Posts Tagged Clinique

My Summertime Skin Saviors

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredient lists for your reference:

La Roche-Posay Anthelios

La Roche-Posay Anthelios

Vichy Capital Soleil

Vichy Capital Soleil

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

MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel

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

Ingredient list:

MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel

MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel

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

Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe (2)

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

Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe

Ingredients for reference:

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

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

Sun Saviors

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

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May Marvels: What I’m Loving This Month!

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

EOS Lip Balm

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

Mont Bleu Glass Files

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

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

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

Clinique Acne Solutions Mask Clinique Acne Solutions Mask (2)

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

The Perfume Lover

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

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

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

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So Many Goodies, So Little (Personal) Time

I’m feeling very overwhelmed tonight at the sheer amount of fun things I want to post about, and the very little time I have lately to do it.  Some of these things aren’t truly pressing (well, to be honest – nothing is life or death in the beauty world, is it?), so I’m trying to figure out how to prioritize which to present first.  For the moment, let’s have a gander at what you can look forward to, eh?

eos

eos Hand Lotion and Shave Cream* for smooth legs and hands – I haven’t owned a shaving product in years but I gotta say, this cream makes me want to change my ways!

Haus of Gloi

Just received my third Haus of Gloi order today and I’m so stoked – along with two Aether Pumpkin Butters, I ordered one in the Komodo scent (mangosteen, Tahitian vanilla bean, dragons blood resin and faded tropical blooms) as well as a small size of a Bubbling Scrub in Selkie (smells like the sea!) and a Sugar Exfoliant in Lassi (reminds me of sour candies :P).  They all smell SO GOOOOOD.

Clinique (2) Clinique

I got my semi-annual gratis today from Clinique*, along with a couple other items, I selected the Acne Solutions Oil-Control Cleansing Mask as I needed a new purifying mask; a Lash Power mascara, which is sort of old news now but still a great product; an Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector, which I haven’t yet had a chance to try but lord knows these poor old eyes need it; and the brand new Even Better Compact Makeup which we played with in school but I forgot my shade, so I ordered by guessing – I think this will be OK once I get a bit tanned, it looks a touch dark for me right now.

The Perfume Lover

When I received a copy of The Perfume Lover and a sample* of the resulting fragrance Denyse Beaulieu created with L’Artisan Parfumeur, I wasn’t convinced I’d be into it all.  Consider me converted – not only am I LOVING the book (I’m about 2/3′s of the way through and totally want to buy ALL OF THE FRAGRANCE now) but I actually kind of dig the scent as well.  It’s not in my comfort zone, not being a huge fan of orange blossom (one of the top notes), but something about it pulls me in.  Expect to read my review on both for SURE.

So….aside from the multitude of lippies I still have to show you, now I have all this to add to the pile.  Oh yea.  I’ll get right on it.  *eeks!*  Maybe you can help me out and let me know which product(s) you’d like to see first?!?!

*Items noted were provided by the PR company/brand.

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Score a Lit-From-Within Glow with Clinique’s Uplighting Liquid Illuminator in Bronze

Ever since the end of last month, when I decided I was going to make an effort to use every single makeup item in my stash over the next month (or two…I’ve got a fair bit to go through!), I’ve been rediscovering some real gems that I forgot I even had in my possession.  It’s been a great exercise in recognizing just how much I have, and lessening the urge to buy anything new of which I don’t already have a reasonable fascimile.  It also has helped me weed out items I no longer want, and give some love to my long-forgotten products!  It’s an all around good time :D

Clinique Uplighting in Bronze

One product in particular that has actually been on my radar for months, but I just couldn’t be bothered to use, is Clinique’s Up-Lighting Liquid Illuminator in Bronze ($32CAD/$25US), described as a sheer bronze with gold shimmer.   For some reason, I couldn’t get on board with this product, and I kept pulling it out to use only to bypass it and choose something else.  Finally, in my new dedication to using everything, I tried it once more – and DAMN!  What was I waiting for!?  This stuff is GOLD (well – bronze really, but you know what I mean ;)).

