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?

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The Travel Essentials

I’m jetting off on a week-long trip soon and I thought I’d share a few essentials I am bringing with me. Aside from being ridiculously cute, mini products are great for saving for these types of occasions.

For skincare, I’m bringing the Laneige Multi Cleanser, which is a creamy and lightly exfoliating daily face wash, then I’ll be using my mini of the Sunday Riley Martial Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner and then slapping on my absolute favourite Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, which works great for both day and night. For any breakouts that might happen (which often do when I travel, sadly), I have my trusty Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel. If that’s not strong enough, I can use a dab of the GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment, or use it all over the face.

For makeup, I’ve got the mini of the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard, which is great for under the eyes and around the face, which will be blended out with my Sephora Collection Pro Mini Airbrush #55.5 Brush. For adding warmth and contouring the NYX Contour Pro Single in Sienna is being packed away for its compactness – it’s also a great colour. For highlight, the cute little Benefit Watt’s Up is my favourite, and it doubles as a great cream eyeshadow. The Kat Von D Tattoo Liner is a perennial favourite, and having a mini-sized pen is just great for travel.

To take all this makeup off at the end of the day I have the cutest pot of the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, and to wash my brushes, I packed the Sephora Collection Solid Brush Cleanser.

What are your travel go-tos and what do you recommend?

Blending it all Out…

Despite my never-ending love of cream eyeshadow, for both its convenience and ease of application (fingertip), I do really enjoy playing with my zillion powder eyeshadows sometimes. While I find it does take more time and work, having the right tools can change everything, especially for blending, which is key to making eyeshadow work. Over the years I’ve slowly acquired more and more blending brushes of various shapes and sizes which are great for various uses.

The largest blending brush I own is the NYX Pro Blending Brush (far left), which is actually quite dense, and is too big for my small crease space. I like to use this one to either add the absolute lightest transition shade to my eyes, or for a light wash of colour all over my lid. The next largest is the cult-favourite MAC 217 Blending Brush, which I use for the same purposes as the NYX. It’s not as dense, so it doesn’t pick up too much shadow at once, and blends really well. I like to use this as a final blending brush as well to finish a look. Very similar to this one in size, density and use is the Chikuhodo GSN-10 Eye Shadow brush. It’s lovely and I like to use this for blending medium crease shades, though it works really well for all over the lid too.

Probably my absolute favourite and cheapest brush is the ELF Crease Brush, which is small and light, so it pretty much blends anything you want. The next time I make an ELF order I’m going to buy about 5 more of these because they’re so affordable and great. I’ve also washed this brush about a million times and it has never lost its shape. Another great one that’s useful for more precise work is the Zoeva 231 Luxe Petit Crease, which I picked up while I was in Europe. It’s definitely more of a dense brush, but it does everything you need it to, blending-wise and it also acts as a larger pencil brush for smudging.

The smallest brush I own is an old one that they probably don’t sell anymore, but it’s an Estee Lauder eyeshadow brush I filched from my mom years and years ago. I don’t use it a ton so it’s still in great condition. It’s less dense than the Zoeva brush so it can be used for blending deeper colours easily.

What are your favourite eyeshadow brushes and what would you recommend?

2016 Un-Favourites

It’s the third and last post in my 2016 ‘Favourites’ series and we’ve finally come down to the few products that I really disliked or couldn’t get to work for me this past year. I don’t think I have any overly controversial products this time around, aside from maybe the Too Faced Better than Sex Waterproof Mascara. I’ve mentioned this before, but on my oily eyelids, it never stood a chance – there are smudges and smears everywhere, unfortunately. The NYX Proof It! Waterproof Mascara Top Coat did not help with this at all – it left white streaks on my eyelashes, and also did not make my mascara any less smudgy. If you’re looking for a waterproof top coat, I’d suggest checking out the Bare Minerals offering.

