Archive for category Drugstore Finds
Do you remember when Elena was first born and I complained about barely being able to shower, let alone take care of my skin? It feels like forever ago that I was struggling to take care of myself in any way, shape or form; thankfully, those days are (mostly) past and though I don’t have much time for myself, I have made a point to dedicate some time every morning and evening toward my skin. In fact, I think I’ve never treated my skin better! I think the combination of products along with maintaining a solid routine has made all the difference. Lately I’ve been placing a heavy emphasis on brightening products that help even out the skin tone, and tailoring my application according to what my skin needs in specific areas. This AM I looked in the mirror and was like ‘DA-AMN girl, your skin looks good!’ …So I figured I should share with you my skincare ‘secrets’ Here’s what my routine looks like, morning and night:
Cleanse with NUDE Perfect Cleanse Clarifying Cleansing Oil ($45CAD). The reason I picked up this cleanser in the first place was because it contains grapeseed oil as the 2nd ingredient, which is great for oilier / clog-prone skin as it’s high in linoleic acid (see my post on skincare oils and their compositions here). I’ve been searching for a grapeseed oil-heavy oil cleanser but they’re hard to come by for some reason, so when this came on the market a few months ago I snapped it up ASAP. Happily, it was a great purchase as I absolutely love it. It doesn’t contain a host of fragrance or essential oils to potentially irritate my skin (which it doesn’t), and it cleanses beautifully without drying my skin out at all. Though you can use it as a first cleanse to remove makeup etc., I actually use it as my morning cleanser on it’s own as I want my skin to benefit from the good oils and ingredients, rather than washing them away in a second cleanse. It’s a perfect beginning step to prep and protect my skin for the colder weather outside. I’ll be repurchasing it without hesitation.
Tone with Algenist Hydrating Essence Toner ($30CAD). Because I am a beauty junkie, I’m susceptible to any new fad on the market, and I became determined to find and use an ‘essence‘ – essentially a hybrid between a toner and serum, and which is used in between those two steps. Algenist’s Essence Toner has high rating on both Sephora and Paula’s Choice (though I don’t think she knows it ALL, I do appreciate the research done on that site and use it to cross-reference product research often), AND it’s affordable for a high-end brand, so I picked it up back in October. I can’t tell for sure how hydrating it is, as my skin isn’t particularly parched, but I do prefer to keep my skin as moist as I can anyway (seems to keep me from over-producing sebum) with lightweight products, and this can be used all over my face, even in my sensitive areas like around my mouth, without any issues at all. That in itself makes this a total winner in my books!
G.M. Collin Oxygen Puractive+ Treating Mist. I was kindly sent the Normalizing Travel Kit ($42CAD), among a couple other products, from G.M. Collin and I was so keen to try them out once they arrived. Having mostly normal skin with some oiliness in the t-zone, the Normalizing kit is perfect for me as helps keep skin balanced. The Treating Mist is designed to enhance the effectiveness of your other skincare, much like other facial mists, and leaves skin with a matte finish. I spray this on my t-zone only after using the Algenist Toner and it really does keep that area less shiny throughout the day. The nozzle is a bit powerful so I make sure to spray it about a foot away from my face to get a more even misting.
G.M. Collin Bota-Peptide Eye Contour ($96CAD). I was most eager to try out this eye treatment from G.M. Collin as it’s been on my wishlist for years now, but I could never bring myself to buy it. It gets amazing reviews and is purported to reduce the appearance of dark circles, expression lines and wrinkles, and is de-puffing. I’ve only been using it for about 2-3 weeks now, so I can’t report major changes to my undereye area just yet, but I do find that it looks smoother and incredibly hydrated, and I feel like I’m less concerned about my perpetual darkness. The texture is PERFECT, thick enough to be hydrating but not at all greasy or heavy, and it absorbs extremely well and quickly so it works fantastically under eye makeup. My concealer has never looked better or more natural.
derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum w/Vitamin C (see full review) ($39.99CAD – now on sale at Well.ca for $29.99!). Still totally digging this serum! It is the perfect consistency – more like a gel than a silicone-heavy serum, so it feels lovely and lightweight and I am entirely comfortable layering additional product over it. It really does help lighten any dark spots and even out my skintone, and as a bonus it contains niacinamide to also protect my skin from environmental aggressors. I love this stuff!
Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Face Lotion SPF 30 ($15.49CAD). After searching high and low all summer for the Neutrogena Pure & Free liquid that sound right up my alley, I scoured the drugstore aisles at Shoppers for another facial sunscreen alternative that wouldn’t break the bank (the higher the cost, the more I want to skimp on application, and that’s counter-productive, no?). I ended up choosing this SPF lotion from Eucerin as it contained physical ‘screens (my preference) as well as chemical. I was a bit wary as some chemical sunscreens aren’t friendly to my sensitive skin, but I’ve had zero issues with this – in fact, I actually think it might be the best facial sunscreen I’ve ever used on my skin! It leaves my skin looking moisturized and with a lovely, healthy glow, minus ANY shine or greasy effect. Though it’s of medium viscosity, it blends in easily and absorbs quickly. Fragrance free with an SPF of 30, at a totally great price point…you kind of can’t go wrong with this.
G.M. Collin Oxygen Puractive+ Mild Cleansing Gel. Another step in the Normalizing Kit, I use this gel as my second cleanse after oil cleansing (currently I’m trying to finish a bottle of pure Pumpkin Seed oil). I am surprised at how much I enjoy using this – I’m not one for gel and/or foaming cleansers, as they often leave me feeling drier than I’d like; this, however, truly IS mild as I feel absolutely NO tightness after use and my skin feels incredibly soft. Definitely the nicest gel cleanser I’ve tried!
Joe Fresh Refresh Facial Toner ($12CAD). I picked this up on a whim when I needed a new facial mist/toner-type product, and I fell for the clean, classic packaging of the Joe Fresh skincare line. Honestly, I’m not a total beauty snob, I just like great packaging – if something is cheap but looks luxe, I’m all for it! On top of the fabulous bottle, the product itself is great – the ingredients are simple (such as glycerin, aloe and green tea & cucumber extracts) and it’s effective at toning my skin in an incredibly soothing way. I will be buying this again and again, no question.
G.M. Collin Oxygen Puractive+ Cream. The final step in the Normalizing Kit, this cream is formulated to purify and hydrate the skin while also refining it’s texture. As it’s essentially winter now, I only use this in my t-zone as that is my ‘trouble’ area, and so far it’s been doing a great job at refining the pores on my nose and inner cheeks. This would make an excellent moisturizer for someone looking for a product to mattify and keep any oiliness or large pores in check.
Kahina Giving Beauty Brightening Serum ($95CAD). I’d read a review on No More Dirty Looks awhile back saying this was excellent at evening out the skintone and ever since it’s been on my radar. When it popped up on Petal & Post months ago at a considerable sale discount – down to something like $54! – I scooped it up, even though I was flush with other brightening products (I’m kind of obsessed). After using up another serum, it was time to give this a shot, and I am beyond pleased at the results – aside from making my skin feel baby soft upon waking in the AM, it truly has evened out my skin significantly; it’s the best it’s looked in years. I rarely wear foundation now as it’s just an extra, unnecessary step and I feel I look a lot better without it, truth be told. This is another *repurchase* product for sure (buuuuut…maybe when it’s on sale, yea?).
G.M. Collin Bota-Peptide Eye Contour. Lather, rinse, repeat. I use this day and night
There are a few other products I didn’t mention (namely, a face oil that I add to my sunscreen if it’s particularly chilly out; a hydrating mask and a purifying mask I use when needed; and two different exfoliants, one manual, one chemical) – mostly because, as much as they seem to be working for me, they’re aren’t game-changers in my books and I’ll probably replace them with something new when the time comes. Otherwise though, this is it – and I gotta say, I can’t remember a time when there were so many products in my arsenal that I plan to repurchase (and with so many of them reasonably affordable too)! I’m a fickle beast and even if I like something, I usually am keen to try something else out of boredom – but these products are working so well for me that I’m not sure if making a switch is wise! Maybe I’m just getting too old (erm, or not OLD but just lacking an excess of time in which to spend the energy researching new products to try)…either way, I’m really happy with my routine, and if it means I’m boring – so be it!
Slowly catching up on all my posting…last week Elena’s naps were of the 30 minute variety, which means mama was on point pretty much all day long! I’ve been experiencing sleep issues for the past few months (and I don’t mean the kind of ‘issues’ that are baby-induced lol), so once she goes to bed I start the wind down process too, to help myself along – that means no staring at a computer screen after about 8pm (so that means no blog posts being written then either). I don’t know if my hormones are still wacky or if I went without a good night’s sleep for so long my body no longer knows how to ‘do it’ right, but I was lying awake most nights with severe insomnia for weeks on end, so I finally was prescribed low-dose sleeping aids and they’ve been a godsend. They aren’t very hardcore, so I’m still super-receptive to Elena throughout the night, but they help me fall asleep and if I’m woken up by her I’m able to fall back asleep again (which was the real issue) so HOORAY! I have a doc appointment on Monday to discuss my sleep problems (since I don’t want to have to take meds forever) so here’s hoping we can find a more natural solution!
