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Monday, 27 June 2011

My Newest Skincare Obsession: Grapeseed Oil!

Wow, it really feels like forever since I've written an entry! Between a couple untimely and unpleasant illnesses (food poisoning is officially the worst!) and my upcoming comprehensive exam paper deadline, this blog has unfortunately taken a back seat for the past couple of weeks.

But that is all changing now, because I have a new favourite product to rave about! I've always had the desire to incorporate natural skincare items into my routine, but almost every attempt at doing so has left my skin broken out, irritated, and otherwise unhappy. But that unlucky streak ended when I decided to give grapeseed oil a try.

I'd recently read that grapeseed oil was a favourite of those who had oily, breakout-prone skin, as it actually worked to regulate oil production while providing light moisture. I also heard that it was great for makeup removal, effectively eviscerating even the toughest long-wearing foundations, sunscreens, and mascaras. Plus, grapeseed oil is packed with antioxidants, vitamin E, and linolenic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid purported to help help with troubled skin. (Can you tell I'm in the process of writing an academic paper? I just used the word "purported" in a blog post :p).

I was mesmerized at the prospect, so I picked up a small bottle of Aura Cacia Grapeseed Natural Skin Care Oil at Whole Foods for about $7.99 CAD.

Aura Cacia Organic Grapeseed Oil

The oil is yellow in colour with a medium consistency (definitely runny, but not too thin) and has a faint, fruity smell. For the past few weeks I've been using it to take off my eye makeup at night and as a nighttime moisturizer.

As a makeup remover, grapeseed oil really works! It's great at dissolving my waterproof mascara and doesn't sting or irritate my eyes. Fantastic!

I've been most pleasantly surprised with how well it has worked as a moisturizer. After using toner, I apply a generous amount around my eyes (which are showing the first signs of fine lines- ugh!) then spread the rest lightly and evenly around my face. In terms of technique, I've learned that less is more! I dispense a dime-sized amount (or slightly less), using half around the eye area, and the rest all over. It definitely leaves an oily residue, but amazingly it has not clogged my pores or broken me out! Since I've been using grapeseed oil in the evenings, my breakouts have reduced significantly. I couldn't be happier! It seems that by nourishing my face with this oil in the evenings, my skin isn't forced to produced extra oil, which keeps my pores happy. Plus, I find the oil very soothing, and I always wake to calm, even skin.

Overall, I'm ecstatic with Aura Cacia's Grapeseed Oil so far, due to its versatility, affordability, and the quick and noticeable difference it's made for my skin. Even other people have mentioned that my skin is looking clearer these days, which makes this product worth every penny :)

So, if you have combination or oily skin that needs a bit of moisture at night- or if you need a heavy duty makeup remover that won't irritate your eyes- give grapeseed oil a try!

Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Veracious Product Review: Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream

So, as I've previously  mentioned, a recent beauty craze that I've bought into is that of the BB Cream: a fascinating skincare/foundation hybrid that has become a staple in Asian cosmetics line. Here's a link to my initial article on BB creams:

After trying several formulas, I can say that my favourite so far is Missha's Perfect Cover BB Cream ($30 CAD). Missha is a popular Korean skincare and cosmetics line, and their Perfect Cover BB is supposedly their #1 selling product. And I can see why! It offers fantastic, long-wearing coverage that is non-oily and contains an SPF of 42. What more could I ask for?

I purchased it a couple months ago at a makeup counter at the Chinatown Centre (222 Spadina Ave., at Sullivan St.) located in (where else?) Chinatown, in Toronto. The booth is called Cathy Phuong Beauty Skincare & Cosmetic (Tel: 416-880-3678) and offers a wide range of gorgeous Asian cosmetics, high-end skin care, and about 20 different BB creams to choose from! Cathy is an extremely friendly and helpful lady, and I'm so happy she helped me choose Missha's Perfect Cover.

Here's a picture of it:

My Favourite BB Cream of all: Missha Perfect Cover

As the label describes (in not-so-perfect English), this formula offers skin-brightening, wrinkle reduction, coverage of blemishes, and the prevention of aging. Because I haven't used this on a regular basis, I can't really speak to any long term effects in terms of brightenting or anti-aging results (maybe in a later review!). I can say, however, that this product gives flawless coverage that is very natural looking. It's also quite long-wearing, especially when topped with a mattifying powder, like MAC Blot Powder ($27.50 CAD, at MAC stores and counters). I wore it earlier this week when the temperature topped 40 degrees. I came home expecting to see an oily, melty face in the mirror, but amazingly the BB cream was still intact. Amazing!

