Monday, September 1, 2014

Empties, Vol. 2

I seem to be going through a lot of products lately, so what better to do than an empties post! You know the drill, these are products I've used up recently and let you know whether I liked them and if I'll repurchase. So, without further adieu, let's jump right in!

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24h in 210 Buff N
I seriously love this foundation. I always knew I liked it, but applying it with a beauty blender just took it to a whole new level (as I'm sure it would with most liquid foundations). The coverage is insane, but it still looks and feels like skin, and lasts throughout the night. The shade range is impressive (28 shades), with lots of options for both fair and dark complexions. In terms of finish, I'd say it lies somewhere around natural, not matte and not overly dewy. However, I always set it with a mattifying powder so that kind of distorts my view. I'd definitely recommend checking this one out if you're in the market for a new foundation, I've already bought a third bottle!

Batiste Original Dry Shampoo 
An oldie, but a goodie! I've used a lot of different high-end dry shampoos, but for my hair, nothing holds a candle to the $8 Batiste. My hair is extremely thick and I haven't found anything as heavy-duty as this. I've never had a problem with it blending into my dark hair, and it gives a nice little volume boost. Will repurchase.

Trader Joes Tahitian Paradise Brown Sugar Body Scrub
This was part of a three-pack of body scrubs that Trader Joes released around Christmas that I just finally got around to using (#youknowyouhavetoomanyproductswhen). I would say this performed on par with any other body scrub I've used, averagely. But it smelled ahhhmazing. I can't even really describe the scent. It has the characteristic brown sugar smell of course, but then was also warm and fruity at the same time. I wish they would sell this one just by itself, because I'm not sure if I would buy another three. But, my gosh did it smell good. If anyone knows anything with a similar scent definitely let me know!

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment
This one I'm sure I've mentioned a couple times before. It's awesome, go buy it. End review. Just kidding, but it is awesome! It's thick, super moisturizing, and the staying power is practically unparalleled. It is expensive, but it lasts quite awhile so for me it's definitely worth it. Repurchased.

Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 45 Moisturizer 
I've used this on and off for years and have been pretty happy with it. It moisturizes well, has a good price point, and protects my fair skin from the sun. My dermatologist also approves! Repurchased.

Anastasia Clear Brow Gel
This is another product I've used for years. I've tried a drugstore version and the one by MAC, but this is by far my favorite. It keeps my brows locked in place, but doesn't look or feel 'crunchy.' This is one of those products that I will probably never actively look for something new. I like it, it does a good job. So unless something new and fantastic comes out that is heavily promoted in the beauty community, I'll probably repurchase it forever.

CND Super Shiney Top 
Yet another "forever repurchase." I think I mentioned this in my previous Empties post as well. It works with all brands of polishes and really provides a superior shine and lasting power. The Chanel top coat used to be holy grail for me, but, honestly, I haven't used it in years because this one is so inexpensive and does such an amazing job. I should really do a side-by-side comparison... Repurchased (I always have a couple backups)!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop Eye Stick in 410 Stardust Review & Swatches

Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop Eye Stick in 410 Stardust Review & Swatch
The Marc Jacobs Fall 2014 Beauty collection officially launched last week on the Marc Jacobs website, as well as early access for VIB Rouges on Sephora.com. Among the new releases are Kiss Pop Lip Color Sticks, Twinkle Pop Eye Sticks, O!mega Lash Mascara, and Smart Wand Tinted Face Sticks. During the Rouge early access I picked up the Twinkle Pop Eye Stick in 410 Stardust, a pretty, shimmery charcoal. Although there are many pretty shades, I decided to wait so I could swatch the others in person when they are released in Sephora stores on July 24.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop Eye Stick in 410 Stardust Review & Swatch
The Twinkle Pop Eye Sticks come in nine shimmery shades:
  • Honey Bunny 400 - ballet pink
  • Volver 402 - peach champagne
  • Three Shakes 404 - milk chocolate
  • Au Revoir 406 - pewter
  • Frannie 408 - snow iridescent
  • Stardust 410 - charcoal iridescent
  • On the Verge 412 - iced grape
  • Shoshanna 414 - teal mermaid
  • Leila 416 - rose copper

Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop Eye Stick in 410 Stardust Review & Swatch
The Twinkle Pop Eye Sticks come in a twist up black and silver package, with the tip of the pencil cap indicating the color of the cream shadow.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop Eye Stick in 410 Stardust Review & Swatch
I twisted the product all the way to the top and, admittedly, there is not a lot of product for the price. However, it is very pigmented so you don't need much to cover your eyelid. Besides the price, the only negative about these is that they seem a little fragile. I was nervous twisting up the product and will apply it very carefully in the future. This could be partially due to the fact that it sat in the heat in my mailbox for two days before I was able to pick it up, so it probably melted and re-hardened a little bit. In the future I'd like to see additional colours without shimmer.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop Eye Stick in 410 Stardust Review & Swatch
In the above swatch I used about two strokes on the left and then showed the same amount of product blended out on the right. I really like the color, it's a very pretty grey charcoal. The above photo looks a bit pewter, but it really is a true charcoal grey. It blends out nicely for a soft wash of color or can be layered for a more pigmented look.

The Twinkle Pop Eye Sticks as well as the rest of the new Fall collection are available now at MarcJacobsBeauty.com or find them at Sephora starting July 24. They retail for $35 CDN/$28 USD for 0.05 oz.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

June 2014 Favorites

It's that time of the month again... favorites time! I didn't do a favorites post last month because I've been really busy with school, but this month there have been a few select products that I've become obsessed with. Like how-did-I-ever-live-without-this obsessed.

Beauty Blender
Loooooove. I was actually so 'against' beauty blenders until recently. I was always under the impression that because you use them damp you could only get a sheer-to-light coverage, essentially turning your expensive foundations into tinted moisturizers. Clearly, I was wrong. I actually much prefer using the beauty blender now to my brushes because it provides a truly flawless, airbrushed look. Not to mention it seems to take way less time and I use it to blend out my undereye concealer as well. If you haven't tried them yet because you were skeptical like I was, I highly, highly recommend picking one up.

Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer
Full disclosure, this is actually the first primer I've ever owned. Whenever I had tested benefit porefessional and similar products on my hand, I hated the super silicon-y feel of them and cringed at the thought of ever putting a product like that on my face. The Hourglass primer is completely different (and completely amazing). It comes out a little watery and does provide a little bit of that smooth feeling, but nowhere near as heavy as other primers. It's so lightweight, yet on my skin it's like a little miracle worker. It makes my makeup last all day and keeps shine at bay (unintentional rhyme...)

Kiss Looks So Natural Lashes in "Iconic"
I'm blessed with very nice lashes, so in the past I only ever used to add two little individuals to the outside of my lashes when I wanted just a hint more fullness for a night out. These lashes really live up to their name, they're so lightweight and natural looking, just enough to give you a little more oomph. The ends of each strand are tapered, rather than blunt, so they blend beautifully with your real lashes. I've tried three of the styles, but my favorite is Iconic. Shorter on the inside and longer and slightly flared on the outside. I can't seem to find the Iconic style in stores, but I love them so much I ordered eight more pairs on Amazon! 

Maybelline Color Tattoo in 'Tough as Taupe'
These are definitely not a new product but I've rediscovered this shade in my collection. It's a grey-based taupe and I love just blending this into the outer corner of my eyelid to add extra definition to my eye without the effort of a full eyeshadow look. So inexpensive and the pot will last me forever.

Aveda Hand Relief
I actually got this for my birthday in December, but was using up a bunch of other lotions and didn't get around to trying it until now. It does moisturize really well, but honestly it's the scent that makes me love it. Like all Aveda products it has a plant/herb scent that I can't really pinpoint, but it's sooo good. This is the travel size but when it runs out I will definitely be purchasing the full size.

