Archive for category 2012 Beauty Challenge

Beauty Low-Buy Update: Final of 2012! (and maybe forever…?)

Umm…so it’s been a while since I’ve done a recap of my purchases/empties, and this will be the last one of the year.  When I say ‘maybe forever’ I just mean, no more ‘low-buy’ crap because obviously I’m not stellar at it, and I actually do a lot better when I don’t make official restrictions.  We all know this but yet I keep doing it.  D’OH.  Right now I’m on a self-imposed mega-slow-down in buying cosmetics but if I don’t write it down, it’s not real and therefore I don’t feel all cray-cray like I have to go freak out in Sephora and inject myself with liquid liner.  We’ll see how long it lasts.

For the LAST time, the general rules of this year were:

1) Makeup: Purchase no more than 10 items per season (excludes replacing staples of foundation, concealer, powder)
2) Nail Polish: Purchase no more than 5 polish per month
3) Skincare/Haircare: Use one, Buy one

Sept 20-Dec 19

Purchased (September 20 – December 19):

– Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire nail polish ($22CAD)

– Revlon Sterling nail polish ($2.99CAD)

– butter London Royal Navy nail polish ($14CAD – had a 20% off discount)

– Poshe Quick-Drying Top Coat ($9.75CAD)

– Organix Macadamia Oil Conditioner ($7.99CAD)

– Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps 18-in-1 Hemp Almond Pure-Castile Soap ($3.99CAD)

– Vaseline Intensive Rescue Clinical Therapy body lotion ($3.99CAD on sale) *already finished*

– Vaseline Total Moisture Dry Skin body lotion ($12NZ…here it’s about $6.49CAD) *already finished*

– Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($8NZ…here it’s about $4.99CAD)

– Glysomed Hand Cream Fragrance Free ($3.69CAD)

– Haus of Gloi Aether (6oz), Snow Wolf (2oz), and Plotter’s Breakfast (20z) Pumpkin Butters ($10 and $4/$4US, respectively)

– MaskerAide  Hydrating Facial Sheet Masques x 4 (all different types) ($6CAD each)

– Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil ($40CAD due to a $20 off coupon at Sephora)

– MAC Haute n’ Naughty Mascara in Black ($20CAD – purchased in the US at Duty Free)

– Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Color in Gilded Moonlight ($27CAD)

– Benefit High Flyin’ Glosses ($28CAD)

So yea…in the last 3 months, I bought a shit-ton of body moisturizers (shocker, with this skin, I know), and only 3 nail polish and 3 items of makeup.  Can you effing believe it!?!?  I actually didn’t even realize it was so little until just now doing this list.  As I had gotten a few products from PR companies, I didn’t realize that my own personal makeup purchases were so few.  I think I’m just about due for a little splurge, don’tcha think?  I actually have a handful of products that are nearing completion as well, which is likely due to the fact that I’ve actually been using what I already own rather than buying more-more-more.  Sweet as, my friends!!  I have a few pretties on my list I’d LOVE to spoil myself with 🙂

Used Up (September 20 – December 19):

Sept 20-Dec 19 (3)

– TRESemme Flawless Curls Curls Hydration Conditioner (good, but not great)

– Aussie Catch the Wave Mousse + Leave-in Conditioner (used this several times before, it’s decent for the price)

– Bumble & Bumble Creme de Coco Tropical-Riche Masque (may have worked but made my hair hard to comb through and definitely not silky, nor soft)

– Schwarzkopf Extra Care Hair Repair Deep Nutrition Conditioner (hydrating but a bit too fragrant for me)

Sept 20-Dec 19 (4)

– Philosophy Happy Birthday, Beautiful Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath [Sephora gift] (smells lovely! So I’ll never use it again! LOL)

– Desert Essence 100% Pure Jojoba Oil (great in summer for lightly hydrating skin)

– IT Cosmetics My Firm and Beautiful Breasts [YEP – that’s actually the product name!!!] (Did this work? Who knows?! But the name is hilarious *for the record, this was a gift…I would never buy something this insane)

– Vaseline Total Moisture Dry Skin body lotion (bought this in NZ – fairly effective, but quite fragrant so I used it on my feet)

– Vaseline Intensive Rescue Clinical Therapy body lotion (more hydrating than the usual Vaseline products but still not enough for my skin!)

– Curel Daily Moisture Fragrance-free Lotion for Dry Skin (just ok – kind of disappointing really!)

– Glysomed Hand Cream Fragrance Free (one of my fave cheapy hand creams that’s more like an ointment – great for dry, cold winter skin)

Sept 20-Dec 19 (2)

– Elysee Luminacai Radiance & Retexturizing Serum (only lasted a few weeks so no clue if it really did much – good or bad)

– Olay Foaming Face Wash Sensitive (great for sensitive skin that’s normal to dry, no funny business)

– Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray (keep getting this for free from Clinique – great to use pre-moisturizer)

– Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief (I think I’m finally over this now, though it is a nice – albeit innocuous – treat)

– Neutrogena Moisture Oil-Free Sensitive Skin (even though this is oil-free, it felt a bit sticky and didn’t make my skin soft at all)

Sept 20-Dec 19 (5)

– Clinique Turnaround Calming Cream (this was part of the Turnaround glycolic treatment that we had a few years ago.  The six vials were gone much quicker than this!)

– Ojon Damage Reverse Instant Restorative Hair Serum (have been using this every day since I got back from NZ to recreate the awesome hair I had there, and it’s done quite well!)

– SkinCeuticals Serum 10 AOX (too hard to tell the effectiveness when it only lasts a couple weeks – but it didn’t irritate at all)

– SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (same as above)

– L’Occitane 5 Essential Oils Volumizing Mask (made my hair gorgeously silky and smooth – but contains a fair amount of fragrance so I wouldn’t buy the full size)

– Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution Sensitive Skin (I like this stuff.  Am going to buy a full size in a couple weeks)

– Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate x 2 (made my skin feel soft but I prefer the Maracuja oil I just bought – absorbs better overall)

– Chanel Gentle Biphase Eye Makeup Remover (nice but not the most efficient eye makeup remover I’ve used)

– Sibu Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil (this is supposed to be great for eczema but all I found is that it made me smell funny and musty!)

Sept 20-Dec 19 (6)

– Clinique High Impact Mascara in Black [sample] (still a fan of this mascara)

– Ojon Restorative Mascara and Lash Treatment (such a horribly clumpy mascara :S)

– Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Perversion (lovely eyeliner but the packaging bugged me – the filter kept pulling out!)

– L’Oreal Intensely Moisturizing Lip Color in Extrovert (this was received as an extra in a swap and it must to super-old as it’s sticky and tough to apply and all around bad)

– bare Minerals Pretty Amazing Lip Color in Panache [sample] (this sample was stupid!  There’s still a fair bit left but the applicator doesn’t reach that far :S  Nice formula though)

– Prescriptives Deluxe Lip Pencil in Fig (same deal as the L’Oreal lippie above)

So, that’s a whole lotta shit to talk about and I really didn’t want to bore you to tears, hence the quick thoughts noted above.  If you want any more information on any of the products mentioned, let me know and I’ll gladly share further details!  I have a handful of products that are thisclose to being finished but I just wanted to get this year wrapped up and start fresh for the next – the amount of empties I had were overwhelming!  Whatever is near done is getting tossed on December 31st, The End.

Speaking of next year, in the next week or two I’ll be laying out my usual beauty resolutions and goals I have for the year.  While I’m still going to do empties (they’re so darn motivating!), I’m not going to have a regimented schedule and I’m just gonna kinda go with the flow as they accumulate.  I’m trying to be a little less ‘list-y’ this year…it can get outta hand sometimes 🙂

BUT – while we’re still in the current year, I just wanted to give you an idea of the breakdown of my beauty expenses that I tracked since January (LIST-Y, I TELL YOU!).  I’m not doing this again either but I wanted to see just how much I really spend on all this stuff.  Well, let me just show  you! (all values approximate…otherwise it would just get WAY too crazy up in here):

Total expenses: $2140

Makeup: $1035 (1 eyeliner, 8 eyeshadow, 2 mascara, 3 glosses, 5 lipsticks, 8 blush/bronzers, 1 illuminator, 1 foundation, 2 concealers, 0 powders)

Nail Polish: $285 (23 bottles)

Body Moisturizer: $180

Obviously this math doesn’t add up – I left out facial skincare products because I was more interested to know how much I spent on makeup (not as terrible as I thought!), body cream (way more than most people I bet), and nail polish (less than half the amount I spent the year before – woohoo!).  I know that it seems crazy I only bought two mascaras…but I tend to use any samples I have, and I got a few free so overall it’s not that weird.  Obviously I am a blush fiend…and clearly I need to use up this effing NARS loose powder already so I can buy a new one (which I haven’t since 2010…shoot me).  Anyway….I’m totally crazy I know but (I hope) that’s what you love about me O_o

So, it looks like I kept well within the guidelines to wrap up 2012:

1) Makeup: 3 makeup items purchased [3 non-staple items this season (Fall)]; 4 full-size and 2 sample size used/tossed
2) Nail Polish: 3 polish purchased (23 since the beginning of 2012)
3) Skincare/Haircare: Skincare – used 12 full-size and two fistfuls of samples, purchased 7 (some small sizes); Haircare used 4, purchased 1

I’m working on a total of how much (numbers wise) I used vs bought this year overall, but I’ll announce that in a post closer to the New Year when your eyes aren’t glazing over from all these words with no pictures…I’m sorry!

Lastly……..on an entirely unrelated note……..I just finished re-watching the ‘Return of the King’, since I’m just about finished the 3rd LotR book, and you know how at the end the hobbits, especially Frodo, kind of have this weird feeling because everything is back to normal and it’s almost like WTF?  Well…that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling since I returned from New Zealand.  Frodo says at the end of the movie: “How do you pick up the thread of an old life?”…It’s like I just can’t get settled back into the ‘routine’…and quite frankly, I don’t want to.  I will likely have a post on this whole issue coming up – it will be entirely unrelated to makeup, I’m sorry, but I need to share as it’s been on my mind every day, all the time, for the past month.  Ugh.