Clinique Uplighting in Bronze swatchesArtificial light

Clinique Uplighting in Bronze swatches (2) Clinique Uplighting in Bronze swatches (3)With flash

Dispensed via a pump mechanism, you only need a very small drop of liquid for each cheek – the size of a pinhead.  Without natural light, it’s hard to show you the beautiful effect this illuminator has on the skin in a swatch.  It looks metallic and just kinda…blech.  But!  Never fear my fellow makeup fiends, because this baby shows up FABULOUSLY on the face in photos – which is kinda the whole deal, right?  It’s always good to have an arsenal of photo-friendly products in your back pocket!  Bask in the glory:

Glowing Look

You can see my pores a bit here, but it’s not truly due to the product (sadly), and you can only see them in this kind of very up-close view.

Glowing Look  (2)

I remember once going out for an event, and a few photos were taken that were later posted on Facebook.  A friend at the time wrote a comment and said ‘Whatever makeup you’re using to give you that glow, I WANT IT.’  Stupidly, even though I remember this and remember how GREAT I looked in that photo, I stopped using this for a few years!  What the what!?!

Glowing Look  (3)

Like my cute feathered headband??  I bought this a few years ago when feathers in your hair were a big thing.  I still think this works because it’s not obnoxious, and it really dresses up my hair if I’m lazy and pull it back :)

Glowing Look  (4)

I find when I’m wearing this, which has been a lot lately, I hardly need any other makeup, because it just makes me look so damn HEALTHY.  And it’s terribly easy to use, at least on my skintone – I just dab a touch on each cheek and then pat it along my cheekbones with either my finger or a stippling brush.  It gives a hint of color, but mostly the illuminating effect speaks for itself without anything else needed.  I will give a note of caution however – on a lighter skintone, you’ll need to apply this more carefully, as it could look a touch muddy if applied with a heavy hand.  Or, even better – head out and grab yourself the ‘Natural‘ shade, which is a soft neutral beige with gold shimmer, and blends into almost any skintone (and is great to use an a inner eye corner or brow highlight too!).  There’s also a ‘Blush‘ option – a sheer pink with white shimmer – but I’ve never tried it or used it on any of my clients, so I can’t comment on it.  Sephora doesn’t seem to carry the Natural shade online, and currently the Bronze shade is sold out, but you can get all three on the Clinique websites (Canada & the US).

Glowing Look  (5)

Basically, you absolutely need this if you’re in the market for a liquid highlighter/illuminator – or even if you’re not.  It’s just so freakin’ great!  The wear time if you can believe is exceptional too – all day without any touch-ups required, which I think is quite a feat for a liquid product that I’m not layering or powdering.  And I’ll admit, some Clinique makeup doesn’t seem to last that long in general – but this sure does!  The only issue I have at all is that the pump sometimes gets a bit clogged so if you’re not careful, too much will come out if you push the pump too hard.  But it’s such a slight inconvenience for the awesomeness you get that I don’t care one iota about it.  A small price to pay to look like you just came back from a run on the beach in Hawaii or something.  It reminds me of that fabulous glow you get in the evenings when your down South and it’s still warm but you’re not sweating at all – LOVE IT!

So – liquid illuminator, check.  Now I just need a powder illuminator – any suggestions?  Do you prefer liquid, cream or powder highlighters?  Or none at all?

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Random EOTD’s For Your Viewing Pleasure

I’m having a bit of a moment lately; I’m rather uninspired to write, or even read blogs the past couple weeks.  Part of that is due to the fact that I’m trying to not buy anything: with my trip to New Zealand less than a week away (so crazy!!), I just can’t justify buying any pretties, especially just to have them sit there for over a month unused while I travel.  I know there are plenty of things I could write about, but the new stuff is always the most fun, am I right?  The other part is that anything that’s giving me the lemming itch doesn’t come out until after I leave, and will likely be sold out when I return, so what’s the point of getting excited for nothing?  It’s a sad state of affairs, my friends.

Wearing Chanel Abstraction Illusion d’Ombre over Clinique’s Rum Spice Color Surge Eyeshadow. As beautiful as Abstraction is, it can be tricky to get the true shimmering beauty to translate on the eye.  The deep warm bronze of Rum Spice helped give it a solid base to build upon.

