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 Skincare Favourites

Happy 2018 everyone! I know it’s been quiet here the last couple of months but it’s been super busy with traveling and holidays and such, so I’m back now with my usual rundowns of my favourite products of the past twelve months.

I think in the past couple of years I’ve more or less figured out what works for me and what my skin likes, so there are repeat products here, but at the end of the day that is basically just a testament to how good the products have been. One product I’ve blogged about nonstop has been the Bosia Clear Complexion Treatment – I slather it on in the morning and it is amazing. I haven’t been able to find anything as good in a similar price range, and I simply can’t do without. Another love is the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. This stuff is magic for oily skin – it removes makeup gently and effectively without leaving any weird residue or scent behind, and as an extra plus, no cotton pads are required to make this work. The Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Transformation Gel is another repurchase; I bought the jumbo bottle in the fall and use it every night. It really helps with blemishes and evening out skin tone, so I think my day and night treatments are really set for the foreseeable future.

One of my newer discoveries this year and absolute loves have been the Belif Witch Hazel Extract Toner, which I use every morning. It combats blemishes and moisturizes, which is a combination that basically defined my skincare routine in 2017. It’s got a bit of a thicker consistency, so I don’t even bother with a cotton pad to apply, I just dump a bit into my hand and pat onto the face. It’s not cheap but at this rate it is going to last me absolute ages.

Another love is the Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser. I’m getting down to the dregs of it now, but I used it faithfully every morning for the majority of 2017 and really enjoyed the gentle exfoliating effect it has. The bottle is also huge and lasts ages. I will definitely repurchase in the future and recommend pretty much all the Murad cleansers.

My last favourite is a bit of a cheat because I didn’t start using it until the fall, but I can 100% say it is responsible for my lack of dry patches this winter, which is a first in my life. The Ordinary’s 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil is really great; it helps to brighten the skin and to moisturize, without being too rich or greasy for my skin. I add 1-2 drops to my regular moisturizer every night and it works wonders. The best part is that it only costs $10 and there is a Deciem store close to where I work. As an added bonus, it seems they’re now carrying The Ordinary on Sephora. Woohoo!

What were your 2017 skincare favourites and what are you excited to be using going into the new year?

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?

The Honey Duel


Ahh honey… it’s one of the most unique ingredients out there, and lately I’ve come to really appreciate its use in skincare. Over the past few months I’ve picked up a couple of very popular and raved about masks that are designed to have a multitude of benefits, and I’ll have to agree with most of them.

The Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask is a longstanding favourite of skincare junkies everywhere – it’s just not exactly easy to pick up in Canada, since it’s a New Zealand brand. However, it’s available now online from a few different sources, so for sure I’ll be going to one of those when I run out! Since honey has anti-bacterial properties, this mask is meant to help those with blemish-prone skin. Honey is also very moisturizing, so I just love that this helps to keep acne at bay without drying things out too much. A few years ago I was really into the mud mask types but it seems like as I get older, my skin is a lot drier than it used to be in certain places. I’ve been using this mask about 1-2 times a week and it’s made my skin a lot clearer. I highly recommend this to anyone who suffers from breakouts!

Another honey-based mask that’s received a lot of hype is the much newer Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask, which is meant to both hydrate the skin and make it glow. It has the oddest texture – it comes out of the jar as a yellow paste, but as it’s massaged into the skin it turns white and tingly. I’d say if you have sensitive skin, get a sample of this before spending all your dollars. When the mask is washed off, it leaves my skin feeling really soft and smooth. I’m not exactly sure of the ingredients, but the way it feels is like an acid peel; I like to put a soothing moisturizer on after using this mask so that my skin doesn’t get too irritated.

I’d recommend both for various reasons, but will likely only be repurchasing the Antipodes mask. Have you tried either/both of these masks? And what other honey products would you recommend?

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?

An Oil For Every Occasion

Facial oils.. they’ve been all the rage in the past few years, and have become a staple in everyone’s skincare routine. They’re easy to get into if you have dry skin, but how about us oily-skinned gals, who have been running in fear every time we see a bottle that lists oil as one of the ingredients?

The one oil I’ve been using for years is tea tree oil, which I buy from The Body Shop, although you can get it anywhere, really. This is the best acne treatment if I have a blemish and want to treat it but also wear makeup. Other spot treatments don’t sit well under makeup, so just taking a cotton swab of this stuff works great. Another blemish-busting oil I’ve been using for almost a year now is the Sunday Riley Artemis Hydoactive Cellular Face Oil, which I mix in with my nighttime moisturizer. It smells awful, like most Sunday Riley products, but I’ve found it does help overall with facial clarity. Sadly, they’ve discontinued this product, but when it runs out I do plan on trying the Ultra Clarifying Oil from the same line – I’ve been told by people I know that it works a treat.

Even us oily-skinned folk do get dry sometimes though. In the winter I tend to collect dry patches around my cheeks and nose, which happened loads this year. When that happens I usually pull out my Argania Argan Oil, which I picked up at my local Winners. The brand doesn’t really matter, any high-quality argan oil will do. This stuff moisturizes like nothing else – although I have to be careful of not over-using it, otherwise my skin can freak out. Another great and cult favourite oil is the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, which I’ve also been using for a few years now. This is a really light oil that absorbs quickly into the skin and I tend to use this when I need to calm my skin down, whether it’s due to breakouts, dryness or if I’ve just used an intense acid mask. I find it’s a good all-around treatment whatever my issue is.

What are your favourite facial oils and what would you recommend?

On the Fence Products

Do you ever have those products that you’re just not sure about? They didn’t wow you, but they didn’t really suck either? Recently I’ve found a few of those that have been rattling around my collection and decided I would share them with you all.

The first one is a cult favourite product that made the rounds on the internet – the Caudalie Beauty Elixir. It’s meant to be a toner/setting spray/refreshing mist that tones and hydrates, but I don’t really see that it does much. It has a very minty herbal smell that isn’t bad but lingers in a way I don’t like. I will definitely continue to use this up as it was an expensive product, but will not repurchase and I haven’t seen any benefits thus far.

Another popular product is the CoverFX Perfect Pencil, which I have in in the shade G Medium. This is a multi-purpose skin-coloured pencil with a teeny tiny tip for precise application. It can be used all over the face, or in the waterline to brighten eyes. I love the concept of this pencil, but I have found that this does not work well on the face. When I try to blend out the edges, it all wipes away, and it isn’t creamy enough to use in my waterline – not to mention I wouldn’t use a $25 pencil as a nude eyeliner when there are so many cheaper options out there.

Lastly, the Eyeko Black Magic Mascara is a product I got in a Birchbox last year and I’ve been playing with over the past few weeks. The brush is of the curved bristle variety, and it actually applies the product really well – my lashes look separated, lengthened and thicker with this mascara. The problem is that I constantly struggle with the oiliness of my eyelids and smudgy mascara. This one I can wear for a couple of hours without smudging, but it’s not an all-day wear product for me, unfortunately. I think that if you don’t have a mascara smudging problem then this would be a great mascara for you, but sadly for me, it’s reserved for short weekend outings.

Have you tried any of these products and what did you think?