The Nail Wardrobe: Halloween Edit

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Since Halloween is just around the corner (a very small corner at this point), and I’m not really one to go all out and get dressed up and party, but as usual, I’m excited to bust out the festive nail polish – that’s about as far as I go when it comes to holidays.

For the classic orange-and-black combo, one of the best I’ve found is OPI’s Nail Lacquer in Atomic Orange. It is just a standard bright orange – I’ve had this bottle for absolute eons, but it still hasn’t gone goopy. I find OPI is hit and miss for this but a great choice here for Halloween. A more sparkly, festive orange option is the Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in 20 – Crushed. The formula of this one is incredible – dries fast, long lasting, etc. While I do have a standard black, I decided to include two that aren’t just black – the first is the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Midnight in NY, which is a black with bits of micro rainbow shimmer. It’s so fine you can barely see it when you paint it on, or you need several coats, but it’s lovely without being boring. The less subtle version is Butter London’s The Black Knight, which has bigger pieces of pink and blue glitter.

For those who have girlier costumes or are just wanting to get festive, I’ve included a couple great options here. The first is a lovely liquid gold with some shimmer CoverGirl’s Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Golden Opportunity. Perfect for any party or pairing with a princess costume. The next is one that I only whip out for super special occasions. Chunky glitter is just too difficult to remove, and I find it often chips in huge chunks. But the dazzling effect is totally worth it once in a while – Sephora Formula X in Light My Fire is a gorgeous gold base with big and small pieces of rainbow glitter.

What will you be rocking on your nails this Halloween?

The Pumpkin Wardrobe: The Fall Must-Have

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If there’s one thing that I can’t get enough of in the fall, it’s anything that has to do with pumpkins. I love pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin tarts, pumpkin cheesecake (one of my favourite things to bake and stuff my face with), pumpkin soup, even just pieces of pumpkin on their own are delicious. Of course, you can’t forget the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, but with amazing restraint, I’ve managed not to get one yet this year, despite passing two Starbucks on my way to work each morning (I have, however, chowed down on a pumpkin scone. Mmmmm…).

Trying to bring as much pumpkin as possible into my life has resulted in this small collection of four products:

Philosophy Pumpkin Icing 3-in-1 Shampoo, Bubble Bath and Shower Gel
This is possible the most heavenly-scented product I’ve ever had the privilege of smelling. I was at Sephora giving all the holiday-scented shower gels a sniff, but wasn’t really impressed with any of them. I’d been wanting to get Cinnamon Buns for a while, but that is available year round. It appears that The Bay has the Canadian exclusive on this product, so if you’re interested, run over there and snatch one up.. you won’t regret it!

Michael Todd True Organics Pumpkin Nutrient-Rich Facial Mask
The last time I placed an order for Michael Todd products, I decided to add a mini of this into my bag, and didn’t open it until today after my shower. It smells and looks exactly like the filling for a pumpkin pie – sweet, spicey deliciousness. It’s meant to be a chemical exfoliant that also moisturizes at the same time, and after the first use, I can’t say one way or another whether I like it yet, but when I put it on at first it tingled, so it felt like it was doing something!

Bath & Body Works Mason Jar Candles in Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin and Spiced Pumpkin Cider
We all know how good the scents are at Bath & Body Works where the candles are concerned, and though I’m a recent convert to scented candles, I decided I had to have some pumpkin-scented stuff. They had a deal on the mason jar candles, so I picked these two up. Not much to say except… go to your local Bath & Body Works and check them out before they’re gone.

What are your go-to pumpkin-scented products come fall?

The Face Wardrobe: Concealer Obsession

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I’ve mentioned before that I get quite regular breakouts and bad hyperpigmentation. I also had the privilege of being born with deep, dark caves underneath my eyes, so concealer has been one of those products that I have used since I first discovered the wonders of makeup.

I do also find that concealer is one of the most difficult products to buy because colour matching is a huge issue. Unlike with foundation, where if the shade is slightly off and you can kind of buff it in and blend it down the neck to kind of get rid of any obvious difference in colour, with concealer, it’s extremely obvious if the shade is off since it’s only in certain places.

Over the years, I have collected quite a few and had varying success with them.

1) MAC Studio Conceal and Correct Palette in Medium
The first time I ever got properly colour-matched for a concealer was at a MAC store. A friend recommended the Studio Finish SPF 35 so I went in looking for that – this was about 5 years ago. The staff member there matched me to shade NC 30, and I merrily used this concealer for years. Anyone who has ever owned a pot of the Studio Finish concealer knows it lasts literally forever. The issue is one that all of us have to deal with, which is changing levels of tan-ness in the summer/winter, and an additional issue I have is that my cheeks are lighter than the centre of my face. Being a makeup ignorant, I used this forEVER, and decided to buy the palette when my single pot began to run out. It was good for mixing and changing the shades depending on how dark/light and what tone I needed.

I’ve since realized that the lighting in my bathroom is awful and too yellow, and while I do have some yellow undertones to my skin, the MAC warm-toned products are FAR too yellow for me and don’t blend in with my skin at all.

2) NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard, Ginger
I stopped using the MAC palette with the release of these two babies, which have made the rounds in the online beauty community. The hype is real, people! It is creamy, moisturizing, very pigmented, and everything you could ever want in a concealer. I did buy these with the aim of having them as doubling as an undereye and blemish concealer, but I do find that they are a little too thick for under the eyes. They are my everyday blemish/hyperpigmentation concealers, and on days I don’t want to use foundation, I use Custard on my cheeks and Ginger on the middle of my face, blend them in, and it looks perfectly natural and concealed. Absolutely love these, despite the high price tag!

3) Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Sand (20)
Something else I bought due to YouTube/beauty bloggers, this is a great, affordable option that seems like it was supposed to mirror the NARS (packaging and such), but it’s a much thinner consistency, which makes it perfect for under my eyes. Really happy I tried this one, and will definitely repurchase.

4) Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer in Neutraliser
Another Youtube/beauty blogger recommendation I got sucked into for undereyes. I stopped using this one in the summer when I got more tan, but will probably be reverting back to it soon. It’s great, affordable, and a lovely consistency. I think I prefer the Fit Me, between the two Maybellines, but this one is a good one too.

5) Make Up Forever Full Cover Waterproof Concealer in Sand (7)
I bought this one to compare to the NARS, and I like both, though I prefer the NARS, I find the shade of this one is great for all over my face with some blending. What I’ve discovered is that some brands have a better balance of undertones in their shades, such as NARS and MUFE. It’s not as high coverage as the NARS, but works really well and isn’t too heavy. As a consequence, I carry this one around with me in my purse.

I love concealers and would love to try some more. What recommendations do you have?

The Body Wardrobe: Spray-On Hydration

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As the weather gets colder, it becomes more and more important to moisturize. These days, the air is getting a lot drier, and my arms and feet are starting to become increasingly flaky and cracked (gross! Overshare?). I’m usually pretty good about lotioning up all year round, but I’ve been noticing a trend of thin, liquid-y lotions in spray form popping up all over the place. And as much as I love me a good, thick and luxurious body butter, I’ve found that the thinner formula is surprisingly hydrating, and much easier to work into the skin. My two favourites are:

St. Ives Fresh Hydration Lotion in Energizing
I’ve also tried the Coconut Hibiscus scent and it’s good, but I prefer the citrus scent, especially as I did start using this one at the end of the summer. The continuous aerosol spray is really great, especially if you’re in a hurry. You can usually find this one on sale at the drug store, which makes it super economical.

The Body Shop Coconut Body Milk
This is the second bottle of the stuff and as we go into the cooler months, I always like using coconut-scented products, despite coconut being a tropical fruit reminiscent of hot weather and white sandy beaches. I find that coconut has such a warm, nutty scent that is perfect for the winter, especially the Body Shop one. The Coconut Body Milk comes out of a regular spray bottle and is far more hydrating than it appears. I’ll be cracking this one open as soon as I finish the St. Ives.

What are your favourite hydration options for the winter?

The Nail Wardrobe: Top Coats and Treatments

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I alluded to this in my last post, but I absolutely adore nail polish. As a small child, it was the first makeup item I zoned in on, and while it has taken me years to pluck up the courage to add various products to my routine (I am still working on lipstick and blush), nail polish has been a constant since about age 5. I own more nail polish than any other type of product, and it’s my favourite and in my opinion, easiest product to buy.

Being such a lover and constant wearer of nail polish, it is a very depressing fact of my life that I have extremely weak, thin, flimsy and flaky nails. I’ve tried to figure out why for ages–and my mother has very thick, strong nails that have always been long. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never have long nails, but at least I can prevent the constant flaking and peeling. I’ve tried many products, base coats, moisture treatments, over the years, but these are the ones that I’ve found work the best:

Sally Hansen VitaSurge Strength Gel
This is my second bottle of the stuff and it’s the first step for me in trying to infuse as much moisture and strengthening-power into my nails as possible. What’s great is it can be massaged into bare nails or nails with polish on them. There are beads inside that burst as they are worked into the nails. I’ve found that once this is out of my life, my nails suffer as a result.

OPI Original Nail Envy Nail Strengthener
What I used as my base coat for the past 6 months or so – after hearing rave reviews about this stuff I had to get my hands on a bottle. While I have tried OPI base and top coats and hated both, this stuff seriously works. And it dries almost instantly.

OPI Soft & Thin Nail Envy Nail Strengthener
A super recent purchase, as recently I was finding that my original Nail Envy didn’t seem to be working anymore. I decided to try the Nail Envy that was formulated specifically for nails like mine, and found that it works the same. I’m not sure if my nails just plateaued or what, but I think switching up the two works really well, as both work really well as base coats.