What’s weird about this is that I’ve actually been more inspired than ever to play with makeup – almost every day I try a new ‘look’ and end up actually loving it.  It seems that while I’m having an ‘off’ month with respect to blogging, nevertheless I’m clearly having a makeup moment, in which I’ve figured out truly how to wear it.  That sounds kind of ridiculous considering I’ve been blogging for a while (with FOTD’s) and I have been doing wedding and event makeup for like, 10 years.  But truly – I’ve JUST GOT IT.

After a breakup, there’s often that feeling of wanting a change, to start fresh.  Naturally, my feeling was instantly related to beauty, and I decided to start focusing more on just one feature rather than overwhelming my face.  While I generally stick to that rule in theory, I would often do a smoky eye and neutral lips – but then add just a touch too much blush.  Or bold lips but then add a bit of shadow, which would end up looking ‘too done.’  I’ve really toned it down this fall, and now if I do a strong lip then I wear just the barest hint of blush and mascara.  Or I’ll wear a fierce flush and keep everything else very minimal (though sometimes I will go for a juicy matching pout).  I find the effect has been MUCH more satisfactory to me, and I’ve actually gotten a lot more compliments on how I look.

A look I did before going out last weekend, using MAC Vex shadow and Dark Soul pigment.  I find silver notoriously hard to wear, so this was a great achievement for me!

The real reason for this change was that I really want to make a statement.  My wardrobe is relatively basic, with only a few outfits that make me feel on-trend; makeup is really where I shine.  If I can’t generate attention via my closet, I can surely make something happen with my beauty approach, right?  And it seems that I’ve just about nailed it :)

Though the looks I’m showing in this post are all focused on eyes, believe me when I say that I’ve been having quite the time with dramatic lips this season as well – it’s just that I’ve already on one of the shades (Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102, which I love more every day!), and I’m planning on posting the other shade I’ve been rocking lately (keep your eyes peeled!).  What pleases me about these eye looks specifically is that not only have I gotten the rest of the makeup down pat, but I’ve managed to blend and layer my shadows much better than usual, which has made some previously hard-to-wear shades, actually quite wearable!

L’Oreal’s Golden Mahogany Infallible shadow, using MAC’s Vex once again as an inner eye/lid color.I was inspired this week on Refinery29 about pairing reddish eyeshadow with silver, so I had to try it out – and I absolutely LOVED it!  New favorite right here.

In any case, while I’ve been somewhat absent around these here parts, don’t you think for a second that I’m not still living and breathing beauty.  I just seem to have a combination of writer’s block, decreased funds, and a mega-trip on my mind – but I think when I get back in November, I’m going to be chock full of energy to get back on the horse again.  I’ve been particularly desperate to do some swatching series, but as my hands and forearms have been having serious eczema breakout for two months now, it’s just not going to happen until that clears up :(  I’m hoping the fresh NZ air will fix me – both my skin and my brain :)

Which look is your favorite?  Do you ever go through ‘slow’ spells with makeup and/or blogging?

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Beauty Low-Buy Update: ‘Meh’ Month Five

The past 30 days seemed to drag on, don’t you think?  I found this month a bit tough to keep myself under control – nothing too serious, but I kept feeling like it should be time again for me to be able to buy something else pretty guilt free :P  I think my mini Burberry haul really added to the heft my purchases list has this month.  I’m not going to worry about it, since it was a 30th birthday splurge and I’m worth it, dammit!  But, back on the horse – I plan on doing better this coming month.  I think I’m one of the last ones standing regarding the low/no-buy (except Larie, who’s extended her ban – hooray!), so possibly these posts have lost their zest for you, but nonetheless I’m going to keep pressing on because otherwise I have no one to hold me accountable!

I think I should be recapping a few of the guidelines before jumping right into the empties/purchases, so let me just refresh your memory:

1) Makeup: Purchase no more than 10 items per season
2) Nail Polish: Purchase no more than 5 polish per month
3) Skincare: Use one, Buy one

Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way – let’s see how I’m doing (gulp!).

