2017 Un-Favourites

2017 was a good year in terms of products bought and tried – not only was I trying not to buy too many unnecessary things, but I think most of the new items I tried worked out really well. Of course there will always be duds and this year there were really just three that disappointed.

I’ve mentioned the CoverFX Perfect Pencil before, and I still haven’t figured out how to use this properly. It is either an overpriced nude eyeliner, or a too-slippery and not very effective concealer. I tried to use it for spot concealing as well as cleaning up around my lips to clean up a line, but it’s not opaque enough for that. If anyone can explain to me how to use this, it would be great, since it wasn’t cheap!

Another odd product is the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea 4-in-1 Setting Mist. I only have a mini, and I had high hopes because I generally enjoy Tarte products. However, I found this setting spray to be quite sticky and never really ‘set’ down, which I hate since I really hate anything that leaves my skin feeling tacky or moist. Of course I probably shouldn’t have been surprised because from what I understand, the Rainforest of the Sea range is really meant for dry skin, so in all honesty it’s probably great for that, but sadly not for me.

The last product I just couldn’t work with is the Body Shop’s Lightening Drops, which are good for the most part; they do lighten foundation without changing the texture or finish, but because they are slightly pink, they are meant to neutralize yellow tones. This is probably a good thing for those of you who don’t have yellow undertones in your skin, but for me it definitely isn’t what I want. I wish they had made a pure white formula and then had a separate pink one instead of combining the two. So this is definitely a very personal choice due to my skin tone but if you lean more on the cool side then this would definitely work for you.

What are your 2017 product regrets?


2017 Makeup Favourites

In contrast to my skincare, my makeup routine changed quite a lot in the past year – I tried a lot of new products that I ended up falling in love with and now can’t imagine living without. To start off with, the Jouer Anti-Blemish Matte Primer was amazing. It’s the first product I have tried from the brand, and it did not disappoint. It fights blemishes but sits really nicely under makeup without feeling too slippy or strange. If it was easier to get a hold of Jouer products in Canada I would definitely repurchase in a heartbeat. My new foundation love this year has to be the Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation; it was a huge splurge, but is totally worth it – it has SPF 25, has a lovely demi-matte finish, and super high-coverage. It also stays all day – I wore it for around 20 hours the day of a friend’s wedding and it held up pretty darn well, with minimum flashback to boot. I wear the shade 4.5.

How can anyone’s makeup favourites not include the fabulous Tarte Shape Tape Concealer? Enough has been said about this concealer – it’s pigmented, blends like a dream, and sets itself under the eyes. What more could you ask for? When I did want to set this, and the rest of my face, I used one powder for most of the year – the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. This is a pricey little product, but works amazingly well and lasts forever. I found the best way to apply this was either with a damp beauty sponge or a powder puff to press it into the skin gently. An interesting find for me this year was the NYX Pro Foundation Mixer in the shade White. I’ve written a few times about how I struggle with foundations oxidizing on me or just turning darker, and I have found that this really helps to find the perfect shade for my skin. I mix a little bit in with my foundation and gradually add more as needed – it’s especially good when you’re trying to transition through the seasons and don’t want to buy a whole other bottle of a lighter or darker shade.

For eyes, I have found a new mascara that’s truly waterproof and sticks around all day without smudging or flaking – the Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara. It’s quite lengthening and probably not as thickening as I would like, but the fact that it stays on my lashes all day is already a small miracle. It also holds a curl and doesn’t get clumpy or gloopy. Its companion is the Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara, which I love. Even though my bottom lashes are quite short and sparse, applying a bit of this stuff really makes a difference and opens my eyes up a lot more than usual. It also makes application so much easier – regular sized mascara wands are just too messy in that area. The Colourpop Creme Gel Liner is another item I’ve added to my daily routine that I can’t live without. I smudge a bit into the outer half of my lower lash line, which helps define the eyes so much more. It also sticks around all day and the shade Overboard is perfect; it is a metallic brown that isn’t as harsh as a black but still manages to define the lower lash line. Lastly, I have been absolutely loving the Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise in Bette, which is a lovely bronze colour. As a cream eyeshadow addict, the texture of this shadow is completely different to any other one I own – it’s a light whipped mousse that can be used as a light wash of colour, or built up to be more intense. Even though it’s metallic it can be blended into the crease for some subtle definition, or smudged into the lash line for a more intense look. I really enjoy this and it is totally worth the expensive price tag.

