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?


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?

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?

Sephora Favorites – Trending: Beauty’s Most Coveted

Holiday beauty sets are everywhere it seems – and it also seems like more and more brands release more and more sets each year! Sephora Favorites is one of the best at putting together great brands and products in various themes, and I’ve always drooled over them, but never had the wherewithal to actually buy one. When I saw the Trending: Beauty’s Most Coveted set online, I knew I had to have it. Unfortunately I waffled for ages and it sold out online quite quickly. However, I managed to find it in a physical store – so even though it might be annoying for me to post about something that did sell out a while ago, it’s worth checking your local Sephora(s) for the set. While I can no longer link the set at Sephora, check out Temptalia’s itemized description and pictures here.

Generally speaking, what makes me so hesitant about buying sets, and palettes/kits in general, is that I want to make sure I will use every single item or colour in a set. Sure, it’s good value for money to get a palette or set, but if you’re only going to use a fraction of the product, then what is the point? Which is why I wavered a bit with this one – two products were giving me pause despite the fact that the price tag ($90 CAD) were well worth the other products in the kit. I have since given them away to a friend – the Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in 714 and the Estee Edit Kohl Shadowstick. I have nothing against the lipstick, but I already own so many reds that I wasn’t sure what I’d do with another one, and I just can’t wear kohl eyeliner with my oily face.

The actual value of this set is insane – there are a ton of full-sized products and the minis are deluxe sized. Really, what I was after was the Foreo Luna Play, which by itself retails for $49, because I really wanted to try the Foreo without shelling out the full $200. I haven’t used it a ton, but it definitely works well – I’d say it’s quite gentle compared to the Clarisonic. My only gripe is that it’s exceptionally small – no more than 1.5-2 inches in diameter.

The other no-brainer products I was after in the set were the Beautyblender nude (you can always use another beautyblender), and the Kat Von D Eyeliner in Trooper, which I am currently running out of, so buying the set was quite timely. I also wasn’t about to complain about having minis of the GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment (about $20 worth), and NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer in Custard, which are perfect for traveling.

I recently went on a short trip and actually brought a few of the mini items in the set with  me, including the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder, which is my new favourite for under the eyes, the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Marine Boosting Mist (perfect for the plane and smells delicious too!), and the adorable Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Moonstone. I’ve never tried any Becca highlighters, although it must be the  most popular line of highlighters in the world, from what I’m hearing on YouTube. I always thought Moonstone would be slightly too pale for me, but with a light hand, it works perfectly well for day time or night.

The last two products in the kit I’m not 100% sure about: the CoverFX Enhance Click Highlighter in Bubbly, which is a lovely cream highlighter that leans slightly pink, and the Benefit Ka-Brow! in Shade 3, which is a warm medium brown that actually does sort of work for me since my hair is warmer than my eyebrows, but I’m completely unused to using any kind of brow product other than a quick swipe of tinted brow gel. The tiny bottle is also very hard to work with – product doesn’t come out of it easily.

Either way, I’m very pleased with this set and will be working my way through the products in the next year. Hopefully it’s still available at Sephora stores – what is your favourite holiday kit for 2016?

The Foundation Collection and Foundation Mixology

With all the whittling down and minimizing of my makeup collection, it is still slightly astounding that I have this many foundations. However, I’ve still operated off more or less a one-in-one-out system, as well as having various shades for different seasons, so here is the final collection for now:

One foundation I have kept around in my stash because of its colour rather than its formula is the CoverGirl Ready, Set, Gorgeous Fresh Complexion Oil Free Foundation. As you’ll see in the swatches below (swatched in the same order as pictured above), it’s slightly too light and pinky for me, so it’s a great mixer for those that are either too dark and/or too yellow, which I have a problem with overall. Once it’s used up, I won’t be repurchasing, but if you have normal skin, this is probably a great foundation, as it does last a long time on the skin.

I won’t go on and on because I’ve already posted at length about the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation in various places on this blog. Still loving it, will repurchase forever. The only downside is that I need to mix two shades to get the right colour. Next up is another one I’ve blogged about recently, the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation, which is also quite good, but needs mixing with the CoverGirl due to the colour. Another far too yellow base is the CoverFX Custom Cover Drops in the shade N35, which is supposed to be neutral, but if that’s neutral, I don’t know what the warm shades are like in the line! I recently put the product into my 2015 un-favourites, but I do keep them around for experimentation purposes. I’ll likely never use it up, but for now, it’s sticking around in my collection.

Getting into my summer shades, there’s the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation, which I rarely use, to be honest. It doesn’t control oil as well as it claims, and while I like the colour of it, it does feel a bit heavy on the skin, so this is one I only pull out if I know I’ll be wearing makeup for a short amount of time.

