2016 Final Clearout and Purge


This is my last post detailing the products I’ve used in 2016 and I’m sure you’re all sick of it, but since 2016 was a year of major commitment to using up products and buying less, I thought it was important to see what I had actually managed to accomplish in this area.

The first picture has all the stuff I used up – mostly skincare and minis. I really powered through a few things, and have already repurchased some. Other things, including the Algenist GENIUS White Brightening Moisture Softener, I am really missing. It was a pricey little number, but it really did reduce my dark spots and worked great at moisturizing. I will also totally repurchase the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment, the Simple Cleansing Micellar Water, and The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Microdermabrasion, which are all amazing and not overly expensive.

Some ‘meh’ products that I won’t be looking for again include the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm – what exactly does this stuff do again? I also saw absolutely no results from the Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Instant Nail Hardener. Quite disappointing, but that’s how it goes with products sometimes.

I am also getting rid of quite a few makeup products – as you know, they have a shelf life and things can get a bit funky after a while. I’d say I probably keep products longer than the average person so really, it’s important that I get rid of things regularly… I’m working on it. Two major product dumps are sadly, high-end foundations: the Benefit The Big Easy Liquid to Powder SPF 35 Foundation, which was good but far too dark for me (they have a terrible shade selection). The bottle is also 2.5 years old and almost empty – it was time for that to go. The Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Foundation is another over 2 year old foundation that I’ve barely used, so there really was no point in holding onto it. Another sort of sad thing that may be controversial, is that I’m getting rid of all my Bite Beauty lip products because even though they are lovely in colour and texture, I just can’t take the scent/taste. I can’t really explain it but something about these just doesn’t sit well with me, so bye-bye Bite. Other products that have basically dried out are my two Maybelline Color Tattoos and various liquid lip products.

All in all I’m quite happy with the items I’ve used up and decided to throw away – it was time and I also hope to continue on this trend this year. What products have you used up in the past year and is this something you’ve committed to doing?

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Buy, Try and Review #2


With summer winding down (although the hot weather might say otherwise!), I thought it’d be a good opportunity to post my second round of mini reviews of the stuff I’ve been able to test out recently. There’s been quite the range of products to try out and I’ve found some real gems that will definitely become staples in my beauty routine.

Macadamia Natural Oil Flawless Cleansing Conditioner
Let’s start with the best, shall we? I’ve really liked cleansing conditioners since I tried the Herbal Essences one that for some reason is unavailable for purchase in stores here in Canada. The only ones I know of are the really high-end ones you can buy at Sephora or, this one right here. In another Winners score, I managed to snag two bottles, which they were selling for $16.99 (retails for $33.00 normally), which in my opinion is still expensive for a hair cleansing product, but I was so curious about it I had to try it. In a word, it’s awesome. It is a bit of a strange texture, and obviously doesn’t lather since a conditioner, so it’s difficult to work into the hair, but once it’s rinsed out, it made my hair feel amazing – clean, soft and not stripped. I would buy this again if I could find it discounted.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer
I picked up a mini of this in the travel-sized aisle at Sephora and have been testing it out under several different bases after hearing rave reviews about it online. The texture is lovely, like a matte gel that does not feel like silicone at all (a huge plus!), and it instantly makes skin feel less oily and sticky. In terms of performance throughout the day, I don’t necessarily think that this primer has worked any miracles for me. To me, the oiliness of my skin really depends on the foundation I use rather than any primer I’ve been able to hunt down so far. When this runs out, I don’t think I’ll be going to repurchase the full sized product, but it probably works great for some people. I’m glad they brought out the mini version so you don’t have to splurge on the full-size product.

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC-3
This is a concealer palette I’ve been wanting to try for ages. I like the idea of having a couple different colours to mix together to get the perfect shade – especially handy for when my skin gets more tan/lighter throughout the year. The lighter shade works perfect for my cheeks, while the darker shade can be used on the rest of my face. Recently, I’ve gotten a lot more sun so this is a bit too ashy for me, but as it gets colder and I lose my tan, this will work a treat for “no makeup days” when I can just spot conceal with this and be done.