Why can’t I just be a nomad and travel all the time??? ~sigh~

Anybody finishing a low-buy or planning to start one next year??

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Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month Eight (And All’s Well!)

So here we are again.  For obvious reasons,  this month has been pretty lean in terms of shopping, especially on the beauty front, where I reallydon’t need anything, anyway.  And it was pretty easy to resist almost everything; when you have a goal in mind (to have the most awesome of times in New Zealand), and a life change (double the mortgage!), it’s really a no-brainer.  And actually, the purchases I did make were all before everything happened – the only thing I bought since then was a body lotion, which I needed (though…maybe not as pricey, but I was in a town with a Holts – IMPOSSIBLE to not buy ANYTHING).

As usualThe Guidelines:

1) Makeup: Purchase no more than 10 items per season (excludes replacing staples of foundation, concealer, powder)
2) Nail Polish: Purchase no more than 5 polish per month
3) Skincare/Haircare: Use one, Buy one

And here we have it!

Purchased (August 20-September 19):

– Kiehl’s Creme de Corps ($37.50CAD)

– Mill Creek Botanicals Biotin Shampoo ($9.89CAD)

– Kariderm Neutral Natural Soap with Shea Butter & Vitamin E ($5.29CAD)

– Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Lotion ($24.99CAD)

OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest ($10.50CAD)

–  Zoya Dea ($8.75CAD)

– Zoya Anchor Base Coat ($12.50CAD)

FYI: The L’Occitane shampoo I purchased back in July I returned, unopened.  I was just too nervous to use something so fragranced and really – I shampoo my hair like, twice a month, so why spend big bucks on something I hardly use!?  I haven’t yet tried the Mill Creek stuff because I just finished my last shampoo, but I have high hopes 🙂  I picked up the shampoo, bar soap and the Weleda lotion from – my first order from the company – and I had a $10 coupon code, so it was a good first experience!

Also, you may notice lately I’ve been buying a lot of base coats – I really find it makes a difference with my polish wear time if I’m using a compatible base.  I’m trying to pick up one from each brand I own essentially, and already my polishes have been lasting SO much better.  I might be crazy, but whatever works, right?

It might not seem like I pared down that much, but when you add up the actual dollar amount I spent this month ($109) as compared to the last ($198)…yea, you see what I’m sayin’?  ~pats self on back~

Used Up (August 20-September 19):

You see those empties?  Not too shabby eh??

Ah, my old friends.  No need to discuss Aveeno’s Eczema Care Cream, or the body wash, or the Neutrogena Hand Cream again – you’ve seen ’em all before.  Bye bye!

These were both just OK.  The L’Oreal Studio Silk & Gloss Curling Spray didn’t make my hair TOO crunchy, which was nice, but I don’t even know why I bought it because I hate spray gels.  Blah.  The Aveda Scalp Benefits Shampoo (which I bought last November if you can believe it! See how much I <don’t> shampoo my hair??!) was fine – I did like the way it seems to clean my hair without stripping it, and it made it soft – but I just don’t like the standard herbal smells of Aveda…I never learn.  Also, if you’re a fan of shampoos that lather a lot (I’m not, hence why I bought it),  you won’t like this.

On the right – Clinique’s Makeup Brush Cleanser.  Pretty good stuff, though nothing crazy.  It lasts a fair while and I like that if I’m really in a rush, I can spray, wipe and go.  I rarely do that though and typically spray, rinse, spray, rinse, dry.  Just to make it more difficult on myself.

On the left – I know you’re thinking “What the…!?!”  Well…does anyone remember when they carried the brand Pupa in Shoppers Drug Mart?  This was something they came up with, this ridiculous cow with a makeup palette inside.  It’s double-sided, too!

When I was traveling around Europe, this thing was GENIUS, with two blush, a bronzer, a powder, and a handful each of eyeshadows and lipglosses.  But guys – that was 6 years ago.  Since then, I’ve kept it in my office drawer ‘for emergencies’ and rarely used it.  When I moved my cubicle a couple weeks ago, I decided it was time to go.  Too bad, so sad, we had some good times!  ~Mooooooooo!~

And the pitiful makeup empties – they’re always so frickin’ tough to accumulate!  I finally finished that blasted tube of Jack Black’s Lip Treatment (two months later than planned), and my travel size of Hourglass’ Veil Mineral Primer.  I sort of fell out of love with it for a while, then got back into it when the weather cooled.  I found that it, on top of my Clinique City Block, didn’t mix well and I still got greasy throughout the day.  As a replacement for sunscreen (it has an SPF of 15) on rainy or overcast days, it’s pretty good.  Not sure I’d spend $70 on a full-size though (sorry Liz! *ducks*).

I also had a small sample of a L’Occitane Ultra Comforting Serum that seemed nice, but those kind of samples tell me NOTHING about the product as a whole, so no further comment there.  The mascara in the front is from Pur Minerals – and I used it once and just couldn’t.  Awful, awful stuff!  The brush was horrid and the formula was clumpy.  However, it could be old and I generally don’t make opinions on mascara based on sample sizes because it never seems true to form.  The mascara sample in the back is the famed Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara I’d featured in a couple FOTD’s, which sadly isn’t why my lashes are so curly (all-natural, sorry! *ducks again*).  But it was still nice and not even remotely clumpy and defined the lashes well.  Not sure I’d buy the full size though.

Lastly, we have a nail file.  I know that’s weird but I threw it in for fun, what the heck.  It is so worn down there is no filing to be had any more from this.  It was also in my desk at work, and it appears there’s food or some crap stuck to it – for that I apologize.  Another reason it has to go!

Phew!  Ok then – let’s Recap:

1) Makeup:  0 makeup items purchased [6 non-staples this season (Summer)], 1 palette and 3 samples used/tossed
2) Nail Polish:  2 polish purchased this month (20 total since the beginning of 2012)
3) Skincare: 3 skin/1 hair bought, 3 skin/2 hair used

Wha-wha-whaaaat!?  No makeup bought???  This is unheard of!  I didn’t even realize ’till I just did up those tally’s.  Wow!!  That actually makes me really happy – I’m trying so hard to use what I have an enjoy it rather than jumping on every next big thing.  I could handle a massive slow-down of makeup purchases for a while, no doubt!  And it’s likely to continue at least until I return from New Zealand, so hooray!!  And this ends the 10 per season for Summer…back to the drawing board for Fall!

Speaking of, I’m hoping to come back with less makeup than I bring while away – I’m packing the very dregs of a lot of little samples and ends of liners and stuff, so here’s hoping it’s gone over the course of 5 weeks.  Although, to be honest, I’m not even sure how much makeup I’ll be wearing down there!  In any case, I’m going to show you what I’m packing before I leave so you can be nosy and see for yourself 🙂

So, another month down!  Only four more to go before I can stop boring you with these posts, and I right!?  I’ll still continue with the continuous whittling down, but maybe not so regimented.  Though I always look forward to showing you guys – it’s like hoping for a gold star from the teacher 😛  It’s likely – no, a for sure – that my next post will NOT be on time, as I’ll be away, but I’ll do a special edition featuring the stuff I used up while away when I return.  I hope it’s a HUGE one!

Which do you like more: seeing the purchases or the discards?  What’s your average monthly beauty budget?

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Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month Seven (You’ll Never Believe What I Finished… x 2!!!)

Go, GO, GO!  Moving right along into month seven and again, all things seem fairly equal.  This is all old hat to me now!  The trickiest part is remembering what I purchased throughout the month – thank god I’m anal and have a spreadsheet that tracks all my purchases 😛

Le Guidelines (I’ll drill them into you yet!):

1) Makeup: Purchase no more than 10 items per season (excludes replacing staples of foundation, concealer, powder)
2) Nail Polish: Purchase no more than 5 polish per month
3) Skincare/Haircare: Use one, Buy one

It felt like I was shopping a lot last month – and indeed for the whole month of July I was a little less thrifty than I’d like – but it was mostly that I was buying bigger ticket items rather than larger quantity.  I’m hoping to pare down to next to nothing for the rest of August and all of September – only 45 days till New Zealand, yeehaw!!

Purchased (July 20-August 19):

– Aveeno Eczema Care Cream ($12CAD)

– TiGi Catwalk Curl Collection Curlesque Curls Rock Amplifier ($23CAD)

– L’Oreal EverCreme Nourishing Leave-In Spray ($12CAD)

– Parissa Strip Free Hot Wax and Microwaveable Warm Wax ($10.50CAD each)

– Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Silk Eye Shadow #24 ($33CAD)

–  Too Faced Sun Bunny Classic Bronzing Powder (swap)

–  a-England Camelot ($8CAD – promo)

– Laura Mercier Eye Color Duet in Suspense (approx. $25CAD)

–  MAC Raizin Blush (matte) (swap)

–  Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102 ($36CAD)

–  NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in More (approx. $28CAD)

I had to write out the whole TiGi product name because it’s absolutely insane – and how many times do you need to say CURL for people to get that it’s for CURLS?!  Jeez Louise.

I just realized I had the waxing kits turned to the French side – my bad!  I have a very traumatizing yet hilarious story about these kits, but I’m going to dedicate it’s own post to them so keep your eyes peeled.

Also, just word to the wise – I bought that GA Eyes to Kill shadow from Neiman Marcus (remember, one of my fave shopping sites?), and it came to $35.90CAD taxes and fees in.  As compared to $42CAD plus tax ($48.30) at Holts.  So I saved myself almost $13.  Canadians, do yourself a favor!  I also order the NARS gloss pencil and the LM eyeshadow from Neiman’s, because I’m impatient and they were in stores here yet 😛  Savings wasn’t as good though.

I did a fair bit of swapping this month – some items still to arrive – and I’m really pleased with the two items here I picked up.  MAC’s Raizin would look terrifying to many people as it’s so dark and brownish, but on me it looks really good.  FOTD coming up soon!

