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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Look of the Day: The Siren

Happy Pride, everyone! Although I'm in Montreal for a quick trip this long weekend (yay!), my heart is in Toronto today as the city celebrates the culmination of the World Pride festival with an amazingly extravagant parade! The event brings millions of people from all over the world to Toronto to join together in the spirit of diversity, love, and openness. I don't take for granted for a second that I live in a country where such celebrations are embraced so whole-heartedly. A wonderful thing! 

Today I'm channeling Pride with a vivid, colourful, rainbow-themed makeup look. In my last post I reviewed the amazing Marc Jacobs The Siren Style Eye-Con No.7 and now I'm putting it to good use!  The look is all about prism-like eyes, rosy cheeks, and flushed lips. 

It's been ages since I've worn something rainbow-like on the eyes and I couldn't wait to work some magic with The Siren. I started by applying the lemony yellow shade heavily on the inner third of my lid, blending up to the brow and down to the inner corner of my eye. I then applied some of the coppery orange shade to the centre of my lid and popped some of the warm red on the outer corners of the eye, sweeping upward. To add extra definition, I applied the deep teal shade from the palette precisely in the crease of the eye. For the lower lash line, I applied some of the gorgeous indigo shade along the outer third, the shimmery seafoam shade on the centre, and the lemon yellow on the inner third. I finished off the shadow with touches of the icy white shade on the brow bone and inner corners and, voila! Rainbow goodness :)

For the cheeks, I used two of my all-time favourite NARS blushes. I applied Deep Throat, a shimmery pinky peach, all the way up my cheekbones, and popped some of Amour, a matte rosy pink, on the apples of my cheeks. I opted for a neutral rosy lip that would add a touch of colour without competing with the eyes. My choice was Milani Colour Statement Lipstick in Naturally Chic, one of my current faves!

And a full list of everything I used:

The Breakdown:

Primer: Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Primer 
Foundation: Revlon ColourStay Liquid Makeup (Combination/Oily Formula) in Buff
Concealer: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Concealer in Y1
Powder: Revlon Nearly Naked Pressed Powder in Light

Bronzer: The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder in Fair Matte
Blush: NARS Deep Throat (blended up cheekbones) and NARS Amour (on apples of the cheeks)

Highlighter: BeneFit Watt's Up (on cheekbones and down bridge of nose)

Brows: Maybelline Define-A-Brow in Dark Blonde
Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion Original Formula
Eye Shadows: (all from The Siren palette): Yellow shade (on inner third of the lid and inner portion of lower lash line), Copper shade (packed on the centre of the lid), Red shade (on outer corner of the eye. blended up to the crease), Teal shade (to add extra definition in the crease), Blue shade (on outer third of lower lash line), Green shade (on centre portion of lower lash line), White shade (on brow bone and inner corner). 

Eyeliner: MAC Pearlglide Intense Eyeliner in Black Line
Mascara: BeneFit They're Real!

Lips: Milani Colour Statement Lipstick in Naturally Chic

And a couple more shots of the look:

And that's it! Man, did I have fun with this look! Like, narcissitically checking out my eyes in the mirror every 5 minutes fun :) We all know that I like to play with colour and this was the ultimate exercise in doing just that! The Siren palette is simply beautiful and works wonders to make a rainbow-coloured eye look perfectly wearable. A feat indeed! Can't wait to use this palette even more. I can see some sunset- and mermaid-inspired looks coming up soon :)

Hope everyone is having a fantastic long weekend! Cheers :)

Friday, 27 June 2014

Currently Obsessed: Marc Jacobs The Siren Style Eye-Con No.7

Hi, everyone! Today I ring in this Canada Day long weekend with a colourful eye shadow palette that's had me swooning lately. I thought this weekend would be especially fitting for a rainbow theme, as World Pride is in full swing here in Toronto! It's a world-class, international 10-day festival to celebrate pride, diversity, and progress in the LGBT community and within the global community as a whole. The display of unity and enthusiasm is really quite a beautiful thing!

Onto the review at hand, the object of today's rave is the Marc Jacobs The Siren Style Eye-Con No.7 palette, which was a Spring/Summer release from the brand. With the multitude of neutral eye shadow palettes in my stash, I thought it was about time I injected some colour into my makeup wardrobe. The Siren has been an incredible way to do just that!

