Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Aesop Facial

Happy weekend, everyone! A few couple weeks ago I shared with you my Mr. Taxman Haul , where I got a bit spendy with my tax return. But no regrets- I picked up some lovely items! Among the lot were two goodies from Aesop, which I've found pair wonderfully for a pampering, effective at-home facial that smells and feels incredible. Here are the products that go into the ritual!

After all of my makeup is thoroughly removed (thanks to the amazing Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil and REN Clear Calm 3 Clay Cleanser), I start with the exfoliating step of the facial.
Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste is a product that my skin should really hate. But it doesn't. And for that, I am grateful! My skin usually reacts poorly to manual exfoliants, and this product is quite scrubby indeed. It includes granules of quartz for some thorough abrasion, but also (brilliantly) offers lactic acid for some simultaneous chemical exfoliant action. These potent ingredients are set in a creamy base, which actually makes this a relatively gentle, soothing scrub to use. It never irritates and it leaves my complexion so ultra smooth!
The product comes in a sleek metal tube, like the majority of Aesop's cream-based products. I really love the minimalist aesthetic.

The tube includes a description of the product, as well as instructions and a full ingredient listing. All the information you could need! It suggests that this scrub is mild and purifying and should be used twice weekly on clean, wet skin. It stresses that you should use a gentle touch with this scrub and I would agree with that sentiment, especially if your skin is delicate or easily irritated.

Aside from the quartz and lactic acid, this scrub is also full of lovely essential oils, like evening primrose and lavender, which give it a beautiful herbal, fresh aroma and some hydrating and balancing properties.

As mentioned, the scrub comes in a thick creamy base, that squeezes effortlessly from the tube but is far from runny. It looks like a rich paste from a distance, but up close the quartz granules are easily visible.

Although the directions don't suggest this (yes, I'm a rebel), I like to leave the product on my skin for an extra minute or so after gently spreading it over my face. I feel like this gives the lactic acid some extra time to work its magic! There is no burning or irritation that comes along with doing this (it feels quite fresh and cooling on the skin), so it actually feels like a luxurious treat to do so.

Here's a shot of the Purifying Exfoliant Paste on my skin:

After letting it sit for a minute or so, I rinse the product off, rubbing in very light, gentle circular motions for a final bit of exfoliation. Now onto the deep cleanse!

Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Mask offers a serious, but soothing deep-clean and I find that it works especially well on freshly scrubbed skin. It has the clay base typical of deep cleansing masks, but also includes elements such as chamomile, tea tree, and evening primrose to soothe, calm, and rebalance skin whilst sopping up excess oils and impurities. It can also be used as an overnight spot treatment on pesky breakouts, but I like to use it as an all-over treat.

The product comes in a sturdy glass jar that also has the sleek, minimalist Aesop style and a clear description, directions, and ingredient listing.

The product itself is a creamy pink clay that feels smooth and fairly lightweight on the skin. Here's what it looks like in the jar, then on the back of my hand:

Upon applying to the face, this has an instant cooling, soothing effect. There is no sort of tingle or warming sensation; instead, it feels extremely comfortable and calming. The fragrance is also very earthy and herbal, which I find adds to the relaxing experience.

Here it is on my face. As you can see, it's a pale pinky grey colour. Almost looks as though I've selected a foundation that's not the best colour match and really spackled it on! :)

But like a  majority of clay masks, though, this does dry down to a hard, tight-feeling finish. You can see that it dries rather unevenly (check out that crazy demonstration above!) and that I can't quite get a full smile in because things have really tightened up. Despite this, the mask rinses away easily and cleanly and does not leave my face feeling dry or tight. Don't get me wrong, this leaves the complexion feeling incredibly cleansed and purified. Like all the bad stuff has been exorcised! But the beauty in this is that it also leaves my face feeling balanced, calm, and comfortable. Truly the best of both worlds and a pure treat for my oily, sensitive skin!

Overall, I am so happy with both of these Aesop products. Not only are the textures and fragrances a pleasure to work with, the formulas are incredibly effective and potent without any hint of irritation or aggravation. After using them both, my complexion feels incredibly fresh, balanced, and cared for. I will be making sure to institute this Aesop at-home facial as a weekly occurrence!

Have you tried any products from Aesop? What is your favourite at-home facial lineup?

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Best Hand Cream Ever? Weleda Skin Food!

Hi, everyone! It's not every day that I rave about a hand cream (have I ever?), but I've found one worth gushing about. Weleda Skin Food absolutely saved my dry, chapped hands over this frigid Winter and continues to keep my mitts happy. So here is a brief, but impassioned ode to this lovely product. 