ANYHOW, a couple weeks ago I received the new Skin Therapy line from Palmer’s to check out and Elena’s sleep sched is back to ‘normal’ for this week, so I now have a chance to tell you about it!
As it often seems to happen for me, I’ve been on the hunt for a good, economical face oil to remove makeup at the end of the day – I still use the African Botanics one I bought awhile ago, but for that price I hated using it to take off my makeup only to then second-cleanse all those good ingredients down the drain. Palmer’s Skin Therapy Cleansing Oil FACE is a facial cleansing oil that deep cleans the skin while brightening and balancing it’s pH. Even better, it’s priced at $7.99CAD so I don’t feel guilty for using it as my first cleanse! It’s chockfull of various oils, such as soybean, sweet almond, grape seed (my fave for oil cleansing!) and sesame seed, as well as a few others (rice bran, jojoba seed, and argan). It also contains Palmer’s trademark cocoa seed butter, of course, and a bit of Vitamin C to help brighten the skin (though it’s far down the ingredient list, as ascorbyl palmitate) .
Ingredients: Soybean oil, Laureth-7 Citrate, Laureth-4, Sweet Almond Oil, Sorbitan Oleate, Grape Seed Oil, Sesame Seed Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Cocoa Seed Butter, Tocopherol Acetate, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Rosehip Seed Extract, Jojoba Seed Oil, Argan Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Myristate, Fragrance, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Geraniol, Butylphenyl Methypropional.
Because I’m an ingredients nerd, I would like to highlight the 2nd & 3rd ingredients for those who are concerned with that sort of thing: Laureth-7 Citrate is a surfactant / cleansing agent and Laureth-4 is a surfactant / emulsifying agent; note that the former scores very low on the EWG scale (=1), while the latter scores a bit higher (=2-3) and is a polymer composed of lauryl alcohol and polyethelene glycol (PEG). It appears that the real concern with these two ingredients is their purity, and Laureth-4 can be an irritant. I can’t speak to the purity of this product, but I’ve been using it for about a week now every evening and I haven’t noticed any irritation whatsoever (though as mentioned I do use this as a first cleanse and follow up with a separate cleanser afterward).
All geekery aside, I’ve found this cleanser very good at getting all my makeup off at the end of the day, and it rinses away well. Really, the only thing I don’t like about this is the scent: it’s supposed to smell like rosehip, but it reminds me of public washroom soap – you know, the standard dispenser kind? Yea, like that. It’s not terribly offensive, but I don’t find it very pleasant, and if I’m not careful when rinsing it can get in my mouth a bit and it even tastes soapy. No bueno. But for $7.99? I’ll put up with it!
There are two other products in the Skin Therapy line – the Skin Therapy Oil Rosehip ($9.97CAD) for body, and the Skin Therapy Oil FACE ($8.97CAD) (for…the face, obviously!). I haven’t used the body oil as fragrance is quite high on the ingredient list, but I’ve tried the oil for face and you know what? It’s nice! – very light and perfect for these humid days and nights we’ve been having lately, where my skin is perpetually shiny if I put much of anything on it. There’s even retinol in the formula, so that’s an added bonus!
Ingredients for both are below if you’re curious:
Now on to the REALLY good stuff! Palmers Canada has graciously offered to send three lucky Canadian readers a beauty package with all 3 of these products (that’s the Skin Therapy Cleansing Oil FACE, the Skin Therapy Oil FACE and the Skin Therapy Oil Rosehip! [$30 value]). You must be a Canadian resident to enter – just click on the Rafflecopter link below (which will take you to the widget…for some reason WordPress never lets the widget show up on my actual post ~weird~). Entry into the giveaway is open until September 18th, 12:00am ET.
Good luck to all who enter!
Palmer’s Skin Therapy products can be purchased at Walmart.
Continuing with my drugstore makeup affair, a couple weeks ago, Revlon’s ColorBurst Matte Balms were on sale for I think about $6 at Shoppers Drug Mart. I had glanced at them before but ultimately decided against them, mostly because I’m a snob like that and not for any good reason. The packaging is fine (plain, but non-offensive to my frivolous heart), and the colour selection is good – and, from reviews it sounds like they’re a pretty decent product. But I have a hard time resisting a good sale when it comes to beauty products, and I’ve been spending considerably less on cosmetics than usual, so I figured what the heck.
I went big and came home with THREE SHADES!
I’m not usually one to buy in ‘bulk’ – I like to have a variety of brands and product types, and rarely buy more than one of anything (MAC products being probably one of the very few exceptions). But after swatching these, I decided to aim for a rounded view of them buy going with three varied shades – a nude (Complex), a bold coral orange (Audacious), and a bright fuchsia (Showy)!