The palette came boxed in a sleek, plastic rectangular package with a prominent Marc Jacobs logo:

Inside the box was this amazingly chic nylon pouch secured with an ultra satisfying snap closure. Beauty geek heaven!

Upon satisfyingly unsnapping the pouch, a sleek white oblong-shaped plastic palette is revealed. Marc Jacobs' Style Eye-Con palettes typically come in black packaging, but for summertime he opted for casing that is white hot! The style is simple and chic, with the Marc Jacobs logo on the front and all of the nitty gritty on the back. 

The palette is opened and snapped closed with a button-latch device, which is also quite gratifying to use. We all know and appreciate the sensation of a firm 'click'!

Upon opening the palette, a large-sized mirror is revealed, as well as a black logoed sheath to guard the shadows:

And if you thought the packaging was sexy, check out these colours! Is there such a thing as a rainbow-gasm? Not sure, but I think I just had one ;)

The palette comes with seven shades, nestled side by side in circular pans. The colours don't have individual names, but the tones themselves are definitely quite distinct!

All of the shades have some sheen to them, some more subtly so, while others are more outright metallic. Included is an iridescent true white, a warm, glowy red, a metallic orange copper, a cheery lemon gold, a shiny seafoam green, an indigo-tinged ocean blue, and a deep blackened teal with a gold sheen. All so pretty!

Here are swatches of the shades on the inside of my arm (NC15 skin tone):

So, I'm obviously blown away by the shade selection, but what are my thoughts on the formula and the palette as a whole? Here's a full breakdown:


  • Beautifully pigmented shades in every colour of the rainbow (except for violet- sorry, violet ;))!
  • Shades are undoubtedly bold, but surprisingly wearable
  • Easily blendable formula allows colours to be worn sheer or more heavily
  • Shades give a lovely glow to the eyes without any heavy, noticeable glitter
  • Sleek, chic, functional, compact packaging
  • A breath of fresh air among a sea of neutral palettes!
  • Clearly not the palette for you if you don't like wearing colour on the eyes. Not really many neutral options in this one!
  • The texture isn't quite as buttery as shadows from brands like Urban Decay
  • At $71 CAD, this isn't a cheapie!

So there you have it! If I haven't been clear, I really think this palette is the bees knees! I love playing with vibrant tones of colour and this palette is the perfect excuse to do so. Despite the vivid tones, I find the palette incredibly easy to work with and ultra versatile. The formula is long-wearing and gives the most lovely glowy finish to the eyes. If you want a chic dose of colour this summer, this is it!

Look out for a makeup look using this palette coming up on Sunday!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend :)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Veracious Product Reviews: Sigma E25 and E30 Eye Brushes*

Hi, everyone! My love for makeup brushes (along with my brush collection) has increased exponentially over the past couple of years and, in the process, I have discovered some of the best brands for makeup tools out there. One range I'd been dying to try was Sigma, as their affordable, yet professional quality offerings have always gotten raves among the makeup community. So when Canadian beauty e-tailer Obsessed Look (check out their site, here) offered to send me two Sigma eye brushes of my choice to try out, I jumped at the opportunity!

It was definitely a tough decision, but the two brushes I opted for were the E30 Pencil Brush* and the E25 Blending Brush*. Here they are side-by-side:

Both brushes come with silver hardware, sleek black handles labelled with the name of the brush (handy!), and soft ivory-white bristles: 

I chose the E30 Pencil Brush* ($15.99 CAD) as I'd been lusting after MAC's pencil brush for years but had always balked at the price. I really enjoy applying darker-toned eye shadows as liner, but I find that the typical angled liner brushes make for messy work of this process. Sigma promises that their Pencil Brush will not only apply shadow liner easily, but is also suited for smudging out pencil liner for a smokier look. I really must agree- it does the job perfectly! I find that the brush is dense enough to apply a fairly precise (though not thin) stroke of shadow liner to both top and bottom lash lines, yet fluffy and flexible enough to apply a lighter wash of colour, if desired. Wonderful for a subtly smokey look! Plus, I've had very little eye shadow fallout with this, which is a huge plus. No speckled cheeks! 

