Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Summer Highlighter Heaven with the Nudestix Skin Glossing Pencil

Hi, everyone! We all know that I'm a sucker for Nudestix. Even though its ideal customers are cool, young women with an ultra laid back approach to makeup, their products have never failed to impress this 30-something high-maintenance makeup veteran. Nudestix offerings are easy to use, include skin-loving ingredients and unique shades, and are also vegan and cruelty-free. They keep me coming back! So when the brand offered to send along their just-released summer highlighter, I jumped at the opportunity to give it a go. 

The Nudestix Skin Glossing Pencil** ($28 CAD) comes in the brand's typical tin packaging with mirrored lid and included sharpener. The product label on the side of the tin is in handwritten-like lettering that I find really cute and chic! 

The product is housed in a matte black capped pencil with gold lettering and a shiny pink bottom. The tip of the pencil reveals a light peachy-pink champagne hue. 

Nudestix describes the Skin Glossing Pencil** as "a multitasking, sheer, skin glossing stick that provides a fresh glow to the complexion, lips, and cheeks" (from sephora.com). It promises a translucent, natural glow without apparent colour. Its formula consists of 30% plant oils for a hydrating, but lightweight texture. It can be used as a highlighter or to impart matte-finish products with a glossy sheen.

When I first swatched the pencil, I noticed that the texture was smooth and creamy. The plant oils in the formula warmed with skin contact, which caused the tip of the product to smoosh a bit (for lack of a better term), but it did not break or melt to the point that product was wasted.

As for the colour, it's both complex and very natural. You can see from the swatches below (on the back of my hand, which is darker than my face at about an NC20/25 skin tone) that it looks slightly different in varying lights and at various angles. Sometimes it has the ability to look like a satiny pinky peach, while at other times, it has more of a neutral champagne sheen. In terms of similarity to other highlighters in my stash, I find it to be closest to BeneFit Watts Up, though Watts Up is more opaque and more obviously frosty. 

And here it is on the face! First, applied to tops of cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose on nearly bare skin (after applying concealer only): 

And in the context of a complete makeup look: 

As you can see, it gives a beautiful, dewy glow that is neither glittery nor frosty. Though the Skin Glossing Pencil**  has a pinky peach hue when swatched heavily on my hand, on the face it really lives up to is colourless claim. It truly looks like natural, glossy skin! It can be applied directly from the pencil with very minimal disruption of products underneath, but I prefer to swipe it on the back of my hand first, then pat it on with fingers to eliminate disruption completely. This pencil is also totally lovely on bare skin (which is probably the application method that Nudestix has in mind, given their easy-breezy aesthetic), adding a touch of warmth and luminosity. The only downside I can see is that the glossy, moisturizing formula does make this highlighter a touch sticky. Though far from unbearable, the odd hair or fallen mascara flake will get stuck there. On the plus side, despie the dewy texture, this doesn't fade or break up throughout the day. This has worn perfectly on me for 8+ hours! 

Overall, I am so happy with this product! Did I need another highlighter? Heck, no, but this does offer something unique. It's ultra quick and easy to use, looks dewy in the most natural way, satisfies my renewed love for glossy finishes, and wears amazingly well throughout the day. Plus, it's vegan and cruelty-free! As much as I love my cherished RMS Living Luminizer, I actually find the Nudestix Glossing Pencil better for the warmer months, as it has less of a pearly white cast. Truly perfect for summer skin!

The Nudestix Skin Glossing Pencil was just released last week and you can find it at Sephora, here!

Have you tried anything from Nudestix? Do you like creamy highlighters? What's your favourite highlighter for summer?

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo


**This product was sent to me as a PR sample for consideration and review. All opinions expressed are 100% authentic and my own! 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Saje Natural Wellness Haul

Hi, everyone! We all know I'm a sucker for natural products with a killer fragrance. This is why every single time I pass by a Saje Natural Wellness shop I don't even resist my urges to stop in. Wafting from the stores are mists of mint, lavender, eucalyptus, patchouli, and more that I find to be immediately soothing and invigorating. The walls are lined with potions, balms, and elixirs, all housed in chic, earthy dark brown bottles. Every aspect is tempting!