Weleda is known for its potent, natural formulas and Skin Food represents my first foray into the brand. Skin Food comes in a bright, earthy green box with the Weleda logo on top. I opted for the smaller 30mL tube, but there is also a larger version which is much more economical. 

The back of the box notes that this cream is suitable for the entire body, wherever the skin gets dry and rough. It lists a myriad of beautiful natural ingredients and Weleda's motto "in harmony with nature and the human being".

Among the ingredients are sunflower seed oil, sweet almond oil, rosemary, chamomile, calendula, and lavender. All wonderfully soothing, moisturizing, and aromatic!

The back of the tube suggests that you apply Skin Food "several times a day with a gentle massage". I love the idea of treating the use of this cream as a mini ritual, involving breathing in the invigorating scent and reveling in the rich texture. Such a- dare I say, sensual- treat!

The fragrance of this cream is earthy, fresh, and herbal. Far from mild, but never cloying over overpowering. It seems to simultaneously sooth and energize, which is a wonderful combo, especially during a hectic day at work!

The cream itself is thick and rich, resembling custard in tone and texture. A little goes a very long way, as the formula is ultra potent and concentrated. Here's what a dab looks like on the back of my hand. More than enough for a good massage on all of my knuckles and digits!

In addition to the wonderful scent and luxurious texture, what I love about Skin Food is that it deeply hydrates while soothing and calming irritation and inflammation. My knuckles get quite sore and chapped in the cold weather, and this smoothed things out while banishing redness and discomfort. Plus, it never leaves a greasy or heavy feeling on the skin, which means you can actually return to life tasks just moments after applying. A true all-around winner!

While I'm usually quite lazy with hand creams, Skin Food has converted me. I will never be without this little gem!

Have you tried any products from Weleda? What are your favourite hand creams?

Thanks for reading! xo

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

What's in My Bag?

Hi, everyone! Last week I bragged a bit about this year's tax return, flaunting some beauty products that I snagged with the recent influx of funds. Along with these makeup and skin care items, I also purchased a brand new handbag that totally has me smitten! I'd been looking to invest in a classic, smaller-sized cross-body tote and the Lauren Ralph Lauren Mini Double-Zip Satchel fit the bill perfectly!

It's made of beautiful textured leather with gold hardware. It has a removable strap, which allows you to wear it over your shoulder or use the handles for a daintier look. 

What I also liked is that the logo on the bag is incredibly chic and subtle. I hate over-branded purses, so this was right up my alley!

It has one main compartment with three mini pockets and a magnetic closure. It also has two sleek zipped sections for those items that need some extra security! The sides feature snaps that, when unlatched, let the bag expand for extra room. A handy detail!

Here's a peek inside the bag, totally empty:

And here are its contents, strewn about!

The Essentials
Here's a look at all of the (not so?) boring staples that are in my bag daily. My boyfriend jokes that I carry around way too many keys, and he's probably right. This is a pared-down version! I love my key-chains though. The keys to my boyfriend's place are tethered to his vintage E.T. key-chain and my house keys are accented with an eternal reminder of the Muskoka resort that my family visited annually from 1994-2002. I really miss it! I also have all of my important cards (I've highlighted my favourite rewards cards) and a pen (never know when you'll need one!). Finally, I have my trusty nail clipper and some mints. Who wants to spend the day with a wonky nail or stinky breath!?

The Beauty Bits
These little goodies keep me feeling fresh and polished all day. My Topshop Powder Foundation is great for a quick touch-up and has a nice-sized mirror. These stickers stuck to the compact randomly one day, and I kept them! For the lips, I have the delectable Lush Honey Trap lip balm (which totally saved my dry, Winter lips) and my all-time favourite tinted balm, the frugally fantastic Dr. Pepper Lipsmacker. For a touch of fragrance, I have a mini rollerball of the new Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black perfume (got it free with my Sephora Beauty Insider points!). It's sweet, feminine, and a bit dark- totally up my alley! And is it nerdy that I still have the original Lauren Ralph Lauren insert from the bag? :)

The Lipstick Bag
And then there's the ridiculous amount of lipstick I tote around. I'd say at least half of my bag's weight comes from my lip products, and those who know me well wouldn't be surprised :)

I house my lip products in the colourful Lipstick Queen makeup pouch that I received in the recent Cult Beauty Goody Bag. I love the floral print and the fact that it's plastic- cute and practical!

In my previous bag, which was essentially cavernous, I had a bag of lipstick the size of a football. I edited things down notably for this new, tinier tote, and when I emptied the contents for this post, even I was shocked to see that I had 10 products inside! Yeesh. 