I selected the E25 Blending Brush* ($15.99 CAD) because it reminded me of the much-coveted MAC 217, but at a fraction of the price. I'm always on the lookout for brushes that both apply and blend shadows effortlessly, and this one seemed to fit the bill! Sigma touts that the Blending Brush is ideal for adding a quick wash of colour on the lid, blending shades with some precision (thanks to the tapered shape), and buffing out any harsh lines or edges. Again, this really works as promised! The brush is structured and dense enough to give control, yet fluffy enough that it can apply a sheer layer of colour or create soft edges perfectly. I can see this being a daily staple!

And a couple more close-ups of the brushes for a clear sense of shape and texture:

Overall, I am super impressed with my Sigma brush selections. Not only are they sleek and professional looking, the bristles are also super soft and they are constructed to perfectly fulfill their desired use. The thoughtful detail in the design is evident and their amazing performance is proof! I can definitely see myself picking up more Sigma brushes to come. Can't argue with this type of quality, especially for the price!

If you're in Canada and interested in checking out Sigma brushes, you can find them online at Obsessed Look, here! Plus, all Sigma brushes ship for free from the site, which is a lovely bonus!

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Half-way to the weekend! xo

* These products were sent to me by Obsessed Look for trial and review. The opinions in this review are 100% authentic and represent my own, unbiased takes on the brushes. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

My Lovely Parcel from May Lindstrom Skin!

Hi, everyone! I've been much more into online shopping lately (a dangerous hobby, indeed!) and I had to write a quick post about an absolutely lovely package that arrived on my doorstep late last week. The parcel was from the nearly nascent, luxury organic brand May Lindstrom Skin and, let me say, it was packaged with care! 

While I will undoubtedly laud the beautiful products inside the package shortly, this entry is all about the parcel itself- the little touches that made this online order a fun, personalized experience. Upon opening the cardboard shipping box, I saw a shoebox-sized sleek black box emblazoned with the May Lindstrom Skin logo and tied with a shiny black ribbon. 

After delicately untying the ribbon and lifting the lid, I spied a white envelope addressed to yours truly. Inside? A hand written card from May herself, telling me that "this is your time to indulge". How very sweet! I love that this brand is just small enough to allow for such personal, thoughtful touches! The box also included a typed letter explaining that a free full-sized product was included in the package as a celebration of May Lindstrom's birthday. I must say that the freebie is what drove me to make an order from the brand, as I'd been curious about it for a while, yet the price had hindered me. A great incentive and I'm glad I caved!

Upon lightly lifting the sheer black tissue paper, the products were revealed! On the left was The Problem Solver Correcting Mask housed in a luxe black cardboard box and on the right, another treat all tied up!

The incredible freebie included was May's brand new skin refresher, the Jasmine Garden Mist, which came in a full-sized(!), weighty glass bottle. Both products looked so sleek and beautiful nestled in the crimped, paper padding. I almost didn't want to take them out, but I quickly did. I had to use The Problem Solver right away!

So there you go, a quick peek at my first-ever May Lindstrom order. Nothing about this shipment was cheap, from the luxury-priced products, to the shipping, to the duties, but I must say that I've never received an online parcel packaged with such care and detail. The personal messages were unexpected and so very much appreciated!

Look out for reviews of both of these stunning products, coming up soon!

In the meantime, if you're curious to learn more about May Lindstrom Skin, you can check out her website (here) or her full skin care lineup on Fresh Faced (here).

Have a wonderful day! 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Skin Care Week #4: Face Masks in my Rotation!

Happy weekend, everyone! This week on the blog has been all about the skin care products that have been keeping my complexion happy and healthy lately (click on the links to check out my Morning Routine, Evening Routine, and, Weekend Routine). I've featured some true gems and have loved hearing your feedback about what items you've been using and loving recently. It's time for the final installment of Skin Care Week, where I gush about all of the amazing face masks in my rotation! I've always been a sucker for a good face mask- it feels like such a pampering experience and there's something fun about spending a few moments of your evening looking like a crazy creature from the deep!