Purchased (May 20-June 19):

Here we have:

- Marcelle Hydra-C Facial Exfoliating Gel ($10.74CAD – sale)

- Life Brand Skin Relieving Moisturizing Lotion ($5.99CAD – sale)

- Aveeno Sensitive Skin Sunscreen ($10.99 – sale)

- Zoya Arizona & Wednesday polishes ($8.75CAD each)

- Essie Bikini So Teeny & Blanc polishes ($7.99CAD – sale – and $11.99CAD, respectively)

- Orly In A Snap Quick Drying Top Coat ($12CAD)

- Essie First Base Base Coat ($12CAD)

- Sparitual Aurum polish ($12CAD)

- Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base ($66CAD)

- Burberry Light Glow Blush in Russet ($54CAD)

- Burberry Sheer Eye Shadow in Trench ($33CAD)

- Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Abstraction #88 ($37CAD)

Err…yea.  Not great…but in fairness, my birthday was last month and I felt it was appropriate to treat myself :)  Ah well!  Many of these I’ve reviewed already – and I plan on posting the other polish shades soon, especially Bikini So Teeny – LOVE this shade!!!  And the Marcelle scrub is actually quite lovely as well.

My discard pile is somewhat meager this month – and I blame the handful of products I have that just won’t die!!!!  They’re driving me crazy.  I even took a shot of them so you could see what I mean:

I have the Lavanilla bottle upside-down because the bottom of the vial narrows and it looks like there’s a lot more than there is if I stand it upright (I realize I am insane).

All of these products have been *thisclose* to being finished for like a month.  Well, excluding the MAC shadow (in Arena – great natural brow highlight for darker-skinned ladies), I just threw that in there because – PAN!  PAN!  PAN!!  Being able to see pan is very exciting for me; I only have one other full-size product showing pan in my stash, a blush from CoverFX, and it’s just HUGE.  As for the rest…it’s just ridiculous, half of these are deluxe sample sizes, WTF are they still kicking around for??  I can’t STAND sample size products :S  I promise you that next month, these will be finished, kaput.  Or else I’m gonna go stark raving MAD.

…Anyway.  Empties, anyone?

Used Up (May 20-June 19):

And the winners loser are:

- Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF15 in 06

- Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF15 Original

- Estee Lauder Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara (sample)

- Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Bourbon

- Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator

- Clinique City Block Sheer Daily Face Protector SPF25

- Life Brand Skin Relieving Moisturizing Lotion

- Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray

So there’s a lot of Clinique, and a lot of the Moisture Surge line eh?  Hmm.  Guess my skin’s been thirsty lately :P  I do like the line, and almost every school we get a bottle of the Face Spray, which used to sit in my cupboard going mostly unused, ’till I read this article on Beauty Editor, and now I use it daily and it is AMAZING.  I thought it was just for a pick-me-up, but it’s way better when used between skincare applications.  The Moisture Surge Intense was nice, but I actually like the original better, which is weird because that one is merely a temporary solution, whereas this one supposedly restores your moisture barrier to help ‘fix’ the problem.  I just didn’t like the texture as much, or something.  The Tinted Moisturizer provides quite good coverage for that kind of product, but it’s a bit too hydrating for me (re: greasy), especially in the Summer.  Would be perfect for someone with drier skin though!

As for the other Clinique product, the City Block Sheer, I honestly think switching to physical sunscreens has been the difference-maker in my skin.  I have absolutely NO irritation ever and my skin has never been better – I haven’t needed to wear foundation in months.  I will never go back to chemical if I can help it.  Also, I find that using only this sunscreen in the warmer months, with no ‘official’ moisturizer during the day, has made me SO much less oily, I hardly have an issue with it now at all (though it could be because I’m also not wearing foundation).  Hallelujah!

Here lies the second Fresh Lip Treatment which I have finished, and finished HARD:

I’m sad to say but I won’t ever repurchase these again, as I find that due to the high fragrance in them they cause irritation in my lips, which means that even though they’re hydrated, their often rough and chapped.  I have one more to finish and then I’m done with them!  Too bad because they’re lovely but just not for me!

I snagged a sample of the Estee Lauder Sumptuous mascara in April which was sweet because I was considering picking it up as my next mascara.  However, I was underwhelmed.  I sort of don’t think mascara samples are fully representative of the full-size product, but at the same time, the brush was just OK (very reminiscent of Clinique’s Lash Doubling, which I could just order for free on my gratis), and it didn’t give me KA-POW lashes in the least, which is sort of my goal.  So, I’ll pass for now.