What were your favourite makeup items of 2017 and what would you recommend?

Compare and Contrast x 2

It’s been a while since a posted..! Sorry for the long delay but I’ve been really busy with work and traveling and whatnot, so I’m back with a sort of double mini review post.

I’ve spoken before about the beautyblender and how much I think it’s a great tool for applying foundation/concealer, and sometimes even powder. I had never tried any other sponges before, so a couple months ago, picked up a couple of the RealTechniques Miracle Complexion Sponges, which are about a third of the price of a beautyblender. Everyone seems to have good things to say about the RealTechniques sponge, so I figured, if I could find a cheap dupe, then why not? I’ve been using both sponges the past month and have come to the conclusion that the beautyblender is actually just better. I don’t know if that justifies the enormous price tag, but I can use a beautyblender sponge for around 6 months (this is with 5 days a week use) before it starts to fall apart from daily washing and use. By contrast, the RealTechniques sponge started to crack and lose pieces after only a few weeks of use – this is definitely the biggest difference between the two sponges, and I use the same method of cleaning for both. There’s also no denying the original beautyblender is so much softer than its cheaper counterpart. I found that while makeup application is similar, if I used the flat part of the RealTechniques sponge to apply my foundation, the abrupt edge would sometimes make lines all over my face, which was annoying and I’d have to use the round bit to smooth out. Going forward, I think I would still prefer to buy the beautyblender, since it lasts about 6 times as long.

Another product I’ve been using faithfully for the past year is the Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Fibre Gel. I love this stuff – having tried a number of other brow gels that weren’t as good (the only comparably good one is the one from L’Oreal). First off, there are five different shades of this product, which is kind of amazing selection for a brow gel. I use the shade 5, which is a super dark, cool-toned brown,which is perfect for me. It applies really great with the tiny brush and dries down without feeling crunchy or weird. Also, because it has fibres, it adds volume to the brows in a pretty natural way. I don’t have overly sparse brows but they could definitely use some beefing up, so tinted gel is the only product I use for my brows.
A little while ago, I was in the US and one of my favourite things to do there is to browse the drugstores because there are definitely a bunch of items that I can’t get up here. I picked up the Soap & Glory Archery Volu-Boost Brow Fibre Gel, which I think is clearly a knock-off product of the Gimme Brow, but it’s only $12 USD, which is half the price. I picked up the shade Talk of the Brown, which is a medium, warm brown. Once it’s brushed through the brows it doesn’t come off as warm as it appears, and it dries down nicely as well. Overall I would recommend the Soap & Glory offering if you’re on a budget – it’s definitely worth it if you can get your hands on it where you live.

Have you tried any of these products and what is your favourite beauty sponge or brow gel?

*On a safety note, it appears Benefit has recently recalled Gimme Brow due to a few batches not being up to par. Please be careful if you’re thinking about purchasing this product!

Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation

If you’re familiar at all with my foundation preferences, I’m all about the drugstore life. L’Oreal, Maybelline, Milani, I’ve tried and loved many of them. The high end stuff I’ve tried has been mostly so-so and not really worth the price tag, I’ve found. But there are so many popular luxury brand foundations, in which I’ve always been interested. Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk is one of the most popular foundations at high end stores, and I have lots of friends who swear by it, but having such naturally oily skin I always run away from anything claiming to be ‘luminous’.