Saje Natural Wellness was born with a goal of demonstrating that all-natural products can be equally effective as conventional medicines at promoting mental and physical wellness. All products are 100% natural and contain essential oils and plant extracts that aim to support the body's natural functions. The brand also touts complete purity of ingredients and an ethos of sustainability. So very much up my alley! Despite this, I had remained a mere window shopper at Saje for several months, biding my time. I finally took the plunge last month and I'm here to share the goodies I selected for my first-ever Saje haul! 

Namaste Uplifing Mist

This one isn't a life-changer, but boy is it nice! The Namaste Uplifting Mist features a blend of pure essential oils including lavender, neroli, orange, geranium, vetiver, rose otto, and patchouli and is designed to be used as a face, body, and hair mist that's fragrant enough to double as a perfume. Upon spraying, I find the orange and lavender to be the most prominent notes in the scent. The mist is fine and refreshing and the fragrance lingers without being cloying. I keep this on my desk at work and reach for it whenever I need a boost or a wave of calm. I find the lavender is wonderful for soothing and grounding, while the orange is more energizing. That makes it handy for balancing my mood, whatever it might be! 

Peppermint Halo

Now this product is a game-changer! Whether it be due to hormones, stress, or genetics, the bummer reality is that I am way prone to headaches. I get headaches several times a week, some transient, others more potent. I have always taken Ibuprofen when they arise, which usually works well, but is ultra tough on my stomach. In a quest for more natural remedies, Peppermint Halo crossed my path at just the right time! This essential oil blend includes peppermint (duh!) as well as other stimulating and soothing oils of eucalyptus and lavender. It touts itself as the "four minute miracle" and promises that its warming and cooling effects will reduce pain while sedative qualities will calm tension. 

Peppermint Halo comes in a handy rollerball-topped bottle that makes application a breeze. When a headache strikes, I roll this on the back of my neck, behind my ears, and on my temples. Within a few minutes, the tingling begins and the mint and eucalyptus scents work to create a (just as promised) halo of relief. Yes, the tingling is intense, but, in the face of a headache, it is a welcome sensation in my books! I'm not sure if the peppermint tingle works to distract from headache pain, redirect blood flow, or truly numb the pain on its own, but either way- this stuff works!! Peppermint Halo has significantly calmed my headaches on several occasions and is an absolute pleasure to use. So incredibly refreshing!

Overall, I am way impressed by my first Saje Natural Wellness haul! The Namaste mist has been keeping me balanced at work and the Peppermint Halo has been a true godsend for my chronic headaches. I can see why it's the brand's #1 seller! I'm all for a natural remedy, and Saje's unique, effective, beautifully fragrant products make going natural a fun, luxurious experience! I'm sure this haul won't be my last :)

Have you tried anything from Saje? What are your favourite brands or products for a natural remedy?

Have a fantastic weekend! xo


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Organic Blush Perfection: Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Abundance

Hi, everyone! There are some makeup brands out there that I access regularly and there are others that are reserved for a very special treat. Tom Ford, Chantecaille, By Terry, and Chanel are just such examples. If you would have asked 5 years ago if any all-natural brands would ever achieve that "special luxurious treat" status, I would have been doubtful. But the green beauty world has come a loong way since then and such natural makeup products have totally stolen my heart. The jewel among them in terms of quality and luxury (and, accordingly, price- eek!) is Kjaer Weis. Created by Danish-born, Big Apple-dwelling makeup artist Kristen Kjaer Weis, the line is completely dedicated to using natural, top-quality organic ingredients that soothe the skin, rather than irritate it. The brand aimed to fill the gap between ineffective health store products and high-end conventional makeup (i.e., all-natural makeup that actually performs well), while maintaining a luxe aesthetic and sustainable ethos. I greatly admire the brand for all of these reasons, so I decided that I would finally pick up one of their gorgeous Cream Blushes as a birthday treat to myself this year. So glad that I did! 

Kjaer Weis touts that their Cream Blushes offer a healthy flush with excellent blendability and a dewy finish. They also include skin-loving ingredients like castor seed oil (to fortify skin), beeswax and jojoba seed oil (to hydrate), and rose rubiginosa seed oil to fight signs of aging. Including no artificial preservatives, this blush is kept naturally fresh with the antioxidants found in gardenia fruit extract. 

As with all Kjaer Weis products, the Cream Blushes come in rich, red textured boxes with white and silver detailing. The blushes are made in Italy and contain 3.5g of product (MAC cream blushes contain 5.6g).

