Buy, Try and Review

New
When it comes to new beauty products, I wish I could be a true beauty blogger and buy items just for the sake of trying and reviewing them. Maybe someday (… far off dream!). But I still love buying and trying new items, especially from brands I already love, or just products I’ve heard of over and over again. I’ll try to do these mini reviews periodically, as I try not to spend too much money on new products – using things up like a regular person is still my aim.

With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, I had a hankering to try a few new things and have been able to wear them for a while to really see if I like them or not:

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, Trooper
Everyone and their mother raves about this stuff and have been since it was released. I was apprehensive, since I had tried a now-discontinued felt-tip liquid liner set from Kat Von D a couple years ago, and they all dried up in about 2 minutes. But the idea of a calligraphy pen nib really did intrigue me, after so many years of using my Stila liner. I have to say that I do like this one – it’s very easy to use, with a flexible tip that gives you tons of control without scraping across your eyelids like some of the felt-tip types tend to do. My one gripe is that it’s not as black as the Stila, though you can layer it if you want the ultra black effect. Staying power is good and it doesn’t smudge on me at all (yay!). At $23 CAD it is $3 cheaper than the Stila one, so maybe I will be staying with this one from now on.

PS I just saw on the website that they have this in brown. I’m definitely going to grab one of those at some point…

Benefit Roller Lash
I was fortunate enough to get a sample of the newest addition to the Benefit mascara range, since I hate splashing out on expensive products (especially ones as finicky as mascara), and not have them work. The brush is awesome, love it – it’s a small curved plastic brush with short bristles that apply mascara wonderfully. I feel like it really works with my short, sparse lashes. However, as with most mascara formulas, this one gives me some serious panda eyes. Unfortunately, I will not be purchasing the full size, though I might keep the brush around for use with whatever mascara I’m into at the moment!

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops, N35
As I’ve mentioned before, my skin has really taken a turn for the worse since around November – I don’t know why, since nothing has changed, but I’ve been really working on a few things to improve my skin. One thing I did was cut out liquid foundation and replace it with the CoverFX Custom Cover Drops, which is a fascinating product, and one that I was really excited to try. The idea is that it’s a super concentrated pigment that you can mix into anything – serum, moisturizer, primer, etc. The more drops you add, the more coverage you get. I’ve been mixing two drops in with my regular moisturizer every morning to get a really light evening out of my skin. Then I’ve just been going in with concealer to spot conceal anything really bad. I have to say that these didn’t work out for me as much as I would have liked – first of all, the colour is supposed to be “for medium light skin with neutral undertones”. This, to me, is VERY yellow-toned, so I had to change which concealer I was using with it. Also, I found that it settled into lines and pores in a way I’ve never experienced before. Depending on what you mix it with (I did try all three options), it can break up or mix in strangely – the best result is definitely with moisturizer in my opinion. I’m going to continue using this and see how I can make it work, as it was not cheap, but I really hope more brands come out with a similar product.

Tarte Showstopper Clay Palette
I’ve always wanted one of the round Tarte palettes, ever since I saw the Waterlilies one they brought out a few years ago. However, I have a very strict rule about palettes, and that is – I will not buy it if I won’t use every single colour included. Over the years, Tarte have released a few of these round palettes and each time I gaze hopefully at them but then see the teal or dark blue shade that I just know I won’t use – and why would I spend close to $50 on something that I can’t fully enjoy? Of course I’m slightly cheating here since I almost never wear blush (once or twice in my life so far, only). But I thought the colour of this one (Fame) would suit my skin should I ever decide I need some blush in my life. The eyeshadows are lovely and blendable. Predictably, I use the shade You’re a Natural (matte nude) the most, but I don’t wear much eyeshadow when I’m going to the office. The bronzer (Park Avenue Princess), which I believe is Tarte’s signature bronzer, is shockingly pigmented. An extremely delicate hand is required with this, and I am not really that fair. On my medium-light skin it was as if I had painted chocolate onto the sides of my face, so I’d recommend taking the ‘less is more’ route here. Overall I’m really pleased with this purchase and excited to keep using it everyday.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat
I don’t know of a single person who is as obsessed with the Nails Inc. Kensington Caviar top coat as I have been the past few years, but everyone raves about the Seche Vite one, so when I popped into Winners one day, I knew I had to give it a go when I saw it. Overall I do really like it – it dries very fast and I think it does make polish last a tad bit longer than the Nails Inc one, although the way the Nails Inc feels after its dry it’s incredibly luxurious, which the Seche Vite doesn’t have. If I see this again I will definitely repurchase!

