest (3 Jo Malone and 1 Bond No.9) were worn sporadically, and still are quite full :S

Lastly, we have the makeup.  I also threw in a green Urban Decay 24/7 liner in the mix just before I left for a little color, which I did wear sometimes on the lower lash line when we went out.  For the most part though, I just wore one of the two Bobbi Brown Pot Rouges (or sometimes both at once), a touch of mascara, and concealer (which I forgot to feature here).  When we went to a bar, I’d add one of the two black liners, a bit of foundation (in the contact lense case – learned that trick online somewhere!), and some lip gloss.  Out of all this makeup, which was mainly the dregs of my collection – items that were near done or which I wanted to use up – NOTHING was finished, because of the infrequency of wear.  DAMN.  The samples of primers, the loose shadow in the jar, and the sample Burberry lippies weren’t even touched.  BOO :(

I stored all my makeup in this little case:

Cute, eh?  Don’t know where I got it, but it was the perfect size, and I liked being able to see what was where. 

I think my cosmetics stash was pretty reasonable for five weeks, for a beauty junkie – don’t you?  Actually, one day I was unpacking my whole backpack (which I had to do EVERY day because it only opened from the top – super annoying!), and the girls in my room were shocked at how little stuff I had overall.  It sounds great, but honestly I was NOT prepared – for all the partying!  I had brought one black tank top, one dressy sleeveless shirt, one pair of jeans, and two dresses (each of which I wore only once because it was NOT a dress kind of trip) for ‘going out’ clothes.  I had NO idea that I would be out dancing my ass off at bars and clubs for half of the trip…FAIL.  I thought I’d be off hiking every damn day, not getting wasted in Queenstown at World Bar where drinks are served in teapots, or singing kareoke at the Establishment bar in Wellington!  Not one other person packed as ‘practically’ as I did, either.  Dammit all to hell.  Ah well, I still had the BEST time a gal could have! (but I did buy a whole new outfit once I returned to Auckland near the end of my trip – at least ONE night I was well dressed lol).

My totally awesome new pants, as part of my brand new outfit – that got only one use while away lol

Alright, that’s it for this installment – I go back to work tomorrow, and actually have to get up at a respectable time!  I will post photos of the actual trip tomorrow!  In all fairness, this IS a beauty blog, so I had to get the business side out of the way first :)

I’m really glad to be back, I missed you all!  I can’t wait to catch up on the goings-on in the beauty/blogging world, I hope I didn’t miss anything too crazy!  Let me know all the gossip – and what I NEED to know regarding makeup collections, etc.  I am so MAJORLY out of the loop!!!!

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