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?

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A Few Loves…

On the heels of my last ‘meh’ post, I figured I’d follow with something a little more positive. Over the last few weeks/months, I’ve found a few products that I am absolutely in love with, and would repurchase over and over again if possible.

The first one is the Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub, which for some reason, they don’t sell here. I bought this in the UK and have been using it almost everyday since I came back. It’s an absolutely heavenly sugar scrub that smells exactly as described and leaves the skin really soft and smooth. If I could get my hands on this again, I would buy it 100x, and I don’t even normally like body scrubs. Please bring this product to Canada S&G……!!!

The next thing I’ve been super loving is the Benefit Gimme Brow in shade 5. This stuff has been on my wishlist FOREVER and I finally picked it up in a sale last fall and only cracked it open a few weeks ago because I ran out of my other brow gel. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I don’t use anything else in my brows other than tinted gel since that seems to do the trick – my brows aren’t overly sparse or anything so they just need a little help, and boy does this product ever help. The brush is tiny, and the gel has little fibres in it to make the brows appear fuller, and it doesn’t leave the hairs feeling crusty or tight. If this stuff wasn’t so darn expensive I’d be buying it all the time. Oh well, time to save up those Shoppers Optimum points…

And lastly, this has become an absolute handbag staple for me – the Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in the shade 215 Super Natural. I’ve always enjoyed this line of lip glosses, but I think Revlon has changed the shades up a bit from what they used to be (?). In any case, this is basically the most perfect pinky-nude gloss I can find for myself (at an affordable price point). It’s unscented, non-shimmery and doesn’t wash me out like a lot of nude glosses do. The texture is also perfect for a lip gloss – not too thick or sticky and feels moisturizing on the lips. I hope they don’t discontinue this colour ever!

What items have you been loving recently and what would you recommend?

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?

Keeping it Red

I recently dyed my hair again – which is something I don’t tend to do too often because of the damage it generally causes, but I’ve always enjoyed having a bit of an occasional changeup. I’ve posted before on my hair dying routine and I used the same product again this time. I enjoy semi-permanent dye, but of course it fades quite quickly, so this time around I made the commitment to trying to make the colour last as long as possible. In the past I would buy a random shampoo meant for redheads but never actually liked the product, and did not bother to get it again. Instead, I hit up my local Trade Secrets and was recommended the Abba Color Protection Shampoo, which is from an all natural brand, and apparently quite popular. It’s not cheap, but I do really enjoy this shampoo – it smells nice and is a lovely creamy consistency that leaves the hair feeling clean without being stripped. When I was traveling recently, I picked up a travel-sized L’Oreal Color Radiance Shampoo, which works great. To go with both, I’ve just been using the conditioner that comes in the dye box.

One huge thing I’ve been trying my best to do is to not wash my hair everyday. It’s well-known that daily washing can be stripping to the hair, not to mention expensive, with the amount of product that one goes through. I have quite greasy hair so I tend to be bad and wash my hair daily, sometimes using some kind of cleansing conditioner to lessen the number of products I’m using on my poor, damaged hair. But now that I’ve both dyed it and am heat styling it regularly, I’m trying to be good and wash my hair only every other day, as well as alternate my Abba shampoo with something gentler. I picked up the L’Oreal Ever Pure 6 in 1 Cleansing Balm, which is meant specifically for coloured hair. It smells quite a bit of chemicals but all in all, it does the job. I think I would try to find a different cleansing conditioner the next time I dye my hair, but for now I will continue to use this one up.

To treat my hair after being washed, I picked up a bottle of the Ouai Hair Oil. The brand seems to be all the rage right now, and while I’m not huge on styling products, I do love me some hair oil, so I’m currently using a pump or two of this in my ends after I shower. It smells floral and leaves the hair feeling soft, although I will say that I prefer the Alterna offering. The only extra plus is that this hair oil claims to prevent dye from fading.

The last product I’ve been using, and most interesting to me, has been the Revlon Nutri Color Creme, which is a sort of hair glaze that almost re-dyes the hair. It’s a very potent and pigmented gel/cream that is meant to be used almost like dye – after shampooing I leave it in my hair for 3 minutes and then rinse it out. I do this once a week and it refreshes the colour without the trouble of actual dye. It definitely works and I am loving it so far!

It’s been almost a month since I first dyed my hair and the combination of the above products has really helped keep my hair colour looking as fresh as when I first dyed it, despite only being semi-permanent. What are your favourite products to use on coloured hair and what drugstore hair dye do you use?

The Q2 Clearout

As promised, I’m keeping up with my quarterly clearouts – I think I actually did quite well this spring, with some good haircare/skincare/makeup empties that I’ve managed to use up and get rid of. As you can see, I’m a keen tube-cutter. There is tons of product left inside a tube, so I highly recommend doing this to get your money’s worth. Some highlighted products:

The Giovanni 2Chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Leave-In Conditioner is an interesting product – I’ve tried a different leave-in conditioner from them that was great, and this one was similar – I take a dollop on my ends after showering and it leaves my hair really silky and smooth. The downside to this guy is that it smells absolutely horrible, kind of like cat urine, if you’ve ever had the good fortune of sniffing that. I won’t be repurchasing this specific hair product, but I do like the brand in general.

I used up a lot of my favourites, including the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, Laneige Water Sleeping Mask and the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation in shade 103. All three are going to be repurchases for sure!

The one item I had to get rid of due to age was the Revlon Brow Fantasy in shade Dark Brown. This is the first and only brow pencil I’ve ever bought in my life, and as you can see, it didn’t get much use – I had originally bought it for the gel on the other end, which has long dried up. I just found that because my brows are quite low maintenance, there wasn’t really a need for a pencil – any other tinted brow gel will do, and tons have been released into the market since I bought the Brow Fantasy.

Which products have you tried and do you regularly clean them out?

The Drugstore Concealer Experiment

I’m no stranger to drugstore concealers. It’s just that in the last few years, it seems that all I’ve been using is stuff from Sephora – easy to get sucked into the pretty packaging and online hype. You may remember that I’m trying to cut down on unnecessary makeup spending in 2016, and as part of that, I’m trying to replace any high-end products with their drugstore counterparts.

I’ve tried the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer before, which I do like, but always seems to be sold out at every drugstore I visit. I did try to get my hands on the ‘Light’ shade, but to no avail, in the past 4 months or so. Sadface. The story with my concealer situation is a bit weird – I use two different shades of concealer around my face for hiding acne scars and other fun things, because my cheeks are much lighter than my t-zone. This wouldn’t normally be a problem if I use foundation to even everything out, but on some days, I just really don’t feel like whacking on a full face, you know? So I prefer to just slap on a bit of concealer where needed, and finish with powder. For this, I always need to keep a lighter shade for my cheeks – with the NARS concealers, I used Custard on the cheeks and Ginger on the centre of my face.

Since I’ve run out of my NARS, which were a tad on the orange side for me anyway, I’ve been struggling to replace them, and the first stop I made was the Revlon section of the makeup aisle, where I picked up the Colorstay Concealer in 03 Light Medium. It must have been my lucky day or something, because this colour is actually quite a good match for me. It has a light texture, and my only gripe is that I wish it was a bit more pigmented. I tend to have to layer it up to conceal some of the more stubborn spots on my face.

Under the eyes, I have actually been foregoing concealer for the most part, just applying a peachy corrector first and then going over the area with foundation. But when I really want to brighten those puppies up, I’ve been reaching for the Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Nude, which I paint on in a triangle shape and blend in with my BeautyBlender.

What are your favourite drugstore concealers, and what should I try next?