The packaging includes a full ingredient listing, which reveals key ingredients of sweet almond oil, castor seed oil, carnauba wax, jojoba oil, and Vitamin E. 

While the outer packaging is lovely, it's the compact itself where the true luxury lies. The Cream Blushes come in ultra-weighty (seriously, probably the heaviest makeup item I own), reflective silver metal compacts with Kjaer Weis engraved and an artistic KW logo in white. These luxe, substantial compacts are not only beautiful, but also eco-friendly and meant to last as they're re-fillable! The initial purchase is quite the investment ($76 CAD), but the refills, though still pricey, are more reasonable ($44 CAD). 

The blush itself is revealed by sliding aside the cover of the compact; a sleek mechanism! The product is nestled into a square-shaped pan that is large enough to accommodate almost any brush you'd like to use. 

The brand offers 10 beautiful shades in their Cream Blush range, including some amazing bright corals like Joyful and cheery pinks like Happy that I would typically reach for. While those hues most definitely tempted me, it was the unique shade of Abundance that stole my heart. I absolutely have nothing else like it in my stash- and that's saying a lot when we're dealing with 75+ blushes! 

Abundance is a complex mix of brown, mauve, and pink that creates a neutral wash of colour. It also contains subtle silver shimmer, which adds a cooler tint. Kjaer Weis describes it as "a plummy taupe with an iridescent finish. A rich colour that gives cheeks a modern glow" (from kjaerweis.com). Upon first swatches, I knew that the brownish-silvery tones could make it perfect as a bronzer and contour shade, while the pinky mauve elements would prevent it from washing me out. Boy, was I right!

Here are swatches of Abundance (first lightly, then heavily) on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone):

Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Abundance

With no bit of exaggeration, this blush was total love at first swipe! Given my sense that it would work amazingly as a contour/bronzer/blush hybrid, I used my Real Techniques Stippling Brush (a serious holy grail for cream blush) to apply Abundance underneath my cheekbones, up my temples, then lightly on the apples of my cheeks. It blended out wonderfully, ending up in a finish that was neither too bold, nor too sheer.

Here it is applied over foundation (paired with RMS Living Luminizer) before any other makeup products:

And here it is in the context of a completed makeup look:

I am fully smitten with this blush, but let's look at a breakdown of pros and cons to outline why:

  • The texture is creamy and comfortable; it gives a beautiful dewy finish without being at all greasy on my oily complexion!
  • Impressive pigmentation! A little goes a long way and this can easily be built up for bold colour. By the same token...
  • This blends out beautifully! Despite the pigmentation, this can also be sheered out very nicely
  • This is perhaps the longest-wearing cream blush I've ever used! This gets me through an 8-hour work day while looking every bit as fresh as the moment I applied it
  • Abundance is such a versatile shade! On my NC20 complexion, this works wonderfully as a contour, bronzer, and blush all in one! It is neutral enough to contour, while having enough pink to still look fresh on the apples of cheeks
  • Chic, substantial, sleek, eco-friendly packaging
  • Certified organic and cruelty-free! 
  • The price. Despite this being a top-notch cream blush in every aspect, the price tag will alienate most. Even the $44 re-fill cost may be above the blush budget of many.
  • The smell. I find the scent to be a bit plastic-y, despite the natural ingredients. On the plus side, the scent doesn't linger and I'm happy that no artificial scents are used. 

Is this blush pricey? Very much so. Are the quality, ingredients, and performance top-notch? Absolutely! This truly is the best cream blush I've used- everything from texture, blendability, wear time, and, yes, packaging, put it at the top of the pack for me. If you're at all inclined towards luxurious, green beauty or are looking for a high-end alternative to more conventional beauty brands, I cannot recommend Kjaer Weis Cream Blushes any more!

If you're in Canada, you can find Kjaer Weis at Jacob and Sebastian, The Detox Market, or on the brand's own website, here

Have you tried any natural or organic makeup? Any favourite brands/products? What's the best cream blush you've tried?

Have a fantastic week! xo

++This post contains affiliate links!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Fresh Summer Beauty with Essence!

