The First Sephora Haul of 2018

The title might sound alarming, but I promise the theme of my little excursion to Sephora was just recovery and replacement. I’ve recently found that both my hair and nails have gotten alarmingly dry and damaged, so it was over to pick up some stuff to help with the situation. The Alterna Bamboo Kendi Oil is my all-time favourite hair oil. I’ve tried so many other brands but nothing seems to work like this guy. It’s not cheap, but one only needs a few drops, and it lasts ages.  I pat a few drops into the ends of my damp hair and when I wake up in the morning my hair feels stronger and smoother – it’s a miracle. The Nails Inc. NailKale Superfood Base Coat seemed to me like a slightly gimmicky product (really? Kale in nail products?), but I’m a fan of the brand overall, so I figured I would give it a go. The nice thing about this is that one coat = base, and two coats = intense treatment. Multi-tasking products are always nice to have around, so I have high hopes for this little bottle.

Two other things I needed were eye-related. I can’t tell you how many shu uemura eyelash curlers I’ve gone through in the past 10 years. I tend to use them way longer than recommended (too expensive otherwise!) but the hinge on my last one was really starting to go, so I picked up another, and man is it wonderful to have a brand new curler. Curling my lashes now takes half the time as before. And last but not least, I needed another liquid liner so I grabbed an oldie but a goodie – the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper. This is definitely one of the best eyeliners in the price range and I would highly recommend to anyone, especially liquid liner n00bs who want to practice. The brush tip never gets weird or splayed and each one of these pens lasts me  anywhere between six months and a year.

What were your first Sephora purchases of the year and what would you recommend?


Sephora VIB Sale Haul

Yup, it’s that time of year again, the eagerly anticipated Sephora 20% sale for their beauty insiders. As in past years, I’ve not bought anything overly exciting – I had been waiting for ages for this sale since I had slowly begun to run out of a bunch of skincare items. In the end, I only really bought four things – my usual Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, Boscia Clear Complexion Treatment, a jumbo holiday-sized Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Transformation Gel, and a new product I’ve never tried, the Herbivore Brighten Pineapple Enzyme + Gemstone Instant Glow Mask. The first three I was in dire need of and are repurchases. I’ve tried another Herbivore mask before and really liked it so I figured it was worth trying another. I haven’t used it yet but will report back!

I also got a bunch of samples and used some points for minis. The first is the NEST Black Tulip rollerball, which I’ve sniffed in store a few times but never actually bought. I find the NEST family of fragrances to actually be quite up my alley, so I’m taking baby steps seeing as how I am such a perfume n00b. I don’t know how to explain how it smells but it’s quite dark and sensual while still being sweet. I’m also quite excited to try the Sunday Riley CEO antioxidant Protect + Repair Moisturizer. Sunday Riley products are quite good, but so expensive that I like to try samples before I buy anything. My 500 point redemption was a set of Murad products from their Essential-C line. Over the years I’ve found Murad products to be hit or miss so I always like to try their minis, plus they’re awesome for travel. A couple other samples I got that are good for travel are the Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil and the Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream. The latter is quite an expensive full-sized product and I’ve never tried anything from the brand (though I’ve only heard good things!), so I’m excited to see what the texture is like.

What did you pick up from the sale and what goodies are you looking forward to trying?

Colourpop Haul

Well guys, I got suckered in again. Being an absolute concealer junkie, when I heard that Colourpop was releasing their own line of concealers, I just had to try them out. Of course while browsing the website there was a whole bunch of other stuff I was curious about so I ended up with a whole haul of new products that I’ve been playing with over the past few weeks.

The No Filter Concealer is what started this in the first place. I picked up two shades, Light 20 and Medium 30. Upon first application, these are a really nice texture, pigmented and smooth, but I find that they are very tough to blend out, and they oxidize like crazy. I mean, MAJOR oxidization. I would suggest that if you want to try these out, to go 2 shades lighter than your actual skin tone. I’m tan right now and Light is working out well for me because it goes so much darker. It also settles into pores pretty badly so I think I will stick to using these under the eyes. Would I re-purchase? Honestly, no.

Another new release from Colourpop was their line of brushes; I only picked up one, the Small Fluff Brush, which is pretty versatile; it applies highlighter really well as well as setting the undereye area. For the price point, I would definitely recommend this brush and am totally open to picking up some other ones in the future.

A launch that I missed ages ago was the release of their Pressed Powder Shadows; they are known for their Super Shock Eyeshadows, which I’ve tried and blogged about before. I will say that the powder eyeshadows are really quite lovely, this was probably what impressed me most out of everything I hauled – they’re soft and blend out well with almost no fallout. I bought four since they send a free palette for them, which is nice, although I will say the palette is very large and bulky considering how little product they house. The shades I picked up (L-R in the swatch) are: Ringer, Save it for Later, I Owe You and Conundrum. I’ve always been super curious about the orange / burnt sienna shade as a crease shade and I think I Owe You is a perfect colour; it’s not too bright that it looks too strange for everyday. The two shimmery shades are really beautiful and unlike anything else I own, despite the fact that they are still in the gold/champagne/bronze family. I’ve been using these four shadows and they are really great for doing everyday and even more dramatic looks.