Before I delve into my reviews, a quick note about my skin type. You can read a full description of my complexion in my Morning Routine, but here's the gist: My skin is combination to oily, acne-prone, sensitive, and prone to pigmentation and redness. I can't guarantee that the products below will love your skin as they do mine, but hopefully I can introduce you to a product or brand that might pamper you perfectly!

Clarins Pure and Radiant Mask with Pink Clay
This wonderful little mask was an unexpected love. I received a sample a while back and instantly fell smitten! I featured it in my latest Beauty Tray post- and with good reason! It's the ultimate deep cleanse for those with more dry or sensitive skin. It has pink clay that draws out impurities without any feelings of tightness. It instantly soothes and brightens the skin and I always wake up to a calmer complexion the next day!

The Face Shop Magic Pink Powder Mask
This most definitely wins the award of cutest mask ever! Even the box is adorable (Face Shop, you've really outdone yourselves on the cuteness scale)! Although I might have purchased this for the packaging alone, it was the combination of ingredients that hooked me. This mask is designed to both treat blemishes while soothing the skin. A perfect combo or me! It has salicylic acid to gently exfoliate and target breakouts and a pink, calamine-based creamy texture to calm redness. And it has a slight cooling effect on the skin, which really makes it perfect for summer! This one is also great for morning use, as it helps keep oil at bay while providing a smooth, calm base for makeup.

Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant
This is a staple pick for me- truly a mask that I hope to never be without! I love it so much that I featured it in my Top 10 Skin and Hair Care Products of 2013 post. It was a Lisa Eldridge-inspired purchase and, let me say, that lady rarely steers me in the wrong direction! I'm a huge fan of chemical exfoliants, as manual scrubbers tend to irritate my sensitive skin. This clay-based mask deep cleanses, while gently, but potently exfoliating the skin with lactic acid. My skin loves it and it always left amazingly smooth and clear afterwards!

Eve Lom Rescue Mask
I purchased this cult favourite in NYC back in January and posted a full review of it shortly afterwards. This is a mask that my skin should react poorly to- it has coarse, scrubby bits and stimulating camphor which both typically irritate my skin. Amazingly, though, my face loves this stuff! It's a complete treat to use, with a luxurious smell and texture. Plus, it leaves my skin feeling incredibly clean and fresh every time. A splurge that's been totally worth it!

Alpha H Balancing and Pore Refining Mask
I received this mask, my first-ever product from Alpha H, in the amazing Cult Beauty Goody Bag a few months ago. I've only used it a couple of times, but so far, so good! This mask is fantastic when you need a deep cleanse but want to forego any exfoliation. It features a clay base to draw out impurities, lavender to act as a mild antibacterial agent, zinc oxide to gently heal blemishes, Vitamin A to regenerate skin, and Jojoba to lightly moisturize. Powerhouse ingredients for a sophisticated deep clean!

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask
I picked up this lovely mask in my first-ever Feel Unique Haul back in September and it became an instant favourite for several reasons. First off, I've never found a mask that simultaneously provides a thorough cleanse and deep hydration. Not sure how it works! Every time, my skin feels entirely clean, yet also plump and dewy. Second, this mask is packed with skin-loving ingredients, including the star of the show, Manuka Honey. This beautiful inclusion works wonders to gently heal blemishes without stripping the skin. And, finally, that smell! The fragrance is warm and sweet, like a vanilla and honey custard. Plus, it has a custard-like texture to match. Always a heavenly experience!

Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste
So this one isn't technically a face mask, but I thought it deserved a shout-out. This facial exfoliator contains both manual and chemical elements, which is a rather ingenious combo! Quartz particles powerfully (yet somehow also gently) slough away dead skin while lactic acid (my favourite!) also works to gently eat away at the skin's top layer to reveal glowy, fresh skin! After rubbing in gently, I leave this on for a minute to let the lactic acid have its moment. The scent is fresh and beautiful and my skin is always left incredibly smooth and vibrant. To see it in action, check out my Aesop Facial routine!

Aesop Camomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque
And to round things up, another goody from Aesop! If you'll notice a theme among my face mask picks, it's that I like products that deeply cleanse my skin without stripping or irritating it. And this treatment does just that! It not only includes zit-zapping and mildly astringent ingredients like tea tree, it also features Camomile to calm and Evening Primrose to lightly hydrate. The texture is rich and creamy and the scent is herbal, fresh, and totally lovely. This always leaves my skin looking bright, clear, and peaceful. Love it to bits!

