Birthday Haul, Part 1: Beautylish

Beautylish
With my birthday around the corner and my needing a couple things (what a wonderful coincidence), I recently made a couple of naughty online orders, one small one, and one motherlode of products. The first of these was from Beautylish, which I discovered only when Googling a place to buy Indie Lee products and have them shipped to Canada. I found that Beautylish carries quite a diverse assortment of harder-to-find brands, and while I would have loved to spend way more money there, I restricted myself to only three items:

Indie Lee Calendula Eye Balm
This is not a product I have heard a lot about, but I read an article raving about it a few months ago, so I resolved to get this when I next needed an eye cream. I have very bad dark circles, and while I know nothing can truly erase them, this one sounded like a good, moisturizing option at the very least. I have only tried it a couple times and it is truly unlike any other eye cream – it is a balm, as the name would suggest, so it has a hard surface that you can slowly melt with the tip of your finger, or dig in and scoop a bit out. The consistency is quite oily like a face balm, so I will only be using this one at night when I don’t need to put makeup over top, but so far, so good.

CHIKUHODO GSN Series GSN-10 Eye Shadow
This is a brush brand that is rarely stocked at the websites or stores I frequent, so I thought I might as well seize the chance and try one out while I could. I decided on the GSN-10 because while I love my MAC 217 blending brush, I have quite a small eyelid and crease area, so I thought getting a smaller blending brush would be great, as well as just having two blending brushes in general. The bristles are very soft and blend shadows well, so I’m loving it so far. The only downside is that it is recommended that the brush is not washed more than once a month – they suggest simply rubbing the bristles on a paper towel to get rid of any unwanted colour. I’m used to washing my brushes quite frequently: about once a week for powder brushes and everyday for my foundation brush, so this should be interesting. Luckily I don’t stray too far outside the brown/bronze/taupe/gold spectrum of eyeshadows, so it won’t be a big deal if colours get mixed together!

Nudestix Magnetic Eye Color in Gilt
Speaking of eyeshadows, after my post on brown cream eyeshadows, I realized what was really missing in my life was a solid, gold cream shadow, so in order to get my order up to $75 for free shipping, I added this little guy to my basket. It’s a lovely colour, the sparkles aren’t too large, but they don’t exactly glide on easily – think Clinique Chubby Stick texture (vs. a softer texture like the Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks). It’s okay though, since a harder texture usually means it won’t slide around on my eyelids throughout the day.

The one thing I will say is that everything in the order came beautifully packaged in tissue paper and bubble wrap – there was even a hand-written card with a message for me, but all in all I would say it was overkill on the packaging – look at how big the Indie Lee box was for a tiny little pot of eye cream – and while it’s nice that each Nudestix product comes with a tin box, sharpener and mirror, I can’t imagine what I’d do with them if I really took a liking to Nudestix and began acquiring tons of their stuff.

Has anyone tried any of these products or other products from these brands? How did you like them?

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Nudie Lips

Nudie Lips

With lipstick being a recent foray of mine, it’s been difficult to remember to get the tube out and do proper maintenance to really wear any colours that pop on the daily. So since it seems I still struggle in going full out, I have decided to stick with nude lips for the most part, unless I really remember to drop a specific colour into my purse in the morning, or I have some kind of special event to go to.

Recently, the nude combo of choice for me has been the Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Gavi, which is described as a “fleshy peach/nude”, paired with the much-hyped NYX Butter Gloss in Creme Brulee. I have medium-light skin in the winter, and I tan to quite a nice medium in the summer, so I have to be careful about what kinds of nudes I wear – many pinky nudes that paler-skinned people can get away with, I can’t, both because I have a darker skin tone, plus the yellow undertones in my skin. Light cool pinks don’t suit me at all, so I was really thrilled when I discovered this combo, which has warm undertones and is dark enough to work on me, but neutral enough that it doesn’t look like I’m ‘wearing lipstick’ so to speak. Minimum maintenance is also needed since the Butter Gloss is quite creamy and hydrating. Not to mention, if I eat, I don’t have to worry about this smearing all over my face.

The nice thing about the combo is that I can use other lip glosses on top of Gavi to change the tone if I want to, and the Butter Gloss works great on its own. It is moisturizing and has a very light candy-vanilla scent that isn’t cloying like most scented lip products, so this is an all around win-win for me.

What is your go to nude lip combo at the moment?

Mini Hair Transformation

Healthy Look
Recently I decided to do a bit of a switch up with my hair to give it some life during these dull winter days. Between the ages of 12-20 I pretty much never stopped colouring my hair, and after I discovered the wonders of heat styling, my poor hair pretty much never got a rest. In recent years I gave my hair a break from the dye but last year I discovered the L’Oreal Healthy Look Creme Gloss in Vibrant Light Auburn, which is an ammonia-free semi-permanent dye that is supposed to infused with an “anti-oxidant complex” with pomegranate and royal jelly that leaves less damage.