Prices & Where to Purchase
Beauty Blender, $26 CAD, Sephora
Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer, $21 CAD for travel size, Sephora
Kiss Looks So Natural, $8.95 CAD for two pairs, Amazon
Maybelline Color Tattoo, $7.99 CAD, drugstores
Aveda Hand Relief, $9 for travel size, salons and Aveda

Friday, May 2, 2014

Empties, Vol. One

I like 'Empties' videos and posts for two reasons: you get to see what products are actually being used regularly, and, because they are used until they are done, you get a better review and sense of how well the product performs. With so many new products constantly being reviewed and swatched, it's nice to see what was liked well enough to use up and whether it's repurchase-worthy. I've gotten to the bottom of a ton of products lately, so I thought I'd better make this post now before I had accumulated too much. Without further adieu, let's take a look at my trash! (Haha)

OPI My Chihuahua Bites!
It's pretty rare to use up a color polish entirely, and truthfully it wasn't completely empty. But, it had gotten to that bottom-of-the-bottle gloop that's too thick to use and get a nice manicure out of. I absolutely love this coral color, it's one of my all-time favorites and I've already purchased another bottle!

Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover
I plan on doing a 'Forever Repurchased' post soon and this little guy will definitely top the list. I refuse to use any other makeup remover because this one is so gentle (for your sensitive or contact-wearing eyes) and yet removes everything without problem. I mean every last bit of that waterproof gel liner and mascara, it's amazing, and so inexpensive!

Kerastase Bain Bio-Recharge Shampoo
I've been using this shampoo for years. I have very thick hair (and a TON of it) that I only wash once a week. This shampoo is awesome for deep cleaning, but is formulated not to dry out sensitive scalps. I've been really happy with it; repurchased. 

Olay Quench Daily Lotion plus Shimmer
I've also been using this daily after I shower for forever. It sinks in quickly, hydrates and leaves the subtlest amount of shimmer that makes your skin look awesome. Repurchased.

Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 45 Moisturizer
I have been using this as my daytime moisturizer for awhile and... I have mixed feelings. It does a decent job of moisturizing and the high sunscreen factor is important to me, but some of the ingredients are not so great. I've been making an effort lately to become an 'ingredient detective' and switch my skincare routine to more au natural products. Did not repurchase at this time.

Sumbody Zit Zapper
This is one of those au natural products I've switched to. It's essentially witch hazel, bee pollen and a few other natural tinctures. Although it's not an overnight miracle, I think it works and I've repurchased.

Dior Styleliner Liquid Eyeliner
This liquid liner is everything. I wear this everyday, but it's especially amazing at night. I can put it on before a night out and if I'm crashing at a friends house and too...lazy...to take it off at night, I'll wake up in the morning looking like I've just applied it. This liner is a total powerhouse and another forever repurchase.

NYX Matte Blotting Paper
For the most part I do believe that blotting papers are blotting papers (provided they don't contain a bunch of added chemicals/scents/etc), so these are fairly middle of the road. I do like this pulp paper variety (as opposed to the more plastic-y feel of the Clean & Clear ones), however they are not very travel friendly because there isn't a sticker on the inside for easy dispensing. They are fine for use at home when it doesn't really matter if I accidentally pull out five.

Nicole by OPI Drying Drops
I loooove drying drops. I'm never actually sure if it's in my head that they actually make a difference, but I use them religiously regardless. Repurchased and purchased the Essie Quick-E drying drops to compare.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nails Inc. Gel Effect Mayfair Lane, Soho Place & Mercer Street Review & Swatches

I really cannot resist these polishes! Today I have three more from the Spring collection, Mercer Street, Soho Place, and Mayfair Lane. All of the polishes applied well, achieving opacity at two coats.
Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Mercer Street Swatch
Mercer Street is a medium blue cream. Of these three, I have to say this one is my favorite. The photo above is in indoor light and below in outdoor light with my little Toronto Blue Jay accent. The color does vary slightly, but in either light I really love this color. It's bright, fun, and perfect for summer!
Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Mercer Street Swatch
Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Soho Place Swatch
Soho Place is an aqua teal cream which reminds me a little of Essie's Where My Chauffeur, but this one is a tad less blue. If you're into minty aqua shades, this one is definitely for you!
Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Soho Place Swatch
Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Mayfair Lane Swatch
Mayfair Lane is a pretty pale pink cream. One of the nice things about the Gel Effect polishes is their opacity. With light pink shades especially, it can be difficult to get them past a sheer coverage, but this one applied beautifully and was opaque at two coats like the others. When the Spring collection was first announced, this was the color I was most excited about. A pretty light pink in the amazing Gel Effect formula? Sold! However, now that I have it I have to admit I'm kind of on the fence about it. I wish it was a touch lighter and less 'dusty' pink. I think it may look better when I have a tan, or in the dead of winter when I'm even more pale.
Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Mayfair Lane Swatch
Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Soho Place, Mayfair Lane, Mercer Street, Porchester Square, Bond Street, Kensington Passage, Kensington High Street Review & Swatches
Check out my other swatches of the Nails Inc Gel Effect polishes below!
Kensington Passage (coral) - here
Bond Street (purple) - here
Kensington High Street (burgundy) - here

