Blending it all Out…

Despite my never-ending love of cream eyeshadow, for both its convenience and ease of application (fingertip), I do really enjoy playing with my zillion powder eyeshadows sometimes. While I find it does take more time and work, having the right tools can change everything, especially for blending, which is key to making eyeshadow work. Over the years I’ve slowly acquired more and more blending brushes of various shapes and sizes which are great for various uses.

The largest blending brush I own is the NYX Pro Blending Brush (far left), which is actually quite dense, and is too big for my small crease space. I like to use this one to either add the absolute lightest transition shade to my eyes, or for a light wash of colour all over my lid. The next largest is the cult-favourite MAC 217 Blending Brush, which I use for the same purposes as the NYX. It’s not as dense, so it doesn’t pick up too much shadow at once, and blends really well. I like to use this as a final blending brush as well to finish a look. Very similar to this one in size, density and use is the Chikuhodo GSN-10 Eye Shadow brush. It’s lovely and I like to use this for blending medium crease shades, though it works really well for all over the lid too.

Probably my absolute favourite and cheapest brush is the ELF Crease Brush, which is small and light, so it pretty much blends anything you want. The next time I make an ELF order I’m going to buy about 5 more of these because they’re so affordable and great. I’ve also washed this brush about a million times and it has never lost its shape. Another great one that’s useful for more precise work is the Zoeva 231 Luxe Petit Crease, which I picked up while I was in Europe. It’s definitely more of a dense brush, but it does everything you need it to, blending-wise and it also acts as a larger pencil brush for smudging.

The smallest brush I own is an old one that they probably don’t sell anymore, but it’s an Estee Lauder eyeshadow brush I filched from my mom years and years ago. I don’t use it a ton so it’s still in great condition. It’s less dense than the Zoeva brush so it can be used for blending deeper colours easily.

What are your favourite eyeshadow brushes and what would you recommend?


The Winter Switchup

In this part of the world, winter has not been that bad thus far – it has to be said. But inevitably, the colder temperatures bring drier air and plenty of wind, which wreaks havoc on my skin every year.

It was around December when I started to really feel the dehydration and dry patches. I was forced to put away my usual night time moisturizer and bring out the big guns – the GlamGlow ThirstyMud Hydrating Treatment, which I mix with a couple drops of the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. It took about four consecutive days of use, but after that most of my dry patches were gone. Now I use this combo a couple times a week just for maintenance, as I do need constant injections of moisture in my PM routine.

Another product I bought in a bit of a panic was the Origins A Perfect World Age-Defense Treatment Lotion with White Tea, because I was in need of a more hydrating toner. It smells wonderful and I slap a bit of this on after cleansing in the morning, so that my skin isn’t so sapped from all the various treatments I use during the day. As you can tell, I don’t normally keep anything too hydrating in my routine but this time of year, it’s so important even for us oily-skinned folks!

The last thing I’ve had issues with is foundation shade-matching. For some reason all of the foundations I own have been oxidizing like crazy on me, and I’m at my palest, so I was struggling a bit with what to do, since I’m so used to buying light-medium or medium foundations that I finally had to run to the drugstore and pick up a shade that made no sense to me – the Maybelline Fit Me Foundation in the shade 120 Classic Ivory. It’s light with neutral undertones – the problem for me is that I have quite neutral-warm undertones, but most brands’ lightest shades lean quite cool, so it’s an ongoing battle for me. So far I’ve been mixing this with a bit of my regular foundations to lighten it up, but the oxidizing issue is persistent. If you guys have any ideas of how to prevent or lessen this, any suggestions would be welcome! I have already tried the primer / primer + powder prior to foundation and neither have worked so far :(.

What are your winter skincare and makeup staples?

2016 Final Clearout and Purge

This is my last post detailing the products I’ve used in 2016 and I’m sure you’re all sick of it, but since 2016 was a year of major commitment to using up products and buying less, I thought it was important to see what I had actually managed to accomplish in this area.

The first picture has all the stuff I used up – mostly skincare and minis. I really powered through a few things, and have already repurchased some. Other things, including the Algenist GENIUS White Brightening Moisture Softener, I am really missing. It was a pricey little number, but it really did reduce my dark spots and worked great at moisturizing. I will also totally repurchase the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment, the Simple Cleansing Micellar Water, and The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Microdermabrasion, which are all amazing and not overly expensive.