Another disappointment for me from NYX was the Dark Circle Concealer Corrector, which I have in the shade Light. I had been looking for a dupe for the Tarte Corrector, which is quite expensive, so when I found this little guy in the store, at only a third of the price of the Tarte, I figured I should give it a go. Shade-wise, the products are basically dupes. However, the similarities end there. The NYX corrector has a very light, oily texture, which I can’t really describe, but when I stick my finger in the pot, it kind of slides around and doesn’t pick up that much product. Whereas the Tarte one is more of a thick, gel-like consistency and is packed with pigment. I find that the NYX corrector on its own isn’t enough – I need to use a concealer over it. It also creases like crazy, so setting with a loose powder is definitely required.

One product that was a major fail for me was the L’Oreal Colour Riche La Lacque Lip Colour, which honestly, is fine as far as colour, pigmentation and application. I even like that it comes in a skinny pen form. But the scent of this product is so overwhelmingly bad that I can’t wear it. I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of scented products, especially lipsticks, because it can get in your mouth and you end up tasting the chemicals. The scent of this is doubly bad because it is both floral and chemical – a nasty combo that I can’t figure out at all. Just smelling it makes me feel kind of sick, much less applying the stuff all over my mouth.

My two last fails are from Quo, which is Shoppers Drug Mart’s own brand. Their fan brush is the first one I’ve bought in my collection, and to be honest I don’t like it very much because it’s too wide and the bristles too spaced out as well – so it doesn’t really apply highlighter in any concentration (and I’m not even that big on highlighter!). I think they have since replaced this brush with a new one, which I might try out eventually. The other Quo product is the Solid Brush Cleanser – I’m always looking for more affordable solid brush cleansers and this one just didn’t cut it. It’s okay for brushes, although even that takes a lot of work, but it doesn’t clean my beautyblender at all. It’s also not that much cheaper than the options at Sephora, so I will simply stick to those and not repurchase the Quo variety.

What have your disappointing beauty products of 2016 been?

2016 Favourites: Makeup

Happy 2017 everyone! I can’t believe how fast time has flown, but another year has gone by and with it, more favourites. Products in this post are going to look awfully repetitive but what can I say? These are the things I used and loved throughout 2016 and in the end, it was really easy to pick them out.

For base, I’m still loving my L’Oreal Infallible although I did play around quite a bit more this year with various foundation-type products. The CoverGirl Clean Matte BB Cream for Oily Skin turned out to be quite the find especially around the summer and lazy days when I was looking for easy makeup. I wear the shade light/medium and I have to say that now that winter has rolled around it’s gotten a bit too dark for me, but I’ll be finishing up what is left of this tube when the warmer weather comes back. This is a great everyday base that really does control oil and doesn’t look too matte. Also, as an added bonus, this is the only foundation I’ve ever found that I can apply with my fingers without it looking too streaky or patchy. Another product I’m quickly running out of is the Revlon Colorstay Concealer in Light Medium. This is actually my second tube but I seem to be scraping the sides again – goes to show how much I’ve been using and loving this guy!

The really beat-up, unrecognizable tube is a product I have used without fail every single time I wore makeup in 2016 – the L’Oreal Brow Plumper in the shade Medium Deep. I still haven’t really gotten on board with using anything else in my brows – tinted brow gel is just the easiest and this tube seems to be lasting me absolutely forever. ELF really seems to have stolen my heart where eyeshadow is concerned this year. I’ve used the Back to Basics Smudge Pot and/or the Mad for Matte Palette everyday – they’re just so easy to use, blendable and effortless, which is really what I’m looking for in any eyeshadow, especially on workdays. Do I even have to mention how affordable they are? Lastly, for eyes, the FairyDrops Scandal Queen Waterproof Mascara has been another everyday staple for me – definitely not the cheapest, or the easiest to get a hold of, but a solid, reliable mascara that gets the job done and holds a curl, without flaking or smudging all over the place.