Nails Inc. Gel Effect polishes are available for $17 CDN at Sephora.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Nailed It: Black & Pastel Floral

Black & Pastel Floral Flower Nail Art Tutorial

I saw something similar on Pinterest and loved it so much I decided to re-create it. I think the design turned out so pretty and feminine and is perfect for this in between "Spring" weather we've been having lately. I love the contrast of the little pastel flowers against the glossy black, it's girly with a little bit of edge!


Steps
1. Begin by applying two coats of black (or the base color of your choice) to all nails, I used Chanel's Black Satin.

Black and White Flower Floral Nail Art Tutorial

2. Using a dotting tool, create three five-petal flowers on each nail using a white polish, I used Deborah Lippmann's Amazing Grace. It's important to use white before you use the pastels to make them really pop against the black. I used a slightly bigger dotting tool for the flowers on my thumb, but if you only have one you can just vary the amount of polish on the tool and the pressure applied to create dots of different sizes.

3. Use a toothpick to create a dot in the centre of each flower. You can totally stop here if you just want white flowers, I think that looks very pretty, too. With just plain white it reminds me of Marc Jacobs perfume bottles for some reason.


4. Using the same dotting tool, cover the white dots with your chosen flower colors. You want to make sure you have enough polish on the tool to completely cover the white petals you applied earlier. I varied the color placement of flowers on each nail to give it a more complete, and less pattern-y look. Continue covering the white petals with colors of your choice. Allow a longer than normal time to dry before applying top coat, and you're done!

Black and Pastel Floral Flower Nail Art Tutorial

A super easy and pretty nail art design for Spring!

Products Used:
Chanel Black Satin
Deborah Lippmann Amazing Grace
OPI Do You Lilac It?
Deborah Lippmann Spring Buds
Sally Hansen Pink Blink
Color Club Blue Light
Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat
CND Super Shiney Top Coat
CND Solar Oil
Dotting Tools
Toothpick

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

NOTD: Toronto Blue Jays Ft. Nails Inc. Gel Effect in Mercer Street

Toronto Blue Jay Nail Art Ft. Nails Inc. Gel Effect in Mercer Street
This is going up a little late, but I thought it was worth posting anyway! This Saturday I went to the Jay's game in Toronto with some friends and naturally had to have my nails match the occasion. I used the new Nails Inc. Gel Effect polish in Mercer Street as the blue on most of my nails and then applied two coats of white (Deborah Lippmann's Amazing Grace) as an accent. For the blue jay design I actually used a Sigma E05 eyeliner brush to apply Mercer Street and OPI Keeping Suzi at Bay.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

NYX Baked Eyeshadow in Death Star & Vesper Review & Swatches

NYX Baked Eyeshadow in Death Star and Vesper Review & Swatches

 Seriously, how cute is the packaging on these new NYX Baked Eyeshadows. They come in small black plastic boxes with a bow closure. The eyeshadow is domed, similar to most baked eyeshadows, and have galaxy-related names. I picked up two shades, Death Star, a taupey, silvery grey, and Vesper, a pinky beige. Both have tiny silver glitters.

NYX Baked Eyeshadow in Death Star Swatch & Review

NYX Baked Eyeshadow in Vesper Swatch & Review
These shadows are not overly pigmented, offering a more subtle wash of color, but can be built up. They also become more intense when used wet. I do wish the glitter was a touch more subtle but they are pretty colors nonetheless.