CoLab Dry Shampoo, Rio
I’m not the biggest dry shampoo fan as you may or may not know – I prefer to wash my hair daily, as much as I know that’s supposed to be bad for your hair, yaddayadda, I just can’t stand the greasiness that builds up and I love the fresh feeling of washing my hair. Also, having quite dark hair means a lot of dry shampoo = white/grey blotches all over my head. So when I heard about Ruth Crilly‘s dry shampoo, I was really excited to try it. Winners stocks them in both the Rio and New York scents, the latter of which I’m not overly fond of, but the product itself is really fantastic. It’s weightless and colourless and doesn’t give my head the itchy feeling that other dry shampoos give me. I’m quite pleased with this product even if I don’t use it very often.

Alterna Bamboo Luminous Shine Mist
My Alterna bamboo obsession continues. I already love the oil, use the hair mask and have tried various other sprays and heat protectants from the line. The Winners hair section is really amazing, so I was quite happy when I picked this up $14,99 (half the full price!). I’m not huge into hair styling products, but a couple spritzes of this stuff after using the straightening iron does wonders. It smells fan-freakin’-tastic, and it smooths down hair and some flyaways. The really stubborn ones probably require something more heavy duty like a hairspray, but this mist is lovely. Not something I would normally buy or indulge in, but I figured, hey, why not? And with summer so close, it’s nice to give hair that extra shiny boost during the day time.

What products have you recently purchased and tried? Have you tried any of the ones listed in this post, and how did you like them?

The Exciting NYC Haul

Haul
For those of us living in the northern parts of the American continent, some beauty products are simply unavailable, or hugely overpriced. The selection of brands and products in Canada are usually 1) slow to arrive and 2) more limited than south of the border and in the UK. However, thanks to our French cousins in Quebec, we do get quite an impressive selection of French pharmacy brands (i.e., Bioderma has been available in Canada for a long time now) – an interesting mix of products, for sure.

A recent long weekend trip to NYC had me hunting around in Duane Reade and of course, the mothership – Sephora, for any kinds of deals/steals/new products that I’ve been stalking on the internet – I didn’t end up with a whole bunch of stuff, but I definitely managed to do some damage (especially since the exchange rate is sh*te right now!).

At the drugstore, I managed to snag a few really great products I’ve been Googling and hearing about for ages – firstly the No7 Beautifully Matte Make Up Base. Interestingly enough, No7 as a brand is actually available here in Canada, but apparently this product didn’t make the cut when they were deciding what to bring over. Duane Reade has a large selection of Boots brand and No. 7 products, which is awesome. I’ve heard various people rave about this stuff, and while I’m somewhat apprehensive about primers in general, I’m really excited to try this one out. Another product I’ve been hearing rave reviews about from both UK and US bloggers is the L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper in Medium to Dark. This product is only available here in the transparent shade, which is very annoying, as ever since the brow gel trend has hit the shelves, I’ve been dying to get my hands on as many drugstore versions as possible – I’m currently using the Maybelline offering after being too cheap to splash out on Benefit Gimme Brow. I’ll let you know how they compare once I crack the tube open!

Another item that is completely unavailable in Canada is any variety of benzoyl peroxide treatment over 5% in concentration – for some reason that is what they’ve allowed for topical use here, whereas in the US you can get up to 10%, so I excitedly picked up the Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10, which I’m hoping won’t dry out my skin too much. Lastly, is a product that is definitely available here, but for much more money. The Gillette Venus Snap Travel Razor costs around $20 CAD but I found it in the US for around $12. Much better, despite the dismal exchange rate.