Last, but not least is my almost used-up ultimate tan shade, which is the Benefit Better than BB Big Easy Foundation. I’ve been using this stuff for a long time and while I do love the formula, it’s obvious from the swatch below that the shade is far too dark for me, so I really need to get a good tan before I can use this.

Overall, it really seems I have a type – creamy, oil free foundations with medium coverage that come in a tube. What are your favourites and what drugstore/high-end products are must-haves in your collection?

2015 Un-Favourites: Best of the Worst

The title of this post may not be entirely accurate – but each year I do try quite a few new products, so it’s inevitable that I’ll have some that don’t work out for me. I’ve mentioned a couple in earlier posts, but I thought I’d do a final round-up of the products that disappointed me this year, for various reasons.

First up is the Tony Moly Lip Balm in Apple, which I purchased at a local Korean market after hearing rave reviews about the stuff. However, I really don’t think I’ll be able to get through the tub. It has a thin, unappealing texture, and the scent of it is chemical-ly and overwhelming, and somehow it always manages to get into my mouth – bleh! On top of it all, it doesn’t really do anything and just sits on the lips. I only use this when I’m absolutely desperate.

Next, I have a couple of face products – the CoverFX Custom Cover Drops ushered in a whole new obsession with ‘serum foundations’ and while I may try others in the future, I cannot stand this stuff. The colour is way off – I got one of the N shades, which is supposed to be neutral, but it’s basically bright yellow. Also, no matter how you buff or brush it in, it seems to sit on top of the skin and cling to things you don’t want it clinging to. Yup. I’m going to be passing on this one. Next was not quite as extreme of a disappointment – the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer in the shade Medium-Light Neutral. On the positive side, this concealer is both weightless and provides complete coverage, so it definitely lives up to its name. In fact, I liked its texture so much I had been planning to replace my Nars concealer with this one. However, there is one major problem. In the tube, and on first application, it appears to match my skin tone. In a few minutes though, it quickly oxidizes and turns much darker, so it appears that I have brown spots all over my skin – not cute. Of course the solution would be to try a lighter shade, but after testing and swatching and waiting a bit in store, I think both the ‘light’ options are too light. So that sucks, but I’ll be using it in the summer time when I’m more tan.

For the eyes, I’ve got a bit of a shocker – the MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, everyone’s favourite black gel liner. I was fortunate enough to be gifted this from a friend who couldn’t make use of it. I was super excited as I’d heard loads and have never really found a gel-eyeliner-in-a-pot that I’ve liked. It applies smoothly and jet black, but there’s a major smudging problem on me, even with primer. So I can’t wear it and I can’t be bothered to set it, etc., when I have perfectly long lasting options like any of the liquid liners I’ve mentioned over and over again on this blog. So that was very sad. The other major disappointment for me this year was the hugely overpriced Marc Jacobs Twinkle Pop Stick Eyeshadow in Volver. I reviewed this a few months ago and it was patchy and not long-wearing at all, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it – perhaps reserve it for occasions I know I won’t be wearing makeup for too long.

Lastly is a stand-in for an entire line – the whole line of Sephora Formula X Nail Polishes has been a huge let-down for me. I’ve got a couple of them and while they apply nicely at first, they chip in about 30 seconds after they dry, so definitely not worth the money – sad as they canned the Sephora by OPI line and replaced it with Formula X. It’s a shame, since they have such a lovely range of colours and finishes, but I can’t justify spending the money on these polishes – better to go to the drugstore.

Welp, that concludes my 2015 wrap-up of products – hope that wasn’t too negative, although I’m sure that the products mentioned above worked great for some people.

What were your biggest makeup disappointments of 2015?

Buy, Try and Review

When it comes to new beauty products, I wish I could be a true beauty blogger and buy items just for the sake of trying and reviewing them. Maybe someday (… far off dream!). But I still love buying and trying new items, especially from brands I already love, or just products I’ve heard of over and over again. I’ll try to do these mini reviews periodically, as I try not to spend too much money on new products – using things up like a regular person is still my aim.

With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, I had a hankering to try a few new things and have been able to wear them for a while to really see if I like them or not:

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, Trooper
Everyone and their mother raves about this stuff and have been since it was released. I was apprehensive, since I had tried a now-discontinued felt-tip liquid liner set from Kat Von D a couple years ago, and they all dried up in about 2 minutes. But the idea of a calligraphy pen nib really did intrigue me, after so many years of using my Stila liner. I have to say that I do like this one – it’s very easy to use, with a flexible tip that gives you tons of control without scraping across your eyelids like some of the felt-tip types tend to do. My one gripe is that it’s not as black as the Stila, though you can layer it if you want the ultra black effect. Staying power is good and it doesn’t smudge on me at all (yay!). At $23 CAD it is $3 cheaper than the Stila one, so maybe I will be staying with this one from now on.