Hi, everyone! While I am the ultimate sucker for a luxurious beauty brand, I am no makeup snob. If I can find an affordable, drugstore line that gets my juices flowing, I'm happy as a clam! Essence is a brand that's been on my radar for ages; all of their line is under $10 (with several items under $5), but their products don't reflect that. Their packaging is adorable, the shades are diverse and modern, and their new releases are fun, unique, and on-trend. I was thrilled when the brand sent along a selection of their newest makeup goodies my way. I oohed and ahhed at the shades and designs as I unboxed them and realized that they would all work wonderfully together for a soft, warm summer look! 

Essence, though wildly affordable, always aims for cute, unique, trendy packaging. Case and point- these new goodies looking adorable against the brand's kitty- and heart-laden tissue paper :)

The product with the prettiest design is most definitely the Mosaic Blush in All You Need is Pink**. It comes in a transparent plastic compact that allows you to see the beauty inside- a geometric mosaic of three shades of blush- a cherry pink, a soft baby pink, and a warm peach with a subtly shimmery finish.  

No new collection would be complete without a good highlighter and Essence has fit this bill with the Pure Nude Highlighter in Be My Highlight**. It's a warm, summery champagne gold highlight whose hue reminds me of a long-time favourite, BeneFit Watts Up

Next up, we have some new shadows! The Velvets Eye Shadows offer smooth, pigmented colours with a satiny-velvet finish. I received You Better Mauve!** (a mid-tone pinky plum) and Mr. Mocca-Bean** (a neutral, deeper brown). The woven design in the product is also very pretty and unique!

We also have the Forbidden Volume Mascara** that promises full, bold lashes. The wand isn't too big nor too teeny and has a slightly tapered shape. My expectations were luke-warm given my general dissatisfaction with drugstore mascaras, but- as you'll see below- this totally took me by surprise! 

We all know I'm a sucker for a good lip product, so I was pleased to test out a couple! First is the new 2-in-1 Lipstick and Liner in Vintage Rose**, a cool-toned rosy pink with a precise tip to both line and fill in the lips. Even more luscious is the Prettifying Lip Oil in SOS, My Heart**, a totally lightweight smooth lip moisturizer with a sheer cherry tint. 

I'm so lazy when it comes to painting my nails, but I'll likely make an exception with this one. I Love Trends The Porcelains Nail Polish in Truly Mine** is a lovely pale pink with a beautiful, subtle golden sheen. I really enjoy shades like this for summertime! 

My sparse brows are always eager to try something new, so I was psyched about the Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel Mascara in Soft Browny Brows**. Despite being a blonde, this shade worked wonderfully on me. Not too deep at all! Since my brows and roots of my hair are naturally darker, this brunette hue layered perfectly over my Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Taupe. Plus, the teeny, tiny brush made application super breezy and precise. 

Here are swatches of these goodies, on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone):

(L-R): Pure Nude Highlighter in Be My Highlight, Mosaic Blush in All You Need is Pink, The Velvets Eye Shadows in You Better Mauve! and Mr. Mocca-Bean, 2-in-1 Lipstick and Liner in Vintage Rose, and Prettifying Lip Oil in SOS, My Heart

And here I am wearing all of these goodies in a makeup look! I applied the Mosaic Blush to the apples of the cheeks, blending up to the temples and the Pure Nude Highlighter to the tops of my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose. I swept The Velvets Eye Shadow in You Better Mauve! all over my lids, blending up to the crease and Mr. Mocca-Bean softly along my upper lash line and on outer corners of the eye. I applied two coats of Forbidden Volume Mascara to my top and bottom lashes for some serious oomph. I first moisturized my lips with the Prettifying Lip Oil in SOS, My Heart, then applied 2-in-1 Lipstick and Liner in Vintage Rose for a soft, shiny pout. Finally, after filling my arches with brow powder, I swept on the Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel Mascara. Here's the finished look! 

After sampling a few products here and there, this is my first serious delving into Essence Cosmetics and I have to say that I'm properly impressed! These rank among the best drugstore products I've tried and a few have become instant favourites; the Forbidden Volume Mascara gives the most incredible length and volume to my lashes and, despite not being waterproof, lasts very well during a sweaty yoga class; the Prettifying Lip Oil leaves my lips feeling so hydrated with no hint of grease or stickiness, and The Velvets Eye Shadows are so beautifully smooth and pigmented. Can't argue with the beauty of the Mosaic Blush or Pure Nude Highlighter either! Whether you're a loyal fan of the brand or are simply looking for some new affordable favourites, I would totally recommend giving these new goodies from Essence a go! 