So there you go, everyone! All of the face masks that are keeping my skin pampered, deep cleansed, smoothed, and glowing! It's fun to customize a facial depending on how my skin has been acting of late. Really a wonderful, easy way to wind down, relax, and treat myself after a hectic day :)

What face masks are in your current rotation? What are your at-home facial routines? Did I tempt you with any goodies today?

Thanks to everyone who's stopped by during Skin Care Week! It's been fun to chat about my current complexion routine and to feature the products that are currently keeping my skin happy while also being a complete pleasure to use :)

Have a wonderful weekend! xo

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Skin Care Week #3: My Weekend Routine!

Hi, everybody! If you've been following, reading, or lurking lately you'll know that Skin Care Week is in full swing! Sunday was all about My Morning Routine and on Tuesday I brought to you My Evening Routine. Today's post is all about the products I use over the weekend! I'm at my boyfriend's place for most of the weekend, so I of course have a separate stash of goodies in his cabinet. I love my weekly products, but who wants to haul them back and forth!? While my Monday to Friday basics are slightly more gentle and natural, I tend to incorporate a couple more medicated options for the weekend to insure my breakouts are really kept in-check. My routine is also extra simplified Friday to Sunday, as to prevent product overload. And, completely tangentially and randomly, all of my weekend products are green! Like, literally. But I digress... ;)

And before I delve into my reviews, a quick note about my skin type. You can read a full description of my skin type in my Morning Routine, but here's the gist: My skin is combination to oily, acne-prone, sensitive, and prone to pigmentation and redness. I can't guarantee that the products below will love your skin as they do mine, but hopefully I can introduce you to a product or brand that might fit with your needs too!

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter
I got this amazing cleanser for Christmas and finally got around to using it a couple months ago. This has a rich, luxurious texture, a mild, relaxing scent, and really removes all traces of makeup! I find it doesn't wash quite as clean as my Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils, but all traces are gone after my double cleanse. This has never broken me out and is rather affordable- so happy I gambled on this one!

B. Kamins Acne Wash
I have raved about this time and time again- and plan to never shut up about it! This medicated acne wash has potent ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid and is ultra effective at removing any remaining traces of makeup. Despite its toughness, its minimally-foaming formula never strips or irritates my skin. It has worked wonders to keep my skin clear and smooth without upsetting my complexion's natural balance. I'll never be without it! 

The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner
I bought this a few months back as part of a Springtime Body Shop Haul and am so glad I did! While there's nothing bold or sexy about this toner, it does the job well. The alcohol-free, aloe-based formula cleanses gently, removes lingering debris, and never irritates or breaks me out. In fact, it feels quite soothing! No complaints at all. 

Arbonne Calm Soothing Eye Gel
I received this as part of an Arbonne Calm range sample kit. While the whole line didn't quite agree with my skin, this eye gel is really a wonder! It's lightweight, yet hydrating and feels incredibly refreshing and cooling on the eyes. With cucumber and chamomile, this is perfect on both tired nighttime eyes and puffy morning peepers. It's a lovely weekend treat!

Vichy Normaderm Anti-Age
This was a staple a few years ago and I was smart enough to re-introduce it to my skin care regimen a couple months ago. This product is the best of both worlds- it fights aging while tackling nasty breakouts. Perfect for my 30+, acne-prone complexion! It includes glycloic acid to smooth and exfoliate and vitamin C to brighten, while also hydrating with a light feel. I generally apply this at nighttime after my toner has dried and I always wake to calmer, clearer skin!

Garnier Skin Renew Even Tone Daily Moisturizer SPF28
I bought this on a whim a while back when I was looking for a potent daytime SPF and was instantly impressed! This not only protects against UVA and UVB rays, it also deeply hydrates and brightens the skin via vitamin C. It applies smoothly without a heavy feel and really does instantly illuminate and even out my complexion! Plus, it smells fresh and citrusy. Mmmm :) This does lead to more mid-day shine breakthrough than a more matte offering would, but nothing a bit of blotting won't fix! I may have to switch to something lighter-weight when the dead of summer hits, but this is a fantastic SPF for the cooler months. 