NYX Baked Eyeshadow in Death Star and Vesper Swatches & Review
Available for $5.99 US at Ulta.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Let's Talk... Laser Eye Surgery


While this is primarily a beauty and makeup blog, I wanted to start a new series of posts entitled "Let's Talk," where I, well, talk about an issue or experience I've had. For my first in the series, I'm going to discuss my experience with laser eye surgery. We spend so much time and money trying to make our eyes look bigger and more beautiful with makeup, it's also important to ensure they can, you know, see.

History

In order to fully understand my case, you're going to need a little backstory. I had a fairly mild prescription (-2.25) and since I was 13 had worn contacts on a near daily basis. By the time I was 19 my eyes had decided they didn't like contacts anymore. Despite being very hygienic, taking excellent care of the contacts themselves and limiting wear time, my eyes were red and sensitive and almost immediately after putting contacts in I would get severe headaches. I remember it constantly felt like my contacts were inside out (anyone who regularly wears contacts knows how frustrating this is). I would douse my eyes with eye drops and lay in bed with the curtains drawn just to get relief. I wore monthly lenses until these problems developed and then tried dailies, which didn't help. According to my eye doctor my eyes just stopped being able to tolerate contact lenses. Finally I had had enough and decided to investigate laser eye surgery, or "getting my eyes done." 

My mom had LASIK 15 years ago (and one eye retouched about five years ago) and when I saw how well it went for her it had always been in the back of my mind as a one day that might be nice kind of thing, but I hadn't thought it would become a necessity (ok, not really a necessity, I could've worn glasses). I did some research and went to the centre that I deemed to be the best (TLC LASIK). 

Surgery

I was pretty dead set on getting 'regular' LASIK, where a laser cuts a small flap which is folded back while the laser does its job and then the flap is closed over. However, because my pupils are so large I had to have a variation, called PRK (photo refractive keratectomy) LASIK. The actual laser correction is the same but instead of cutting a flap, a solution is placed on the eye that dissolves the top layer of cells. I was admittedly upset because I wanted 'the best' for my eyes, but after being explained that the two procedures are equally effective and safe, I went ahead and booked it. You cannot wear contacts for two weeks prior to the surgery so that your eyes are at their healthiest. As someone who hates wearing glasses this part was definitely a struggle (but a necessity)!

On the day of the surgery I arrived in the morning with my mom and was escorted to the back with three other patients who were also having it done. We were given 1-2mg of Ativan to calm our nerves and applied numbing drops to our eyes while the nurse handed out our after-surgery kits. The kits contained a myriad different eyedrops (antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, lubricating) that I would apply in succession over the coming weeks. When it was time to go in I was pretty scared, primarily of the clamp they were going to use to keep my eyes open. I laid down on the operating table and the doctors went to work. It didn't hurt, but it was nerve wracking. The whole procedure for both eyes took maybe five minutes. Immediately after I felt like I was going to be sick, so I ended up sitting on the bathroom floor sipping a juice box for about five or ten minutes. I just felt overwhelmed. After that I was sent home and immediately went to sleep. I was given some additional Ativan and pain medication as well as all the different eyedrops.

Recovery

I stayed mostly in bed for a few days afterward and I remember an ache-y sort of pain that lasted awhile, even though I was healing well. A day or two after I remember being able to see much better but found my eyes tired easily so I spent most of my time listening to the TV with my eyes closed or sleeping. I also remember feeling nauseous and having headaches, but my eyes have always had a huge influence on the rest of my health. By day three I was seeing drastic improvement in my vision and this continued over the course of that week. PRK does generally have a longer healing and recovery time than traditional LASIK, but my recovery wasn't that bad. My eyes were sensitive for awhile and because it's been about four years since I had the surgery I can't remember how long that lasted. Eventually though my eyes completely healed and I now have between 20/15 and 20/10 vision which is incredible. My eyes are still a bit sun-sensitive and this causes me headaches, but I had this before the surgery and they certainly are nowhere near as bad as they were with contacts. I also still apply gel eyedrops twice a day (morning and night), otherwise they dry out and give me headaches, but this is most likely due to the fact that I've been applying them for four years and my eyes are accustomed to receiving that lubrication. The feeling of waking up in the morning and not having to reach for glasses or contacts is indescribable and it's now something that I can't imagine going back to. It's not inexpensive (eye surgery involving lasers and your vision is not the place to try and save pennies), but if you're considering it I can tell you that it was one of the best decisions of my life.