Nails Inc. Caviar Top Coat
I’ve lost count of how many bottles I’ve gone through. This is the best top coat ever. Hands down. One caveat to that – one my main priorities in any base coat, top coat and nail polish are that they dry fast. Obviously minimizing chipping is important, but as I change my nail polish colour at least once a week, usually twice, I am much more concerned with quick-drying, and this one does that, faster than I’ve ever experienced. It also makes your nails feel incredible, I can’t explain it, but it does. Another note is that they seem to have repackaged this product – it used to come in a clear bottle and was pink-looking (painted on clear), but now it’s in a black bottle, and on Sephora.com they seem to have a big square bottle of it now that’s more expensive. I haven’t tried that version yet, but it may be next on the list!

I should also quickly mention that I buy the Sally Hansen and Nails Inc. products from Shoppers Drug Mart, whereas the Nail Envy incarnations I get from Trade Secrets.

What products do you use to strengthen your nails and/or improve your manicure?

The Nail Wardrobe: Autumn Essentials

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Since the last post introduced some autumnal shimmer back into the life, I figured why not continue with the autumn theme. The focus this time will be non-shimmery nail choices – as an aside, what do you call regular nail polishes that don’t have any sparkle? Matte? No, but they’re shiny.. Cream finish? I’m not really clear.

Anyway, these picks are my favourites for the fall and winter – and definitely more office-appropriate if that is a concern.

1) American Apparel Nail Lacquer in Factory Grey
American Apparel nail polish is actually really, really good–it dries fast and doesn’t chip too badly. It’s not a product I ever see mentioned on the beauty blogs or YouTube channels I watch, but I’ve been a fan for a long time. This is my favourite fall pick, as it is neutral, but quite a lovely dark grey, with almost bluish-purple undertones that make it less ‘dead’ looking. *Note: upon further perusal of the website, they don’t appear to have this colour anymore on the online store? I’m not sure if it’s still available or if you can still purchase it in stores.

2) Nails Inc. Nail Polish in Jermyn Street
I don’t even know how to describe this colour. It’s a mid-tone brown with some red/purple thrown in? It actually paints on much darker than it appears in the bottle, but to me it’s quite a unique colour and perfect for the cooler months without being too dark or too grey.

3)  L’Oreal Nail Color in #470 Haute Couture Red
This is not a special colour or formula, what I am trying to say with this one is that everyone should have a dark, vampy red in the fall. It’s a no-brainer and always in!

4) Essie Nail Lacquer in Haute in the Heat
Strangely enough, Haute in the Heat was part of Essie’s summer collection a few months ago, but when I picked it up, I was instantly drawn to the deep raspberry colour–it was lovely for summer and I think it’s deep enough, but will still brighten up your fall wardrobe. This might be my favourite nail polish purchase of the year (and I am OBSESSED with buying nail polish).

5) Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in #510 Pat on the Black
A discovery from last fall, this deep, almost-black purple is a beautiful colour, a good substitute for a dark red, but still chic. Love the Complete Salon Manicure range from Sally Hansen–very affordable and it has a good formula. I find it’s quite difficult to find a dark purple that doesn’t have any shimmer in it, so I would love to know if you guys know of any good dupes!

I have many, many more polishes that I wear in the fall, but these are some of the ones I will be painting on the most. Let me know what your favourites are!
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The Face Wardrobe: Autumn Bling

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Seeing as how my last post was about summer, why not have a post about the season we’re actually in?

I’ve seen a lot of autumn edits on YouTube and blogs around the interwebs – which I love. Fall is a great time of year because it’s when you can start incorporating a bit of shimmer into your daily routine. When the natural summer glow fades, it takes some more work to infuse some life into your skin – here are a few of my favourites:

1) Nail polish
Nail polish is one of the easiest ways to incorporate some autumnal bling. While I love chunky, holographic glitter, it’s questionable for the office, and incredibly difficult to remove. So I prefer more subtle shimmers, such as Zoya Feifei and the aptly-named Sephora by OPI Wild About Shimmer, which has gorgeous pink and gold shimmer and looks good both over a solid colour and by itself.

2) Cream eyeshadow
Not a type of product I ever thought I would be into, but after realizing that my oily eyelids eat powder eyeshadow for breakfast, putting a layer of cream underneath, or just sweeping a light layer on its own work quite nicely – no creasing or disappearing of eyeshadow at all. My favourite neutrals are the Maybelline 24/7 Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze and Clinique’s Chubby Stick for Eyes in Ample Amber.

3) Lippie
Since I’m not really a regular wearer of lipstick, and especially not the sparkly variety, I find that lip gloss is a great way to wear shimmer. Pictured is a recent purchase of mine, the CoverGirl Colorlicious lip gloss in Give Me Guava. I find the peachy shade + a helping of gold shimmer really helps to make lips look extra juicy. The only downside to this one is that it has a cloying, sweet scent, which I REALLY hate in lip products. An awesome alternative to this one, but I’m not sure if you can still get it anymore in stores, is Revlon’s Colorburst Lip Gloss in Peony. I recently lost mine, but it’s basically the same thing, just with a more intense colour and no scent (yay!).

What other ways have you found to work some autumnal shimmer into your daily look?