Pai Perfect Balance Blemish Serum Copaiba & Zinc

Pai is a brand that is relatively new to me and difficult to get in Canada. It’s a British brand that is only available at Whole Foods here, and I’ve been dying to get my hands on this bad boy, as I’ve heard loads of rave reviews all over the internet. When I chanced upon it in my local Whole Foods, I thought I had to try it, especially since I was without a night serum in my skincare routine. So after shedding a tear over the cool $82 I forked over for the 1 oz bottle, I immediately had to put it to the test.

The serum is aimed at combination & blemish-prone skin…check and check. Pai as a brand is also targeted at sensitive skin, I think. While my skin is not traditionally sensitive, I figure that anything made with as few irritants as possible can’t be a bad thing. The serum has a thicker, milky texture, that I can see being really nice to use in the winter, and it has a scent that I can’t quite put my finger on – I find it strong, but neither pleasant nor unpleasant. It takes a minute to sink into the skin, and feels nourishing, which is lovely, since many products aimed at acne try to make skin as dry as possible.

In terms of the overall effect, it has made my skin very soft, but the acne-fighting properties remain to be seen. I will keep using this product and hopefully I’ll see some more drastic changes down the line.

Have you tried this serum or any other Pai products? Which ones would you recommend?


The Best Hand Cream for Non-Hand Cream Lovers

I love the feeling of clean hands. Yup – I’m obsessed. I wash my hands constantly throughout the day because I hate that nasty feeling of a layer of dirt or sweat on my hands. Taking public transportation and working in an office induces constant hand-washing. The results? Dry, dry hands. In the winter, particularly, the skin around my fingers cracks all the time, which is really painful and absolutely gross to look at. While some people apply hand cream immediately after washing their hands to replenish their moisture levels, I feel it just adds that gross feeling back again, oily, greasy and generally unclean, and I usually end up gingerly trying to rub it only on the back of my hands, or foregoing it altogether.

For the first time ever, I have discovered the perfect hand cream for those of us who just hate that moisturizer feeling. The Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve has been a lifesaver, especially right before bed. It’s a white creamy gel texture – more cream than gel, but I say gel because it’s not as thick as some other hand creams on the market. It sinks in really quickly and smells faintly of eucalyptus, which I like.

The only downside is how expensive it is – the smaller ‘travel size’, which is 2.5 oz, costs $18 CAD, and the larger 5.0 oz tube will set you back $28. If they cost less I’d probably have a tube in each room and my purse! However, using this at least once a day has helped my hands considerably, and I’m willing to splurge a little bit so that my hands stay moisturized without feeling like I’m wearing grease mittens.

What is your favourite hand cream and why? Have you tried this one and did you like it?

That Highlighting and Contouring Thing

Unless you’ve been living under a makeup rock, it’s impossible to have missed the explosion in the contouring and highlighting trend. Partially due to a certain celebrity famous for the amount of yellow highlighter used on her face, this long-time trick of makeup artists everywhere is now available for everyone to try.

Almost every high-end brand has come out with some kind of specific contouring/highlighting duo or set, whether it be in powder or stick form. It would be lie to say I haven’t been tempted by one or several of the sets (*cough*Anastasia*cough*), but my skin tone is on the warmer side of things, so I’m fortunate that I can get away with more traditional bronzer shades as contour. Contour shades that are too cool-toned wouldn’t necessarily work on me, so it’s just as well that I have a fair amount of standalone products that do the trick just as well.

First up is my only bronzer that I have been faithfully using for around a year and a half now – The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in shade 03 Medium Matte. This is a good, decently priced bronzer that works for warming up the face and contouring for me. It’s great bang for your buck too, as I’ve been using it on a daily basis but haven’t hit pan yet. It’s definitely on the warmer side and a more traditional bronzer – I would definitely recommend this one as it comes in six different shades that would suit a variety of skin tones. Next up is the in-palette Tarte Park Avenue Princess bronzer, which as you can see in the swatches, is much darker and much cooler. A very light hand is needed with this one, as it doesn’t look very dark in the pan, so the first time I used it, it was like I had a chocolate bar painted across my face. The powder is very fine and lasts ages. I’d definitely recommend this one as well – just be careful how you use it! Fairer skin tones would definitely need a lot of blending.

In terms of highlighter, this is a product that for some reason, I’ve picked up loads of, but never use. I find that highlighter just isn’t really needed during the day, and I rarely go out at night – plus just the teeniest bit will do, so I probably have enough highlighter to last me the rest of my life. My absolute favourite of the bunch is my tiny sample of Benefit’s Watt’s Up, which is a champagne-toned cream stick highlighter. This works beautifully on the cheekbones and can work even as a cream eyeshadow. I don’t know if I’ll ever need to buy a full-sized version of this product! Another lovely one is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light, which can also be used as an all-over face powder to impart some glow, but in my opinion this one works the best as a subtle cheekbone highlight during the day.

A cult classic is of course, MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft & Gentle, which is a pink, shimmering powder – really beautiful, but I find too glittery for my taste, especially during the day. I prefer using this one as an eyeshadow. Another fairly shimmery one is the Jelly Pong Pong Glow Glitter Luminizer Gel, which is an interesting liquid formula that dries quite quickly after blended. I haven’t tried it too much, as I got it in a Birchbox, but I think it’ll be another one I’d rather swipe and blend across the eyelids. The lightest of my highlighters is Tarte’s Champagne Pink, which is exactly as it sounds – a light pinky-champagne colour that isn’t too glittery and blends wonderfully on top of other powders on the face. Lastly, and the second most subtle, is the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in 01-Highlighter. This is a lovely champagne powder that can easily be used across the face during the day.

HC Swatch

Did any of you get into the highlighting/contouring trend and which products are your favourite to achieve a sculpted face?

PS – Just discovered that Charlotte Tilbury is launching in Canada at Holt Renfrew at the end of the month !!! Some of her face products are currently on pre-order if anyone wants to check that out!

Sephora Formula X Infinite Ombre Nail Design Set

Y’all know me by¬† now – I’m a nail polish junkie through and through. And as much as I love painting my nails and really wish I could do awesome nail art, the combo of shaky hands and a complete lack of artistic skill thwart me every time. So when I saw the Infinite Ombre Nail Design Set pop up on the Sephora website I thought “I’m gonna need that“. Luckily (and unfortunately for my wallet), my office is located right across the street from a Sephora, so at lunch time I quickly popped in and grabbed one of these kits.

For $35 CAD, you get a full sized bottle of Platinum Prime base coat, and four sheer but vibrant polishes: Limitless Lemon, Boundless Berry, Infinite Indigo and Timeless Teal. The box has a flap that gives 3 step-by-step instructions on how to achieve different effects with the polish. Basically, you apply a coat of the platinum and let it dry, then go nuts with the various colours. The key to getting the ombre effect is to mess around with them while they’re wet.

Because I absolutely suck at this kind of thing, and since it was the first time I was trying it out, it was a bit hard to get it to work, but based on the reviews on the Sephora website, it looks like practice definitely makes perfect. I only tried a two-colour combo to begin with but I’m excited to keep trying different ways to apply this. I would suggest coating the skin around your nails with Vaseline or something else because it’s difficult to paint little bits of colour onto the different sections without getting it all over the nails – at least I had that problem, since I’m such a n00b at nail art. As you can see, I was terrible around the cuticles trying to cover up all the platinum base coat. Next time will hopefully be better!

Have you tried this set or ombre nails at all? What did you think and how easy was it to achieve the effects you wanted?