Used Up (July 20-August 19):

– Fresh Brown Sugar Body Lotion (100mL size)

– Life Brand Skin Relieving Moisturizing Lotion

– Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel (50mL)

– MAC Nico Lipglass (discontinued)

– OJON Rare Blend Oil Total Hair Therapy (sample)

– Clinique Comfort On Call (preview sample)

Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Mascara

Clinique High Lengths Mascara

– Lavanila Vanilla Grapefruit Rollerball

So, not too much going on here, I guess – OH WAIT IS THAT TWO BOTTLES OF PERFUME I SEE YES IT MOST CERTAINLY IS!!!!! 

…Ok, sorry.  But seriously dudes, how frickin’ cool is that!?  I can’t remember the last time I finished a fragrance – hence why I always buy the smallest sizes possible, because I get bored and then they take forever to finish!  I’ve had that J.Lo. bottle since I lived at home, which is AGES ago, and I never wear it, but this summer I kept spritzing like mad, determined to finish it once and for all.  I used to love sickly sweet scents like that, but now it’s a bit too much for me.  Unfortunately for my bf, every time I wore he was like “YUM!” and I had to keep reminding him that I was never buying it again.  LOL.

The rest really is kinda ho-hum though, couple ‘o mascaras, a small Clinique DDMG along with a preview sample jar of a product we no longer sell, my trusty pseudo-Aveeno body lotion…all kinda boring!  I finally made peace with myself over never being able to finish that horrid MAC gloss – gah, what an awful shade, that SA should be shot – and decided out it goes.  I also finished up the Fresh Brown Sugar cream I got in a gift set at Christmas; loved the scent, but didn’t trust it not to burn my skin off, so I used it very infrequently and in impervious places like my feet.  Lastly, I had a sample of the new OJON Rare Blend Oil, which I think is a bunch of hooey as the first ingredient is dimethicone, which pretty much ensures none of the good stuff is even touching your hair.  Meh.

And now, Le Recap:

1) Makeup:  4 makeup items purchased + 2 swap [6 non-staples this season (Summer)], 3 used/tossed
2) Nail Polish:  1 polish purchased this month (18 total since the beginning of 2012)
3) Skincare: 3 skin/2 hair bought, 4 skin used
*bonus: Two fragrances used!!

It’s funny – I look at the purchases I made and think “Geez, that’s not too crazy!”, but when I told my friends that I only buy a couple actual makeup items per month, they said “Uh…that still sounds like a lot” LOL!  THIS is why I blog, so I can feel normal!!  I know you guys totally get it 😛

Anyone else still doing some sort of a no/low-buy!?  I am *almost* tempted to do a no-buy for the rest of the time until New Zealand…it would be a great challenge, and I think I’ve gotten all the fall items I wanted from the collections (which is to say, not many…I was sort of underwhelmed by a lot of it!).  I’m not sure its wise though, given how I don’t work well with total restrictions – and I stop in L.A. on the way to and from NZ, so that could be disastrous lol.

Do you think that 3-4 makeup purchases a month is too much (or not enough)?  What have you finished lately that you’re proud of?

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Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month Six (and I’m Feeling Sort of Triumphant!)

Ok, so I’m halfway through these monthly updates, and they’re starting to be all business – and this post is no exception, I’ve got a LOT to cover!  I did a fair bit of buying, but I think I did an equal amount of using (that sounds SO wrong), which justified most of the purchases I made.  Anyway, I’m giving the whole thing away – go see for yourself, huh?

As usual, a recap on the guidelines:

1) Makeup: Purchase no more than 10 items per season (excludes replacing staples of foundation, concealer, powder)
2) Nail Polish: Purchase no more than 5 polish per month
3) Skincare/Haircare: Use one, Buy one

Fairly straightforward (at least to me…goodness knows that sometimes my challenges can be convoluted LOL) – so, here are my purchases for the past month!

Purchased (June 20-July 19):

– Benefit Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer ($26CAD)

– Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Lipstick in 06 ($5.79CAD – on sale)

– Rouge Bunny Rouge Original Skin Blush in Florita ($31CAD)

– Shiseido Pureness Balancing Softener Alcohol Free ($29CAD)

– DermaE Vitamin A Wrinkle Treatment Moisturizing Gel ($13.99CAD)

– Vichy Capital Soleil 30 Mexoryl XL Sun Protection Cream SPF30 ($16.99CAD – on sale)

– Aussie Catch the Wave Mousse + Leave-in Conditioner ($5.49CAD – on sale)

– Bumble and Bumble Creme de Coco Tropical-Riche Masque ($32.75CAD)

– Revlon Nail Enamel in Whimsical ($5.95CAD)

– China Glaze Nail Lacquer in For Audrey ($6.50CAD)

– Deborah Lippmann Daytripper nail polish ($16CAD*Sidenote: they lowered the prices of these at Mills to match the US!!  Yay!!!)

– Chanel Vernis in Inattendu ($26CAD)

I’m happy to say every single item I purchased (save for one) was well thought-out and part of my ongoing wishlist of products, which is my ultimate goal when buying now.  The Kate Moss Rimmel lipstick was an impulse, one that I’m unsure of (review to come), but it was so cheap I’m not going to beat myself up for it.  Anyway, moving on to the good stuff…

Remember my just-wont-die-discard pile from last month?  Well, let’s check out the empties and see just how many I conquered >_<  (Side note: It’s funny how my photography for these posts are SO lacking…but who really wants to shoot snazzy images of empty, crappy old containers of stuff?  I mean really)

Used Up (June 20-July 19):

Kate Somerville Quench Oil-Free Hydrating Serum

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector

Ole Henriksen Total Truth Eye Creme SPF15

– Avon Foot Works Paraffin Moisture Treatment Mask

L’Oreal EverSleek Sulfate-Free Smoothing System Humidity Defying Leave-in Creme

EarthScience Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Masque

– Revlon Quick Dry Top Coat

– Witchcraft Durable Base Coat

Seems I’ve written reviews on many of these products (what a good lil doobie I am :)), and the all still held true to the last drop.  I disliked the Ole eye cream so much I used it up by using it on my neck for a couple weeks LOL – ’cause lord knows how long eye creams take to be finished!  The Avon foot mask was fine – nothing like a paraffin treatment really, but did leave my toosies soft and hydrated.

I actually liked the Revlon top coat a lot, even though I’ve heard opinions to the contrary.  It stayed fairly thin and easy to apply right till the bitter end – by which I mean, when I couldn’t reach it any more with the brush (why do they make polishes that way, anyway??).  Same end came to the Witchcraft base coat, though I was ambivalent toward it; it didn’t perform badly, but it didn’t blow my mind either.  I got it free, so whatever!

– Bobbi Brown Corrector in Dark Peach

– NARS Multiple in South Beach

– MAC Lipglass in Evolution Revolution

– Clinique Brush-on Cream Liner in Black Honey

There’s not a whole lot to note about the makeup – the BB corrector looks frickin’ orange when you apply it, but it brightens the eye area nicely and I like that it’s creamy and keeps my eye area looking young.  But in terms of coverage, it’s not the greatest.  I know that the purpose is to then use the concealer too, but I wasn’t wowed by the two together when I tried it in store.  I’ve also purchased the concealer solo twice, again for the creaminess (and also for the shade selection), but for price vs the amount of product you get, I won’t be buying it again.

The South Beach multiple was a lovely, slightly peachy-toned highlight for my skin which looked great almost all the time.  But MAN have I mentioned I hate sample sizes?  So I was glad to see it go.  I’d like to say I’d repurchase, but the way this took FOREVER to finish, I’d hate to have the full size too!  Lose-lose.   Also lose-lose is MAC Lipglasses – I’ve been powering my way through this one and planning to start on the other two I have left, and once they’re gone: never again. Too sticky, and there are SO many better formulations out there.  I’m done with them!

Lastly, the Clinique liner was great when it wasn’t dried out, a deep brown shimmer, but I’ve had it for several years now and it fell by the wayside for a while, so it got crappy and it’s gotta go.  Sayonara, sucka!

– Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum deluxe sample

– Steam Cream moisturizer sample

– KO Denmark Jasmine Neroli Rose Body Wash sample

Meh to all of these.  I read a great review of the Tarte serum on Scrangie, but I never found it did much of anything for me.  The moisturizer and body wash sample were two of the three I received from Beauty Habit, and while it was nice to try different brands, neither wowed me.  Not much else to say about that!

So…am I the only one who’s pretty stoked about all those empties, including makeup items!?!  All month I’ve been tossing and chucking and eager as anything to to show you guys!  All but the Jack Black lippie (which initially I was in no hurry to finish, but after reading this on Temptalia, consider my mind changed :S) and the MAC Arena shadow, which was really only thrown in there because of PAN (sidenote: yes, I will capitalize that word every time I write it, because PAN is a very elusive thing for a beauty aficionado such as myself! – and speaking of PAN, last night I had a dream that I hit PAN on some product I own — seriously, a frickin’ DREAM, and it was SUCH a good one — which makes me sound even crazier than you probably already think me to be lol), was used up from the discard pile I was working my way through, plus some!!

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

1) Makeup:  3 makeup items purchased [2 non-staples this season (Summer)], 5 used/tossed
2) Nail Polish:  4 polish purchased this month (17 total since the beginning of 2012) 2 polish tossed
3) Skincare: 3 skin/2 hair bought, 4 skin/2 hair used 

I’m really quite pleased with the way this month turned out 🙂  The thing is about this whole process – the restricted buying and the selective shopping – is that I’m working toward being both able to fully enjoy beauty and all it has to offer, while reconciling it all with my personality as a whole.  I realized today the best way to describe it: I want to TRY everything, not OWN everything – does that make sense?  I compile lists upon lists of beauty items I want to experience, but I don’t want to be overwhelmed with piles of them in my bathroom and having to feel like I have to ‘use them up’.  I want to fully enjoy things rather than love it for a day or two before moving on to something else that’s grabbed my attention.  So the hope here is that eventually I’ll streamline my stash to be filled with only products I’m not eager to finish, ones that I don’t mind owning for years because every time I pull them out, no matter how (in)frequently, they still bring me sheer joy every time I use them.  I know I’ve sort of said all this before, but it really clarified itself for me today, and I wanted to explain myself more clearly for anyone who isn’t sure just what my freakin’ deal is 😛  I hope that you might be able to relate a bit more with my goal now!