So earlier this year, when Armani released the Power Fabric Longwear High Cover Foundation, my curiosity was instantly piqued. I read review after review, but simply couldn’t wrap my mind around dropping a cool $70 on a single bottle of foundation. I barely spend that much on skincare! But after sitting on this product for months and slowly thinking about it, as well as being able to finish three or four older foundations in my stash, I was coming around to the idea. The real catalyst was when I got a $100 mall gift card. At that point, I decided to pick up a sample and see if I was actually into the stuff (I would highly recommend doing this before dropping that much money on makeup). I got samples in shades 4.5 and 5, but as of now I have not even touched the 5 since it’s far too pink for me, as well as being too dark despite my summer tan. 4.5 is basically my perfect shade – and it barely oxidizes on me either, huzzah!

The sample lasted me around a week’s time, during which I wore it almost everyday. Power Fabric has a very thin texture and applies very easily (I used a beautyblender to apply). One thin layer covers up a decent amount; two layers covers basically everything – I even went without concealer a couple of days, which almost never happens for me. It has a demi-matte finish, definitely not flat, and when it dries down, it doesn’t feel like there’s anything on the skin. It wears fairly long – I wore this on a couple of 7 am – 11 pm days and by the end it was definitely wearing off around my nose and chin, but honestly, that’s 16 hours of wear without touching up, and on my extremely oily skin I don’t expect foundation to ever last that long. Overall I ended up really liking this foundation, between the great colour match and the texture/longevity. So I went back to Sephora and ended up picking up the full size bottle, which I’m really happy about. The only thing that worries me is the fact that now that I’ve gotten somewhat accustomed to the idea of spending so much money on a foundation, I might be getting into more luxury products, which is not good for my wallet! Either way, I’m very pleased with Power Fabric and would recommend it to anyone looking for a lightweight full coverage foundation, who is also willing to part with some hard-earned cash.

Have you tried Power Fabric or any other Armani foundations, and what would you recommend?

The Mini-Purge

As we’re nearing the end of a very unsatisfying summer here in my part of the world, I thought it would be a good idea to get rid of a few beauty products from my stash that I’ve either finished, used to death or has just plain gotten old (or some combo of the above).

The first product I have used up is the Pixi Makeup Fixing Mist. Pixi only came into Canadian stores less than a year ago and this was the first product I picked up to try since I’m always in need of a good setting spray. This one smelled like roses, which I’m not overly fond of, and unfortunately the spray was terrible – in fact it stopped working altogether and I had to decant the liquid into a different bottle. Either way, it only did a so-so job of making my makeup last longer, so I won’t be repurchasing, although I am curious about other products in the line since I do like their Glow Tonic.

One product I’ve simply had for too long is the Lorac Behind The Scenes Eye Primer, which actually came with an eyeshadow palette that I bought years ago. It’s good, and I used it for a while, but since I don’t actually wear powder eyeshadow all that often, it’s simply gotten old and very difficult to push out of the tube, so it’s about time I say goodbye.

Another product I’ve had for an appalling amount of time is the Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder in shade 3. This is the first bronzer I ever bought in my life and I used it every single day Monday-Friday for the past.. 5 years. Yes. I said it – you probably think I’m absolutely disgusting and/or demented, but these things seem to last forever. I finally reached the point where the ring around the outside shattered and it was no longer possible to get product onto my brush properly, so I’m finally getting rid of it. Would I repurchase? At some point in the future, maybe. It’s a great texture and colour, and I love that there are so many different shades. This was a bronzer I could just go to town on since it isn’t overly pigmented, nor is it too dark for me. Just the fact that I used it for so many years, however,  has me wanting to try other things.

The last item I’m parting with is the Sunday Riley Artemis Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil. I bought this last year and they soon discontinued the product, so I won’t be able to buy it anymore. It was nice while it lasted but now it’s been open for a while so what is left of the product inside has gotten very gloopy, separated and crusty around the edges. I would like to try the UFO Clarifying Oil next, which I believe was released to replace this product.

What have you gotten rid of recently and what are you going to try next?

Concealing it All

Concealer is probably my favourite and most necessary makeup product of all time. For those of you with perfect skin and no dark circles, I am extremely jealous. But for me, concealer is essential – I have oily, acne-prone skin with hyperpigmentation issues and very intense dark circles. Even on days that I don’t do a full mask of foundation, I like to pop at least a small amount of concealer onto my worst areas so that I don’t scare small children.

