Posts Tagged Reviews
MAN, I gotta get through all these ‘Recent Purchases’ posts already! There was just SO MUCH, you guys. And the photos have all been taken. And truth be told I’m a little bit lacking in original post ideas, since I’m a wee bit sidetracked these days:
I hope no one minds gratuitous baby pics…I can’t help myself!
ANYWAY. Let’s soldier on. Today I bring you the brushes/tools I’ve purchased over the past few months. These were not really necessary to buy, yet I feel they all were fairly practical purchases as I use them all quite frequently. The first to join the ranks of my tool collection was Beauty Blender ($26CAD); I finally caved to the hype and picked on up during the Sephora sale in April.
To be honest, I’m not particularly wowed. At least not when it’s used to blend foundation – I find I look MORE makeup-y when I use it for that purpose, and the whole reason I bought it was to look more natural, so that’s a fail. However, it’s nice for blending concealer and cream/liquid highlight, so it’s not gone to total waste. But I’m definitely not a convert nor going to preach its amazingness. Also – apparently I’m too rough when washing it, as this has already happened:
Next, during one of two MAC hauls I bought the #266 Small Angled Brush ($ CAD), as I wanted something to use to apply cream/gel liner in a more diffused way. I like this a lot – you could also use it damp to apply powder shadow as liner, which I haven’t done yet but intend to. I have an angel liner brush from Clinique that I use for powder brow products, but it’s splayed and fluffed out too much for liner application – this one sounds like it will retain it’s tight shape much better.
Then, I had a bit of a ‘moment’ and decided I *needed* to buy the Chikuhodo Z-Series Z4 Cheek/Highlighter Brush ($73US) from Beautylish*. I really didn’t *need* this, but since having it I’ve been enjoying it immensely – aside from the fact that it’s SO DAMN SOFT, it applies and blends powder highlight like a dream. I used it initially with my more pigmented blushes as it’s so soft I thought it would help me stop overapplying them (damn if I don’t love my blush), but it’s too soft to blend them as well as I’d like; I’ve found myself using the Make Up For Ever #156 Large Flat Blush Brush for blush application a lot lately and LOVING it.
*Fantastic service by the way – I received my products within two days and afterward someone from the site text messaged me to see how I was enjoying the products I’d purchased. At first I found it a bit invasive, but after a bit of back and forth they left me alone, so ! I’ll be purchasing from them again. And FYI – your first purchase from the site they offer 15% off and free shipping, so BONUS.
Finally, after deciding the Beauty Blender wasn’t doing the trick and trying to hunt down the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush for achieving a natural-looking base, I found a Lawtons that carried the brand, and I bought said brush, as well as the Real Techniques Setting Brush. Unlike the Beauty Blender, the hype surrounding these is well-deserved, especially for their price (I can’t remember exactly but they were both under $15 each). I’ve been using the Expert Face Brush for both liquid and powder foundation and it buffs them both so nicely into the skin, and so effortlessly. Equally as useful, the Setting Brush is fantastic for placing powder right where it’s needed, and with a light touch. As someone who loves a more glowing look, but has slightly oily skin – which means I can veer into greasy very easily – spot powdering is ideal; I can just dust a bit around my nose, between my brows, on my chin, and under my eyes to set my concealer, without mattifying EVERYTHING on my face. I thought my MAC #138 Tapered Face Brush was sufficient for this task, but it’s still a bit too big and ends up powdering more than I want/need. So these two = total win.
Alright. Another purchase post down! I have 3 more to go (I KNOW. I bought SO MUCH STUFF) which I hope to get out soon so I’m forced to come up with something interesting to write about. I mean, it’s not all bad doing these kind of group mini-reviews – hopefully they’re helpful – but I’d like to get my creative juices flowing again.
Have you tried any of these brushes/tools? What sort of posts might you be interesting in reading? (I’ve been reading my old old OLD posts and I am thinking about doing a showcase of all my products by category again – thoughts?)
In the ongoing chronicle of my intense 3 month makeup haul, next we have all the eye makeup that I bought over the past few months – again, this behaviour was nonsensical as I barely wear eye makeup these days save for mascara, but…sometimes we just lose our damn minds. I’m better now (but still want to atone for my ‘mistakes’).