I like to fill my purse with fun, bold lip colours that I can wear in the evenings or over the weekend (I keep tamer shades in my office drawer). The current edit includes some stunning chubby lip pencils (Revlon Matte Balm in Unapologetic, Lacquer Balm in Vivacious, and Lacquer Balm in Enticing and Hard Candy All Glossed Up Lip Crayon in Mauveous), my current favourite luxury pick (Tom Ford Lip Colour in True Coral), a bold multi-tasker (NARS Matte Multiple in Siam), some killer drugstore options (Milani Colour Statement Lipsticks in Flamingo Pose and Naturally Chic), a MAC staple (Lustre Lipstick in Lustering), and my go-to versatile lip stain (YSL Glossy Stain in Beige Anarchist). Quite the bunch!

So there you have it- the odds and ends (and lipsticks!) that I tote around with me daily. This was my first time doing a "What's in my Bag?" post and I really enjoyed it!

What essentials do you carry around daily? Do have nearly as many lipsticks with you? Any new handbag loves lately?

Thanks for stopping by! xo

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Veracious Product Review: Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle in Raspberry/Opal

Hi, everyone! This time of year the cosmetics shelves are rife with new summer offerings and I have a beauty to present to you today! After seeing Temptalia's raves about the new Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffles, I knew I had to give them a peek. I swatched them in-store at Sephora last Sunday after the Essie Button meet-up and one of the shades captured my heart! 

The brand new Becca Beach Tint Summer Souffles are described as "a four-in-one air-whipped souffle formula that adds a flush of colour to the cheeks" (from The four proposed elements to this product are powder (to give pigmented colour), stain (for long wear), illuminator (to give a healthy glow), and cream (for a smooth, flawless finish). 

They are housed in square-shaped brown boxes with silver logos and text:

The box contains a detailed description of the product as well as a full ingredient listing! There are promises of water-resistance, and oil-free formula, and buildable coverage with a soft shine. It also touts skin-soothing and redness-reducing ingredients to hydrate and calm the cheeks:

They come in round-shaped jars with a reflective silver lid and a sheer bottom that includes the shade name and other info. The bottom of the jar lets you get a peek at the product itself. You can see that it has a swirly, marbled look!

And a look at the product itself! You can see that it has a lovely multi-coloured pattern and a slightly textured top:

The shade I chose was Raspberry/Opal, a cool raspberry pink with a glowy golden sheen. I opted for this one because my blush stash is generally lacking in cooler-toned hues and the golden glow was absolutely stunning!

Here are swatches of Raspberry/Opal on the inside of my arm (MAC NC15 skin tone). I did my best to mix the gold and berry tones as best I could. On the left is the product swatched heavily and, on the right, more blended out:

I have to say that the texture of this product is quite unique! It is moist to the touch (sorry to people who hate that word), yet is still fairly firm. It's not nearly as creamy as creme blushes from Stila or Bobbi Brown and is much more moist (again, sorry) than some of the newer creme-to-powder blushes out there (like Chanel's offerings). Wish I could describe this better, but I think it's something you actually have to touch to experience!

Here are some shots of Raspberry/Opal on my cheeks! I applied it fairly heavily, so you could get a good sense of the shade. It was quite sheer at first, but easily buildable:

And here's what the product looked like after using it for the first time. You can see that dipping my fingers in the pot squished things down a bit, but there is enough powder in the formula to prevent the swirl-type patterns you might find after using a typical creme blush:

And now for a full breakdown of my thoughts about this pretty new product:


  • Sheer, buildable colour lets you customize how subtle or bold the tint will be
  • Unique texture that mixes the best of both powder and creme formulas
  • Gorgeous marbled design makes it a pleasure to look at!
  • Sturdy, sleek packaging
  • Gives a nice glow without the dreaded disco ball effect
  • Cool raspberry base with warmer gold sheen should make this appropriate for both warm and cool complexions
  • Would be flattering on both fair and darker skin tones
  • Free of parabens and sulfates
  • This seemed to start fading after 4 hours or so. Not sure if it's the product itself or the base/skin care I was using underneath. More testing is needed!
  • At $33 CAD, this is pretty pricey for a blush

So there you have it! This product is truly unlike anything else in my stash and the texture is so unique that you have to feel it to believe it! I thought the cooler raspberry tone might be unflattering on my fair, warmer-toned skin, but this actually mimics my natural flush quite nicely! The added glow is also lovely- noticeably shimmery without being over-the-top. Further testing will be required to see just how long-wearing this is, but in every other regard, this is a winner!

Have you tested out the new Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffles yet? What are your favourite creme blushes for summer?