The Matte Balms are a matte (duh) lip colour that has the slip of a balm, but the look of a semi-opaque lipstick. The brighter colours are more pigmented, while Complex (the nude) is a bit more transparent – which I think is a good thing, as an opaque nude can get just plain awful, FAST. While these feel very comfortable on the lips for a matte finish, they do tend to emphasize flakes and dryness if you don’t prep the lips carefully first. I apply a thick balm to the lips for at least 15 minutes before using these, as I almost always have some flakiness to deal with. Having said that, I quite like these (especially the two brighter shades) and I don’t mind the extra steps required in order to wear these well.
Here’s how they look worn:
Out of the three, Showy is the most unique to my lip ‘wardrobe,’ as I usually opt for deeper fuchsia shades. However, I am sort of in love with how this looks, as its slightly white base makes it really pop against my dark skin tone. These cool pinks just plain WORK (on me)! Audacious is somewhat similar to Tom Ford’s True Coral lipstick that I have, but it’s sheerer nature makes it a bit more wearable, and I’m digging how it looks kind of tropical! Finally, Complex is a nice enough nude – an OK tone for my skin, but a bit flat and dry-looking if I don’t blend it out a fair bit. I think it’ll look a bit better once I’m not quite as tanned – or perhaps with a touch of lipgloss on top (thus defeating the ‘matte’ idea, but that’s OK – whatever works!).
I was going to save this post and schedule it to come out later in the week, but I’m sort of excited to show you these swatches – 2 outta 3 ain’t bad, and they’re really perfect for summer! They’ve certainly helped me get my beauty ‘fix’ without breaking the bank (or even totalling altogether how much a department store lipstick would cost!), so I’m pleased about that. Liz @BeautyReductionista sounds like she’s also converted (she also has Audacious) so if that doesn’t compel you to at least check these out, well then…STOP RESISTING.
Have you tried any of the Revlon Matte Balms? Do you buy drugstore products, or stick to department store finds?
Lately I’ve been finding myself buying more drugstore makeup than usual – partly due to the fact that we’re saving like mad for our downpayment toward a new home (thus, pricey makeup is kind of a no-no), and partly due to the fact that there have been some good sales lately, and that’s the ONLY time I buy drugstore makeup (ironically, I can’t justify paying full price for a drugstore product, but don’t bat an eye at spending $40 on a department-store blush. Go figure).
On Saturday, while working at the Clinique counter in one of my local Shoppers Drug Marts, I spotted the Limited Edition summer 2014 collection from Maybelline. The last time I worked at the store, a few weeks earlier, I gave the serious eye to one of the Color Tattoos, #115 Shimmering Sea, as it has some major iridescent, duo chrome goodness that few of the makeup obsessed can ignore. This time, it was on sale for $5.99CAD and there was only one left – obviously, it was a no-brainer😉
Though I’d seen beautiful swatches and read the glowing review of this shade on Maggie’s blog, I was unsure if this pale blue shade was going work on my darker skin tone – pale blue isn’t exactly a colour I wear well, but I was hoping the inclusion of beautiful golden shimmer would help make it work. When I applied it to my arm for a swatch, in dull light it looked like a plain light blue frost shadow – ick. But in sunlight – OH YEA, BABY. That’s when the magic happens!
I am truly enamoured by how this looks, both in the pot and in swatches – it’s so freakin’ gorgeous! I want a car this colour LOL!
Still, even though it was beautiful in swatches, how would it look once worn? I put it to the test this AM – and by test I REALLY mean test, as I put it on first thing in the AM because I could.not.wait., then took a shower with it on – while it faded, it was definitely still noticeable when I got out of the shower! (*Note that I didn’t wash my face so, obviously it would come off with soap lol). So we know the wear time is pretty decent. The second test was the shade…let’s see how it fared!
Though the iridescence isn’t as strong on the lid, it’s still present, and in person it’s more apparent than in these photos. Thankfully, the pale blue tones aren’t opaque and strong enough to clash with my darker skin tone, and it wears as an easy shimmery, summery shadow that just adds a bit of interest to the eye but isn’t garish. I’ve been favouring subtly shimmering shades lately, so this is another one to add to the roster!
Here’s a full-face shot that shows the effect better:
My hair looks really lopsided here – sorry guys! It’s so hot here today that my hair shrunk right up after the shower – it doesn’t get frizzy too much unless I play with it, but it sure does get even curlier! :S
Overall, I’m really pleased I picked this up (even though I’m pretty sure I just said less than a month ago that I need to stop buying eyeshadow). Though I do favour bold lips, sometimes a pretty eye look is just what I’m seeking, and I think this will work well throughout the year as a pretty one-and-done shade, or as a beautiful base. For $5.99, even if it sat in my drawer and never saw the light of day again, I wouldn’t feel too terribly!