Let’s begin with the most sensible purchases, given my comment above – mascara.
I went many years without buying much mascara at all – maybe one per year – as I’d often get free ones from Clinique, or just use the samples I’d get from Sephora etc. But this past year I’ve been trialing quite a few drugstore mascaras, as I’ve made an informal, semi-pact with myself that I won’t spend the big bucks on mascara any more; for only 3-4 months of use (and generally the same effectiveness across low- and high-end), my monies are better spent elsewhere.
The first mascara I picked up however, WAS from the higher-end of the spectrum – Benefit’s new Roller Lash mascara ($31CAD) – though I bought it during the Sephora sale in April.
Benefit’s newest mascara offering claims to be a ‘super-curling and lifting’ mascara to give a ‘sexy, wide-eyed look.’ As my eyelashes are already pretty curly on their own, I wasn’t initially reeled in by the product, but after seeing a few tutorials and reviews online I decided I liked the way it separated and lengthened lashes. Since I tend to go very low-key on the eye makeup day-to-day, I do prefer my lashes to be ultra-defined while letting my lips do the heavy lifting. For me, Roller Lash does the job well – it gives decent length, doesn’t clump and really catches every lash so they stand out, which is important when you’re not wearing anything else on the eye.
Though I am quite enjoying the lengthening and separating effects of Roller Lash, I also wanted to have a more volumizing formula on hand for when I wanted more drama. Enter L’Oreal’s praised Voluminous Million Lashes Excess mascara:
The Million Lashes Excess is supposed to give ‘bold volume with clean definition’, and I’d say this is partly true. The formula is thin and wet, so it gives you time to build it up on the lashes without clumping. Because of this, you do get fairly defined lashes – however, it takes effort and several coats to get that ‘bold volume’, at which point the likelihood of clumps increases (though not by too much). I personally find this tedious to apply, and the effect is not dramatic as I’d hoped. Not a bad option though for those who are looking for a reasonably priced mascara with a little bit of drama.
After watching Tati’s first impressions video on the L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock mascara, I went ahead and picked it up when it went on sale at my local Lawtons drugstore. The yet another addition to the Voluminous franchise, Miss Manga Rock is touted to give ‘mega texturized volume’ via a 360° spiked brush and textured formula, creating ‘explosive volume’ at the roots and pointed lash tips.
Despite the aforementioned tendency to wear little to no other eye makeup except mascara lately, I still get sucked in by a pretty shadow. I had been on the hunt for a striking gold eyeshadow with almost a greenish tint for month, when I finally stumbled upon Makeup Geek’s Liquid Gold pigment. The price was right (~$6) so I promptly ordered it because, why not?
Shortly thereafter, I went on a MAC craze, listing all the products I *needed* to buy from the core range. I planned to buy a few every couple months or so, and one of the first on my list was the subtle highlight eyeshadow in Ricepaper (frost), and a couple months later I followed my plan and picked up Cork satin eyeshadow, which I though would be perfect as both a transition shade or an all-over lid shade that would give me just a hint of smokiness (being so close to my skin color).
During my shopping trip to buy Cork, it so happened that the Extra Dimension eyeshadows were launched permanently, and though I don’t love a ton of shimmer in my shadows, I couldn’t help but buy one – iridescent A Natural Flirt reminded me a lot of my favourite shade in my KATE BR-2 palette, and so it was that I brought it home as well.
Finally, I had been eyeing a handful of products from Charlotte Tilbury (who isn’t these days???) and Beautylish offers free shipping on your first order from the site, so along with a Chikuhodo brush (review to come) I picked up a Colour Chameleon eye pencil in Smoky Emerald, a gorgeous dark sparkling khaki, after seeing it in action in a post on Into the Gloss re: makeup for brown-eyed girls. Of all the new shadows I’ve bought, this is the only one I’ve worn (for shame!), and it is LOVELY. Glides on SO creamy and smooth and then lasts all day. And this shade really is PERFECT for brown eyes!