To anyone who’s engaging in a version of a low-buy/no-buy, I sincerely wish you the best – I know from experience how hard it can be at times, and how it’s a challenge to want to be restrained and at the same time want everything!  Hopefully you’re making headway in your own endeavours 🙂

What’s your approach to beauty in terms of acquisition etc?  Does an ever-expanding collection give you stress at all?

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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 😛  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 😛  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 😛

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!!!!!!! 😛  (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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Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month Four (aka The Month That Rocked)

I’m just gonna get right to the point here: I kicked ASS this month in the low-buy.  Whooped some major butt.  And once I got on a roll, it just kept getting easier!  Dudes, I only bought TWO THINGS – and not even fun stuff.  Check it out:

Purchased (Apr. 20-May 19):

Life Brand Skin Relieving Moisturizing Lotion, Compliments Nail Polish Remover (Lemon Scented)

That’s right – that’s IT.  Knockoff brand lotion and polish remover.  Can you even believe it?!  With all the amazing Summer collections taunting and tempting me from every which way, and this is all I picked up?I’m sorry, I’m babbling.  I’m still in shock.Anyway, I shouldn’t get too carried away because it IS still my birthday month, after all, so I’m not totally faultless.  I put in an order at Holts for a nice little treat, which wasn’t rung through until this Friday – so I probably *could* count it if you’re going to get technical, but I think we can slide that one by since it’s only a day’s discrepancy and I’m not even going to receive it until later this week.  So.  I also ordered a few polishes on Nail Polish Canada(side note: They’re getting a-england!  How ridiculously amazing is that!? LOVE that site) which were processed and shipped out Friday – not gonna count that either.  Too close for me to actually give up my bragging rights, sorry!  It’s my birthday month, I’m allowed.Can you tell I’m abusing my birthday priveledges just a little too heartily?  LOLAnyway, I still think I did great.  Looking at my budget spreadsheet (stop laughing) I only have three little charges showing for the past month – wait, three?  Oh yea…I did a $10 swap for a NARS blush, oops.  Stillllll.  Pretty awesome methinks.

NARS Desire

Unfortunately, my little spree at Holts will run my monthly budget right back up to where it normally is, despite my frugality lol…Oh well!  You only turn 30 once 🙂

Sadly however, my empties are fairly modest this month too, to match my purchases. I have a handful of products that are *thisclose* to being finished, but I just couldn’t get there.  How annoying.  I find when I’m down to the dregs of a product, I’m just dying for it to be over and done.  Blah.  However, there are a couple makeup items that I just couldn’t justify hanging on to any more – I know I’m never going to wear them and I don’t think I can pawn them off on anyone either – so out they go.

Used Up (Apr. 20-May 19):

So what’ve we got here?  A defiled tube of Aveeno’s Moisturizing Body Lotion – gotta get every last drop!  I stopped buying the big pump containers because it’s harder to get it all out.  I also think I’ll stop buying the Aveeno version and go with the knockoff one I bought above – it’s a couple bucks cheaper and the ingredients are identical.

I can’t quite remember why I switched from TRESemme’s conditioner to Infusium23 Moisture Replenisher Conditioner – likely because TRESemme’s bottle was HUGE – but I know I grabbed it for the lower levels of ‘cones, and because fragrance is one of the last ingredients listed.  I quite liked this actually – it’s no frills but I kept my hair hydrated and smooth.

I kept Glysomed Hand Cream (fragrance free) by my bed and applied it every night.  Super basic but kept my hands moisturized without any worries of irritation.  Snoozeville, I know, but it works!

MAC’s Cleanse Off Oil, which I picked up in a swap like two years ago, and only used when I wore heavier makeup.  Works fairly well, and smells heavenly but I won’t repurchase for that exact reason.

I keep getting these sample bottles of Clinique’s Take The Day Off makeup remover in the GWP’s, and I keep using ’em up – it’s great for removing heavier eye makeup for if you’ve got major lipstick going on.  This size is actually perfect for me too because I use it infrequently – anything bigger would be too much.

Another defiled tube…I LOVE Clinique’s Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, and hoard samples of this like mad.  I like it even better than the newer version, which actually repairs your moisture barrier (whereas this is basically a fancy aloe gel and offers just a temporary fix).  And every customer I have that comes in for it feels the same way – we don’t *need* it exactly, but gosh darn does it ever feel great!  Its perfect especially for oilier skins that still crave hydration but hate the greasy feel.  I use this often as my base before any occasion, as it makes my skin super-soft and plump.

I’m disappointed that they no longer make Korres Yogurt Velvety Moisturizing Mask – this was great for oily skin to hydrate and smooth, and I used it once a week to great results.  It’s tough to find hydrating masks for oily skin.  I guess I could recreate my own yogurt mask to similar effects, but…I wanna pricey mask in a fancy jar! *pout*

My second bottle of Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum.  I do still like this but I read more infomation on it after it and realized I could be using something much more effective for about the same price.

Mario Badescu’s Glycolic Foaming Cleanser was fine, though I didn’t notice that my skin was extra smooth (exfoliated) after use.  I was considering buying a wash with glycolic acid to get my exfoliation that way, since I no longer use scrubs, but the system I have going now is working really well so I’m putting that on the backburner for now.  I wouldn’t buy the full-size of this wash anyway, it was filled with sulfates, which I avoid – especially on my skin.

I received Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair as a sample when I bought the Shimmering Sands gelee.  I’ve tried it before and my thoughts are still the same – it may work but I’m not seeing the fruits of it’s labour.  That’s no fault necessarily of the product, as I don’t have visible damage to see improvement upon, but I also don’t notice any benefits like softer, smoother skin – which I DO experience from Clinique’s Repairwear Laser Focus – so for me it’s a no-go at this stage.  It’s also got a sticky texture which is a bit of a turn-off (though if it worked miracles, that’d be my last concern). 

When I bought the Sephora + Pantone kit for my giveaway, everyone at Sephora was so excited since I was the first to buy it, that they threw in a little treat for me too – a Bare Minerals kit with the Flawless Definition mascara, along with a hydrating powder, and a lip color.  You recall my review on the mascara when I purchased it a few months ago?  Yea, thoughts haven’t changed.  It still has a funky smell – which I now realize is just the mascara itself, not that it’s gone bad – and it’s just plain dry!!  It’s soo tough to put on, blah.  It’s too bad, because the brush itself is great, and with the right formula I think this really could be quite volumizing, but alas that’s not the case.

This is Bring on the Bling by OPI, from the 2010 Burlesque collection.  Gorgeous shade, but 1) glitter is a PITA, as we all know, and 2) it got thicker than molasses after only a handful of wears.  I tried thinner and it didn’t do a darn thing.  This is completely unwearable, so I’m not sure why I’m hanging on to it.  Bye bye!

I’ve been hanging on to this lippie in the hope that I’ll make it work one day, but the fact is that Revlon’s Raspberry Mousse Colorstay lipstick is just not for me.  It’s just a too TOO blue-leaning hot pink, and also has a shimmer finish, so it’s bad all around.  If it were matte, maybe I could work this somehow, but its not and I’m just not keeping it any longer.  I’ll find a rockin’ pink to take it’s place that WILL get a lot of love.

OK.  So, let’s look at this month’s tally – 6 full-size skincare products, 5 samples, 1 makeup item and 1 polish. Meh.  Next month will be better 🙂  Though…next month I’ll also have a lot more purchases, so….

Now.  It’s been an absolutely beautiful weekend, and I am finding it impossible to stay indoors.  So I’m gonna end this here so I can get back out there!  I hope everyone’s having a great long weekend (in Canada)/had a great weekend, and I hope anyone else participating in a low/no-buy had a good month – can’t wait to read all about it!!

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Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month Three – And a Little Tweaking

Well, hello dolls!  Ready for your monthly installment of what I’ve been buying vs tossing?  I’m pretty chatty in this post, so sit down, get comfy, and let’s jump right in!

Used Up (Mar. 20-Apr. 19):

Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance Free Body Wash  and Moisturizing Body Lotion

As boring as these two products are, I’m fairly certain that I’ll be using this duo for the rest of my natural born life – the body wash is the only one that doesn’t irritate my skin and keeps it soft and smooth, and the Aveeno lotions and creams work miracles at keeping my eczema at bay.  Since I’ve finally committed to using these continously, I’d had a lot less (body) skin issues, so dull and boring it is!

Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF15

I’ve been using Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen for years, and I love it (even though it IS a chemical sunscreen, which I try to avoid as they can cause irritation in sensitive skin).  They changed the scent when they changed the bottle a year or two ago, which I was disappointed in at first, but now I’ve come to like the new scent as it’s less overwhelming and it doesn’t compete as much with any fragrances you wear (though its still beachy-smelling).  I can’t comment on if this causes any breakouts anywhere (it doesn’t say oil-free or non-comedogenic anywhere) – I didn’t experience any, but I didn’t use it on my face and my body doesn’t usually have that issue.  I used up the rest of this bottle when I was in Jamaica, and was bummed when I had to switch to the other sunscreen we had, Coppertone.  When that runs out, I’ll likely pick up another bottle of this!

BedHead TIGI Foxy Curls Contour Cream

This is my second bottle of this stuff…the last time I bought one was back in May 2011 – so this lasted almost a full year!!  Holy moley.  I love the smell of this – like Skittles – but sadly that’s why I won’t be repurchasing in my effort to go as fragrance-free as possible.  It works well though, and you only need a tiny bit (clearly!) to do the trick 🙂

Clinique Turnaround Concentrate Radiance Renewer

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this loads of times before.  Great exfoliating product that doesn’t irritate the skin whatsoever.  Makes my face feel nearly like a baby’s bottom!  This bottle seemed to go faster than normal – I only got about two months out of it and I was only using it at night.  I’m glad it’s done though, because I’m eager to start using my new Kate Somerville Quench Serum (more on that later)!