Did you pick up anything from the Maybelline Limited Edition summer collection? What products have been catching your eye at the drugstore lately?
As many of you are aware, I overhauled my skincare routine about a year ago to focus on more organic, or ‘green’ products. I’ve had a good deal of success making the switch, which probably has more to do with using products that do not use synthetic fragrance, and seeking out items with fewer ingredients overall (less chance for irritation of my eczema-prone skin), than them necessarily being ‘clean,’ as I’ve seen non-organic etc. products work wonders for others as well. However, I do feel good about what I put on my skin now, regardless of their efficacy, and that ease of mind goes a long way for someone who constantly worries when she tries a new product. That tendency to err on the side of caution hasn’t left me yet, but as I try more and more ‘green’ products without experiencing any reactions, I become more and more confident that this was the right path for me.
Recently I was given the opportunity to try out Refresh Botanicals skincare, a natural and organic line from Canadian company Taiga BioActives Inc., which I was immensely excited about. However, as usual I still added the products to my routine slowly to ensure the least chance of irritation. Almost from the start, I could tell that this step wouldn’t likely be necessary – I can say with full confidence that every single item I’ve used has been exceedingly gentle yet effective, and quite simply has been a dream to use!
The line centres their products around a proprietary blend of cucumber extract (high in antioxidants and vitamin C) and cornflower water, both highly soothing and calming to the skin. The products do not contain Parabens, Gluten, Petroleum By-Products, Animal By-Products, Artificial Oils, Artificial Oils or Artificial Fragrances. Essentially, sensitive skin types like mine are pretty much set!
I was sent 5 of the 7 products from the line: a Foaming Facial Cleanser, a Facial Toner, a Daily Facial Moisturizer, a Night Restore Complex, and a BB Cream. These products couldn’t have been more perfect for me, as they fit themselves into my current regime perfectly.
In the morning, I cleanse with the Foaming Facial Cleanser ($18.99CAD), which has a texture very similar to Cetaphil or CeraVe if you’ve tried it – sort of a thin jelly. One pump massaged on slightly damp skin gently foams and thoroughly cleanses though I never feel stripped of oils or tight afterward. I wondered if this would be enough once the weather got warmer, but due to the inclusion of coconut oil it sufficiently cleanses to remove any extra oiliness and prepare my skin for the day. I haven’t tried to use to this remove makeup, but they have a separate Eye + Face Makeup Remover in the line, which I expect is to be used first before using this – I don’t think its sufficient enough to remove makeup on it’s own.
After washing, I apply a few pumps of the soothing Facial Toner ($18.99CAD) on a cotton pad (it’s got one of those great systems where you just place the cotton pad on top of the pump and push down to get product), and swipe it all over. It’s a bit of a strange formula in that it foams slightly, but it doesn’t leave my skin irritated and it’s exceptionally gentle – I think it’s more of a pH balancing and hydrating step, with light exfoliation, rather than an astringent to rid your skin of oils. It takes a bit of getting used to if you usually use toners with alcohol, which make the skin feel squeaky clean, but I find that my skin gets less oily when I use more gentle products, this being no exception. Like the other products in the line, it smells like cucumbers, though this one has a slightly earthy yet flowery scent which I don’t love but am not offended by, either.
Depending on the day and what my skin needs, I alternate between a facial oil and the Daily Facial Moisturizer ($18.99CAD) after toning. The antioxidant-rich moisturizer is the perfect consistency for all skin types – it’s not too thin, so drier skin types won’t feel parched, but it’s not too thick and absorbs quickly, so oilier types like mine are pleased as well. It’s a basic, soothing moisturizer with not a lot of bells and whistles, but I prefer to get my ‘treatment’ in the form of a serum or oil, anyway. The only caveat I have with this product is that it feels a touch sticky once applied – this goes away after about a minute or two, but it does feel a bit strange. Another point of interest that may or may not be of concern is that one pump is far more than you need for your whole face – a half a pump is plenty, but if you tend to put moisturizer on your face, neck, and décolletage, then you’re good to go for the full pump.
Unfortunately, the BB Cream ($23.99CAD) has not made it into my daily rotation as the shade is quite light on me. From the feel of it, I think it has a texture similar to a physical sunscreen – so it’s a bit thicker, but not too difficult to spread, and would probably offer some light coverage. It’s designed like your typical BB cream to even skin tone and blur imperfections, as well as hydrate the skin. This formula also helps combat excessive sebum production and improve skin texture, and like the other products in the line is soothing to skin and offers antioxidant protection.