I also made another shadow purchase, during the Sephora sale: a Giorgio Armani Eye Tint, in the shade 10 Senso (reg. $39CAD). I was so excited to try this formula, and having to order sight-unseen as we don’t have Armani here in Halifax, I took the safe route and ordered the bronzy shade which I was sure would work well for me. When it arrived however, I was dismayed to find that not only was it not all that bronze on me (it looks much more like a taupe-brown with a purple lean), but that it looks very similar to two other shadows I already owned – Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst and Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Rehab.
Having already purchased more eyeshadows than I should have, and being less than impressed with the shade (and formula – this was nothing to write home about, in my opinion, especially for $39!), I returned Senso. There’s just no room for subpar products or duplicates in my stash!
And so ends my eye makeup purchases – for the time being. I’m sure I’ll buy more mascara at some point, but not until I’ve finished two of these – I’ve tried all the ones on my lemmings list now so I’m good for a while. However, I am going to try my very hardest to resist buying any more eyeshadow until our trip to Los Angeles over the Christmas holiday (can’t wait!!!!), when I’ll have access to a ton of brands we can’t get here (MOAR Charlotte Tilbury!). As you may have seen on my Instagram, I’m struggling with reducing the current collection of shades I own as it is, so until I either can eliminate a few shades or use a few up (!!!!!), I absolutely NEED to put a lid on it for a while.
Now, to leave you with a couple sweet pictures of my wee one, who was such a good girl during my swatchfest :)
GAH. My kid is so stupidly cute.
Have you been hauling lately? How do you stop yourself from buying products that you don’t need/don’t use?
As some of you may know, I’ve been trying hard to keep my new purchases to a minimum, putting effort in to enjoying the products I already have before galavanting around buying up more stuff. The only problem with that concept is that in the summer, I tend to wear a bit of a ‘makeup uniform,’ which means the same products get used over and over again and the rest get forgotten. However, there IS something to be said for products that just plain work, and that work with your lifestyle. I thought I’d give you a peek into my recent beauty world at the handful of products I’m loving big time this summer!
All of the products above are new to me this summer, and have all wormed their way into my heart in a BIG way.
Earlier in the spring, I ran out of powder (those Ambient Lighting palettes were a cute idea, but HOLY MOLEY those powders got used up fast!), so I picked up Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($44CAD). I’d heard and read good things, so I finally took it off the wish list and brought it home with me. I’m quite pleased with it overall – though it doesn’t combat shine fully, it leaves me skin with a radiant matte finish and never looks heavy or cakey. It’s extremely finely milled, and feels like air going on. Probably one of the best setting powders I’ve used to date.
On my birthday, my aunt gave me her usual ‘beauty package’ of goodies she’d purchased from The Shopping Network. One of those items was the CoverFX MintGlaze FX Moisturizing Lip Treat-mint Primer with SPF15 (also known as the-lip-balm-with-the-longest-name-ever). Normally not a fan of mint anything, I actually like the gentle cooling sensation this imparts on the lips, and its nicely moisturizing. A thin layer is great to use just before applying lipstick, but even on it’s own it looks great, with a nice glossy shine.
It’s not cheap at about $22 a pop, but hey, I got it for free so I’m not complaining! I read on Paula Beguoin’s site that the peppermint oil is a no-no (re: irritation) but I don’t find it a problem.
Another gem of a find I’ve come across recently is Sephora Brand’s Waterproof Retractable Brow Pencil ($16CAD). I was finding the shadow I was using to fill in my brows was too dark, and the method of application not precise enough – I’ve been growing my brows for a while now, and they can get a little unruly if I’m not careful. I picked this up on a whim because it was relatively inexpensive, and turns out I sort of love it! It’s fine enough to allow for great control and accuracy, but it’s not too dark or hard of a formula, so it’s never harsh-looking. The shade I bought, 04 Midnight Brown, is the perfect ashy dark brown; additionally, sometimes I get breakouts in my brow line, but I haven’t had that problem once since using this, so I’ve definitely found a winner! It’s got a little comb on the other end of the pencil which is a neat inclusion, but which I haven’t used once (lol).
Finally, the last product that has been getting a lot of love from me is the Make Up For Ever Aqua Matic ME-50 shadow pencil I’ve previously shown you. This is still getting some major love from me, as it just goes with everything – dramatic eyes, bold lips, natural looks – you name it! I am considering picking up another one of these in the D-12 Diamond Golden Grey shade, which swatches just as it sounds – a sparkling gunmetal grey with golden shimmer (!!!!).