Some ‘meh’ products that I won’t be looking for again include the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm – what exactly does this stuff do again? I also saw absolutely no results from the Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Instant Nail Hardener. Quite disappointing, but that’s how it goes with products sometimes.

I am also getting rid of quite a few makeup products – as you know, they have a shelf life and things can get a bit funky after a while. I’d say I probably keep products longer than the average person so really, it’s important that I get rid of things regularly… I’m working on it. Two major product dumps are sadly, high-end foundations: the Benefit The Big Easy Liquid to Powder SPF 35 Foundation, which was good but far too dark for me (they have a terrible shade selection). The bottle is also 2.5 years old and almost empty – it was time for that to go. The Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Foundation is another over 2 year old foundation that I’ve barely used, so there really was no point in holding onto it. Another sort of sad thing that may be controversial, is that I’m getting rid of all my Bite Beauty lip products because even though they are lovely in colour and texture, I just can’t take the scent/taste. I can’t really explain it but something about these just doesn’t sit well with me, so bye-bye Bite. Other products that have basically dried out are my two Maybelline Color Tattoos and various liquid lip products.

All in all I’m quite happy with the items I’ve used up and decided to throw away – it was time and I also hope to continue on this trend this year. What products have you used up in the past year and is this something you’ve committed to doing?

2016 Un-Favourites

It’s the third and last post in my 2016 ‘Favourites’ series and we’ve finally come down to the few products that I really disliked or couldn’t get to work for me this past year. I don’t think I have any overly controversial products this time around, aside from maybe the Too Faced Better than Sex Waterproof Mascara. I’ve mentioned this before, but on my oily eyelids, it never stood a chance – there are smudges and smears everywhere, unfortunately. The NYX Proof It! Waterproof Mascara Top Coat did not help with this at all – it left white streaks on my eyelashes, and also did not make my mascara any less smudgy. If you’re looking for a waterproof top coat, I’d suggest checking out the Bare Minerals offering.

Another disappointment for me from NYX was the Dark Circle Concealer Corrector, which I have in the shade Light. I had been looking for a dupe for the Tarte Corrector, which is quite expensive, so when I found this little guy in the store, at only a third of the price of the Tarte, I figured I should give it a go. Shade-wise, the products are basically dupes. However, the similarities end there. The NYX corrector has a very light, oily texture, which I can’t really describe, but when I stick my finger in the pot, it kind of slides around and doesn’t pick up that much product. Whereas the Tarte one is more of a thick, gel-like consistency and is packed with pigment. I find that the NYX corrector on its own isn’t enough – I need to use a concealer over it. It also creases like crazy, so setting with a loose powder is definitely required.

One product that was a major fail for me was the L’Oreal Colour Riche La Lacque Lip Colour, which honestly, is fine as far as colour, pigmentation and application. I even like that it comes in a skinny pen form. But the scent of this product is so overwhelmingly bad that I can’t wear it. I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of scented products, especially lipsticks, because it can get in your mouth and you end up tasting the chemicals. The scent of this is doubly bad because it is both floral and chemical – a nasty combo that I can’t figure out at all. Just smelling it makes me feel kind of sick, much less applying the stuff all over my mouth.

My two last fails are from Quo, which is Shoppers Drug Mart’s own brand. Their fan brush is the first one I’ve bought in my collection, and to be honest I don’t like it very much because it’s too wide and the bristles too spaced out as well – so it doesn’t really apply highlighter in any concentration (and I’m not even that big on highlighter!). I think they have since replaced this brush with a new one, which I might try out eventually. The other Quo product is the Solid Brush Cleanser – I’m always looking for more affordable solid brush cleansers and this one just didn’t cut it. It’s okay for brushes, although even that takes a lot of work, but it doesn’t clean my beautyblender at all. It’s also not that much cheaper than the options at Sephora, so I will simply stick to those and not repurchase the Quo variety.

What have your disappointing beauty products of 2016 been?

2016 Favourites: Skincare

Skincare is something that will be my most researched and intensely-loved category of cosmetics – it’s my original obsession and where I consistently sink the most money on that unending quest for perfect skin. Last year’s favourites are still loves but I found a few new things this year that really changed my skin for the better.