This is the third time I’ve used the dye and I have to say that I’m quite pleased with the results. For anyone who wants to skip the ridiculously expensive salon price tag and do it at home, I’d suggest going this route, especially since semi-permanent colour is a great way to try something that you’re not sure about. These dyes are always on sale at the drugstore for around $10-$15 (or less!), and totally worth it. Because I’m a messy and clumsy person, I just spread newspaper around the bathroom and go to town.

Another benefit to using semi-permanent dye (and I don’t know if this is true of all dyes of this type), is that it doesn’t give that burning, stinging sensation to the eyes and nose. Also, I’m allergic to hair dye, so I have to rub conditioner around my hairline and ears before applying, and it works like a dream for this stuff. Red is also a very difficult colour to maintain, so because my hair tends to go brassy, and I have quite dark hair to begin with (that I refuse to bleach), semi-permanent dye fades a lot better than permanent dye, which tends to just go orange.

Results below in the before and after pictures – excuse the poor resolution, but you can see the difference between my natural and post-dye hair.. it’s quite true to colour on the box and cools down the tone of the red in my hair really nicely.
Before After

What are your favourite box dyes and what colour should I try next?

Update: WHAT?! I just found out this product has been discontinued and replaced with the Casting Creme Gloss. Looks about the same so I will have to check it out in stores next time.

Quick Blemish Banishers

Quick Blemish Banishers
I have struggled with acne pretty much since the dawn of puberty years ago. Every time I tell people that even now, well into my twenties, my face is a battlefield, they insist that either 1) my skin isn’t bad, or 2) it’s because I wear makeup. Funny, because it appears 1) is true because of 2), but actually neither of those things is actually correct. If makeup was the reason I broke out, I should have blemishes all over my face.

For the most part, I suffer from hormonal, cystic acne on my chin/jawline; the painful type that hurts like a bruise under the skin for days before rearing its ugly head at the surface of my skin, and then leaving a scar for months afterward. At any given time I usually have at least one or two active zits, but loads of old scars that take forever to fade, so I always make sure to keep an arsenal of treatments on hand for pimples at any stage.

While I would love if I could prevent any new blemishes from forming, I’ve learned over the years that it just isn’t happening until I somehow fix the inside (I have tried cutting dairy, gluten, etc. to no avail). Therefore I’m left with only maintaining a strict skincare regimen, and treating the surface when they do form. Spot treating is a bit of a tricky thing because many effective treatments either leave a residue or dry out the area, making it look even worse. The best quick fixes I’ve found are pictured above – and the most effective way to make them work in my opinion, is to rotate them.

The oldest and first serious topical treatment I ever bought was the DDF Benzoyl Peroxide Gel 5%. This is actually my second tube of the stuff, which is incredible, considering one tube is 2 oz – a lot for a spot treatment! I used benzoyl peroxide almost exclusively for a while, which did work great, but I find that my skin tends to “get used” to things, so I eventually switched it up and recently decided to go back to using salicylic acid, an ingredient I had found largely ineffective in years past. But the Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel seems to have combined salicylic acid with some other helpful ingredients to actually do something to my very stubborn face. The only issue with the above two products are that they can’t be worn under makeup, as they either dry out the skin, or will roll off underneath.

If I need a spot treatment to work under makeup, I always go for my trusty Body Shop Tea Tree Oil. It sits well under foundation/concealer but actually goes to work during the day. A tiny drop goes a long way too! Love, and will definitely repurchase once I run out.

Next on my list of items to buy is something with sulfur, which is supposed to be very effective. What do you use to combat blemishes?

Creamy Browns

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If there is one makeup item I can’t get enough of (aside from eyeliner), but will probably never ever use up, it’s brown cream eyeshadow. Over the years I’ve collected quite a few. Most don’t make it to my daily use drawer, though let’s get real – it takes some extreme love and dedicated use to actually get though an entire pot (or stick) of cream shadow.

I have incorporated cream shadow into my daily makeup routine, albeit only a smidgen. Due to my oily eyelids practically eating powder eyeshadow in the space of an hour, the discovery of cream shadows has had a dual purpose. Not only does it do what it says on the tin–be pretty and neutral on the lids all day–it also helps to make any eyeliner or shadow I apply over it last that much longer. Here are some of my favourites (and one un-favourite just to be fair):

Sephora Eye Pencil in 502
Let’s start with my un-favourite to get the bad over before the good. I’m not sure you can even get your hands on this anymore, although they have a similar concept now available – the packaging looks different and I don’t know if the product has been reformulated, but this is a pale, shimmery brown that is quite beautiful, but has absolutely no lasting power – it creases and slides around, definitely not recommended for those with oily eyelids. Perhaps a primer would help.