That sums up my basic makeup wardrobe for summer – stay tuned for my next instalment, when we look at my favourite COLOURS of the season!
What basic makeup staples do you find yourself using on the regular during the warmer months?
It is just me or do I seem to be plowing through a lot of products lately?? Either that or I’m just super delinquent at posting about empties in a timely fashion O_o
This instalment is kinda a big deal for me because I have a whole whack of makeup at the end of the post – hooray! Let’s get to it.
Hurraw! Green Tea Lip Balm – awesome stuff. Keeps lips in tip top condition and feels awesome to boot – not too slippery but not too thick either. For less than $5 a pop, I’m all in!
Consonant Ultra Firming Organic Eye Cream – I opened this a couple years ago, used it for a while, then acquired a couple new eye creams and promptly forgot about this. It’s quite thin so if you prefer that in an eye cream, you might like this. Personally it was too thin for my taste – but otherwise it was fine. Nothing to write home about though.
Pai Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream – Love this moisturizer! If I didn’t have a couple of oils on the go, I’d probably buy this again – it’s perfect for oilier skin or warmer weather when skin doesn’t need a heavy or greasy moisturizer. It absorbs quickly and feels light as air – and keeps sebum more balanced than just a regular moisturizer.
Oceopin Maritime Pine Seed Oil – I was underwhelmed by this. It felt kind of heavy and thick to me and didn’t make my skin super soft like most of the oils I’ve tried. When I was nearing the end of the bottle I discovered that if you apply a good facial mist beforehand and apply this directly afterward, it spreads it out more and it feels a lot nicer. However, I’m still glad I only bought a small bottle of this – I wouldn’t pick it up again.
Soapwalla Restorative Face Serum – I had a weird bias against this the whole time I used it, but it actually is quite nice – great for those of us who have sensitive skin, as it was soothing when my skin felt reactive. On the whole it was just OK otherwise; texture was of medium-thin viscosity and it kept my skin hydrated adequately without being greasy.
La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask – As per my review, I LOVE THIS MASK SO MUCH. It was so lovely and soothing to my skin, and it smelled so tasty like juicy berries and honey. I will be buying this again at some point without a doubt.
TOO MANY SAMPLES TO HANDLE!!!! The highs and lows: [highs] Eminence Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster-Serum (awesome and seemed to help with acne scars even in the week of use), Eminence Red Currant Protective Moisturizer SPF30 (nice, smooth texture that isn’t too heavy), Graydon Sun Cream (also nice texture and dries matte so perfect for summer) and The Serum (smells like blueberries and is packed with antioxidants); [lows] Juice Beauty samples (boring, boring, and the moisturizer was crazy sticky!), CV Skinlabs samples (totally did not soothe my skin nor wow me in any way). The rest? MEH.
Phyto Phytopolleine Scalp Treatment – soo hard to get out of the bottle! I got this through a swap and I used it really haphazardly, so I can’t say if it worked or not. It was too much of a hassle so I wouldn’t purchase in any case.
Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave-in Conditioner – this was OK. Nothing to write home about – it was very lightweight, so if you have very fine hair it might be ideal, but for my personal needs I’ve used other leave-ins that I loved a lot more.
Ojon Damage Reverse Restorative Smoothing Gloss – this was tinted brown, I guess to help boost the glossiness in brown/black hair, and every time I washed my hair it left a brown residue in my tub. It was just OK – I wouldn’t buy this.
Andalou Naturals Argan & Sweet Orange Conditioner (x2) – You may have guessed, I am LOVING this conditioner. It smells soo good, like vanilla and orange, and perfectly hydrates my hair without being heavy or leaving a residue. I’m on my 3rd bottle and I suspect I’ll just keep buying it until I stumble upon something else. The only downside is that I seem to go through it quite quickly!
Random blue bottle – I can’t remember what this was called or the brand, but it was for your bikini line after a wax (or wherever you got waxed) to avoid ingrown hairs and irritation. I have had this since my very first wax back in 2007…haha! Time to go.