I used to love the UD 24/7 pencils and wanted to acquire them in every shade (I still have probably 5-6), but lately I find that they’re so gritty feeling with all the sparkle, and its just not comfortable on my eyes.  I did like this shade, Bourbon, a lot though.  But, once a pencil gets down too far for me to sharpen it, out it goes!

Lastly…the Life Brand Moisturizing Lotion, which I’ve talked about before (I really should just stop putting those in because ~snooze~ but you can see how fast I go through them eh?)  Also, I know how much you enjoy the fact that I cut these tubes in half to get as much product as I can LOL (also see the Clinique SPF).  What can I say?  I hate waste :P

OK!  Putting it all together, here’s a quick recap:

1) Makeup: 4 makeup items purchased [12 this season (Spring)] *Tossed 3*
2) Nail Polish: 5 polish purchased this month (13 total since the beginning of 2012)
3) Skincare: Used 5, Bought 3

This time around, that’s 5  full-size skincare products,  1 sample,  and 2 makeup items 

So…I didn’t succeed on the makeup front, but I’m pretty pleased overall that I was able to only buy 12 items over the course of 3 months – it felt like I was buying a lot more!  Happily, only one of those products was really a ‘filler’ purchase (the Revlon lip butter from last month’s recap) , which I’m trying to avoid, so even though I went over my limit, I mainly only picked up items I really wanted/love, which is ultimately the goal of this whole endeavor anyway, so YAY to that! :)

However, I will admit – SO happy that we’re into the Summer season now and I have 10 more items I’m allowed to buy!!!!!!! :P  (Though…condo furnishings will probably deplete my budget for the next little while, so no fear of going over 10 this time around!)

Have you tried any of the products I mentioned?  What are your feelings on sample size products?  What’s the last ‘filler’ purchase you made? 

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Working Hard or Hardly Working: Yes, I’m Still Downsizing!

The past couple months has been a slow one for using up products it seems – like anything else, when it rains it pours, but in those in-between times, it seems to be a bit of a drought.  I’m just on the precipice of finishing a handful of products, but before that happens, I want to round up all the items that I finished before I began my beauty challenge – I want to be fair and transparent (lol can you tell I work for the government?), so when the time comes to match products used to products bought, I’ve got clear evidence to show you that I’m still following the guidelines.  Meticulous to a fault, eh?The list of products below are pretty boring, I have to say – most weren’t very memorable and I wouldn’t repurchase the majority of them.  There are also a handful of samples that seemed to take AGES to finish, despite some being tiny.  Anywho…enough chat – let’s hop to it!Phyto Phytheol Intense Shampoo and L’Oreal Total Repair conditioner.  The former is an anti-dandruff formulation which I had hoped would help with my seasonal dry scalp, which I thought was dandruff.  Turns out, its more likely dermatitis, as per my dermatologist – surprize, surprize, the girl with eczema has one more skin issue to worry about.  Yay…. :(  Anyway, this didn’t do a lick for my scalp, but since I don’t seem to have dandruff, I can’t really give it a fair rating.  I think there are probably treatments out there though that are more effective and far cheaper than this.

L’Oreal’s Total Repair conditioner was OK, but absolutely nothing to rave about and to be honest, I just stopped using it a few weeks ago and already I don’t remember what it was like.  It wasn’t as hydrating or as smoothing as I wanted it to be, so there’s that.  I can tell you that I already enjoy my current conditioner, an Infusium23 product, wayyyy more.  I bought this because it was on sale.  End of story.Philosophy’s Purity cleanser.  I’m sure everyone and their dog has tried this basic product at some point.  It’s a good standby and I didn’t have any issues with it, but jeez louise this size lasts AGES.  I know that’s a great thing for some, but for Miss ADHD here, I get bored halfway through and am just dying to use something else.  I always feel that there could be something better.  This cleanser didn’t irritate my skin, but I didn’t find it soothed it either, and right now while I’m fighting tooth and nail to keep my skin under control (this cold, cold Winter is doing a major number on it!), this just isn’t going to cut it.  Great for slightly sensitive skin or, of course, non-reactive skin in general though. The Body Shop’s Wise Woman Eye Cream, Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum, and a mini jar of Vaseline (though apparently I took the label off…?).  The Wise Woman eye cream was nice, decently hydrating but nothing crazy either way, so if you’re super oily/dry, you’ll probably need something else.  It didn’t help with my dark circle, which was one of it’s claims, and I’ve had other eye creams that kept my undereye area more supple.  But for $24CAD, it was a decent price and lasted me a good year or more.