PS I just saw on the website that they have this in brown. I’m definitely going to grab one of those at some point…

Benefit Roller Lash
I was fortunate enough to get a sample of the newest addition to the Benefit mascara range, since I hate splashing out on expensive products (especially ones as finicky as mascara), and not have them work. The brush is awesome, love it – it’s a small curved plastic brush with short bristles that apply mascara wonderfully. I feel like it really works with my short, sparse lashes. However, as with most mascara formulas, this one gives me some serious panda eyes. Unfortunately, I will not be purchasing the full size, though I might keep the brush around for use with whatever mascara I’m into at the moment!

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops, N35
As I’ve mentioned before, my skin has really taken a turn for the worse since around November – I don’t know why, since nothing has changed, but I’ve been really working on a few things to improve my skin. One thing I did was cut out liquid foundation and replace it with the CoverFX Custom Cover Drops, which is a fascinating product, and one that I was really excited to try. The idea is that it’s a super concentrated pigment that you can mix into anything – serum, moisturizer, primer, etc. The more drops you add, the more coverage you get. I’ve been mixing two drops in with my regular moisturizer every morning to get a really light evening out of my skin. Then I’ve just been going in with concealer to spot conceal anything really bad. I have to say that these didn’t work out for me as much as I would have liked – first of all, the colour is supposed to be “for medium light skin with neutral undertones”. This, to me, is VERY yellow-toned, so I had to change which concealer I was using with it. Also, I found that it settled into lines and pores in a way I’ve never experienced before. Depending on what you mix it with (I did try all three options), it can break up or mix in strangely – the best result is definitely with moisturizer in my opinion. I’m going to continue using this and see how I can make it work, as it was not cheap, but I really hope more brands come out with a similar product.

Tarte Showstopper Clay Palette
I’ve always wanted one of the round Tarte palettes, ever since I saw the Waterlilies one they brought out a few years ago. However, I have a very strict rule about palettes, and that is – I will not buy it if I won’t use every single colour included. Over the years, Tarte have released a few of these round palettes and each time I gaze hopefully at them but then see the teal or dark blue shade that I just know I won’t use – and why would I spend close to $50 on something that I can’t fully enjoy? Of course I’m slightly cheating here since I almost never wear blush (once or twice in my life so far, only). But I thought the colour of this one (Fame) would suit my skin should I ever decide I need some blush in my life. The eyeshadows are lovely and blendable. Predictably, I use the shade You’re a Natural (matte nude) the most, but I don’t wear much eyeshadow when I’m going to the office. The bronzer (Park Avenue Princess), which I believe is Tarte’s signature bronzer, is shockingly pigmented. An extremely delicate hand is required with this, and I am not really that fair. On my medium-light skin it was as if I had painted chocolate onto the sides of my face, so I’d recommend taking the ‘less is more’ route here. Overall I’m really pleased with this purchase and excited to keep using it everyday.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat
I don’t know of a single person who is as obsessed with the Nails Inc. Kensington Caviar top coat as I have been the past few years, but everyone raves about the Seche Vite one, so when I popped into Winners one day, I knew I had to give it a go when I saw it. Overall I do really like it – it dries very fast and I think it does make polish last a tad bit longer than the Nails Inc one, although the way the Nails Inc feels after its dry it’s incredibly luxurious, which the Seche Vite doesn’t have. If I see this again I will definitely repurchase!

CoLab Dry Shampoo, Rio
I’m not the biggest dry shampoo fan as you may or may not know – I prefer to wash my hair daily, as much as I know that’s supposed to be bad for your hair, yaddayadda, I just can’t stand the greasiness that builds up and I love the fresh feeling of washing my hair. Also, having quite dark hair means a lot of dry shampoo = white/grey blotches all over my head. So when I heard about Ruth Crilly‘s dry shampoo, I was really excited to try it. Winners stocks them in both the Rio and New York scents, the latter of which I’m not overly fond of, but the product itself is really fantastic. It’s weightless and colourless and doesn’t give my head the itchy feeling that other dry shampoos give me. I’m quite pleased with this product even if I don’t use it very often.

Alterna Bamboo Luminous Shine Mist
My Alterna bamboo obsession continues. I already love the oil, use the hair mask and have tried various other sprays and heat protectants from the line. The Winners hair section is really amazing, so I was quite happy when I picked this up $14,99 (half the full price!). I’m not huge into hair styling products, but a couple spritzes of this stuff after using the straightening iron does wonders. It smells fan-freakin’-tastic, and it smooths down hair and some flyaways. The really stubborn ones probably require something more heavy duty like a hairspray, but this mist is lovely. Not something I would normally buy or indulge in, but I figured, hey, why not? And with summer so close, it’s nice to give hair that extra shiny boost during the day time.

What products have you recently purchased and tried? Have you tried any of the ones listed in this post, and how did you like them?