Thanks for stopping by! xo

Friday, 23 May 2014

Australian Drugstore Makeup Swap!

Hi, everyone! A few weeks ago, Leah from Temporary Princess got in touch and proposed a totally fun idea- a drugstore makeup swap! She's located down under in Australia, and I in Canada, which means that we both have access to unique brands that we both can't get in our respective countries. I was very quick to agree! We decided on a $40 budget and figured out lists of brands that we'd both love to try. We next went on our respective shopping sprees and then began the suspense of waiting for our packages!

I was so excited to find Leah's package on my doorstep earlier this week. I couldn't wait to discover what was inside!

Here's a peek at all of the makeup goodies that were included. Such an amazing variety! But let's start at the beginning... 

Upon opening the box, I discovered a lovely handwritten note from Leah and a hydrating sheet mask (LonVitalite CW Collagen Firming and Moisturizing Facial Mask). The note suggested I pop on the mask while I opened everything in the package, so I went for it! Such a nice idea :)

Upon removing the tissue paper, I was instantly drawn to the sweet treats in the package! If there's anything I love more than makeup, it's chocolate, so I was excited to spot these delicious delights, none of which are available in Canada. Yum! 

After moving the candy aside, I saw an amazing variety of individually-wrapped packages. The first one I noticed was labelled "for Sadie". My cat! Leah so thoughtfully included some toys for my kitty. I was so touched! Sadie was eager to check them out:

The rest of the packages were numbered, with the instructions to open them in order. Each of them had a cute little tag with a message describing the goodies inside. Such a lovely, personalized touch! Here's what was inside each of the little bundles:

#1: Sportsgirl Hip to Be Square Winter Collection for Eyes, Face, and Lips
I'd heard of Sportsgirl from other Australian beauty bloggers, but had never seen any of their product in the flesh (in the plastic? hmmm). This Hip to be Square palette is a stunning collection, featuring 9 lip colours, 9 eye shadows, and 3 blushes all arranged in a lovely design. Plus, the pattern on the box is stunning! 

#2: Sportsgirl The Polish Pen Nail Art Pen, Face of Australia Carnivale Nail Enamel in Masquerade, Essence 50's Girls Reloaded Nail Polish in Back to the 50s
The next bundle was all about nails! It included a stunning shimmery number from Face of Australia, a classic red from Essence (such cute, retro packaging!), a nail art pen from Sportsgirl, and an adorable little nail set!

#3: Model's Prefer Moisture Lust Glossy Lip Tint in Candy Licious, Ulta3 Lipstick in Cherry Wine, Colour by TBN Kiss & Make Up #881, Mini Chi Chi lip glosses
Number 3 was all about lips in a variety of fun colours! It included a cheery pink chubby lip pencil from Model's Prefer, a bold, classic red lipstick from Ulta3 (have heard great things about these lipsticks), a perky coral tinted lip balm from TBN, and two mini Chi Chi glosses!

#4: Australis Blush in Sand Dune, Chi Chi Mosaic Medium Bronzer
The fourth package was all about glowy touches for the complexion. It included a shimmery peachy-nude blush from Australis and a jumbo-sized multi-coloured bronzer from Chi Chi. Both so perfect for summertime! 

#5: Designer Brands Australia Kohl in Black, Designer Brands Savvy Liquid Eyeliner in Black
This sleek package was all about keeping the eyes looking sleek at well. She noted that she couldn't decide between choosing a pencil vs. liquid liner, so she included both! Can never own too many black eyeliners!  

#6: Chi Chi Glamorous Nudes Eye Shadow Palette 
Leah included this as the piece de resistance, just in case I wasn't happy with the rest of the goodies in the swap (as if!). It was a stunning eye shadow palette, nearly a perfect dupe for the Urban Decay Naked Palette. The Chi Chi Glamorous Nudes palette includes 12 neutral shadows in a variety of shimmers and mattes, nudes and smokey tones. How lovely!

Here's a shot of all the spoils, piled in the box:

Sadie was quite curious indeed!

I also had to mention that the customs declaration Leah wrote was kind of adorable, particularly as we don't use the word "lollies" to describe sweets here in Canada. The idea of a box filled with cosmetics and lollies really made me smile :)

Overall, I am so thrilled with this swapping experience. Not only am I super pleased with all of the makeup goodies I received, I was so very impressed and touched by all of the care and personal touches that Leah put into the package. She made it such a fun, lovely experience! Thanks again to Leah for suggesting this idea and for making the process so wonderful! xo

Have you ever done an overseas makeup swap? Do you have any favourite brands of Australian cosmetics?

Thanks for stopping by! :)