In the evenings, after I’ve oil-cleansed I might use the Foaming Facial Cleanser as a second cleanse if I need it, then apply a treatment toner and oil. Once the oil has absorbed, I apply the Night Restore Complex ($23.99CAD) on top to add a little extra hydration and boost my treatments – in contains antioxidants and natural exfoliants which help lighten the appearance of dark spots and help brighten the skin, which is what my treatment facial oil does as well, so I’m getting a double-whammy of goodness I find this extra layer does not clog my pores but in fact makes my skin feel that much more soft and supple by morning. I do avoid applying much of the Complex to my forehead, as I end up being a little greasy in that area in the morning otherwise.
I am really and truly beyond pleased with my experience with Refresh Botanicals – every single product is easy to use, non-irritating, and gently effective. For someone with sensitive but generally easy skin to deal with, it’s the perfect choice, whether or not you like ‘green’ skincare or not. It even passes the packaging test for me (I am SUPER snobby when it comes to packaging, I’ll readily admit it), as it’s clean-looking, functional and hygienic (everything is in a pump). On top of all that, it’s AFFORDABLE – something I do struggle with in the organic world, as everything is quite pricey. You can actually buy the whole shot for $147.93CAD (which includes the Eye + Face Makeup Remover, as well as an Intensive Serum)! Even more exciting for me, is that the line is actually available in Nova Scotia – unheard of! They’ve recently introduced it in the Pharmasave/Pharmachoice stores across the province (which is where you’ll find them in the other provinces except Quebec and New Brunswick as well), and I’m pretty stoked. You can also buy them online, though I’m unsure whether they ship outside of Canada (I suspect they do).
Affordable, available, effective ‘green’ skincare? I am SO totally getting my friends on board😀
Would you try a ‘green’ skincare brand if it were affordable and effective, or do you prefer traditional skincare products? Have you seen Refresh Botanicals in pharmacies yet?
*Products were provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.
Continuing my adventures in ULTIMATE LASH PLUMPING, I’ve been given an opportunity to try out the cult-product RapidLash® Eyelash & Eyebrow Enhancing Serum, a lash treatment clinically proven to help you achieve fuller-looking lashes in as little as 30 days!
Following the success of XLash, I was sad to see the end of the product earlier last month. Over the past month, my lashes have almost returned to their former state, though they are still a bit longer than they were previously. I was excited to get the chance to try and compare RapidLash’s formula, which I have heard about from several different sources. I’m eager to see how it compares to the XLash formula!
The RapidLash serum is a paraben-free, over-the-counter formula that features a breakthrough formula of six highly effective ingredients, including polypeptides, biotin, and panthenol. It is dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested.
As with the XLash product, application and use is easy-peasy. Brush the formula along the baseline of lashes (you can also apply it to the lower lash line) every night at bedtime, and away you go. Additionally, this formula can be used on the brows by applying directly to the brow line.
The RapidLash product is comparable in price to XLash, at $59.95CAD. Unlike XLash however, you can get this from Shopper Drug Mart, so it’s more accessible (though it’s also available at RapidLash.com for those without access to Shoppers!).
I will report back in a month on my progress and results – I have high hopes! Having thick, long, fluttering lashes is really becoming addictive, I gotta say!
*Product was provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.
Admittedly, May has FLOWN by with everything that’s been going on, and for once my brain hasn’t been consumed with thoughts of new beauty products and pretties as it usually it (perhaps sad, but totally true normally). However, just because I’m not plotting my next purchase doesn’t mean I’m not thoroughly enjoying what I already have! I’ve got a handful of items that have been in heavy rotation this month – see for yourself!
I came SUUUUPER late to the EOS party it’s true, as these cute, all-natural spherical balms ($3.99CAD) were all the rage, oh, 2-3 years ago? Nonetheless, I’m fairly certain they deserved all the hype, and they still seem quite popular as evidenced by a pretty badass dude on the bus whipping one out to smooth and hydrate his pucker on the bus a couple weeks ago. It was AWESOME. As are these – I have been using the one in Pomegranate Raspberry on the regular (a light, fruity scent that dissipates once on the lips), and it’s just got the absolute best texture – not too thin so as to wear off quickly, but not so thick that you can’t easily apply lipstick over it without it smearing or diluting the color. Due to the shea butter, vitamin E and jojoba oil, I find them quite adept at hydrating my lips – though I would like them to be a bit more smoothing when they’re chapped and flaking. Overall I’m loving it and am trying to resist also keeping the other two I have – Strawberry Sorbet and Passionfruit – instead of being generous and giving them to friends and family :) Note that these are petroleum-free, paraben-free, and gluten-free, and can be purchased at Lawtons, Sobeys, Pharmaprix, Target, and Jean Coutu.