I’m not going to talk anymore about Ole’s Truth Serum – I know you’ve heard enough!!!  If you haven’t though, or need a refresher, see my original post here.  I’m on my second bottle of this now.

Ah, Vaseline.  A medicine cabinet must, even though overall I’m not a fan of petroleum.  But I use this on my lips every night before bed and my pucker stays nice and hydrated for the most part, so for the couple bucks it costs, and the length of time it lasts (seriously, like 2-3 years for this tiny thing…crazy), I’ll keep on buying it!Another Vaseline product – Intensive Rescue Soothing Hand Cream.  I really liked this a lot – it wasn’t as occlusive as the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula, but it softened my hands big time and kept them moisturized for hours.  It even helped with some of my eczema patches, which is always a bonus in my eyes.  It had a relatively thick consistency but abosrbed fairly quickly and didn’t leave my hands greasy.  I can’t remember the price but it was something like $8.99 – around the same as Norwegian Formula etc. Here’s a sample size of Aveda’s Smoothing Body Polish.  I haven’t owned a body scrub in a while – in keeping with staying away from abrasive products as a whole, I’m sort of off the scrubs – but I picked this up in the Fall and used it sporadically here and there.  It had a fairly good granular quality though I never felt that I left the shower super-smooth, so not sure what that was about.  It worked better on damp skin than fully wet.  I wouldn’t buy the full size.More samples!  I’ve had the Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel for years, but finally got on finishing it last year.  It was pretty great, actually – the scent made me nervous, kind of floral and pretty strong – but it didn’t seem to irritate my skin that I noticed.  It comes as a fine powder, with you put in the palm of your hand and add water, then it foams and you apply it to your face for 30-60 seconds and the enzymes exfoliate.  It did make my face feel really smooth afterward, and this sample, if I had used it consistently (say, every 2-3 days) would have lasted me a few months – you only need a bit of powder each time.  If there were no fragrance, I’d pay the $60-odd dollars for the full-size of this; crazy price, but it was pretty lovely.

The CoverFX Nourishing Foundation Primer and Anti-Aging Serum was another sample that lasted quite a while considering its just a little packet.  I normally don’t include those types of samples, but because it lasted so long I thought it was worthwhile.  If I recall, Liz did a post on this a few months back, that was pretty thorough.  I don’t remember it too much, but I think it was nice enough – definitely more like a treatment serum than a primer, as Liz noted.  I think there are a bunch of different formulations of these, and they aren’t cheap, something like $39CAD?  I wanted to buy one but the packing is sooo tiny for that price!  Funny the things I’ll shell out for and those I won’t eh?

That little sample jar on the right was the Philosophy Help Me that I tried out.  I still maintain that it worked quite nicely considering my skin is almost always flared up and red these days – it didn’t add to the irritation – but the fact that the retinol in the ingredients is soo far down the list concerns me.  Obviously that would contribute to why it didn’t irritate my skin, but at the same time – do I want to pay $59CAD for a product that doesn’t really do what I bought it for???  The sample lasted almost a full week using it nightly though, so it seems to go pretty far.Finally, some makeup!!  Though sadly, only one product here is full-size; the others are all sample sizes.  Nonetheless, I got through them!  Here you see a random eyebrow comb that broke (both ends – the comb part you still see is just attached for show) which I included just because.  Then we have a Clinique Lash Doubling mascara sample – this is probably my second fave mascara by the brand after High Impact.  Gives nice volume and some length, but doesn’t clump at all.  Then below it, is one of Clinique’s Vitamin C Lip Smoothie’s in Strawberry Bliss.  The lip smoothies have antioxidants in them to help keep the lips healthy and more youthful looking.  This shade was just a dark but sheer pink shade, but it was really nice and I think the color would look good on almost anyone.  However, this sample went fast – I didn’t use it all that often and even so, it was gone in two months.  I also found that the texture of the gloss is a bit thicker than I’d like – not a big issue, just something of note.