Poshe Top Coat – this was nice at first but it went the way of Seche Vite and got pretty gloopy near the end.
Osha Mae Calendula Salve – I mentioned this in my best of 2013 post, and it really was a lovely salve. I think though that the same I had from Clementine Fields, from M.J. Herbals, worked better somehow!
Kalaya Restore Body Treatment – I got this at Christmas from my aunt who knows I like organic/green skincare. At first I was skeptical but this actually was a really nice moisturizer – not too thick (read: greasy) or thin (i.e.: not hydrating enough) and really made my skin smooth. It did contain fragrance though so for that reason I wouldn’t purchase it.
KAPOW! THE MAKEUPS:
MAC Dazzleglass in Luscious Spark – pretty sheer orange gloss with shimmer. The Dazzleglass etc formulas are known to be in smaller tubes than they appear, and this went quick. I also found it needed to be re-applied often so this was an easy one.
Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Discrete – I really liked this shade when I got it, but after a while I found it’s neutral tones flat due to the opaque formula. I was happy to see this go.
Buxom Lip Polish in April – when I was more of a gloss person, I loved the shine and sparkle of this pale pink lippie. But then it was just too ‘Bar Star’ for me and I wasn’t inclined to try and finish off that last little bit.
NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base – everyone loves this – and I’m no different! If they day comes where I need to purchase an eye primer (I have the MUFE now to use), I’d definitely buy this.
Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara – this came in handy for all the weddings I had last year, but then I stopped using it (I don’t really like using waterproof mascara on the regular). For those kind of occasions though, this is really good – gives nice, full lashes and stays put!
Pur Double Ego Mascara – I got this from my aunt and I used it maybe 3 times before I realized that it’s crazy-wet formula made an absolute mess every damn time. Toss!
YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara (sample) – I know mascara samples aren’t always a good predictor of a product’s true efficacy, but I did not like this! Flaky, tangly lashes, YIKES!
Random foundation/concealer samples – I honestly can’t remember what these were…I think they were two Tarte BB samples, and two MAC Pro Longwear samples. Lets just say I wouldn’t buy either.
Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Emerveille – I liked this a lot when I bought it, and its still a great shade, but mine got so dried out and hard to use that I just couldn’t be bothered. I don’t actually like the Illusion d’Ombre formula at all and gave the other one I bought (Abstraction) away. Wouldn’t buy any of ’em again!
NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Via Appia – lovely deep bronze shade I received in a swap. I had a seriously idiotic moment and SHARPENED THE PLASTIC, forgetting its a twist-up! So then I always had to have it twisted up extra far so I didn’t scratch my eye out. D’OH. When it neared the end I just decided to turf it and stop the horror.
Illamasqua Blusher in Lover – this dropped and broke, and while I normally would try and salvage it somehow, I found this shade so light on my skin tone that I just figured it was an opportunity to get rid of it. I really HATE when my makeup breaks!
Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer #2 (sample) – I found this quite sparkly for my taste. I’m glad I tried a sample (I got this when I was in NYC) because if I’d have bought a full size I would have been quite disappointed.
Burberry Lip Cover in Cameo Pink (sample) – I really did like this shade though it was a touch light for my skin tone. I enjoy the Lip Cover formula – it feels comfortable on the lips, though the inclusion of fragrance isn’t my ideal.
Vapour Organics Mesmerize Eye Color in Storm (sample) – I tried to use this one and realized that in it’s sample form it’s IMPOSSIBLE. So, rather than hang on to it for no reason, I’m tossing it.
And that, they say, is THAT.
How are your empties going? And totally unrelated – did you watch Mad Men last night? WTF was that ending all about?!?!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Holy smokes, the samples. Let’s do this by notables, and not-worth-it’s:
– 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.
– 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.
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?
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!).
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 :)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
Image credit: ilovehdwallpapers.com
Woohoo! My last empties post of the year. As these are always lengthy (because I am too damn chatty) (and even though I just did one last month…how do I use up products so quickly?), I’m going to get right to it.
Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Conditioner – I do like the Organix conditioners, and this worked quite well to hydrate and detangle, but I preferred the heaviness of the Macadamia Oil version to this. Smelled DELICIOUS in the summer though!
