Compare and Contrast x 2

It’s been a while since a posted..! Sorry for the long delay but I’ve been really busy with work and traveling and whatnot, so I’m back with a sort of double mini review post.

I’ve spoken before about the beautyblender and how much I think it’s a great tool for applying foundation/concealer, and sometimes even powder. I had never tried any other sponges before, so a couple months ago, picked up a couple of the RealTechniques Miracle Complexion Sponges, which are about a third of the price of a beautyblender. Everyone seems to have good things to say about the RealTechniques sponge, so I figured, if I could find a cheap dupe, then why not? I’ve been using both sponges the past month and have come to the conclusion that the beautyblender is actually just better. I don’t know if that justifies the enormous price tag, but I can use a beautyblender sponge for around 6 months (this is with 5 days a week use) before it starts to fall apart from daily washing and use. By contrast, the RealTechniques sponge started to crack and lose pieces after only a few weeks of use – this is definitely the biggest difference between the two sponges, and I use the same method of cleaning for both. There’s also no denying the original beautyblender is so much softer than its cheaper counterpart. I found that while makeup application is similar, if I used the flat part of the RealTechniques sponge to apply my foundation, the abrupt edge would sometimes make lines all over my face, which was annoying and I’d have to use the round bit to smooth out. Going forward, I think I would still prefer to buy the beautyblender, since it lasts about 6 times as long.

Another product I’ve been using faithfully for the past year is the Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Fibre Gel. I love this stuff – having tried a number of other brow gels that weren’t as good (the only comparably good one is the one from L’Oreal). First off, there are five different shades of this product, which is kind of amazing selection for a brow gel. I use the shade 5, which is a super dark, cool-toned brown,which is perfect for me. It applies really great with the tiny brush and dries down without feeling crunchy or weird. Also, because it has fibres, it adds volume to the brows in a pretty natural way. I don’t have overly sparse brows but they could definitely use some beefing up, so tinted gel is the only product I use for my brows.
A little while ago, I was in the US and one of my favourite things to do there is to browse the drugstores because there are definitely a bunch of items that I can’t get up here. I picked up the Soap & Glory Archery Volu-Boost Brow Fibre Gel, which I think is clearly a knock-off product of the Gimme Brow, but it’s only $12 USD, which is half the price. I picked up the shade Talk of the Brown, which is a medium, warm brown. Once it’s brushed through the brows it doesn’t come off as warm as it appears, and it dries down nicely as well. Overall I would recommend the Soap & Glory offering if you’re on a budget – it’s definitely worth it if you can get your hands on it where you live.

Have you tried any of these products and what is your favourite beauty sponge or brow gel?

*On a safety note, it appears Benefit has recently recalled Gimme Brow due to a few batches not being up to par. Please be careful if you’re thinking about purchasing this product!


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?

The Budget Pots of Lotion

In case you were hoping to get your paws on a nice body lotion set this holiday season, and didn’t feel like splashing out the obscene $72 on this one, I’ve got a nice alternative, that while not exactly a dupe, is much friendlier on the wallet, and a fantastic option for either gifting or keeping.

The Soap & Glory Three Times Butter set retails for $15 at Shoppers Drug Mart and contains three 50 ml travel size versions of three of Soap & Glory’s bestselling body creams. The first of the bunch is the reason why I picked up the set in the first place, the Smoothie Star Body Buttercream, which is described as having a ‘pistachio, almond and sweet vanilla’ fragrance. It’s richly scented of baked goods, and it annoys me to no end that here in Canada they don’t sell the individual products in the Smoothie Star range, which is supposed to be sweet and creamy. Sugar Crush is one of S&G’s most-loved scents. I am currently working on the full-sized shower cream and body butter, and it is an incredibly delicious sweet lime scent that’s not creamy at all but more candy-like without being sickly sweet. I’m pleased to have a travel size version of the body lotion now!

The last in the set is the Righteous Butter, which is I believe, one of their original products. Sad to say, I actually really dislike the original S&G scents – the fruity, more perfume-y ones are quite unappealing to me, so I might give this one away. However, if you’re into this scent or know someone who is, the lotion itself is quite lovely. What I really enjoy about the S&G body creams is that they are extremely moisturizing without having that thick, white texture that takes ages to work into the skin.

Exotic Gifts from Across the Pond

So recently, some people in my life have either been sending me or bringing back some exciting beauty products from Europe – England and France, to be exact. Thanks to the wonderful world of YouTube and beauty blogging, there are loads of products I have been dying to try. The products that are available in Canada are a bit of a weird mix – we can get most mainstream American brands, but also quite a lot of French brands, such as Bioderma, which I know for a while were almost impossible to get in both the UK and the US.

I was really excited to receive some items that have helped filled the gap in available products. Firstly, I was so happy to get a few drugstore items that you just can find here, such as Soap and Glory’s One Heck of a Blot – we have a limited range of Soap & Glory products here, especially on the skincare and makeup side.  Also, I got four shades of the much-talked about Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint – Lychee, Rose Hip, Chilli and Cocoa. I have tried a couple of them, and I find that they have a lovely finish, but chip quite easily. Last but not least, the Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadow in Bronze, which I’ve written about already.

More recently, I was able to get my hands on some even rarer stuff – La Roche Posay Serozinc OMG. This toner is practically the stuff of legend at this point, especially because it’s literally impossible to buy outside of France. I was kindly gifted two bottles and I’m almost afraid to try them since there’s so much hype surrounding this cult product that I’m scared it won’t work and I’ll be horribly disappointed. …that’s the spirit, right?
A trip to SpaceNK, which is a store that hasn’t quite reached our shores yet, despite them existing south of the border, resulted in a recommendation from a salesperson, the Elemental Herbology Facial Detox Purifying Facial Mask, which looks perfect for my oily, congested skin and I am super excited to try. I believe the brand is only available in the UK so far, though since it’s on, you can get it shipped to other countries.

All in all, I am incredibly pleased with the latest boatload of products I’ve accumulated in this short while, and will be trying them all out in the near future.

What hard-to-get or foreign products have you tried recently, and have you been loving them?