Underneath the lip smoothie, we have a Long Last Glosswear SPF15 by Clinique, another sample size, in Knockout Nude.  Nice cool shimmering beige-nude shade that looks good on most skintones, but I find the newer glosswears with SPF get sticky faster than the old ones without sunscreen.  And they get funky after a while and develop this nasty plastic-type smell.  No thanks!  You can see I didn’t finish it – and I don’t plan to! I also didn’t finish the L’Oreal On-the-Loose shadow pot in Five Alarm below it – if you recall I swatched this with my new L’Oreal Infallible shadow I bought a few weeks ago, and realized how much nicer and more pigmented the newer one was.  And also, I had to bite the bullet that this old shadow was over 10 years old, so it HAD to go.  It’s still got about a 1/4 of the container left, but…oh well!

Lastly, we have a sample jar of a MAC Pro Longwear concealer (shade NC42).  I included this because this was another sample that lasted forever – I had this for several months and was using it on my undereyes almost every day.  It was ok – it covered my darkness but didn’t completely erase it.  I’m terribly fussy with undereye concealers and have yet to find one that lives up to my expectations, to take my review with a grain of salt – for some, this might be total love, as it does conceal better than some and is buildable.  However, the pump dispenser on the full-size is irritating because it gives too much product (you only need a small dot), so that’s a turn off.  I wouldn’t buy the full-size, which retails for $21CAD.

So there’s the rundown of what I’ve used up in the past while, up to January 20th.  Moving forward, anything that I finish now counts toward a new purchase – remember, its one for one in skincare, and two for one in makeup.  Sometimes this seems like no biggie, other times, I find myself just about to pull the trigger on a new product…..only to be reminded that I gotta use ‘em to buy ‘em!  Rats.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!!!  If you get out shopping, make sure you let me live vicariously through you OK???

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A Proud Moment: Downsizing at it’s Best

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An Inside Look: My Eyeliner Collection

Since I’m on somewhat of a purchasing slow-down during the holidays, and due to the fact that I’ve shown you all my skincare products, most of my nail polishes, my top faves, and my NARS collection…I’m sort of running out of new material here! LOL  No, not really, but without any new products, I have to go ‘back to the beginning’ so to speak – this time around, I’m going to show you all the eyeliners I have in my stash.

I think that as far as liners go, I have quite a few.  They’re all different colors for the most part, but it just seems like I have a larger collection than is probably necessary, especially since I don’t even wear eyeliner every day!  Still, eyeliner is a quick way to look polished without much effort, so I like to have options on hand.  I didn’t purchase many of these -  most I amassed through swaps, or they came with other products in a value set.  Let’s take a gander, shall we?

First, we have all my Urban Decay 24/7 liners – from left to right: Zero, Oil Slick, Crash, Bourbon, Lucky, and Covet.  I purchased Covet, but the rest were through swaps or came with the BoS III palette I got last year (so, yeah, I guess I purchased that too :P).  These liners are some of my faves, though I have to be very careful with them around my lower lash line, because aside from Zero they’re all sparkly and can cause some irritation.  Excellent wear though, with a creamy, easy gliding formulation and awesome colors.  These retail for $22CAD.

My three liquid liners – MUFE Aqua Liner #5, #14, and Illamasqua Havoc (left to right).  Odd that I don’t even have a plain black eh?  I’ll have to remedy that.  I really like wearing a crisp liner with a flick at the end – not just because that’s the trend now, it’s always been a ‘thing’ of mine.  I’ve reviewed all three of these previously (here, here and here).  All around stellar liners that I would repurchase in a heartbeat.

My two MAC liners – Pearlglide in Petrol Blue, and Chromagraphic in NC25/NW30.  I rarely wear the blue, but it’s really very pretty – especially on the lower lash liner.  On my upper lashes, it kind of just looks like it’s trying to be black but isn’t.  It looks better smoked out.  The Chromographic pencil I picked up to use under my lash liner or on my waterline.  It’s less stark than white and really brightens the eye area.  Both are creamy and do not tug at the lashes, but not the greatest staying power.  Pearlglides are LE – I think around $17CAD – and the Chromographics are $15CAD.