Alpha Hydrox Enhanced Cream 10% Glycolic AHA Anti-Wrinkle

I got this in a swap ages ago, as I read in the MUA reviews that it was awesome.  Interestingly enough, the glycolic acid in this didn’t mess my skin up – it definitely tingles to the point of almost burning upon application, but the sensation dissipates within a minute and there’s no residual irritation afterward or the next morning.  To be safe, I only used it every few days or so (and not in conjunction with the Clinique Concentrate, but it did make my skin feel lovely!

Ole Henriksen Truth Revealed Super Creme with SPF15

I reviewed this product previously, and my thoughts still hold – it was thick and hard to spread, and generally just didn’t feel very nice on my skin (though it felt lovely).  I used this on my neck until it was gone so as to not waste it.  I’m SO glad to toss this!

The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Lip Butter / Nova Scotia French Vanilla Lip Balm

I bought The Body Shop lip butter back when I had a boyfriend who really liked grapefruit (how silly!) – except the taste of this is like ASS (well…not really, but you know…).  GAH, it’s horrible!  Somehow I managed to make a big dent in this but I haven’t touched it in years so it’s really pointless to keep it.

The Nova Scotia balm, well, I got this at our Pride Parade several years ago and I guess they just slapped a Nova Scotia label on it.  It’s nothing special.  It had SPF in it which has since expired, and I have other lip balms, so it’s time this kicked the bucket.

CND Cuticle Eraser AHA Cuticle Treatment

I think I read on All Lacquered Up that this was Michelle’s cuticle treatment of choice, so I picked it up to try it out about a year ago.  I found that while it might have kept my cuticles smoother, it irritated my skin (but the AHA cream above didn’t – go figure), so I used it very sporadically.  It caused little bumps on the skin just under my nails – whether that was an eczema reaction or not, I’m unsure, so I can’t say if this would happen to anyone else.  I love my Burts Bees butter so I think I’ll just stick to that 🙂

Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Anti-Chip Top Coat

I plan on doing a round-up of a few base and top coats in the future, so I won’t get into too much detail about this – just suffice to say, it was like Seche Vite in the fact that once it got half finished, it got majorly goopy and hard to use.  I can’t deal with screwing up my manicures, so out this goes!

Here are just some samples I finished up – nothing too stand-out.  Bioderma’s Sebium AKN, which is supposed to ‘restore the skin’s natural clear aspect’ – I used this as a spot treatment, but didn’t find it did much in that capacity.  It might be much more effective if used as an all-over face lotion.  Clinique’s 7-Day Scrub, which is too creamy for my oily skin and leaves a slight filmy feeling, which would be nice for dry skin but just feels unclean on mine.  However, it DOES exfoliate well, and gently!  I used Korres Yogurt Cooling Gel down South, and it was OK, but it was such a small sample that I can’t really give a fair evaluation.  I mainly used Clinique’s After Sun, which was admittedly AWESOME, so that doesn’t help.  Lastly, I used the sample of Ojon’s Instant Restorative Hair Serum while in Jamaica as well, and it left my hair feeling lovely and hydrated after penetrating in the sun all day.  It wasn’t too heavy or greasy-feeling either, or too strong-smelling as some Ojon products have been in the past. I’d consider buying this for the Summer to protect my hair from the sun and add a bit of shine.

…..Wow, right?  This is just pitiful.  Two products!?  Oh man.  I sincerely apologize for my miserable turnout this month!  What’s worse, I didn’t realize I did so crappy until RIGHT NOW.  I almost scammed you guys by accident and included three ‘tossed’ beauty products that I had already accounted for last month.  I guess I felt bad about throwing them out when there was so much product left, and kept them in the empties bag.  Oops!  Double-oops too because I thought I wasn’t doing THAT bad getting rid of makeup…shoot.  Oh well – maybe next month 😀

ANYWAY, what’ve we got?  NYC’s Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder in All-Over Bronze Glow, which I mentioned last week, for one.  I tried to make it work in Jamaica and it just didn’t do much.  I’m done trying to make it work; no matter if I’m tanned or not, it just doesn’t seem to do it for me.  Second, we have Stila’s Smudge Pot in Black, a surprize toss.  I happened to open it up to use it last week and realized that it was pretty dried out and had pulled majorly from the sides (like a few millimeters!).  Er, yea, time to go!

So that’s what we have for this month downsizing efforts – 11 full-size skincare products, 4 samples, and 2 makeup items.  Not too shabby, though I’m a little let down with the meager makeup empties.  Hopefully that’ll mean next month will be quite respectable!

Moving on to the scary portion of the post, lets take a look at what I purchased in the past month.  In fact, aside from two items, everything I picked up I bought in the span of a week.  Ah snap.

Purchased (Mar. 20-Apr. 19):

Yea.  All of these items I bought in one week.  Oh dear.  Oh, well the three items in the front right were part of a deluxe sample set I got for free from Sephora.  But the rest…no excuse.  Here’s the list:

– Hugo Naturals Shower Gel in Vanilla & Sweet Orange $9.99
– (ANOTHER) Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance Free Body Wash $8.99
– TRESemme Flawless Curls Curl Hydration Conditioner $3.99 (on sale)
– Kate Somerville Quench Oil-Free Hydrating Serum approx. $66 (15% off reg. price  – $78)
YSL Glossy Stain in #12 Corail Aquatique approx. $29 (15% off reg. price, $34)
– MUFE #17 Eyeshadow (matte brown) approx. $19 (15% of reg. price – $22)
– MAC Crosswires Lipstick $17.50

I know that I just preached a bunch about going fragrance-free, and that the Aveeno Body Wash is my HG…but it doesn’t mean I LIKE it, so I picked up the Hugo body wash in the ‘green’ aisle at the grocery store, as the fragrance is all-natural – so I’m hoping I’ll find a loophole in my own rule 🙂

To add to the above, I also picked up:

– a-England Nail Polish in Princess Sabra (Tristam Eyes) approx. $10 (30% off reg. price, approx. $14)
– Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait $7.99 (on sale)

And to round it all out, I also bought two blushes from Illamasqua, Lover & Hussy (approx. $13 each [half off reg. price – approx. $26]). *I have yet to receive these in the mail


So yea…I had a busy month.  As you can see, I got some pretty excellent deals on almost all of my purchases, which is partially why I went a little crazy.  Sephora definitely reeled me in with the 15% off, and when I received the email about the Easter Egg Hunt sale from Illamasqua, I had to check it out (the day we were leaving for Jamaica, I got the one about certain blushes being half off, so I thought I’d take a look – I totally expected it to be unpopular shades, but each of the 5 shades were some of their top sellers!  How could I NOT buy Lover and Hussy!?  It would have cost me $65CAD to buy them full price (incl. shipping) and instead it came to $40 (with shipping).  Sa-weet!!).  So yea.  A bad month according to my guidelines, but kind of a great month too!  And it gives me LOTS of material for upcoming posts 😀

However.  In light of my spectacular failure to adhere to ANY restrictions regarding my purchasing, I have decided to restructure my guidelines.  It just doesn’t make sense to me to pretend to follow a low-buy when in fact I seem to be on a ‘grab all you can’ buy.  I still need some structure, but I need to tweak it a bit.  So here’s the new rule for makeup (all other guidelines remain unchanged):

– 10 makeup purchases per season (previous: max of 3 LE purchases per season; non-LE items on a use two, buy one system)

Now, before you go and think that I’m being entirely too easy on myself (if I wasn’t already before!), let me explain why I’m making these changes.  First of all, to be clear: while part of this low-buy is to weed through my stash, over the past couple months I realized that it’s not necessarily to scale it back, but to eliminate items that just don’t really ‘do’ it for me.  I’ve come to grips with the fact that in being a beauty blogger, and being as obsessed as I am with beauty, the plain truth is that my makeup collection is going to continue to grow – there’s just no way I’m going to be able to use everything (c’mon, blushes last for YEARS) and I’m certainly not going to stop shopping until I do.  What I really want to do is make sure that everything I own I love, and I’m really making headway in that area, so I think that’s an achievement!

I have to be honest with you as well, that the other part of the low-buy is definitely related to cash flow.  While I’m managing my addiction fairly well, I do think that maintaining some sort of guideline is a smart thing to do, so that I don’t get too crazy or wrapped up in wanting everything – I find since blogging I want to be able to review every product that comes on the market, but I just can’t afford to!  This way I can make sure that I have ‘controls’ in place so I know when I’m nearing a reasonable limit.  AND it helps to ensure that whatever I’m purchasing, I absolutely love – which relates back to the first point!  It’s a win-win in my books 🙂  (ALSO…with Jamaica behind me, I have to get my butt in gear to save more $$ for New Zealand – definitely a huge priority!)

Fiordland, New Zealand *Photo courtesy of

You may think that it’s almost pointless to have any guidelines at all, since many others who are on a no- or low-buy are quite restricted in their purchasing.  However, I do find it difficult not to just buy every single thing I’d like, so I think the above restructure of the guidelines allows me to have some fun while still keeping me in check.  When I initially created the ‘Limited Edition’ rule, I had actually done so to make sure that I indulged in some of the great LE items, as I often missed out on them in the past.  Well, I think I’m definitely over that behavior (LOL!), and a purchase is a purchase, so I just lumped all makeup spending together and made it a number that seemed reasonable.  Again, if I get the urge to shop just for shopping’s sake, and buy something I don’t really love, that still counts as one – so I’ll be more likely to avoid doing that if I know my purchasing power has a limit.

Oh the silly things we do!  I’m sure some of you find these kinds of rambles terribly boring, and I don’t fault you for it 🙂  I just know that if I don’t have anyone to hold me accountable, I could go all sorts of crazy and buy everything I laid my hands on (I feel that urge more often than not!).  And since I know some of you are going through similar bans of your own, I hope that on some level you can relate.