So there you go- the products that keep my skin clear and relaxed over the weekend! Still haven't decided whether having a separate weekend lineup helps or hinders my skin, but it's a great opportunity to integrate some extra goodies into my routine!

What skin care products do you use over the weekend? Have you used any of the brands or products I've featured here?

Thanks for reading and look out for my next post- all about the face masks in my rotation! :)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Skin Care Week #2: My Evening Routine!

Hi, everyone! If you caught my last post, you'll know that Skin Care Week is underway! I've been tinkering with my skin care routine for awhile and finally have it down to a regular lineup that my skin is really loving. Sunday's post was all about my Morning Skin Care Routine and today I share with you my evening roster!

For a full description of my skin type you can check out my Morning Routine, but here's the lowdown: My skin is combination to oily, acne-prone, sensitive, and prone to pigmentation and redness. I can't guarantee that the products below will love your skin as they do mine, but hopefully I can introduce you to a product or brand that piques your interest!

Shu Uemura Whitefficient Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil
 I've been a long-time devotee to the Shu  Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil (the yellow formula), but thought I'd give the Brightening version a try since my complexion always needs a boost! I haven't been using this long enough to notice any skin-whitening effects, but I can say that it's just as effective at removing all traces of makeup without leaving a residue or breaking me out. So far, so good!

REN ClearCalm3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser
As mentioned in my Morning Routine post, I purchased this fantastic cleanser in my recent Tax Return Haul - so happy I did! This cleanser has everything my skin needs. It is creamy, gentle, and soothing, which my sensitive complexion loves, has gentle exfoliating ingredients (including lactic acid) to smooth skin and clear pores, and an earthy clay base to really deep clean. A perfect balance of nature and science! This isn't the best at removing makeup, but is super effective at cleansing the skin post-makeup removal. Can't get enough of this one!

Thayers Rose Petal and Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Toner
I'm a bit of a toner floozy, but I always come back to Thayers' offerings. The alcohol-free base means zero irritation to my sensitive skin, the witch hazel deep cleans, and the aloe gently hydrates. My complexion loves this combination! This version includes rose flower water and has a matching, feminine rosy scent and fantastic extra soothing powers. This works wonders at removing the final traces of makeup and cleanser without stripping or aggravating my skin. It's the best!

Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Calming Mist
This is another new and absolutely lovely addition to my skin care lineup. This is my first-ever Jurlique product and it certainly has me eager to try more! As in the morning, I use this toner as the final, refreshing step before applying hydrating products. This toning mist is instantly soothing, minimizes redness, smells of fresh cucumbers, and never leaves my skin feeling tight. A true wonder!

Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil
I was lucky enough to receive this free as part of an amazing promotion from Fresh Faced at the Green + Good Pop-Up shop last month. Everything about this treatment is perfection. It has a rich, earthy, almost dark cocoa-like scent and leaves my skin glowing both instantly as well as the next morning. It contains trans-retinoic acid to give the skin a healthy dose of regenerating Vitamin A and promises to be the most concentrated Rosehip oil on the market! It also claims to promote skin firmness and elasticity, improve the appearance of pigmentation and scarring, and deeply hydrate. It really does all of this and has never irritated my skin in any way. The perfect pre-sleep pamper!

And of course I couldn't stage a photo shoot without Sadie getting in the thick of things :)

So there it is, my evening skin care routine! In tandem, these products work wonderfully to remove all traces of my long-wear makeup, deep clean my skin, refresh the complexion, and treat it perfectly. Each has a lovely scent and texture and keeps my finicky skin even and clear. So satisfied with all of them!

What products do you use in  your evening routine? Have you tried any of the brands or products I've featured here?

Thanks for dropping by, and check out the current face masks in my rotation coming up soon! xo

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Skin Care Week #1: My Morning Routine!

Hi, everyone! Welcome to the inaugural installment of my first-ever skin care week! I've been getting more and more into skin care lately, partially because I've been on a bit of a makeup ban and need to get my beauty kicks somehow (sheesh) and also due to the fact that there are just so many darned amazing options out there these days! I've been tampering with my skin care routine quite a bit lately (to my skin's chagrin, as it hates change), but I think I finally have a regimen going that is keeping things in check whilst also being a total pleasure to use. No small feat! I've been gravitating more towards natural and organic skin care of late and I have to say that my skin really seems to be reaping the benefits!