If you want to find Essence in Canada, you can track it down at Shoppers Drug Mart or on the brand's website, here!

Have you tried anything from Essence? Favourites? Fave drugstore items for a soft, summery look?

Have a fantastic weekend!!

** These products were sent to me for consideration and review. All opinions expressed are 100% authentic and my own.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Makeup Demo: Vibrant Beauty Made Simple with Nudestix!

Hi, everyone! While at a recent Nudestix event, I was reflecting on the brand's mantra of easy, casual, wearable neutrals and had a little chuckle at myself. I'm the author of Vibrant Beauty Blog, all about bold colour; is it a total paradox that I'm at this event? That I'm a fan of the brand? Thinking further, I came to a couple conclusions: 1) embracing bold colour doesn't have to mean wearing neon from brow to chin; you can actually wear brights in a totally natural way and 2) Nudestix actually has some incredibly beautiful bold colours in their product lineup. These facts considered, I took it upon my self to use these brighter Nudestix hues to demonstrate that bold colour can indeed be easy and wearable. Vibrant colour- yes, you can! 

If you're not familiar with the brand, all Nudestix products come in portable pencil-style packaging for easy application, anywhere. Each is housed in a reusable tin, is accompanied by a sharpener, and is also vegan and cruelty-free. Sustainable and chic? Another reason I love them!

The brand was lovely enough to send along four products for this post; three of my favourite bold hues and one perfect neutral. 

The shades I'll be including in today's demo are the Gel Colour Lip + Cheek Balms in Fate** (a sheer, shiny pale peach) and Siren** (the perfect glossy neutral red) and Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencils in Raven** (a saturated berry) and Stiletto** (a warm, vivid red).

Here are swatches of each on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone):

Some pretty bold colours, no? The kinds of shades that might lead many to shy away. But here's where you take a leap of faith and keep on reading: they can be used to create a fresh, natural, easy everyday look. Here's how I put them to use!

Step 1: Blend out a bold berry for naturally flushed cheeks!
As per the swatch above, Intense Matte Pencil in Raven is a deep, vampy berry shade. I can see why many of you would be terrified to apply such a hue to your cheeks, but I promise that this one blends beautifully! I find that rich berries and reds actually create the most natural flushes as long as they're soft and sheer enough.

Here, I dotted Raven on the apples of my cheeks, then blended outward and upward for a natural blush effect. 

Step 2: Add touches of glow to contrast the colour
Ok, so this isn't a vibrant step, but an impactful one nonetheless! At the Nudestix event, I was totally impressed with the natural, dewy sheen that Gel Colour in Fate imparted on my complexion. Here, I've swept it on the tops of my cheekbones and the brow bones for a natural glow! Despite its balmy texture, it doesn't interfere with foundation or brow colour. It stays put and keeps skin looking extra fresh for hours. 

Step 3: Don't be afraid, reach for a red lip colour
I know that many people are intimidated by a red lip, but I promise- when eyes are kept neutral and skin is evened out and fresh-looking, red lipstick will never look overdone! (Think Snow White, a totally appropriate muse for a daily look). Here, I've drawn in my lips with Intense Matte in Stiletto

Step 4: Add a slick of gloss
If you're intimidated by a matte lip, a touch of gloss can soften up the look. I've also been more of a sucker for glossy lips of late, especially in summertime. It keeps things looking more fresh and youthful! Here I've topped Stiletto with Gel Colour in Siren for some juicy sheen! 

And here's the final look! 

So, have I led you to drink the vibrant colour Kool-Aid? Whether you want to dive right in and paint your cheeks with berry, or remain a bit more reticent, I hope I've inspired you to not instantly pass over a shade because it looks too bright at first glance. And if you're afraid that wearing bright colours requires daunting application, Nudestix really makes it ultra easy. Just swipe, blend, and go! I realize that I sound like a walking commercial, but even this high-maintenance makeup gal truly appreciates the ease that the brand allows. Berry cheeks and glossy red lips in three minutes? Sign me up! 

Have I convinced you to try a bold berry blush or glossy red lip? What are some of your favourite ways to wear vibrant colour when you're in a hurry or still want to look natural? Any favourites from Nudestix

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo


** These products were sent to me for consideration and review. All opinions expressed are 100% authentic and my own.