As someone who manicures her nails twice a week, I am careful to be gentle as too much fussing can weaken them and cause splits and tears in the nail. I’ve been using an old file that was given to me after my last pedicure, and it was doing the trick – or so I had thought. I’d heard that glass nails were IT in terms of filing, and had tried them to only feel frustrated at how long it took to get anything done! However, these files from Mont Bleu (approx. $13CAD) are AH-MA-ZING! I was totally skeptical but thought I’d give them a shot again, and I’m SO glad I did. Made with tempered Czech glass and embedded with Swarovski rhinestones (swanky!), I’ve been using one of the longer files religiously on my nails and on my friends nails for the bachelorette party/wedding (love that you can clean these) and they are crazy-effective, but still super gentle. I had my nails quite long for the wedding, longer than I’ve been able to grow them in ages before they normally break, and I contribute that success to these babies. LOVE!
Late last month I ~FINALLLY~ finished my massive tube of Queen Helene Mint Julep Clay Mask – OMG I thought it was going to last forever!! I bought it in 2008 if you can believe it…Anyway, I replaced it with Clinique’s new-ish Acne Solutions Oil-Control Cleansing Mask, also a clay mask, and have been using it once or twice a week with good results. It seems to heal my breakouts faster without irritating my sensitive skin or making it feel tight and uncomfortable. It does seem to make me a bit more oily the next day, but overall it’s quite effective and a little goes a long way. For $26CAD for 100mL, it’s a pretty decent deal for a mask and I suspect it’ll last a while too (though hopefully not 5 years long).
Lastly, at the very beginning of May, I finally finished Denyse Beaulieu’s ode to parfum, The Perfume Lover. When I say finally, it’s not because this was a dull, painful read – it was just because I kept stopping between parts to google all the things I learned! For a relative fragrance newb, this book was exceptionally compelling and totally piqued my interest about the world of fragrance. For someone already firmly entrenched in the beauty and joy of perfume and the history of scent, I believe you will find this wholeheartedly captivating. Though I felt the storyline was a bit scattered at times, I didn’t care, as Denyse spun such an enthralling tale about the origins of fragrance while weaving throughout her own personal love affair with scent. It was a fantastic read and I am all the more informed and better for having read it. The accompanying fragrance, Seville a l’aube, is an orange blossom-heavy fragrance with hints of lavender and tobacco. I am admittedly not a huge orange blossom fan (I believe it’s the reason I can’t fully commit to either Prada’s Infusion d’Iris nor Lancome’s La Vie Est Belle), I don’t mind this. I think if I were to smell it on someone else, I’d be drawn in and wonder exactly what they were wearing. It’s enveloping and definitely sensual – and there is something about it I like – but also something about it that repels me. A strange mix, to be sure, and one that absolutely needs to be sniffed (don’t they all?) to make your own assumptions.
So, these are the things that have gotten me through May! It has been quite handy to have a few items on hand that are easily grab and go without any serious thought required (as I didn’t have time for it!). I have a few more fun items to show you (hello, Boy’s Don’t Cry blush!), but I’m waiting for a sunny day to take some FOTD shots. Hopefully we’ll get lucky this weekend!
What items, beauty or otherwise, have you been loving this month?
All products reviewed in this post were provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.
Even as a total beauty addict who spends a major investment of both time and money into looking and feeling good, there are some beauty no-no’s I’m totally guilty of. I haven’t gotten my hair professionally cut in about three years. I don’t always floss (gasp! I know). I sometimes bite my cuticles (don’t judge!). But probably one of my most cringe-worthy bad habits is that I rarely shave – even in the summer. I’m a total lost cause, huh?
I think the issue started with shave gels that with all their scents and chemicals, would make my eczema freak out on my legs, which progressed to me skipping the process it altogether. In the winter, I probably shave my legs once a month (haha…I’m baring my soul here now lol); summer, probably once every two weeks. Thankfully, my hair is so fine and due to my darker coloring, it’s generally not noticeable unless you’re looking for it. But we all know that nothing beats a nice smooth leg!!
If you recall, I questioned the necessity of shaving products way back when, and since then I haven’t purchased nary a one. However, having been kindly sent a shave cream by eos (Evolution Of Smooth) skincare, I decided to give them another go.