As a little disclaimer I am certainly not recommending everyone just go out and get laser eye surgery, there are huge risks. I'm simply sharing my experience for those who are considering it themselves. Always discuss options with your eye doctor, do your research and choose the best option for your individual case and needs.

March 2014 Favorites

This wasn't a huge month for discovering new products, but there were a few key items that I've been loving that have made their way into my daily rotation.

Smashbox Full Exposure palette. I held out on getting this palette for a long time, but I am so glad I finally caved. It really is stunning! It's actually taken the place of my Naked I on my dressing table, which is saying a lot. The colors are so pretty and wearable and I really like the brush that comes with it (bonus!)

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Cottage Cheese. I'm a huge fan of the jumbo eye pencil in milk for highlighting my brow bone and inner corner, but have been loving cottage cheese layered on top for that extra bit of shimmer. These really don't get the hype they deserve, so creamy and blendable and so inexpensive!

Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer in Amazing Grace. Here's a crazy confession: this week was the first time I've painted my nails in four weeks. I seriously lost my mind in finals for awhile (one more week to go)! Anyway, there is just something so simple and chic about white nails and Amazing Grace is one of the best, opaque and non-streaky.

By Terry Baume de Rose. This rose-scented balm has been a nightly staple since I got it. The scent definitely grows on you, but I love that I can apply it before bed and still feel it on my lips in the morning. Plus, it looks really pretty sitting atop my bedside table.

Anastasia Brow Whiz in Ebony.  I used to be obsessed with the Smashbox brow tech to go, but when I tried the Anastasia Brow Whiz I literally threw my brow tech to go's out (ok, returned both my backups), but still, there is definitely a reason Anastasia Beverly Hills is queen of the brow world. The fine point allows much more precise lines and the larger color selection means you'll find a shade that will disappear into your natural brow color. Although ebony seems quite dark it works for me because it's ash toned rather than warm.

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW20. I'm constantly on the look out for concealers that won't crease under my eyes and this one has done a pretty good job. It isn't entirely crease-proof but it's pretty close. My only complaint is that it doesn't have any brightening effect. I may pick up NW15 to see if that would help. It's also difficult to control how much comes out of the pump, so I end up wasting a lot of product.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I wanted to start adding the occasional book into my favorites because I'm an avid reader and always enjoy hearing about good books. This novel (which was made into a movie with Kiera Knightley and Carey Mulligan) is set in the future where the main characters are raised as clones who will someday become "donors." Although it has a science fiction-esque plot, the actual storyline revolves around the lives of three children and a love triangle between them. It's really beautifully written and was an enjoyable read, I highly recommend it!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Manicure in a Bottle: Dior Nail Glow

Dior Nail Glow

Dior Nail Glow
 Dior Nail Glow is a nail "enhancer," designed to make the pinks of your nails pinker, and the whites whiter. It is meant to be worn as a polish on its' own, without top or base coat, kind of like a MNBB (my nails but better) lacquer. I was definitely a little skeptical at first, it really is one of those products that you just need to try out for yourself. 
Bare nails
Dior Nail Glow Swatch in Indoor Light
With Dior Nail Glow 
Dior Nail Glow Swatch in Sunlight
With Dior Nail Glow
Dior Nail Glow Swatch in Sunlight
With Dior Nail Glow
With normal top coat (CND Super Shiney)
Dior Nail Glow vs Regular Top Coat Comparison Swatch
Left with Dior Nail Glow, CND Super Shiney right.
After wearing it for a couple days I really like it! It kind of gives you that fake gel french manicure look... but in a really good way, healthy and pink. Nail Glow is kind of like a manicure in a bottle, clean and polished with just a few swipes of a brush. If you're looking for something that is understated and polished then this is for you. It's a great addition to give you that au natural look. 