Jack Black Moisture Therapy Lip Balm SPF25 in Lemon
After I ran out of my usual lip balm, I was searching for a replacement and decided to try this one as I think it is a favourite of Temptalia’s – she does tons of lip swatches so I figure if her lips are in tip top shape, this has got to be a great product. It comes in a few different flavours and I settled on the lemon flavour, which is amazing. It smells like a sweet and tangy lemon dessert…yum. And it’s not too overpowering, since I’m not usually a fan of scented lip products. It’s also got a great texture – halfway between slippy and thick, neither of which I like. It also lasts all night and is still there in the morning. This could definitely be a new favourite and I’m excited to try the different flavours.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads
Everyone and their mother has been obsessed with the First Aid Beauty facial pads and I’ve tried both kinds – the exfoliating and the acne-treating ones, and honestly, I didn’t notice that much of a difference; in fact, I’m pretty sure the acne-treating ones actually broke me out. I’ve been eyeing these up for a while and finally decided to buy them for use after my post-work shower – I don’t tend to do a full skincare routine after that – just a swipe of one of these pads and bit of moisturizer and I’m good to go. I save the drawn-out routine for just before bed. So far I haven’t noticed a massive different in these either, but they haven’t done anything bad to my skin, so I probably won’t repurchase, but I’ll continue to use them until they’re gone. Nip + Fab is not a brand I’ve tried a ton of things from, so it was good to try something from a brand that is quite a fixture at the drugstores here.

Sally Hansen Cuticle Rehab
I’m always looking for something to help the state of the skin around my nails – they’re always dry and cracking, so I thought I’d give this gel/oil formula a go.  I squeeze a little bit out on the brush and then rub it into my fingertips and let it sit for 20-30 minutes, after which I wash it off, and it has stopped a bit of the cracking. So far it hasn’t worked any miracles but I will persist in using it after I paint my nails.

What new products have you tried recently and what should I try next?

Top Spring Summer Nail Loves

As we are well into May now and the weather in Canada has finally gotten to almost consistently warm temperatures and sunny skies, I thought I’d take a dive into my nail polish stash and see which colours I’ve been wearing the most and will continuing to wear throughout May and into June. Pastels are some of my favourite types of colours – they’re light and pretty and most of them enhance a bit of early tan.

Here are my top picks for pastels and nudes: first off is the very light and easy Bourjois So Laque Glossy in 07 Coton sur Ton – I find that this is not the most opaque of nudes, therefore it is extremely easy to apply. If I want something a bit thicker in formula, I reach for the Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Rose Hip, which is a lovely baby pink. I’ve spoken about my love for the American Apparel Nail Lacquers before, and one of my favourites is the colour L’Esprit, which is a cool-toned light purple that looks good on pretty much anyone and is a good alternative to pink. (Edit: I just did a search and it appears the colour may not be available anymore!!! I don’t know if AA are discontinuing their nail line, but I really hope not!) Lastly, and one I enjoy using on my toes, is Essie’s Mint Candy Apple. This is an Internet cult classic so I had to pick it up when I spotted an Essie sale a few months back. On some people it appears more green, but on me it definitely veers more baby blue.

Corals

Going into summer, I love a good coral, both on the nails and lips. The lightest of the bunch is Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure Nail Polish in 230 Royal Blush, which in the picture is showing up as quite pink; however in real life it leans much more apricot in tone. Speaking of apricots, Revlon’s Parfumerie Scented Nail Enamel in Apricot Nectar both goes on and smells like a dream. It lasts a surprisingly long time and has a light fruity scent without being overpowering or weird. Covergirl’s Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Polish is another of my favourite formulas, only recently released in the last year or two, the colour Coral Silk is a lovely mid-toned coral that works on both the fingers and toes. My obsession with coral polish was really amplified when Clinique released their line of nail polish in 2013 and I had to get my hands on the shade Really Rio, which looks amazing with a tan as well. The last and deepest of my picks is another Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Nail Polish in 450 Kook-A-Mango – it’s red, it’s orange and it’s coral: the perfect summery colour.