Recently, I’ve gotten into colour-correcting a bit more. Green concealers help cancel out red on the face, so to help cover my angry blemish scars, I like to swipe a bit of the CoverFX Correct Click Color Corrector in green before I apply any foundation or concealer, and it really helps to cover up the redness underneath. The texture is very smooth and not too heavy, which is always something that concerns me when I’m layering multiple products.

When I wear no foundation and my concealer really has to match my skin tone, I have to use a couple different shades since my t-zone is darker than my cheeks. On my cheeks I like to use the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer in the shade light neutral (third from left swatch). Enough ink has been spilled on this product – quite simply, it’s great. On my chin and nose I use the Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer in the shade 11 – Tatin (right-most swatch). This is a shade I can only use when I’m tanned, but I would love to pick up more shades as I think this is a really lovely concealer – it’s smooth and light, and has decent coverage. It also blends very easily.

Under my eyes, on quick and easy days, I just use a small dab of the Tarte CC Undereye Corrector in the shade light-medium (top swatch). This stuff is amazing – so full coverage and just the perfect peachy tone (re: not too pink) for my naturally yellow-toned skin. If I want to be a little brighter under the eyes, I use a swipe of the ultra pale CoverGirl Ready Set Gorgeous Concealer in light/medium. This stuff is not in the medium realm of skin tones, by the way (swatched in the picture just right of the green), so I can only really use this under my eyes, which I love.

What are your favourite concealers and colour correctors?

Some Empties and Reviews

Recently I’ve finished a few products, which I’m quite pleased about. It’s tough to finish full sizes of things when there are so many products one wants to try all the time! Luckily I’m pretty good at using up skincare pretty consistently – I’ve got some thoughts to share on the few empty bottles pictured above.

The Estee Lauder Clear Difference Advanced Blemish Serum is one I had been dying to try for ages. It was a lovely creamy texture that worked great throughout the colder months – acne treatments tend to be a bit drying, so I really appreciated that this wasn’t. As for actual effectiveness, however, I will say that this was not my favourite product in the world. It didn’t seem to do much to reduce or prevent breakouts, nor is this a cheap serum, so I won’t be repurchasing. I’ve since gone back to using the Boscia offering, which is much better and cheaper to boot!

Another skincare product I managed to use up recently is the Fresh Umbrian Clay Oil-Free Lotion. If you’ve been around my blog at all, you’ll know that the Fresh Umbrian Clay Treatment Bar is basically my all time favourite, must-have skincare product. I’ve always wanted to try more from the line but never splashed out until recently. Unfortunately, the lotion did not work out as well as the treatment bar. While it went on the skin great, it would eventually ball up and pill on the skin if I rubbed it at all. This was not good for under makeup; I would only recommend wearing this on days you plan on going bare-faced, which isn’t great, especially with the $50 price tag.

The last ‘skincare’ type product I finished is the first supplement I’ve ever tried for skin. I used two full bottles of the Genuine Health Perfect Skin and didn’t honestly see much of a difference. It’s supposed to be taken everyday for at least a month or so, which I did, but struggled to see anything different. In fact, now that I’ve stopped taking the supplement, my skin is less blemished than before. Unsure if this could be a detoxifying effect, but I’ve decided to rely on diet/skincare/drinking lots of water for now to try to improve my skin.

Apologies for the negativity in this post, but sadly, that’s been the reality of these products. I’ve saved the best for last though – the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation in shade 120 is finally used up! This is one of my favourite foundations – it’s lightweight and stays matte for several hours, and is very affordable. The only thing I have issues with is colour selection/oxidization, but that’s a problem I’ve had with virtually every foundation I’ve ever tried. I would totally repurchase this foundation and heartily recommend it to anyone who is interested. This is the first in what I hope is a series of half-used foundations that I am aiming to finish up by the end of the year.

What have you used up recently and what is your goal for using up products in 2017?