I purchased a large tube in shade #21, which is an excellent match for my NC20 skintone. It's not as pink-based as many other BB creams, but is not too yellow either. I also received a mini tube of shade #23, which is slightly darker, most likely suitable for skintones in the NC30 range. I thought that I could mix a small amount of #23 in with the #21 if my face tans at all during the summer. Handy!

Here are swatches of the two shades on my forearm (which is paler than my face, about NC15):

Missha Perfect Cover #21 (L) and #23 (R)

#21 (L) and #23 (R)

Almost nearly blended in (against my inner arm, which is about a MAC NC15 skintone): #21 (L) and #23 (R)

And here (the true test!) are some before and after pics using Missha's Perfect Cover. I took these pictures a couple of months ago when my skin was particularly broken out and irritated. Sharing these pictures with the world isn't my favourite thing, but I think they truly demonstrate what awesome coverage this BB cream gives. As you can see, it doesn't cover all redness (so small amounts of concealer are needed over top), but it comes close!

BEFORE Perfect Cover (Natural Light)

BEFORE Perfect Cover (Artificial bathroom light)

AFTER Perfect Cover (Natural Light)

AFTER Perfect Cover (Artificial bathroom light)

So, here's my final wrap-up of this product:

  • Comes in multiple shades, unlike many BB Creams, and shade #21 is a near-perfect match for my NC20 skintone
  • Offers a "whitening" or "brightening" effect without the pinkish-grey cast that many BB creams have
  • Quick, easy, smooth application
  • Long-wearing even during warm, humid weather (as long as you top it with powder)
  • Provides flawless moderate, buildable coverage, but looks quite natural
  • SPF42!
  • Doubles as a moisturizer (for those with oilier skin)
  • Doesn't aggravate breakouts
  • Likely suitable for most skintypes
  • Missha claims to be cruelty-free, which is not true of many Asian skincare lines
  • Takes a while to set on my combination/oily skin, so have to be patient before applying powder! (this may not be an issue if you have dry skin or prefer a dewier finish)
  • Causes some minimal pore-clogging, so wouldn't wear every day
  • Doesn't offer an option for skintones darker than about NC30-35
  • Limited availability

Hopefully this review was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions :)

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Three Cheers for Back 2 MAC!

For many years (as long as I can remember!) MAC has offered a recycling program that is beneficial both to the environment and to my ever-growing MAC collection. The incentive is called "Back 2 MAC", and is superbly easy to use. All you have to do is round up 6 empty containers, then trade them in for one new product of your choice. At MAC counters, you can trade in for any lipstick, and at MAC store locations, you can trade for a lipstick, lipglass, or eyeshadow. Amazing!

So this is what I did this afternoon. Below are my 6 empties, which consisted of a completely smashed highlighting powder (due to my butter fingers!), a nearly used-up eyeshadow I haven't touched in years, three old lip glosses that had gone a bit funky, and a pressed powder that had fallen into the dank crevices behind my toiled (butter fingers strike again!). I brought them to the MAC store in the Eaton Centre, and like magic *Poof*...

My 6 B2M Empties

... they were transformed into this brand-new lipstick, at no cost to me. Ta-Da!

My free B2M Lipstick!

The colour I chose was Impassioned, a bright, cheery vibrant pink shade with a slight peachy undertone (regular price $17.50 CAD). It's an Amplified Creme formula, which means that it's highly pigmented with a creamy satin (but not shimmery) finish. I fell in love with the shade at first swipe!

MAC Amplified Creme Lipstick in Impassioned

Here are a couple pictures of what Impassioned looks like on my lips:

MAC Impassioned Lipstick on my lips and against my NC20 skin

So, there it is. I received a brand new lipstick for exactly $0, got to remove my clutter-causing empties, and made an earth-conscious choice by recycling, rather than tossing them. I really think Impassioned is the perfect vibrant summer lipstick. And to prove it, here's a picture of me wearing it while enjoying a sunny afternoon in the park:

Yay for Summer!! :)
 Thanks for reading, everyone!