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?


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?

The Sephora Birthday Haul 2017

Seems like I have been buying a lot of things recently – though it’s also true that I have been running out of things left right and centre. My birthday was a few weeks ago and as per my usual tradition, I’ve been to Sephora to pick up a few items as well as the free birthday gift. To be honest, most of these buys are pretty boring – I had to get another Sephora Collection Solid Brush Cleanser, and a Nails Inc. 45 Second Top Coat with Kensington Caviar, both of which are staples in my day-to-day routine. I also ran out of nighttime moisturizer so it was time to go back to my old faithful, the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask – it’s honestly the best for my oily/combo skin, especially as spring and summer are approaching.

The one new thing I did spring for is the Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, which I had used a sample of while away. It’s a wonderful milky cleanser with some beads to help with manual scrubbing without being too harsh. Skin feels soft and clean afterward, which is awesome. This is definitely not a cheap product, but the bottle is gigantic and will probably last a good while. I’m also quite excited about theĀ  minis I got, a 100 point perk of the Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment, as well as the Caudalie birthday set.

What have you picked up from Sephora recently and what would you recommend?

Birthday Haul, Part 2: Sephora

Sephora Haul
Every year since 2011, I’ve been making an online Sephora order for my birthday, to get my beauty insider birthday gift (which have been getting better and better each year! Does anyone remember the trio of Sephora lip gloss tubes from way back when?) and to capitalize on all the goodies you can get online, like samples, and beauty deals, etc.

This year was no different, and there were a couple things I was itching to get my hands on, but I’ve been patiently waiting until now to add it to the order. I’ve either not tried or just briefly swatched these items, except for one, so I will go through the really quickly and then potentially post more details on them after I’ve used them.

In terms of skincare, I was really keen on trying the Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment, which has a blend of sulfur and AHAs to help treat acne – finally a sulfur product in my life! I’ve also been dying to try some Peter Thomas Roth items, after seeing ViviannaDoesMakeup rave about the pumpkin enzyme mask, and a recent store visit in which the sales associate highly recommended PTR products, so I decided to go with the Mini Mask Magic Kit. I have to say this is another case of deceptive packaging – the tubs of masks, which are extremely cute, are much smaller than the box they come in. Why they have to do that, I don’t know. Either way, the kit comes with minis of the Cucumber Gel mask, which is supposed to be soothing, the Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask, which is anti-aging, and the Pumpkin Enzyme mask, which is meant to decongest and brighten skin. I also picked up a free deluxe sample of my beloved Murad Pore Reform Skin Smoothing Polish and the 500-point gift set is one from Algenist.

Makeup-wise, I have absolutely been dying to get the NARS Audacious Lipstick in Vera, ever since I discovered berry tone lipsticks (post coming later on my whole collection of them!), but it’s a shade that’s only sold at a couple Sephoras in the city, and the one closest to me was always sold out. Even online, it was sold out until recently, so I’m over the moon that I finally got my paws on this bad boy. Also, being a huge lover of the Naked line, I had to grab one of the new Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Concealers. I got the shade Medium Light Neutral, which works great under my eyes and on my cheeks – I may have to swatch the shades in store to find one that works for the rest of my face, probably Medium Neutral. It has a very light, creamy consistency, but I think in terms of coverage and blendability, I still prefer the NARS Creamy Radiant Concealers, though I will say that I find those far too cakey under the eyes. Also for the face, I got one of the new Sephora Collection Teint Infusion Ethereal Natural Finish Foundations, but I will be returning this one, as the shade I got completely doesn’t suit me. Also, I’m not sure I like the texture – it’s just as heavy as a regular cream foundation from the drugstore. Being a lover of pen-style liquid eyeliners, I also just had to grab the Sephora Collection Fine Line: Waterproof 24 Hour Fine Liner, which retails for $18 CAD, which is a bit cheaper than some other ones sold at Sephora. Haven’t tried it yet, but will keep you updated if I like it or not!

The last couple of items lurking at the bottom of the picture are the NARS birthday gift, which includes two of the lip pencils, and a Larger than Life mini eyeliner for VIB Rouge members. I also got a mini of the Beauty Blender Cleanser Solid as a 100-point gift.

And that concludes my birthday haul for 2015! I’m really looking forward to trying these products out, and seeing how they work.

Sephora Haul 2

The One-Two Punch of Morning Cleansers

As I mentioned in a previous post, the last couple of months have been a real battle for me and the legions of blemishes popping up all over my face. I began to randomly get huge cystic acne in places I don’t normally get it – around my nose and on my cheeks (it is usually reserved for my chin). Because I’m obsessed with skincare and like to experiment with products, I was at a bit of a loss as to how to deal with so many blemishes at once. I tried paring down my skincare and using gentle products, but whenever I try that consistently for days, my lazy, clogged up skin never seems to improve. So after a few different combinations and pulling out several different cleansers from my closet, I realized that I needed to get some daily scrub back into my life, but not miss out on any acne-fighting ingredients a cleanser might have, however short a while it would stay on my face.

I’d heard one or two people talking about the Murad Pore Reform Skin Smoothing Polish, and I had been using the Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser by itself, so I decided to mix a bit of them together to try and give a bit of oomph to both. The result? Combined with other treatment products and masks, this duo has been great in reducing the acne, and makes my skin feel clean and polished, but not overly dry. The Murad is fairly gentle, but scrubby enough that if you applied more pressure, you could get quite an intense polish, and the Juice Beauty cleanser has a light gel texture and smells good too. I definitely would repurchase both products when I’m finished. This is also the first Murad product I have ever tried – I am tempted to try more now…

A note on exfoliation: some people can’t use a manual scrub everyday, but because I have such oily skin, which doesn’t tend to be at all sensitive, I am okay to exfoliate every morning without issue. As long as the product isn’t too harsh or have very large granules, it’s great, but this largely depends on your skin type. I use this scrub/cleanser combo every morning: it just feels wonderful to get all that grime off my face after 8 hours of sleep!

What is your favourite cleanser at the moment, and what products make your skin feel refreshed and awake in the morning?