One of the integral parts of my beauty routine is my favourite nail polish top coat – the Nails Inc. Kensington Caviar Top Coat. I’ve gone through bottles and bottles of this stuff and it’s just the best. It dries almost instantly and makes your nails feel like gels. The most magical part of this is that if in the course of painting your nails, one gets smudged, brushing this top coat on top will smooth everything out. It’s basically magic in a bottle.

My last favourite has been an absolute obsession and my most worn lip product this year – the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams. I’m a little slow to the party, but these truly are the best. I’m on the fence when it comes to the liquid lipstick craze but these really do what they say on the tube and last all day with no transfer and minimal drying. There are colours to satisfy everyone and the price point is amazing.

All in all it looks like 2016 was a great year for drugstore makeup for me, which is good news, especially as I will be continually be looking for ways to cut down on the $ I spend on makeup. What were your favourite makeup products of 2016?

Easy Peasy Gold Eyes and Berry Lips

I am all about convenience and quickness when it comes to makeup. Monday to Friday, when I head to work, I somehow manage to cram in a full face of makeup in 10 minutes, but on the weekends when I’m popping out to see friends or run errands, I like to take that all down a notch, let my skin breathe a bit, and just generally not spend that much time on my face.

One of the biggest trends that always seems to surface around this time of year is the gold eye and berry lip, which is both a great festive look and fun way switch up your products with the colder weather. I personally love the trend and have written entire posts dedicated to just gold eyes or berry lips. But as I said, on the weekends, I prefer to keep things simple, so after dabbing on a bit of concealer, I like to use just a quick swipe of my favourite gold cream shadow, the extremely affordable and long-wearing ELF Smudge Pot in Back to Basics, which is just great and I’ve been obsessed with recently. It’s the perfect gold for this time of year as it’s slightly darker and gives a real warmth to the lids without being too yellow. For the lips, proper dark berry colours can sometimes be hard to work with because it needs to be so precise. But for an easier application and similar effect, I love the Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Plum. Berry Smoothie works as well, as I’ve just discovered that Sugar Plum was discontinued!

Lastly, it seems that I’ve grown very used to putting some kind of tinted brow gel on everyday before leaving the house to frame my face. The latest one I’ve been trying is the NYX Tinted Brow Mascara in Espresso, which I like but I find a tad warm. A couple swipes of black mascara and then you’re pretty much ready to rock the gold/berry look.

What is your favourite winter makeup look and what products do you use for it?

NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams


Ah, liquid lipsticks – they’ve exploded into every single makeup brand and become a mainstay of people’s daily routines throughout 2016. As someone who has slowly been trying to incorporate more lip colour in her life, I’ve never been overly enamored of liquid lipsticks, having tried out a couple OG formulas from back in the day, and found them far too drying.

Since NYX has dropped into the Canadian market properly in the last year, I’ve been picking up various bits and pieces from the line and one product I’ve managed to acquire a few of are the Soft Matte Lip Creams, which have been raved about for ages. And for good reason – they’re light and creamy, sort of a mousse texture, and doesn’t feel like anything at all on the lips. They’re also not as drying as other formulas – I don’t believe there’s such thing as a matte liquid lipstick that doesn’t dry out the lips, but I tend to pat a tiny bit of lip balm prior to application, and it works a treat by the end of the day.

The four that I’ve got have fast become some of my favourite lip colours to wear regardless of the season. I have (L-R above): Prague, which is a muted medium berry that’s perfect year round but especially in the fall, Sao Paolo, which is a rosy pink and compliments basically every skin tone, Ibiza, a darker coral that I like to wear in the summer, and my newest shade, Addis Ababa, which is a bright fuchsia. It’s tempting to collect them all as they’re so affordable and great. The range of colours is also giant – it ranges from the palest nudes, to the deepest reds and has loads of unconventional colours for those of us who are more adventurous.

Have you tried the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams, and what are your favourite colours?