I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m bailing on my original terms or that I’m making things too easy on myself.  This plan IS easier in the fact that I don’t have to bust my balls trying to find products I can use up or toss, which just started to feel ridiculous to me, but it is more in line with my true feelings about makeup.  While I still get overwhelmed at how much I have and the impossible notion of how to use it all, I am actually developing a collection of products that I simply adore, and I can only get rid of so much before I am just basically throwing away money for no good reason.  The low-buy has really opened my eyes and I feel SO much more at peace with my stash and all the connotations that come with it!  That in itself to me is the best achievement I could ask for 🙂

I will continue to do monthly updates on my progress, as I still plan on challenging myself on holding back from making any ‘unnecessary’ purchases, and also because it’s a great way to give you an overall picture of my beauty world – what I’m using (up) and what new items I’ve been enjoying.  I can’t wait to read about everyone else’s progress as we continue to push forward – I support each of you in your own reasons for your no/low-buy, and hope it’s going well.  For you and anyone else engaging in a beauty challenge, I wish you good luck and hope you stay strong!!


(So sorry if you stuck with me through the whole thing!  I try not to do too many of these lengthy posts :S)

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Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month Two

Well…I’m pretty much sucking at this whole low-buy thing.  You’d think, a gal who could give up buying cosmetics altogether during Lent last year could do a silly low-buy that consequently enables her to ALSO buy up to 5 nail polish a month and 3 LE items per season?  Er, no.  Seems I can’t.  I am simply struggling to finish enough products in order to justify the amount I’ve purchased!!  I tell you, it’s becoming impossible.  There are just too many awesome products out there, it’s *sooo* not my fault!~Boo Hoo~ Enough with the whining I guess…you want to see the damage, I take it?  Check out what I bought/swapped for in the last month (reviews for products will be eventually forthcoming):

1) Olay Foaming Face Wash Sensitive Skin (bought)

2) Neutrogena Moisture Oil Free Sensitive Skin (bought)

3) Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eyeshadow in Corinthian (bought)

4) Milani Liquif’Eye Metallic Eye Liner Pencil in Aqua (bought)

5) Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation in Warm Beige (bought)

6) Laura Mercier Full-Blown Volume Mascara (bought)

6) MAC Refined Golden bronzer (swapped for*)

7) MAC Pigment in Melon (swapped for*)

8) Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick in Nectar (swapped for*)

9) Estee Lauder Illuminating Powder Gelee in Shimmering Sands (LE) (bought)

10) Zoya Cho (bought)

11) Nfu-Oh #51 (bought)

12) Nfu-Oh Aqua Base (bought)

*For the swapped items, I exchanged for my MAC Soft Ochre Paint Pot, MAC Electra and Strike a Pose eyeshadows, Urban Decay Zero 24/7 eyeliner, the Fyrinnae Shinkirou eyeshadow, and a Marc Jacobs perfume and a handful of perfume samples.  So that totals to 5 makeup items.

OK.  So I am at a surplus with my polish allowance – all good.  I’m already down one for my Summer LE quota (which I can already forsee is going to be a HUGE problem with all the amazing items coming out!!!).  Otherwise I picked up 2 skincare products and 7 makeup items.  Hmmm…let’s see how I did in the *purge* category.Last month I was kickin’ butt at using up my makeup, but this month hasn’t been so successful.  I did get rid of a couple of straggler products overall, but still…I’m disappointed.  Take a look:

Skintimate Signature Scents Moisturizing Shave Gel

Suddenly, this was finished this weekend – I had no idea I was on my last pump, but I am SO happy about it!  Shave gel = useless product.

Live Clean Moisturizing Body Wash

I used this to soak my feet in after realizing I wasn’t a fan of the generic soap-scent.  Worked well in that area, at least!  It foamed up really nicely.

Redken Real Control Crema Care (50mL)

This is a great styling lotion if you’re looking for a travel product – it holds and softens hair at the same time, but it’s a bit sticky feeling.  I wouldn’t buy the full size version.

butter London Nail Foundation ($20CAD)

I enjoyed this for the first couple months, loving how *flawless* it made my bare nails look, and how it helped eliminate VNL, but it didn’t adhere my polish any better than any other base coat, and it got thick fast.  I added thinner to no avail.  For that price tag – bye bye!

Clinique Clarifying Lotion #3 (200mL) ($15CAD)

I know a lot of people have issues with the Clarifying Lotion.  I don’t dislike it, but I’m not necessarily a fan, and if you have sensitive skin it can be a pretty harsh exfoliant.  I’d recommend the mild version for most skins, which I may try some day.  For now, I’m glad this is gone.  I got it for free, so you know I *had* to use it.

Ole Henriksen Truth To Go Wipes ($10CAD)

I have yet to have luck with any wipes which don’t seem to harm my skin in some way.  The first time I used these, I loved how soft they made my face feel (and still with that lovely orange-y scent, yum!).  But then the next day my face seemed to be extra-reactive, and I think these may have been the culprit.  There were only 10 wipes, so I just used them on the nights when I was just TOO lazy to wash my face.  All done now 🙂

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser (50mL) ($17.50CAD)

Travel size of this cleanser.  I bought it to check it out, and when I realized it wasn’t much of anything, I used it to travel with.  However, I’ve been slowly running out of cleansers and I am trying to use them all up before buying more, so I started using this in the shower daily.  It’s pretty fragrant so I worry about the effect it has on my skin – seems OK but I’m always suspicious.  I wouldn’t buy this again.

Josie Maran Argan Oil (15mL) ($18CAD)

I sadly can’t get behind the hype of this product; it didn’t do anything amazing for my skin, and I was SO prepared for it to!  I might be great in the warmer months for a nighttime product, but during the Winter days and nights, it was both greasy and yet not quite moisturizing enough some how.  Fail.

NARS Sheer Glow in Syracuse ($55CAD)

I finished a foundation!!  I can’t remember the last time I did that 🙂  I’ve spoken of this one before – I really liked it; the color match was superb, the coverage just right (sheer to medium) and it didn’t irritate my skin in the least.  I could use this on the sensitive skin around my mouth and it never caused any problems, and actually hydrated it a bit.  I can’t use this in the Summer because it’s a bit too much for my oily skin, but in the cold Winter month it was just what the doctor ordered.  I’d even potentially buy this again next year!

Clinique All About Eyes Concealer in Medium Honey ($20CAD)

– This used to seem like the perfect shade for me…but lately I found it to be a bit grey, for whatever reason.  So it was a good thing that it was nearing it’s end.  It’s pretty old too, probably 4 years+, and the sides are cracking so that I’d get concealer on my fingers when I squeezed too hard.  How annoying.  Time to go!

Maybelline One by One Volum’ Express Mascara in Blackest Black

– I know some people really enjoy this mascara, and the first time I used it I LOVED how long it made my lashes look – but it quickly got dry and super-clumpy, and I never felt like I had enough product on the brush since it comes in the package with the brush separate from the mascara tube to begin with.  I dunno.  It got old quick, literally 😛

Buxom Mascara in Blackest Black (sample)

– I received this back during the Sephora opening, and only started using it about two months ago.  Could be because it was older, but it just never gave enough *oomph* for me.  It was absolutely AMAZING for getting every lash and for not clumping, ever, but it almost somehow faded throughout the day and my lashes seemed to get more and more puny as the hours wore on.  I’m not into the au naturale look with lashes so this is not for me.  And NOT Buxom by any means!

Clinique Surge of Color Lipstick Palette

– I got this in a gratis or through a school or something…and it’s SO not for me!  Not only am I not a huge lipstick wearer, I don’t wear ANY of these shades, and I get irritated having to use a lip brush every time I want to apply it.  No thanks man!  I had this in a drawer at work just collecting dust – it’s time it kicked the bucket.

Annabelle Lipliner in Spice and Smashbox Sheer Lip Pencil in Smashing Content

– I think I picked up the Annabelle liner looking for a recreation of MAC’s Spice liner, which I heard a lot about.  Whether or not they’re dupes, I dunno…I barely used this because a) I just don’t use liner, and b) it was a muddy color on my lips.  Boo.  I’ve had this for like, 10 years – why am I keeping this kind of crap!  BEGONE.

The Smashbox lip pencil, well…it’s sheer, and its a lip pencil.  Not. For. Me.  TOSS.

MAC Gleam Lipstick ($17.50CAD)

– I went through this kick a few years back where I wanted that pale nude-lavender lip look (see my post with Keri Hilson’s look) and this was the shade I picked up thinking it could help create it.  Uh, no.  This is like a pale silvery-beige-purple sheer lippie that makes me look dead.  I tried mixing it with other shades to make it work, and I could, but good gosh – I don’t want to have to work so darn hard!  It’s going, I can’t deal with it any longer.  And it looks ugly in the tube.  I hate when my makeup gets ugly-looking. GET OUT OF MY LIFE.

MAC Venetian Lustreglass ($17.50CAD)

– A couple years ago I had my makeup done at MAC for a Christmas party, and this was part of the look.  It looks fantastic then, and then…never again.  It’s too much of a blue-based red, and because it’s more on the sheer side, it looked weak as well.  I am the most proud of this getting tossed – I mixed this with every friggin’ lippie I could to get rid of it, and hallelujah – success!!  I could probably get a couple more uses out of it, but NO.  NO, I REFUSE.  I AM DONE WITH YOU.

So….yea.  Getting a bit angry there, sorry!  It’s just that those items that were long overdue to get the boot and it was driving me insane that they were hanging around forever.  I hardly have any of those kinds of items left now though, sa-weet!  …Except that means that I have very few products that are going to get used up any time soon, which means…very little allowable purchases for awhile (supposedly – hopefully I get some willpower this coming month).  DANG.

Anyway, lets do the tally:

Limited Edition (Summer) – 1 of 3

Acquired – 9 (2 skincare, 7 makeup)

Got Rid Of – 22 (7 skincare, 1 hair, 14 makeup)

Skin- and haircare don’t even really warrant discussing – I think I’m always going to have more going out than coming in (although…how is that even possible?  Hmm…eventually it’ll be one to one I guess) – but on the makeup side, I managed to achieve my use 2, buy 1 guideline by the skin of my teeth.  I’m going to be up-front – I pretty much ransacked my stash to see if there were any items I didn’t want or even like and got rid of them just so I could ring in on the level.  I know I need to strap down and really take this more seriously; the whole point of engaging in this challenge was to use and appreciate what I have…and lately I feel like I’m just chasing after the next thing and the next, and barely even registering what I’ve gotten.  Which is a terrible habit to get into, and more than anything else I want to stop that cycle.