What are your picks for spring and summer nail polishes, and which formulas last the longest on you?

Winter Whites

Winter Whites
Winter has recently hit us quite hard, so I thought in honour of the snow outside and -20 temperatures, I’d write up about my favourite white nail polishes. White is not a colour I wear often, sometimes as an accent nail, or in the summer to make a tan look better, but I think it’s also nice to wear it in the wintertime in the spirit of the season.

First up is the Rimmel 60 Seconds Nail Polish in 703 White Hot Love from the Rita Ora collection. This is a white with bits of white micro shimmer, so it’s not completely flat – but it’s got much more dimension than just a plain white. Next is Essie’s Oui Madame, which is a sheer pearly white, and looks good on its own or on top of other polishes. I would imagine this is a nice colour for brides as well. The plainest white, and the kind that works good under bright colours to really make them pop is the Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Nail Color in 300 White On. I also love the formula of the Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear polishes, so the no chipping is a huge plus. Lastly, I have the Color Institute nail polish (no name), and it’s another sheer polish that has iridescent micro shimmer in it, making it another good pseudo-top coat to jazz up another polish.

What is your go-to white nail polish, and do you wear white nail polish often, or as an accent nail?

The Nail Wardrobe: Halloween Edit

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Since Halloween is just around the corner (a very small corner at this point), and I’m not really one to go all out and get dressed up and party, but as usual, I’m excited to bust out the festive nail polish – that’s about as far as I go when it comes to holidays.

For the classic orange-and-black combo, one of the best I’ve found is OPI’s Nail Lacquer in Atomic Orange. It is just a standard bright orange – I’ve had this bottle for absolute eons, but it still hasn’t gone goopy. I find OPI is hit and miss for this but a great choice here for Halloween. A more sparkly, festive orange option is the Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in 20 – Crushed. The formula of this one is incredible – dries fast, long lasting, etc. While I do have a standard black, I decided to include two that aren’t just black – the first is the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Midnight in NY, which is a black with bits of micro rainbow shimmer. It’s so fine you can barely see it when you paint it on, or you need several coats, but it’s lovely without being boring. The less subtle version is Butter London’s The Black Knight, which has bigger pieces of pink and blue glitter.

For those who have girlier costumes or are just wanting to get festive, I’ve included a couple great options here. The first is a lovely liquid gold with some shimmer CoverGirl’s Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Golden Opportunity. Perfect for any party or pairing with a princess costume. The next is one that I only whip out for super special occasions. Chunky glitter is just too difficult to remove, and I find it often chips in huge chunks. But the dazzling effect is totally worth it once in a while – Sephora Formula X in Light My Fire is a gorgeous gold base with big and small pieces of rainbow glitter.

What will you be rocking on your nails this Halloween?

The Nail Wardrobe: Top Coats and Treatments

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I alluded to this in my last post, but I absolutely adore nail polish. As a small child, it was the first makeup item I zoned in on, and while it has taken me years to pluck up the courage to add various products to my routine (I am still working on lipstick and blush), nail polish has been a constant since about age 5. I own more nail polish than any other type of product, and it’s my favourite and in my opinion, easiest product to buy.

Being such a lover and constant wearer of nail polish, it is a very depressing fact of my life that I have extremely weak, thin, flimsy and flaky nails. I’ve tried to figure out why for ages–and my mother has very thick, strong nails that have always been long. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never have long nails, but at least I can prevent the constant flaking and peeling. I’ve tried many products, base coats, moisture treatments, over the years, but these are the ones that I’ve found work the best:

Sally Hansen VitaSurge Strength Gel
This is my second bottle of the stuff and it’s the first step for me in trying to infuse as much moisture and strengthening-power into my nails as possible. What’s great is it can be massaged into bare nails or nails with polish on them. There are beads inside that burst as they are worked into the nails. I’ve found that once this is out of my life, my nails suffer as a result.