I’ve been trying to get my hands on a new bronzer so in the Sale section of the website I snagged the Alexis Ren X Colourpop collab called Topaz, which consists of two large pans of bronzer (Golden Moment) and highlighter (She’s Here to Stay) – first two swatches in the middle picture. The highlighter is obviously too dark for me to use in that manner, but I’ve been treating it like a massive pan of eyeshadow, and since I love my gold eyeshadows, I’ve been really enjoying patting some of this all over the lid on days I don’t use the other pressed shadows I picked up.

Another set I picked up in the sale section were a bunch of lip products. First up is the Lippie Pencil in the shade Toy, which is a lovely pinky nude. Next, I got a set (no longer sold, sorry!) of three of the liquid lip products – an Ultra Matte Lip in The Twirl, Ultra Satin Lip in Likely, and an Ultra Glossy Lip in Up Do. I’m not sure if I’m a huge fan of the liquid lippies from the brand, as I think the very thin liquidy formula is very difficult to apply neatly. But the shades are lovely and I like how they are unscented, but I don’t believe I’ll be buying any more of them in the future, except maybe some nude lip gloss shades.

All in all I’m quite pleased with my overall purchase. While I find Colourpop products to be hit or miss, the price point is really great so I don’t feel like I’ve spent so much of my hard-earned cash. What have you tried from Colourpop and what would you recommend?

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?

Switching up the Routine..

I’m pretty much a creature of habit. Despite my love of beauty products and unbelievable amount of variety out there, I tend to go back to more or less the same thing, every time. I use the same eye creams, serums and foundations, over and over again. I’m also always looking for similar ingredients, even if I don’t re-purchase exact products. I’m also really slow on the uptake – trends or new hyped up products tend to take ages for me to try, but this time around, I think I’m almost on the edge of being up to date on a few new launches!

The newest product of the bunch is the Revlon Colorstay Creme Eyeshadow in the shade 730. These are not super new, but they are new in Canada – the display just came into my local drugstore a week or so ago so I had to try one. You’ll know I have an obsession with gold/brown cream shadows, so I tried to go a bit different here with the shade – Praline. It’s a lovely pinky champagne colour that I don’t normally go for. Not that I’m trying to kid myself, this is not a wild colour by any means, it’s just not in my usual comfort zone. Revlon have a gold and a bronze, both of which I was tempted to grab, but I resisted. The formula is quite different from other cream shadows I own – it’s a thin formula that spreads easily and packs quite the punch, pigment-wise. I’ve been enjoying this so far and will continue to wear it year round.

Another relatively new launch in Canada, despite it being a Canadian brand, is The Ordinary. I know the products have been available online for a while, but I have never seen them in stores until recently. I’ve been dying to try a whole ton of products from the line but resisted since I wanted to see how just one went – to start, I picked up the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% High-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula.  I’ve been using it as a night-time serum as well as mixing a drop or two in with my morning moisturizer, and so far, so good. I haven’t used it long enough to see any visible differences, but it hasn’t made my break out. I don’t think I’ve ever used either of those ingredients as an acne treatment before, so I’m super curious to see what it’ll do. And the really affordable price tag makes everything better – I won’t feel like I’ve wasted a whole ton of money even if it doesn’t work out. If it does end up working out, I’d like to go back and pick up one of the Vitamin C or AHA/BHA treatments.

Toners are one of my favourite skincare items to try out – don’t ask me why, they’re really exciting to me for some reason. So, when I saw the belif brand in a Face Shop store, I knew I had to pick something up from the line. belif is not a new line and has been available in American Sephoras for ages now, but in Canada, they are not available for some reason. There are three different toners in the brand and I picked up the Witch Hazel Herbal Extract Toner, which is geared toward dry skin, but as you might know, witch hazel is a great ingredient for reducing blemishes. Since the entire theme of my skincare routine this year seems to be ‘acne-fighting + moisture = win’, this has been a great addition to my morning routine. The texture is quite thick for a toner, so I just pour a bit into the palm of my hand and pat into my skin. It’s been a few weeks now and so far I really like this toner and would like to try more from the line.

The Una Brennan Probiotic Micellar Water is something I’ve been using it on and off for the last few months, and it’s really great for removing makeup without leaving any residue OR leaving the skin tight and dry. I typically remove my makeup at the end of the day with an oil or balm, but now that we’re into the warmer summer months, using this micellar water is really refreshing.