Earth Science Deep Conditioning Masque – 2nd tube of this, and I still feel the same as I did when I first tried it. It’s really good shit, dudes. For $13CAD, it’s one of the best deep conditioners I’ve ever used, and to top it off – all natural! If I were so fickle I’d buy another tube, and I still may…I’m just too curious to settle *just yet* ;)
Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil – I really liked this oil a lot, much better than the Ojon Restorative oil that preceded it. It just had a great consistency and smell, and it never irritated my scalp or caused any breakouts around my forehead, which can happen with products like this. Good stuff, and lasted AGES.
Haus of Gloi Komodo Pumpkin Butter – don’t mistake mangosteen for mango, my friends – NOT THE SAME. I found the scent of this quite intrusive and it has this slightly rotten fruit smell…so ya, just not diggin’ it. So, I used it as a foot cream! Problem solved.
Nutiva Coconut Oil – great stuff. I used this as my primary body moisturizer throughout last spring/summer and it was awesome – it really kept my skin in great condition, prevented eczema flare-ups and helped heal old scars that I sometimes get from past eczema patches, which tend to result in the absence of pigmentation. However, once the weather cooled it wasn’t quite enough, so I would either layer it with a moisturizer, or use it in my hair periodically as a deep treatment. I’ll definitely be picking up another tub of this – so many uses! However, keep in mind that coconut oil is highly comedogenic – except when it’s in the form below:
Fractionated Coconut Oil – fractionated oil is non-comedogenic, perhaps due to having had all it’s triglycerides removed. It has a super-long shelf life and increased stability, and it’s antioxidant potential is more jacked up than regular coconut oil. It’s also in a TON of things and usually listed as ‘caprylic/capric triglyceride.’ My roommate had left this behind when she moved so I used it up – it was a lot easier to use than the solid coconut oil (though a bit messier at times) but I found it slightly less moisturizing on my body.
Getting through my non-organic products! I’ve only got a few last products and a couple straggler samples to get through and I’ll be essentially fully ‘green’, woot!
eos Lip Sphere – this balm works really well and was exceptional under lipstick, offering just enough hydration without much slip, but honestly the size of it sometimes felt very cumbersome. It’s a cute novelty, but not the most practical – though I do maintain that they’re terribly easy to find in your purse!
Indeed Labs Hydraluron – I’m sure this does have a purpose, but I don’t think I have dry or dehydrated enough skin to see a difference. I don’t miss it.
Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector – this stuff does work well, for those of you not concerned about using non-organic products. I really do like serums because you can pile them on and they generally don’t have heavy moisture to the skin which can make you greasy as the day wears on.
RoC Soft Smoothing Scrub – too gentle for my liking, though this is a good choice for a morning cleanser just to wash the night’s oils off, or as a second cleanse. But as a ‘scrub’? No thanks. One more non-organic product down!
Avene Thermal Spring Water – I love misting my face before applying any serums or oils, as it just feels good to seal the moisture in…but paying for water in a can kinda irks me. I far prefer the facial mists with a little bit extra in them, like hydrosols etc. that add something more. Right now I’m using Kahina Giving Beauty’s Facial Mist and I quite like it (though its just so darn SMALL at 1.6oz for $46CAD…ouch!).