So, before I delve into my morning skin care products, a few words about my complexion. It's a doozy! I have always had combination to oily skin that is prone to breakouts. My acne is generally in the mild range, with the occasional angry flare-up. I always get a few new breakouts per week and, because my skin is quite fair, I'm prone to those nasty reddish post-acne marks. I find these particularly annoying, as they make my skin look spotty even when there are no active blemishes around. Boo! Also, my skin has become more sensitive with age, so it's been a struggle to find products that treat my breakouts without stripping or irritating my complexion. A challenge indeed!

So to sum up that diatribe, my skin is combination to oily, acne-prone, sensitive, and prone to pigmentation and redness. I can't guarantee that the products below will love your skin as they do mine, but hopefully I can introduce you to a product or brand that floats your boat!

REN ClearCalm3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser
I picked up this lovely cleanser in my recent Tax Return Haul and am so glad that I did! I've heard nothing but good things about REN skin care and this cleanser appealed to me for many reasons. The creamy clay base means that it's both rich and deep-cleansing (musts for my oily, sensitive skin), the antibacterial ingredients work to banish breakouts, and the salicilin and lactic acid gently exfoliate the skin. A true triple threat! This cleanser really is the best of both worlds for me; on the one hand, it is rich, soothing, and packed with natural ingredients; on the other, it has some potent acne-fighting ingredients to keep skin clear. Loving it so far!

Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Calming Mist
This is the newest edition to my skin care arsenal and it is hitting the spot perfectly! I snagged this during the recent Canadian Beauty Bloggers Toronto meet-up when we all (appropriately) congregated at the Yorkville Sephora. I was looking for something that would calm and refresh my skin during the summertime and I had been dying to try Jurlique for some time- so this really fit the bill! This soothing spritz contains calendula, cucumber, and chamomile and is perfectly alcohol-free. It also includes aloe for a soft touch of hydration. This really has made a difference in my redness-prone skin and I'm smitten with the gentle mist! 

Chanel Le Jour de Chanel
 This has been my go-to serum for the past six months and was featured in my recent Night and Day post. Chanel products are almost infallibly lovely, but this serum has held a firm place in my routine because of the fresh scent, lightweight texture, and non-irritating formula. It contains salicylic acid to gently exfoliate and licorice extract to brighten. It smells like jasmine, works wonders to keep my skin luminous and clear, and wears perfectly under makeup. Can't fault it!

Antipodes Divine Face Oil
 I have raved about this miracle oil in a "Currently Obsessed" post and with good reason! I've been using this daily since September because it does an amazing job at hydrating and calming the skin without a heavy feel. I was amazed to find that I could wear this under makeup without any greasy interference; in fact, I think it helps to control oil during the day! The smells is herbal and absolutely lovely and the dropper-style packaging is always a pleasure to use. I've already purchased second bottle and hope to never be without this!

Pai Geranium & Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream
This is another new-ish addition, one that I was happy to pick up at the Green + Good Pop-Up shop last month. Pai is another brand that I was dying to try, as it's specifically designed for sensitive skin, and this moisturizer seemed like a perfect foray into the line. It's free of alcohol and other irritants, is mildly antibacterial to help treat blemishes, and is designed to be completely non-pore-clogging. Despite this, it's also wonderfully rich and hydrating. It's rich in fatty acids to protect and calm the skin and it has a beautiful herbal smell. It plumps my skin nicely without any sort of greasy after-feel. A true treat! I am finding it to be slightly too heavy for these steamy summer days, but this will most definitely be a staple for every other season!

So there you go- a peek into my morning routine! It's been an absolute delight to find natural-based skin care that does not break out or irritate my sensitive skin. Each step is a pleasure to use and my skin has been ultra happy with this combination!

What products are in your current morning routine? Have you tried any of the brands or products that I've featured here?

Thanks for reading, and look out for my evening skin care routine on Tuesday!

Friday, 13 June 2014

4 or More Tag!