Next month, I PROMISE to do better!  And hold me to it – there’s no point in engaging in another 9 months of this if I’m just going to continue on the same way I always have.  My arse needs a good kick sometimes!

How do you keep your purchases in check?  What are your suggestions on how to truly slow down and appreciate what you already have, and resist the siren call of new products?

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Update Time! Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month One

Well, we’ve successfully finished month one of the low/no-buys to which myself and several other fantabulous beauty bloggers have chained dedicated ourselves!  I have to admit, when it started, I thought it would be a piece of cake – my guidelines felt tough but reasonable, and left me a fair bit of leeway so that I wouldn’t go out of my mind from the challenge.  However, once I was well into week two, I found myself becoming maniacal with respect to listing all the products I was *going* to buy as well as figuring out what products I could get rid of so I could make said purchases.  I spent hours daily planning what I would do in order to be able to buy a new lippie or blush, in a way that would allow me to stick to the plan but get my ~fix~  Crazy, right?  Thankfully, the feeling passed near the end of week three, and now as I move into the second month, I feel stabilized and am spending more time enjoying what I have rather than obsessively plotting my next purchase.  Just like any craving, it passes if you don’t give into it I guess!

I’m going to combine my usual ‘downsizing’ post with my new ‘monthly purchases’ posts, since one directly affects the other.  No shady business here!  I promise to be truthful about what I pick up each month – if I slip, I’ll let you know about that too.  Keeps me on the straight and narrow 🙂

So, here are the products that I managed to finish/part with since my low-buy began:

Clinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer
Good hydrator for dry to combination-oily skin, but honestly I wasn’t wowed by this.  I find the Turnaround Concentrate, a serum, far out-performs this moisturizer, and I would recommend going for that plus your favorite basic moisturizer, rather than using this alone.  Just didn’t exfoliate as well as I wanted it to!

Clinique Superdefense Age Defense Moisturizer SPF25 (Combination Oily to Oily)
I really loved this moisturizer with SPF, until I started learning about how any beneficial ingredients in products get lost when exposed to open air.  Jars have got to be the worst packaging anyway, majorly unhygenic!  So, while the idea of this product is AWESOME (helps to repair the moisture barrier so skin stays hydrated; helps treat and prevent fine lines and wrinkles via antioxidants and sun protection), I suspect a lot of the good-for-you ingredients are gone within days.  Boo.  But, if you’re looking for a nice moisturizer with sunscreen, this is a pretty good choice!  It keeps skin feeling supple – though unless your very oily/do not need extra hydration, I’d probably opt for the dry to combination version as I found I could have used it this Winter.Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Facial Cleanser (travel size)
I liked this cleanser – it smelled lovely and rinsed away nicely without stripping the skin – but I always wondered if it was causing a bit of sensitivity in my skin.  I think the fragrance, while enjoyable, made me nervous.  It certainly didn’t soothe my skin at all.  For ladies with less sensitive skin, I think you’ll enjoy this – though it requires a second wash (or a makeup remover) to get rid of all traces of heavier makeup.  I’m not a fan of self-foaming cleansers as I find they run out more quickly, so that’s something to consider as the full size of this product is $38CAD.

B.Kamins Bio-Maple Suncar Sunscreen SPF30 (sample)
I used this while I was camping last year in Gros Morne, and didn’t experience any problems, it absorbed easily and a little went a long way – as I still had some left after 10 days!  I used it up the past few days just to get rid of it.  Nothing special, just seems like a basic physical SPF (it’s tinted pink and opaque and reminds me of Pepto Bismol…hmm), and shielded my skin from the sun.  Would be a good product for ladies with oily skin as it imparts no hydration or greasiness whatsover. Complex 15 Face Lotion/Complex 15 Body Lotion
Super basic face and body lotions that would be ideal for someone with sensitive, oily skin, or for really hot, humid days.  They both contain humectants such as glycerin to bind water to the skin, without being greasy AT ALL, but for me I need to also have products which act as a barrier so that I can retain that moisture.  Neither of these were enough for my eczema-prone skin, but I could see them working in a pinch for those who don’t have those issues.L’Oreal Nutri-Shimmer Shine Detangling Spray
I liked this leave-in spray – it detangled my hair and left it very soft without being weighed down – but I noticed that my scalp itched a whole lot less once I ran out of it.  Odd, because perfume was the last ingredient listed, but I have read studies that say that linalool (which is sort of in the middle of the ingredient list) can cause allergic reactions and inflame eczema, so I’m thinking that’s the culprit.  Soo…I won’t be buying this again.  But it was a good, light-weight leave-in all the same – and did make my hair quite shiny!Chanel Eclat Lumiere Highlighter Face Pen in 04 Beige Moyen
So. Glad. This. Is. Gone.  Remember how I said last week that I don’t believe in undereye illluminators?  Yeah.  I paid upwards of $40CAD to learn that lesson!  I tried to use this every which way – under concealer, over concealer, without concealer…the only real use I found for it was a subtle brightening of the inner eye area.  Other than that, it was a total bust and just didn’t do it for me at all.  If you have hardly any undereye darkness, by all means, give this a shot – I’m sure it’ll brighten the area just enough and its sheer enough that it looks quite natural.  But if dark circles are an issue for you, don’t waste your money.  Also – shade range is kinda crappy, this is the darkest they had and it’s still a touch light for my skin, and would be entirely useless once I’m getting sunshine on the regular.MUFE Smoky Lash mascara
I honestly don’t know how I feel about this mascara.  There were times when I really liked it, and then times when I REALLY didn’t.  I think the issue was that it was kind of dry to begin with, which makes avoiding clumps and flakes much more difficult.  I think the brush itself was pretty decent, so really it was the formula they need to tinker with.  All in all, I was glad to put it in the ‘finished’ pile.

Wet N Wild Color Icon Eye & Brow Pencil in Dark Brown
I got this from Walmart for like, $1.99, and it was a great pencil – just the right shade and was quite a large size to begin with, so it lasted ages.  I can’t comment on the lasting power because I never really pay attention to whether my brows are still looking good at the end of the day – I guess because my brows don’t *need* to be filled in, just polished up a bit.  I’d buy it again if I came across it, but it wasn’t so good that I’m going to seek it out, either.MAC Lustre Lipstick in Freckletone
Ugh.  Worst nude lippie (on my skintone) ever.  It was much too peach and looked far from nude on me.  I’ve had this for several years now, and I’m sooo happy it’s finished (though I just realized you can’t tell from the photo – oops!).  I had to mix this with a ton of other shades in order for it to work.  I like the lustre formulation, just not this color. 

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstain in In the Buff
This product isn’t ‘finished’, because I’ve only used it a handful of times, but it seems like it is bone-dry – to get any color from this (which is supposed to be a muted berry) is damn-near impossible.  It barely gives off anything at all.  So today I decided I’m done with this.  What’s the point of keeping something that doesn’t do anything?

Helena Rubenstein Stellars Gloss in Star Camellia
When I did my ‘Beauty Stash’ list, it was a process for me to find the actual name of this gloss, let me tell you.  The name on the end of the product is impossible to read, and I bought this about 8 years ago in Portugal, so I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it was.  I found a picture and a swatch online that seemed to match, but I could be wrong.  In any case, I don’t think they even make this anymore so no worries!  In the package you can see that there is still product left, but the wand simply won’t get at any of it!  The brush on the end of the wand is itty-bitty, first of all, and the way the tube is shaped you just can’t get at what’s left.  Oh well, after 8 years I’m totally over this bright sparkly coral shade!  It was fun while it lasted 😛

Fresh Sugar Plum Lip Treatment SPF15
I’m embarrassed, yet sort of proud, to say that even though this was essentially done in December (as Liz can attest to – she took photos!), I scraped and scooped out every last bit before officially calling it quits.  It wasn’t just that I liked the product – which I very much do, as well as loving the deep berry color this time of year – but for $22.50CAD, I just felt like I should make sure I get every bit of my money out of the product.  Which I did 😛  I still have the Sugar Honey and the original Sugar Lip Treatments to enjoy – but don’t expect to see them finished any time soon!Clinique Glow Crazy Powder Highlighter in 03 Gold Dust (sample size)
GAH.  I don’t know how old this sample is – Glow Crazy powder has been gone for some time now – but finally! I finished it!  It’s too bad it was a sample size (of which I kind of have issue with as a general rule), because this was actually a beautiful highlighter (or eyeshadow!), but it had to go.

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey (sample size)
I got this in one of my free GWP’s from Clinique.  Black Honey is our 2nd most sold product on the counter; the subtle reddish-berry looks good on everyone! ….Everyone except me.  On me, this shade is god-awful.  That sounds dramatic for a sheer lipstick, I know, but honestly, I can’t get down with this tone on my lips in any way, shape or form.  I’ve had this for so long just because there was nothing wrong with it.  Then, a couple weeks ago, I pulled it out to try it out again after the resurgence of the Almost Lipsticks, and it broke right at the base.  Woohoo, out it goes!  Bye BYE!!

So – yay!  Managed to get some makeup items in there, woohoo!  And I wasn’t just trying to get rid of stuff in order to buy more (I know you were thinking it! :P); either they finished or they were products I really didn’t care for in the least and was hanging on to them for no good reason.  Out you go!

Now, lets look at the purchases I made in the past month, and see if I stuck to my guns:

1) Chanel Blush Horizon de Chanel $74
I bought this the very next day after the low-buy began.  See how I started out strong?  I’m still very much in love with it, and I’ve never had a moment of doubt about the cost.  I am nervous to see if it’ll still show up once I’m tanned, but here’s hoping it’ll make a great highlighter if nothing else!  If not, then – till next Winter, my dear 🙂

2) Simple Sensitive Skin Experts Exfoliating Facial Wipes (25 wipes) $8.59
Since I tend to run on most of my lunch breaks, I was starting to feel like I really should be removing and reapplying my makeup on those days.  Though I leave my run till later in the afternoon, I still feel uncomfortable at the thought of my makeup mingling with sweat and possibly causing clogged pores and irritation, even in the two hours before I get home and can properly cleanse.  So, I picked up these wipes on a whim, as they contain aloe, vitamins, and no perfumes or dyes – while also being safe for sensitive eyes, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic.  Bonus!  The ingredient list is shorter than most as well, which always gives me comfort.  I’ve used them a handful of times to no negative effects – I’m not sure how effective they are at cleansing, but I still feel better at putting in an effort.

3) Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Blush in #12 First Kiss $29
Newly minted blush fiend that I am, I saw a photoshoot in the recent issue of Glow which showcased a delicate redhead with a gorgeous peachy flush.  The look I was hoping for with Torrid just doesn’t cut it, as it’s more pink-based than orange.  This bright apricot shade seems to do the trick, and I’m often partial to cream/liquid formulas because I find they give a more believable glow. 

4) Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm $24
I picked this up in anticipation of our Jamaica trip.  It’s supposed to help soothe and hydrate sun exposed skin and help prevent any damage that the UV rays cause.  I have wanted to try this product for AGES as I’ve heard so, so many good things about it – but amazingly, I’ve never had the opportunity!  I find it difficult to actually *purchase* Clinique when I get so many for free, but the time was right so I finally gave in.  I’ll be sure to report back once I’ve given it a go!

5) OPI ‘A Roll in the Hague’, and ‘Dutch’Ya Just Love OPI?‘ $9.99 ea.
I had long planned to grab ‘Hague’ once OPI’s Holland collection came to town, but I was pleasantly surprized to find that I ended up enjoying ‘Dutch’Ya’ as well! 

6) Boscia Restorative Day Moisture Cream SPF15 $58
This will replace my Superdefense as my daily moisturizer with SPF.  I bought it because my skin’s been tempermental with the Winter weather lately, though after the past week or so with unseasonably warm temperatures, I’m hoping this isn’t too heavy.  The cool thing I’m excited about is the inclusion of Magnolia Bark extract, which apparently has cortizone-like effects.  I’m hoping this will help with any eczema issues I have on my face and help keep any irritation under control.  Fingers crossed!

7) Bare Escentuals Flawless Definition Volumizing Mascara in Black $22.50
I’ve been meaning to buy this for ages but just haven’t taken the plunge for one reason or another.  It has great reviews on MUA and sounds like the perfect formula for my sensitive eyes.  I hope its as volumizing as it claims!

8) MAC Tendertone Lip Balm in Purring $18
I fell for all the hype about these Tendertones returning, and not wanting to miss out, I scooped up this sheer orange one this past weekend.  So far, I’m not terribly impressed, but I’m going to give it a fair shake before making my final judgement.  It’s not the sheerness I’m disappointed with (though it is very sheer), but the moisturization.  We’ll see how it fares in the end.

Not too shabby, eh??  If you recall, my guidelines were use one-buy one for skincare/haircare/essentials like foundation and concealer, and use two-buy one for everything else (ie. makeup).  Note that sample sizes are considered a half-one, so two = one in the ‘use one’ category.  Also, remember that I’m allowed 5 nail polish purchases a month.  Here are my totals for this month:

USED – 4 full-size skincare, 2 travel-size skincare, 1 full-size haircare, 1 concealer, 6 full-size makeup items, and 2 sample-size makeup items.

ALLOWANCE – 4 skincare items, 1 haircare, 1 concealer, 3.5 makeup items; 5 nail polish + 2 brought over from January.

BOUGHT – 3 skincare items, 4 makeup items; 2 nail polish.

So…let’s count the MAC balm as a .5 product, eh?? LOL.  I came pretty close!  All in all, not too bad.  It’s certainly gotten easier as time has passed – most of those purchases were made in the first two weeks LOL.  I will admit, there is a lot of things to remember, but thankfully I have lists upon lists just about everywhere I go reminding me, so it’s been doable for the most part.  Gotta keep on keepin’ on!

Have you put any restrictions on your own shopping habits?  If you have, how are you making out?  If you haven’t, what’s your secret to keeping yourself in check??


That’s It, Time to GIT ‘ER DONE: My 2012 Beauty Guidelines

No buys, low buys, or cosmetic bans of various sorts, are common around these here parts.  It seems somewhat counter-intuitive that we beauty bloggers, who write so passionately about our purchases and are forging the way through the lipstick jungle, also have to cap ourselves off from time to time to keep ourselves in check.  In my post last month about restricting myself, I recognized the fact that while I want to be reasonable in my spending habits, it is unwise for me to cut myself off in any areas, because when I can’t have something, I want it that much more, and it always seems to end badly for me (and my waistline/bank account).Last week, Liz at Beauty Reductionista gave me a heads up on participating in an upcoming no/low buy that she and a few other bloggers we going to engage in, starting tomorrow.  I thought long and hard about it, because while I want to keep myself in check, as noted above, I have to do so with caution.  After sleeping on a few brainstormed ideas last night, I think I’ve worked out a process that should keep me on the (relative) straight and narrow, while still allowing me the leeway to have fun and not feel deprived.  You may notice that some of these ideas echo sentiments I made in my Resolutions post earlier this year – this is taking it one step further and clarifying those guidelines.  So, without further ado, here is the system I’m hoping to successfully follow for the rest of 2012:

1) Employ the use* one, buy one system for skin, body, and haircare products.
Surprizingly, I have a relatively small quantity of these types of products – for almost all categories, I have only one of each (eg. one shampoo/conditioner, one body lotion, one hair styling lotion, etc.).  I have a slight stockpile of skincare items, but I’m slowly whittling it down, and I don’t plan on refilling them just to buy something.  Streamlining in this area has been pretty easy – and I want to keep it this way.

2) For makeup purchases, follow a use* two, buy one system (excluding foundation and powder, as I only have very small numbers of each and these are considered ‘needs’).
I actually really dislike having an excess of *things* – in most areas of my life, I like to keep my options limited as otherwise it can at times cause some anxiety.  My biggest weakness as a beauty junkie is the fact that conversely, I adore change (and, who am I kidding, shopping!), so even though I don’t always enjoy having so much makeup, I get bored and want something new on a frequent basis.  So, having said that, I really want to scale back the amount of makeup I own, and this seems like an excellent way to go about it, without enforcing any restrictions on myself and keeping things fresh.

*’Use’ can be interchanged with toss, swap or giveaway – it just means I must have one (or two) less product(s) in order to purchase a new one.

3) Allow for three (3) Limited Edition purchases per season, up to a max of $150.
One regret I’ve had since I started blogging is missing out on awesome LE products (and I’m not talking about every item that’s comes out of the rapid-fire MAC collections).  I really want to get on the horse when it comes to these pieces, but not let the ‘Limited Edition’ tag take a hold of me and create purchasing anxiety/stress. Capping myself at 3 items per season lets me feel like I’m taking part without getting too caught up in the mania.  However, I added the stipulation of $150 because oft times these products are more expensive (Chanel’s Spring LE Blush de Horizon for example is $74CAD!), and if I’m picking up 3 items at this price, it’s defeating my purpose to some extent.  Note: These LE items do not count towards the use two, buy one system.  Also, LE nail polish is to be counted in the nail polish category.

4) Purchase no more than five (5) nail polish per month.
At the moment, this has been much easier than it was last year – with my recent polish burnout, a lot of the new shades just aren’t doing it for me lately (though, who knows how long this will last??).  In any event, I think 5 polish / month is sufficient to allow me to enjoy trying new colors but will help me keep my stash at a reasonable number, and my older shades will still get some love (I estimate that I change my polish about 8-10 times per month).  In the event that there are a multitude of upcoming polish releases that catch my eye, I am allowed to carry over this number each month if it is not fully used (for example, if I only buy 3 nail polish this month, then in February I am now able to purchase 7 nail polish).  It’s always good to have a little leeway in case of ~emergency~ 😉

5) Establish Fun Color Friday’s.
This is sort of a fun idea I had that doesn’t necessarily relate to streamlining purchases, but is a way to start using up makeup that often goes untouched because it’s not entirely ‘work friendly’ – which therefore will help achieve the ‘use two’ part of the above guidelines.  So: Every Friday, I need to wear shades/textures/application that I normally wouldn’t employ at work – nothing crazy, but a little fun here and there is no crime!!  Bright lips or colored eyeliner are a great example.  I’m going to *attempt* to learn how to take FOTD photos, and if I’m successful, I’m going to post these ‘Fun Friday’ looks for your viewing pleasure!!

Update: After getting a few ideas from the other fine ladies doing no/low-buys, I’m adding just a couple stipulations to the guidelines – because ‘using two’ is gonna be MAJORLY rough.  a) PR samples do not count; b) Purchases made while traveling that are items I cannot buy in Nova Scotia are exempt (I know that gives me a somewhat broad berth,  but there are many brands we don’t have here, and if I get the rare chance to buy something from one of them, I am gonna do it, no doubt in my mind).

I feel very good about the list above and think that its a great step towards both enjoying my purchases as well as making sure I behave and don’t get out of control (which can happen at any time!).  I would like these guidelines to mean that you will no longer read any more posts about how all my makeup stresses me out, and how I feel torn between guilt and euphoria after making a purchase.  So this benefits YOU as well as me 🙂

I’m already making headway with a few makeup items that are nearing their end, and I’m pretty stoked about it.  Truly, the biggest draw for me is picking up something new, something I’ve never tried before, and knowing I’m fully justified (well, as much as a beauty addict can be!) in making the purchase. I’ve already bought one LE item this season – to be revealed soon – so I’m only able to indulge in two more.  I’ve been doing some major research and I’m pretty sure that I know exactly what those items will be.  This is going to be fun!!  I like a challenge that I know I can win!

Good luck to Liz, Larie from Eye Heart It, Tracy at Beauty Reflections, and the gals at new-to-me blogs Makeup Morsels and Makeup Kismet – as well as any one else who is engaging in their own versions of beauty bans or no/low buys…I know you’re going to rock it out!

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