I’ve saved the best for last again… Urban Decay has been releasing a lot of new products in the last little while, and none of them really caught my interest until I heard about the Velvetizer Translucent Mix-In Medium, which made me squeal inside. This is an ultra fine loose powder that’s meant to have a variety of uses – you can use it to set your makeup, or mix a little in with any foundation to make it more matte and velvety. For an oily-skinned gal such as much as myself this is basically a dream come true. There are so many foundations/tinted moisturizers I would love to try out there but have always been afraid because of how oily I get in my t-zone. Not to say that I will now be trying out luminous formulas, but for example the It Cosmetics CC cream is one that I’ve added to my stash and would love to wear more, but I find that it never dries down on me and is tacky and melts down throughout the day. Adding a bit of the Velvetizer actually makes this stuff stay on all day long, making it the perfect foundation for summer, with the SPF 50. Using the Velvetizer as an all over setting powder is also amazing – it’s so finely milled and soft that it makes the skin look airbrushed. The only thing I’ll say you can’t do with this is bake under the eyes – but that’s okay since other powders can do that easily.

What have you tried recently and what have your favourite new products been?

Goodies from Tarte

Ahh, the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer. Has there ever been so much hype surrounding a beauty product? I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of such a unanimously adored concealer as this – not even the NARS or Urban Decay offerings from the past few years have ever gotten so much universal love. And you know what, after trying all three of them, I can totally see why. Of course people have different skin types and requirements, so for me, I found the NARS colour selection to be off for my skin, not to mention far too cakey for under the eyes, and the Urban Decay one oxidized way too much (just like all UD face products I’ve tried).

The Shape Tape is the pretty much the perfect concealer – it’s lightweight, easily blendable, and has the fullest coverage of any concealer I’ve ever tried. It works for under the eyes and isn’t too radiant for covering blemishes. The packaging is quite interesting, the tube is much bigger than other concealers, and the doe foot applicator is positively giant. A tiny bit of this stuff goes a LONG way, it’s actually insane. I picked up the shades Light Sand (yellow undertone) and Light Neutral, which as you can see in the swatches, are actually quite different, Light Neutral being much darker than Light Sand. To get the perfect shade for me I do have to mix them a bit but that is fine. I still haven’t gotten much sun this year so in the summer I’ll definitely have to buy a darker shade, but for now the two I picked up are working great.

While I was ordering, I decided to also try out one of the new Color Splash Lipsticks, which I’ve heard good things about it. Because the formula is more hydrating, I decided to go with a nude, so I picked the shade Sunkissed, which is described as a ‘pink peach’ but I would really describe more peach and quite a bit warmer than a pink. It goes on smoothly and looks great with a gloss on top. I think I’ll get a lot of wear with this one throughout the year.

Have you tried the Shape Tape Concealer and what do you think? What other Tarte products would you recommend?

A Few Things From Beautylish…

I’ve really been on a buying spree recently…………. I guess the effects of the whole no-buy last year hit me hard! Anyway, I thought I’d share a few things I picked up from, which is one of my favourite online places to shop – they have good variety and carry brands that aren’t at Sephora. They also ship to Canada for free if one spends over $35, so it’s kind of great. Packages always come really quickly and nicely wrapped too, so I highly recommend ordering from there!

Jouer is a brand that isn’t really available in Canada, not that I’ve found, anyway, so I picked up two things from them – the Anti-Blemish Matte Primer, which I’ve heard good things about, and the Essential Lip Enhancer. Neither of these are overly exciting, but they’re solid products. The primer has a lovely lotion-y texture that sinks into the skin quite nicely, unlike those thick silicone primers that I hate. I haven’t used it long enough to tell whether it makes a difference with breakouts, but it does feel nice and keep me matte a bit longer than usual. The lip balm is meant to be a plumper – I don’t think it does much, nor is that something I’m looking for, but it is really soothing to put on dry, cracked lips. I really enjoy it and would repurchase.

Something else I’ve really been dying to try is the entire line from Charlotte Tilbury, but especially the cream eyeshadows. You know I have a slight problem when it comes to brown eyeshadows in cream form, so of course I had to grab one of the Eyes to Mesmerise in the shade Bette, which is an amazingly metallic golden brown. The texture is very light – kind of whipped, and the shadow goes on quite sheer, which is nice, because it can be built up but also used as a light wash of colour for everyday. It doesn’t crease on me and it lasts all day – I can see myself picking up other shades in the future…

The two makeup items I actually bought I’ve been a bit on the fence about because I’m just not sure what to make of them. The It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream in the shade Light is sort of a repurchase for me – I tried the a mini before but the colour was wrong. Light actually suits me perfectly right now. I wanted to get something with SPF for the summer but I find that this is too oily on me after a couple hours, regardless of how I prime/set. It’s a shame, but I will definitely continue to use this up. I also grabbed a Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in the shade Masochist, which is a deep fuchsia colour. I’m not a huge liquid lipstick user, but I was really curious to try the brand, despite all the online controversy, and I do like it – the texture is really nice, and it doesn’t dry out my lips the way other liquid lips do. But the applicator is huge and I find it a bit difficult to apply with precision. It also doesn’t dry down completely.

All in all I’m quite pleased with my haul and will continue to purchase from What have you tried from there and what would you recommend?