 Dior Nail Glow is available for $25 CDN at Sephora.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

For All My Canadian Beauty Lovers


Let's face it - when it comes to beauty brands, sometimes we get a little gypped compared to our American counterparts. However, there are a few places online and off, that I have found that carry sought after brands. Here are some of my favorites:

Online

NailPolishCanada.com

Brands carried: Big and cult brand nail polish, Real Techniques, E.L.F., Red Cherry Lashes, Lime Crime, The Balm

The name says not-quite-all for this one. Besides carrying many big brand nail polish names like OPI, Deborah Lippmann, China Glaze, Essie and Zoya, they also carry brands like A England, Cult Nails, Models Own and NCLA, among many others. And I'm not talking about just a few shades either, the amount of colors they have is extensive. Amazingly, they also carry many cosmetic brands like Real Techniques, E.L.F., Red Cherry lashes, Lime Crime and The Balm. Huge Bonus? Free shipping all the time with no minimum order. I really just cannot say enough good things about this website, I've ordered many times and have always been very pleased.

DevuCosmetics.com

Brands carried: Sigma, Real Techniques, House of Lashes, BH Cosmetics, Cinema Secrets, Graftobian

I originally came across Devu Cosmetics when looking for a (licensed!) retailer of Sigma brushes. Devu admittedly has a slightly more limited selection that other websites, but still has many coveted brands. They also routinely have coupon codes for brushes or other cosmetics.

FTBbeauty.com

Brands carried: Sigma, NYX, Milani, Real Techniques, Barry M, Wet n Wild

FTBbeauty is another licensed Canadian retailer of Sigma brushes. Besides carrying a wide variety (if not most) Sigma brushes, FTBbeauty is your drugstore cosmetics source. They carry brands like Wet n Wild, NYX, Milani, Real Techniques and Barry M, among others. They are currently using a flat rate shipping method which ranges between $8-14.

Well.ca

Brands carried: Weleda, Antipodes, Borghese, Milani, Wet n Wild, IMAN

This is a website that I have not ordered from yet, but one that looks very promising. It has a huge selection of the typical drugstore beauty and health brands as well as some harder to find ones. Free shipping on orders over $25.


In-Store

Shoppers Drug Mart

Brands carried: Nails Inc., Guerlain, Smashbox, Benefit, Lancome, Dior, CoverFX, Bourjois, NARS

Every Canadian is accustomed to our largest drugstore, Shoppers, but it is often forgotten that the larger stores carry a wide variety of higher-end cosmetics and skincare. Of course they also have all the regular drugstore brands available everywhere. Also check out Murale.ca which is operated by Shoppers and carries all the same brands available to ship right to your door. Shipping starts at $8.50.

Rexall PharmaPlus

Brands carried: NYX, The Balm, Wet n Wild

This is another familiar drugstore, but one which I avoided like the plague. I always felt is was inferior to Shoppers until about a year ago when I went in on a whim and saw their newly designed store and beauty department. This is certainly the most accessible place I know of that carries The Balm and Wet n Wild. They also always seem to have a really good selection of false lashes.

Holt Renfrew

Brands carried: Diptyque, Jo Malone, Clé de Peau, Giorgio Armani, La Mer, Oribe, Tom Ford

Holt Renfrew is a great destination for higher end beauty and until last year I had no idea they carried Diptyque and Jo Malone.

Whole Foods

Brands carried: Antipodes, Jurlique, Butter London,

Obviously Whole Foods would not be the first place that comes to mind when it comes to beauty, but it is worth noting that they do carry a pretty good range of skincare and some cosmetics.

Other Obvious Places: The Bay, Sephora, Target, Salons

It is worthwhile to check out the above stores online as well as many carry a more extensive range of products online-only. This is most notable with Sephora, carrying brands like Edward Bess, Ellis Faas and Jurlique among many others. Another website I've heard about but have not tried is BeautyMark.com, so let me know if any of you have ordered from it!

Of course, many American or other countries websites will ship to Canada, but with the above you will not have to worry about paying duty/customs or insanely high shipping fees.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I May Have Done a Little Shopping...


This week I went and visited my family in Florida for my spring break. Besides the beautiful weather and water, I managed to get in quite a bit of shopping... Reviews and swatches for many things coming soon!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Kensington Passage Review & Swatches

Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Kensington Passage

It's no secret that I'm obsessed with the Nails Inc. Gel Effect polishes, so as soon as I saw the new colors finally available at Sephora I may have let out a little squeal and raced over to pick them up. Among the new colors available for spring include:
  • Kensington Passage (coral)
  • Downtown (hot pink)
  • Mercer Street (bright blue)
  • Soho Place (aqua green)
The only color I may not pick up is Downtown, not because it isn't pretty but because I have a lot of similar pinks, but we'll see if my willpower holds out or not...


Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Kensington Passage Swatch

Kensington Passage is a bright coral which, depending on the light, leans salmon pink or bright orange. It applied just slightly more difficult than the other Gel Effect polishes (it was a tad thick and streaky - but I may have had a bad bottle) and achieved opacity at two coats. 

Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Kensington Passage Swatch

Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Kensington Passage Swatch


Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Kensington Passage Swatch

Overall Kensington Passage is a beautiful coral with a formula that simply cannot be beat. Admittedly I wanted this color to be a bit more orange, but the coral that it is is really pretty on, especially for the summer. Available for $17 CDN at Sephora.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Luxe Lust List

All photos property of their respective brands.

I've been doing some online window shopping lately and here are the things I've currently been eyeing...

1. Jo Malone Vitamin E Lip Conditioner ($28) is a product a lot of beauty bloggers seem to like and I'm always in the market for the next best lip balm. I recently ordered By Terry's Baume de Rose and am excited to try it out, but I prefer balms in a stick or tube for taking in my purse.

2. Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise Cologne ($65 for 1 oz.) I gave my mom the Earl Grey and Cucumber scent for Christmas and she absolutely loved it, which made me want to foray into Jo Malone fragrances myself. I'm typically a Chanel No. 5 girl but all of the Jo Malone scents are so lovely and complex.

3. Jo Malone Sweet Almond & Macaroon candle ($75 for 7 oz.) This scent is part of the 'Just Like Sunday' collection and is completely up my alley. It's a warm combination of vanilla, almond, cherries and coconut. Mmm...

4. Dior Aloha Nail Vernis ($25) This isn't a new shade, but I am a sucker for what I like to call hot orange shades. They always look amazing in the summer with a tan. 

5. Laura Mercier Creme de Pistache Body Souffle ($65 for 12 oz.) I received four of the mini hand creams in different scents for Christmas and this has become one of my favorites.

6. Diptyque Roses candle ($28 for 2.4 oz.) As much as I like sensual, warm scents, I also enjoy more classic scents like Rose. If you're going to buy a rose-scented candle, it might as well be from cult-favorite Diptyque.

7, 8, 9. Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. lipstick in Bitch Perfect, Feline Flick liquid eye pen in Panther and Luxury Palette in Uptown Girl ($38, $36, $62) I have been seriously obsessing over Charlotte Tilbury lately. Her makeup line launched in the UK a few months ago and her products look amazing. Unfortunately you can only currently get them online through Selfridge or Net-a-Porter along with a hefty international shipping charge.. I'm talking $50 shipping. Sigh... Until they start shipping internationally from her website or launch in the US and Canada I'm not sure if I can justify spending so much. The collection is quite nice though, grouping the products into ten different looks, and she posts great tutorials on YouTube using her line.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Easy Pink & Purple Dry Marble Nail Tutorial

Pink and Purple Marble Nail Art
Pink and Purple Marble Nail Art

This 'dry' marble nail art is so easy to do and looks amazing. Since I applied it I haven't been able to stop staring at my nails. You can vary the colors to suit any occasion and because of the swirl design if you get any chips a couple days in, they won't be noticeable.


Products Used:
Color Club Vintage Couture
Rimmel Nail Tip Whitener (any white nail polish will do)
OPI Feelin' Hot-Hot-Hot!
OPI Pink Flamenco
Nails Inc. Gel Effect Bond Street
Nail dotting tool (a tooth pick may also work)


Steps:
1. Apply one coat of your base color to all nails, I used Color Club Vintage Couture.
2. Working one nail at a time, apply dots of polish to the nail. 
3. Using your dotting tool, quickly, but gently swirl all the dots into one another to cover the nail. You want to work quickly so the dots of polish don't dry, but also gently as pressing to hard will cut through your base color and show bare nail. 
4. Continue the process for the rest of the nails. Allow to dry and apply top coat.

Pink and Purple Marble Nail Art
Pink and Purple Marble Nail Art
Pink and Purple Marble Nail Art