At Sephora I tried to restrain myself as much as possible, as technically, 95% of the stock is available here as well, but because of the price difference, I had to pick up a couple things. The Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder is a product I’ve been lusting after – I find highlighters very tricky; I’ve tried a few beauty blogger cult favourites before but never seem to keep to using them, as they are too sparkly for my taste, and for everyday wear. This one is a lovely soft champagne peach with tiny tiny sparkles. The ‘matte’ in the name is actually somewhat misleading – it isn’t actually matte in the traditional way, but it definitely doesn’t have the larger particles that some highlighters contain. I’m really excited to start incorporating this into my everyday routine. Lastly, I thought I’d try a new Philosophy scent. While I’m not much for traditional perfumes (I’m allergic), scents that smell more like real things like fruits or flowers appeal to me much more than more ‘perfumey’ type smells – anyone get what I mean? Anyway, I’ve used and loved the Philosophy Unconditional Love and Love Sweet Love scents. Loveswept is a relatively new fragrance that smells similar to Love Sweet Love – though less citrusy. I’m going to love using this one during the summer.

What recent purchases have you made, and what new products have you fallen in love with?

Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes

Younique
Beauty products are a top conversation topic sometimes amongst the girls at work (can you say.. enablers??), and recently mascara came up in conversation, specifically the Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes Mascara, as one of my coworkers has very short, sparse and straight lashes. She claimed that this mascara changed her life and makes it look like she’s wearing falsies. Of course, we were immediately intrigued. While I’m not the biggest mascara junkie, nor do I tend to focus that much on my eyelashes, I’m always interested when someone mentions a holy grail product of theirs. So, knowing that mascara is often quite a love/hate subjective beauty product, two of us decided to order the mascara (it is sold like Avon, through representatives), which costs $35 CAD a pop.

As the name suggests, it’s a fiber mascara, but it has two steps. I’ve never tried a fiber mascara, but I was always under the impression that they generally came in one tube, with fibers mixed into the mascara. This, however, has two steps – a ‘gel’ and the natural fibers, which looks like a wand covered in lint. So the idea is to apply a layer of gel, quickly apply some fibers and then another layer of gel to seal it all together. The effect is actually insane – the fibers really lengthen and thicken the lashes. My only issue was that with my oil-slick face, it ended up smudging all over my under-eye area. The solution? I decided to use the fibers with layers of my regular waterproof mascara, which also works great.

younique2

I doubt I will repurchase, but it was a really interesting product to try – one that I have never seen or heard of before in the regular beauty channels and blogs that I frequent.

Have you tried this mascara or something similar, and how did it work out for you?

Top Spring Summer Nail Loves

As we are well into May now and the weather in Canada has finally gotten to almost consistently warm temperatures and sunny skies, I thought I’d take a dive into my nail polish stash and see which colours I’ve been wearing the most and will continuing to wear throughout May and into June. Pastels are some of my favourite types of colours – they’re light and pretty and most of them enhance a bit of early tan.

Here are my top picks for pastels and nudes: first off is the very light and easy Bourjois So Laque Glossy in 07 Coton sur Ton – I find that this is not the most opaque of nudes, therefore it is extremely easy to apply. If I want something a bit thicker in formula, I reach for the Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Rose Hip, which is a lovely baby pink. I’ve spoken about my love for the American Apparel Nail Lacquers before, and one of my favourites is the colour L’Esprit, which is a cool-toned light purple that looks good on pretty much anyone and is a good alternative to pink. (Edit: I just did a search and it appears the colour may not be available anymore!!! I don’t know if AA are discontinuing their nail line, but I really hope not!) Lastly, and one I enjoy using on my toes, is Essie’s Mint Candy Apple. This is an Internet cult classic so I had to pick it up when I spotted an Essie sale a few months back. On some people it appears more green, but on me it definitely veers more baby blue.

Corals

Going into summer, I love a good coral, both on the nails and lips. The lightest of the bunch is Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure Nail Polish in 230 Royal Blush, which in the picture is showing up as quite pink; however in real life it leans much more apricot in tone. Speaking of apricots, Revlon’s Parfumerie Scented Nail Enamel in Apricot Nectar both goes on and smells like a dream. It lasts a surprisingly long time and has a light fruity scent without being overpowering or weird. Covergirl’s Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Polish is another of my favourite formulas, only recently released in the last year or two, the colour Coral Silk is a lovely mid-toned coral that works on both the fingers and toes. My obsession with coral polish was really amplified when Clinique released their line of nail polish in 2013 and I had to get my hands on the shade Really Rio, which looks amazing with a tan as well. The last and deepest of my picks is another Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Nail Polish in 450 Kook-A-Mango – it’s red, it’s orange and it’s coral: the perfect summery colour.

What are your picks for spring and summer nail polishes, and which formulas last the longest on you?