Samples! Lots of good organic stuff here. The Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Oil is excellent for keeping oily, pore-clogged, acne-prone skin in check. I don’t have the latter, but I do get clogged pores on my nose and cheek area, and I found the sample really refined my skin nicely. I actually just purchased the full-size last week! I tried the new Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Body Serum this past weekend, and while it worked nicely on my skin, the scent it NOT for me – far too spicy and heady for me. I’ll stick with my Lina Hanson Global Body Serum, thanks. The Soapwalla Deodorant sample lasted ages, and I enjoyed it so much I purchased it last week as well – it smells awesome and actually works a treat, even on wetness! It’s not entirely as effective as traditional antiperspirants, but for every day wear its perfect and I really like it a lot. I thought the Pai Chamomile & Rosehip Sensitive Skin Cream was gonna be my JAM for the dry patches I get sometimes from my eczema, but it sometimes made my skin itch a bit rather than soothe it, so I’ll have to keep looking for a nice nighttime hydrating cream. M.J.’s Calendula Cream on the other hand, was a freakin’ miracle product – this honestly cleared up my eczema overnight on my hands, which tends to be a persistent problem for me. I ended up buying a similar product from the local market, but I’m not sure it’s *quite* as effective, though I do like to support local. The Eminence Blueberry Soy Exfoliating Cleanser was a strange product. I used it as either a morning or second cleanse and I didn’t notice any exfoliating, and it left a slight film on my skin so I’d recommend using a washcloth to remove it. Not something I’d spend my money on, overall. The Rahua Shampoo was fine, but I didn’t enjoy the smell at all, and to spend $$ on a shampoo that I don’t love is just not gonna happen. One of our local high-end department stores here, Mills, will soon be stocking the organic brand Babor, and the SA’s gave me a few samples of this Calm & Relax Cream to try. It was pretty great, truth be told! I used it after doing an intense masque treatment, and it was soothing and hydrating without being heavy at all. I just may purchase a full-size when the line becomes fully available. Finally, another Eminence sample I snagged was this Red Currant Rapid Infusion Masque…suffice to say it was a total dud. I have no idea what it was supposed to do, but I wasn’t wowed. PASS.
Sephora She Sparkles Gloss – decent gloss formula, decent shade. Despite the fact that I didn’t love it, I actually used this up fairly quickly in the grand gloss scheme of things. Huh.
NARS Gold Digger Gloss sample – HATE the brush on these Larger Than Life glosses, uh. So. Tiny! I liked the shade well enough, but the formula isn’t my favourite – similar to MAC lipglasses, which means they wear fairly well, but I’m not a fan of the stickiness. It still looks quite full here but I wasn’t getting any more product, so out it goes.
Marc Jacobs Blacquer Mascara – this was such a weird product, like webbing for the eyes! I loved that it had this kind of patent-leather shine, but it applied horribly and made a total mess of my lashes every time. Yuk.
MUFE Eyeshadow #17 Espresso – I thought I’d use this a ton and then hardly did. Then I dropped it and it crumbled, and then honestly, I just was OVER IT. Plus, I now have a similar shade in my Laura Mercier palette, so I don’t NEED YOU ANYMORE. *I really hate broken makeup!*
NARS Pro Prime Pore-Refining Primer – this was just meh. I used it regularly for a couple weeks to use it up, and I wasn’t wowed – I still got shine after a few hours, and though my makeup wore a bit longer, it wasn’t anything to write home about. Plus, non-organic…I’m not totally converted to organic makeup (or at all, really) but primer is like skincare, so I don’t think I’d buy this even if it did work well.
Marie Veronique Organics Everyday Coverage – the darkest shade offered is still too light for me, so this was a no-go. Bummer, as I’ve ready a lot of great things about it! Can’t beat coverage plus SPF in one.
I’m now finished my empties for the year! I was going to do a tally in each category, but honestly that’s just too much damn work LOL. Suffice to say, I feel really good about how many non-organic products I’ve used up, and I’m pretty stoked that I used up a whole gloss (and a half!) – I’ve been trying really hard to use up any lip products that are at least half-gone, because they’re much more feasible to finish (as opposed to blush…let’s not go there). I’m going to make a real effort next year to cull my stash to only products I really love – I know I’ve said this before, and I continue to make progress, but I think next year will be THE year. I’m loosening my grip on keeping things because they ‘should’ work or because they were expensive and therefore I have to use them. I just want to pull out any shade of any product and be like ‘Yep, looks great’ with minimal effort. I learn more and more what looks good on me and what doesn’t. And also, it’s a lot easier to reduce the stash when you focus all your effort / money on skincare!! I certainly haven’t saved a dime not buying makeup, because organic skincare costs a pretty penny in many cases, but the whole ritual of applying oils etc. is really up my alley, so I don’t mind. And less makeup means less anxiety in that area – I never overbuy skincare so I never have to worry about having too much of that!
So, out with the old (thinking) and in with the new (skincare, not makeup). Now I need to put my 2014 resolutions to paper!
How did your empties go this year? Do you think your reducing or expanding?