OPI Original Nail Envy Nail Strengthener
What I used as my base coat for the past 6 months or so – after hearing rave reviews about this stuff I had to get my hands on a bottle. While I have tried OPI base and top coats and hated both, this stuff seriously works. And it dries almost instantly.

OPI Soft & Thin Nail Envy Nail Strengthener
A super recent purchase, as recently I was finding that my original Nail Envy didn’t seem to be working anymore. I decided to try the Nail Envy that was formulated specifically for nails like mine, and found that it works the same. I’m not sure if my nails just plateaued or what, but I think switching up the two works really well, as both work really well as base coats.

Nails Inc. Caviar Top Coat
I’ve lost count of how many bottles I’ve gone through. This is the best top coat ever. Hands down. One caveat to that – one my main priorities in any base coat, top coat and nail polish are that they dry fast. Obviously minimizing chipping is important, but as I change my nail polish colour at least once a week, usually twice, I am much more concerned with quick-drying, and this one does that, faster than I’ve ever experienced. It also makes your nails feel incredible, I can’t explain it, but it does. Another note is that they seem to have repackaged this product – it used to come in a clear bottle and was pink-looking (painted on clear), but now it’s in a black bottle, and on Sephora.com they seem to have a big square bottle of it now that’s more expensive. I haven’t tried that version yet, but it may be next on the list!

I should also quickly mention that I buy the Sally Hansen and Nails Inc. products from Shoppers Drug Mart, whereas the Nail Envy incarnations I get from Trade Secrets.

What products do you use to strengthen your nails and/or improve your manicure?

The Nail Wardrobe: Autumn Essentials

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Since the last post introduced some autumnal shimmer back into the life, I figured why not continue with the autumn theme. The focus this time will be non-shimmery nail choices – as an aside, what do you call regular nail polishes that don’t have any sparkle? Matte? No, but they’re shiny.. Cream finish? I’m not really clear.

Anyway, these picks are my favourites for the fall and winter – and definitely more office-appropriate if that is a concern.

1) American Apparel Nail Lacquer in Factory Grey
American Apparel nail polish is actually really, really good–it dries fast and doesn’t chip too badly. It’s not a product I ever see mentioned on the beauty blogs or YouTube channels I watch, but I’ve been a fan for a long time. This is my favourite fall pick, as it is neutral, but quite a lovely dark grey, with almost bluish-purple undertones that make it less ‘dead’ looking. *Note: upon further perusal of the website, they don’t appear to have this colour anymore on the online store? I’m not sure if it’s still available or if you can still purchase it in stores.

2) Nails Inc. Nail Polish in Jermyn Street
I don’t even know how to describe this colour. It’s a mid-tone brown with some red/purple thrown in? It actually paints on much darker than it appears in the bottle, but to me it’s quite a unique colour and perfect for the cooler months without being too dark or too grey.

3)  L’Oreal Nail Color in #470 Haute Couture Red
This is not a special colour or formula, what I am trying to say with this one is that everyone should have a dark, vampy red in the fall. It’s a no-brainer and always in!

4) Essie Nail Lacquer in Haute in the Heat
Strangely enough, Haute in the Heat was part of Essie’s summer collection a few months ago, but when I picked it up, I was instantly drawn to the deep raspberry colour–it was lovely for summer and I think it’s deep enough, but will still brighten up your fall wardrobe. This might be my favourite nail polish purchase of the year (and I am OBSESSED with buying nail polish).

5) Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in #510 Pat on the Black
A discovery from last fall, this deep, almost-black purple is a beautiful colour, a good substitute for a dark red, but still chic. Love the Complete Salon Manicure range from Sally Hansen–very affordable and it has a good formula. I find it’s quite difficult to find a dark purple that doesn’t have any shimmer in it, so I would love to know if you guys know of any good dupes!

I have many, many more polishes that I wear in the fall, but these are some of the ones I will be painting on the most. Let me know what your favourites are!
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