There are several qualities of eos’ Shave Cream that are quite appealing to me. First off, it smells lovely (though…I can’t seem to see fragrance on the ingredient list…strange) – the scent I received was Pomegranate Raspberry, and YUM! So nice, but not sickening or too floral, which isn’t my taste. Second, it’s a cream, which in my experience is always far more hydrating and usually leads to less nicks and cuts as it’s texture allows the blade to glide so smoothly over the skin. Third, it’s got these freakin’ sweet grooves in the sides to allow you to grip the product oh-so-easily in the shower, and the bottle is recyclable plastic – bonus! I love that little added extra
The formula itself is also lovely and boasts vitamins E & C, natural aloe and oat extract, and shea butter; is paraben-free; and claims to moisturize your skin for 24hours after a shave (even after rinsing). I found while using it in the shower (yes, I DID actually shave my legs!), a couple of pumps allowed me to coat my leg perfectly, and due to the more dense texture (vs a slippery gel) it stayed put and I was able to get my whole leg done quickly and easily, which is a must not only because I’m clearly shaving-lazy, but also because the less time a product sits on my skin, the less chance I have for potential irritation. When I was finished, my legs felt soft, smooth, and not dry in the least. All around I was quite impressed, and amazingly I’m actually looking forward to shaving my legs again – like, within the same week!
Next, I got to check out the CUTEST hand lotion ever, by the brand. The scent is ‘Berry Blossom’ which I find quite similar to the shave cream, and I’m totally OK with that as I like it :) Fragrance IS noted in the ingredient list here, but it’s quite low down on the list and I don’t feel as uncomfortable using the product as I am sometimes when fragrance is listed in the first ingredients. I won’t use this frequently, but as a purse or work hand moisturizer I’m good to go.
The texture of the lotion is fairly dense but just shy of being a full-blown cream. It absorbs quickly but not so fast that I’m left feeling like I need more, you know? I have dry hands from my eczema and I hate when I put on a lotion only to find that I feel like reapplying several minutes later. I don’t want to feel greasy but I want to feel like I’m actually using an effective product.
Overall, I’m really happy with both of these products – I feel like a reasonable member of the clean-shaven society now, and I’m always happy to have a perfectly size hand hydrator to stash away in my purse or leave at my desk. The Shave Cream comes in another fragrance – Vanilla Bliss – or in a Sensitive version that is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, an option which makes me HAPPY to see available. It retails for $3.99CAD and is available at quite a few spots – Rexall, Loblaw’s/Superstore, and I believe Walmart as well.
Please make me feel less weird – do you shave infrequently? Do you bother using a shave product, or not?
*Products were provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.
I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me go on about wanting to incorporate a retinol product into my skincare regime by now…but I just have so many other serums and treatments kicking around I haven’t felt justified in spending the big bucks to pick one up just yet! However, I did swipe a wallet-friendly *lite* version back in July – Derma-E’s Vitamin A Wrinkle Treatment Moisturizing Gel. Vitamin A is the basis of retinol, however, this isn’t ‘true’ retinol but sort of the entry-level version (more on that in a minute). I thought with the nature of my finicky skin it would be wise to start small and work up to the hard stuff, and for $14CAD (for 220mL) at Shoppers this seemed like a good bet! But does it work??
First of all, the product claims to be a “refreshing formula that helps diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles” and through the vitamin A it will “enhance skin’s youthful appearance.” On top of that, its supposed to be a “fast-absorbing water-based gel great for oily or blemish-prone skin, and leaves skin feeling soft, supple and smooth.” ALSO, you’ll be pleased to know it’s cruelty-free, paraben-free, and eco-friendly, and is oil-free, which is majorly appealing in the crazy humid weather we had this summer. Sounds all sorts of awesome, eh?
I used this product at night for about a month and it did leave my oilier skin hydrated without feeling greasy at all – though it didn’t seem to do much else. While vitamin A is the second ingredient after water, in this form (retinyl palmitate), it’s not actually retinol – which means that it doesn’t stimulate cell turnover or exfoliate the skin. Because it’s much less aggressive than retinol, however, it can be a great option for those with sensitive skin (me) as in high concentrations like this, it still can plump the skin and increase collagen production. As I only used it for a shorter period of time (as my skin has been freaky everywhere pretty much all of August for no reason, which means – back to super-basics), I may not have given it a fair chance to ‘wow’ me.
All in all, once my skin chills out, I’m definitely give this another shot – if nothing else its a nice moisturizer for sensitive, oily skin and absorbs quickly so you can use it under makeup, too. And the bottle is HUGE for the price, so this will last ages! The only actual concern I have is that the last ingredients note ‘natural and fragrant oils,’ of which I’m wary – but I seemed to have no problems while using it so until I do I will just be aware.
Have you tried any retinol or vitamin A products that you can suggest? What is your ultimate ‘good skin’ potion?