MaxFactor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadow in Bronze
The most recent acquisition of mine – and extremely exciting too! MaxFactor is the UK version of CoverGirl, and we poor North Americans can’t get our hands on it without some help. Thanks to a friend of mine who vacationed in the UK over Christmas, I was able to get this sent over, along with a few other goodies from UK drugstores, to test out. It’s a beautiful, rich, reddy brown, and has the softest texture of the bunch – it almost feels whipped instead of packed into the jar like some cream shadows. I’ve only tried it out once or twice, and it blends out really nicely and lasts decently long, although it is not the most long-lasting of the bunch.

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24-Hour Cream Gel Shadow in Bad to the Bronze
The most affordable and versatile taupe you’ll get, in a very generous quantity – this one’s been raved about by everyone and their mother, so I won’t go on about it here. This one gets almost daily use, and I’ll probably never finish it. A great staple, and one that every makeup junkie or noob should have in their arsenal.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Cocoa
Caviar sticks are a very luxurious and creamy formula; they glide on beautifully and stay all day. Cocoa is the deepest of the bunch, a warm brown that can be blended out all over the lids or messily smudged into the lash line. I would highly recommend these if you have the budget.

Gosh Cosmetics Forever Eye Shadow Stick in Light Copper
Another more recent purchase of mine, I discovered this while browsing the makeup aisles at Shoppers Drug Mart and discovered a delightfully shimmery and warm light brown shade. It’s a bit more shimmery than I like (hard to tell from the picture), so it doesn’t get trotted out much on the daily, but for a special occasion, this will definitely be making an appearance. It’s smooth and glides on really easily, and only costs around $13 – better if you can wait for a sale.

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes in Ample Amber
Combined with the Color Tattoo, this baby gets the most use on a daily basis – I just blend a tad all over the lids and bam, one-step subtle shadow done that lasts all day. This one is the closest to my natural skin tone, so I can get away with applying it pretty messily. While it doesn’t glide on as nicely as some of the other formulas, this one sticks around and really does act like an eyeshadow and primer all in one.

Next on my hit list might be a MAC Paint Pot, but with so many options available at the drugstore, I’m not sure I need to shell out that much cash for a quality product. As if I really need anymore creamy brown eyeshadows, but what would you recommend?

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Skincare Haul, Part 2: Korean Goodies

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Koreans are renowned for having beautiful, youthful skin and some of the best skincare brands available on the market. In recent years, The Face Shop has opened in Canada, more Korean brands have been launched at Sephora, and in general it’s been a bit of a craze.

Laneige is a brand that’s actually easier to get a hold of here – I’ve seen it in a few stores around the country. Recently, I ran out of the Water Sleeping Pack, which I purchased a while ago after hearing rave reviews of it from a cousin. It’s a moisturizing mask that is a lovely gel cream formula with a very light scent. In the winter time, I use this almost daily as a nighttime moisturizer and it takes care of any dry patches and flakiness without being too heavy on my skin, something I really have to watch out for. Since I liked it so much, I decided to repurchase another tub of the stuff. Luckily, the local Korean grocery store has a little section that sells makeup and skincare, so I headed there in the hopes of picking up some other items from the brand to try. I ended up with the Light Power Essential Skin Refiner, a toner formulated for oily skin. They have a moisturizing version that is a milkier texture.

The lady working at the counter was so nice that after purchasing those two items, she gifted me with a whole load of travel sized items from the line, which includes a mini of the toner, as well as emulsions and eye cream, and some packets from their Multiberry Yogurt line, which I believe uses fruit acids to brighten the skin.

I have yet to try the other items, but I will definitely keep you posted if I like them (or hate them)!

What are your favourite Korean or Asian skincare brands?

Skincare Haul, Part 1: Try and Buy

Skincare
The last few weeks I’ve picked up a few bits of new skincare that are pretty exciting. Sephora was having a double-the-points on all skincare items for a couple weeks in January, so I decided to pick up two [overpriced] bits I’d been lusting over for a while.

GlamGlow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser
I’ve mentioned this one before and decided to pick it up despite its ridiculous pricetag ($43 CAD). Thanks also to cdubdoll for giving me a little push in the right direction! I decided to hold off on blogging before I had tried it, and I can safely say now that I like it quite a bit. It’s a funny texture, a liquid clay. You’re supposed to keep adding water, until it foams up. It definitely leaves your skin feeling as soft as the corresponding GlamGlow mask does. Because I like the extra scrubbiness, I add some Murad Pore Reform Skin Smoothing Polish at the end to get the last bits of dead skin off, which makes for a perfect cleanse.

Kate Somerville Clarifying Treatment Toner
Kate Somerville is a brand I have heard loads about and have been eying up for at least 7-8 years, but it’s quite expensive, so I am trying to be careful about what pieces I pick up from the line. I’ve only used this toner a few times but I like it so far. I wouldn’t say it’s a life-changer, but it’s a good toner, a nice texture and very lightly scented. Maybe with further use I’ll like it a lot more; overall it’s a good start to a brand I hope to investigate a lot more in the next little while!

What are your favourite new skincare buys?