My Clinique pencils.  Obviously didn’t pay for these :)  First on the left is a Cream Shaper in Egyptian – such a pretty. shimmering dark khaki shade that works on all skintones.  Very creamy and easy to blend, but is water resistant and will stay put until you wash it off.  The one on the right is a Kohl Shaper, and its a bit harder to draw with, but smokes out beautifully.  This shade is Blackened Coffee – a medium brown.  The Kohl’s come with a sharpener in the cap, which is a great feature.  Generally these pencils run $17 and $17.50CAD, respectively.

The only cream liners I own.  I want to change this big time as I love the application and formula of cream liners.  The first on the left is Smashbox Cream Eyeliner in ……  ($27CAD). Very similar to Clinique’s Egyptian above.  I will likely put this up for swap soon, I really don’t need both.  The second is a Stila Smudge Pot in Black ($26CAD), a charcoal black.  I got this in a Christmas gift about two or three years ago.  It’s drying out a bit now and doesn’t work as well.  When I first got it, it was amazing for creating a defined cat eye.  I don’t use it much now because it’s really only good for smudging out.  Still, a very nice product at one time.

I’ve reviewed these both here and here – MUFE’s Aqua Eyes #0L (a mat black – though it looks kinda brown here, doesn’t it??), and Khol #4K (a forest green).  They don’t look like anything special, but the wear on these is excellent, and the Khol is great for the waterline.  $20 and $19CAD.

Sorry for the majorly wobbly swatches here, these pencils were itty bitty and I could hardly get a grip on them!  They’re all Revlon – one is a Luxurious Color liner in Blackened Sapphire, the other two are from the same pencil – a Streetwear one!!!!!!!  If you remember Streetwear, then you’ll remember they had these neat double-ended pencils – I bought this white one (one end matte, one end shimmery) for the same reason I bought the MAC Chromographic – to line the water line.  However, I realized when I started this post that these have gotta go.  The Luxurious Color was a few years old and down to the nub, and Streetwear was a 90′s collection – I shouldn’t be using anything that old around my eyes!!  Yikes!!  Off to the empties pile they go!

I received Laura Mercier’s Kohl Eye Pencil in Black Violet in a swap earlier in the year.  While I love the deep black-plum shade, it tends to migrate during the day, so I haven’t worn it much for this reason.  Strange, as this is designed to be worn “inside the eyelid, at the base of the lashes.”  A shame really, because otherwise this is a nice pencil.  $25CAD.

My Chanel baby :)  As previously noted, Khaki Platine is relatively innocuous – it doesn’t look like much, but I really find myself reaching for this pencil at least half the time.  It brightens my eye area so easily with such little effort – and it never, ever irritates my eyes, which is becoming a really important feature of any eye product I use now.  At $27CAD it’s expensive as all Chanel products are, but I don’t care: me like-y!

I bought this Lise Watier Eye Shine in Gold ages ago, and rarely wear it.  I was experimenting with it last week though, and my interest was renewed – it looked pretty great alone on my top and bottom lashes with a good coating of black mascara!  Normally I just use it to emphasize the inner corners of the eye.  Lise Watier pencils are similar to UD’s pencils, without the glitter.  I think these are around $17CAD.

My one glitter eyeliner, also from Lise Watier, that I may have worn once ever.  Just not my thing, but they look so pretty in the containers and in swatches!  I never realized that this particular liner has gold and silver glitter amongst the prevalent aqua blue.  Quite pretty, and hasn’t evaporated terribly like some glitter liners (UD’s especially).  Kind of going to waste in my stash, though.  I’m not sure how much these retail for.

Well, that’s another collection down!!  I hope these posts aren’t terribly dull -  I always find it interesting to see what’s in other people’s makeup stash, but my collections are not as large and diverse as some.  In any case, I like to have the swatches on hand because it helps remind me what shades to revisit – or if I give some away, and then pine for them later, I can take a look at these photos and remember exactly why I let them go.  Documentation, you see :)

I’m headed to T.O. in a few days for a work forum, as I’m co-chair of our Atlantic youth network.  I’m going to get to visit Liz from Beauty Reductionista again – yay!!  I can’t wait :)  Again, no shopping trips in our future, but I know one day we’ll get our chance.  And at this time of year, it’s probably a good thing eh?

Happy Hump Day everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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