The first is something I’ve gone through multiple bottles of (..three, I believe), and will repurchase when my current daytime serum runs out. That is the Boscia Clear Complexion Treatment. Something about this stuff just works. It’s not a miracle product, nor does it do anything on really large, cystic acne, but it just helps with the overall appearance and clarity of my skin, and it sits really beautifully under makeup. As an added bonus, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – I will be forever repurchasing this stuff until they stop making it (hopefully that’s never). Another treatment that has just been great is the Sunday Riley Artemis Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil, which is aimed at clarifying and detoxifying the skin. I add a drop or two to my nighttime moisturizer every night and it really helps to make my skin both plumper and brighter. This is a pricey little bottle, but it’ll probably last me forever!

Two face masks I’ve been loving are the Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask, which gets rid of dead skin and clarifies, and the GlamGlow Supercleanse Daily Treatment Cleanser. I know the latter is not actually supposed to be used as a mask, but I use it as a low-budget version of the mask, and it works great – it clarifies and gets rid of the gunk in pores while also leaving the skin soft and smooth. To remove makeup, I’ve been loving the Sephora Collection Supreme Cleansing Oil – it’s just the best and not a bad price point at all.

For something a bit more on the random side, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with the Ombra Spa Deo Roll-On, which might be TMI but everyone needs deodorant, right? This stuff is aluminum free and smells quite nice without being overpowering. I do prefer the Mild over the Sport version, by the way. And lastly, the Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Lip Butters are fantastic. This is a natural, Canadian brand that I think is only available in stores in Alberta, but one can order online from all over the place. The one pictured above is a limited edition Vanilla Candy Cane flavour but I have tried a few other ones and they’re all great for keeping the lips nice and hydrated.

What have your favourite skincare products of 2016 been and what would you recommend?

2016 Favourites: Makeup

Happy 2017 everyone! I can’t believe how fast time has flown, but another year has gone by and with it, more favourites. Products in this post are going to look awfully repetitive but what can I say? These are the things I used and loved throughout 2016 and in the end, it was really easy to pick them out.

For base, I’m still loving my L’Oreal Infallible although I did play around quite a bit more this year with various foundation-type products. The CoverGirl Clean Matte BB Cream for Oily Skin turned out to be quite the find especially around the summer and lazy days when I was looking for easy makeup. I wear the shade light/medium and I have to say that now that winter has rolled around it’s gotten a bit too dark for me, but I’ll be finishing up what is left of this tube when the warmer weather comes back. This is a great everyday base that really does control oil and doesn’t look too matte. Also, as an added bonus, this is the only foundation I’ve ever found that I can apply with my fingers without it looking too streaky or patchy. Another product I’m quickly running out of is the Revlon Colorstay Concealer in Light Medium. This is actually my second tube but I seem to be scraping the sides again – goes to show how much I’ve been using and loving this guy!

The really beat-up, unrecognizable tube is a product I have used without fail every single time I wore makeup in 2016 – the L’Oreal Brow Plumper in the shade Medium Deep. I still haven’t really gotten on board with using anything else in my brows – tinted brow gel is just the easiest and this tube seems to be lasting me absolutely forever. ELF really seems to have stolen my heart where eyeshadow is concerned this year. I’ve used the Back to Basics Smudge Pot and/or the Mad for Matte Palette everyday – they’re just so easy to use, blendable and effortless, which is really what I’m looking for in any eyeshadow, especially on workdays. Do I even have to mention how affordable they are? Lastly, for eyes, the FairyDrops Scandal Queen Waterproof Mascara has been another everyday staple for me – definitely not the cheapest, or the easiest to get a hold of, but a solid, reliable mascara that gets the job done and holds a curl, without flaking or smudging all over the place.

One of the integral parts of my beauty routine is my favourite nail polish top coat – the Nails Inc. Kensington Caviar Top Coat. I’ve gone through bottles and bottles of this stuff and it’s just the best. It dries almost instantly and makes your nails feel like gels. The most magical part of this is that if in the course of painting your nails, one gets smudged, brushing this top coat on top will smooth everything out. It’s basically magic in a bottle.

My last favourite has been an absolute obsession and my most worn lip product this year – the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams. I’m a little slow to the party, but these truly are the best. I’m on the fence when it comes to the liquid lipstick craze but these really do what they say on the tube and last all day with no transfer and minimal drying. There are colours to satisfy everyone and the price point is amazing.

All in all it looks like 2016 was a great year for drugstore makeup for me, which is good news, especially as I will be continually be looking for ways to cut down on the $ I spend on makeup. What were your favourite makeup products of 2016?