Hi, everyone! For whatever reason, I've rarely done tag posts. I suppose reviews and makeup looks are more my thing. But there have been a few tags floating around lately that have totally been floating my boat, and this is one of them! The 4 or More Tag asks that you feature all of the beauty products in your collection that are at least four strong. Those items that you love so much, you've wanted to pick up at least 4 shades. So really, formulations that you can't get enough of! I recently saw a great version of this tag from Laura Neuzeth and since then I've been excited to give it a go!

We all know my stash is ridiculously huge sizeable, so it was no surprise that there were quite a number of 4+ groupings within it. Some are newer finds, while others are longtime staples. I hope you enjoy taking a peek!

NARS Powder Blushes
NARS blushers are truly iconic and with good reason. The shades are flattering and unique, ultra pigmented, and super long-wearing. I have 6 in my stash, with my all-time fave being Deep Throat, a shimmery pinky peach. 

(Starting at top, clockwise): Orgasm, Deep Throat, Dolce Vita, Sex Appeal, Amour, Taj Mahal

MAC Blushes
MAC cheek colour is one of the first high-end offerings that ever made it into my stash. They're lovely! I'm particularly a fan of the Sheertone Shimmer finish (Sunbasque being a classic pick) and their Mineralized Blushes. Dainty is a real beauty!

(Starting at top, clockwise): Bite of an Apple, Happy Together, Frankly Scarlet, Dainty, Sunbasque (Missing: Modern Mandarin)

Illamasqua Blushes
Illamasqua just hit Toronto shelves less than two years ago and I was one of those makeup fans chomping at the bit to give this bold, edgy brand a go. Their blushes have proven to be real winners. Extreme pigmentation, superior blendability, and super long wear. Lover and Excite are my personal faves!

(Top left, moving clockwise): Blush Duo in Lover and Hussy, Excite, Beg

MAC Lipsticks
We all know I'm a lipstick fiend (the picture below is clear evidence) and MAC lippies are the most populous in my stash. I own nearly 20 shades, including Impassioned, Rebel, Lickable, Vegas Volt, Korean Candy, Good to Be Bad, Lustering, Chatterbox, CrosswiresRussian Red, Ladybug, Hot Tahiti, Up the Amp, Modesty, Warm Me UpViva Glam V, Viva Glam VIBarbie Rocking Chick (an old-school limited edition fave) and Strawberry Blonde (another LE cult lippie). I love them all like children!

NARS Lipsticks

NARS lipsticks embody the brand so perfectly; chic, but bold, polished, yet totally sexy. I own 6 of these little gems, including Heat Wave, Schiap, Dolce Vita, Joyous Red, Damage, and Niagara. Each shade is completely unique in my collection and definitely well-loved!

Revlon ColourBurst Lip Butters

There was so much hype about these when they were released and rightfully so! These little tinted balms offer generous pigmentation and a slick, wearable finish. I own 7 of these at the moment (Juicy Papaya, Pink Truffle, Peach Parfait, Red Velvet, Lollipop, Sweet Tart); they're a summer staple!

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains

Revlon lip products are second in number only to MAC in my collection and with good reason. They are affordable and absolutely top-notch! The Kissable Balm Stains were a brilliant addition to their lip range; long-wearing colour without drying or discomfort. Many copycats have followed! I own Redezvous, Romantic, Honey, Sweetheart

My entire lip stash. A thing of beauty, no?

Urban Decay Eye Shadow Palettes
I started collecting Urban Decay palettes just after the turn of the century. They were then known as Face Cases and included 8 eye shadows, two lip colours, and a highlighter and were the pre-cursor to the myriad of palettes crowding the shelves today. So wish I had saved them! It's no secret that UD palettes continue to top wishlists everywhere, and I couldn't be happier to see it! Their eye shadows really are the best on the  market! Smooth, buttery, pigmented, and bold. 

(L-R, Top-bottom): Naked 3, Wallpaper Palette, Shadow Box 2, Mariposa Palette, Naked (Not shown: Shattered Face Case)

MAC Eye Shadows
Just as MAC dominates my lip stash, it rules my eye shadow collection as well. I bought my first MAC shadow about 12 years ago and haven't looked back! The brand has released some amazing limited edition shades (like Moth Brown from MAC Loves Barbie) and I always enjoy putting together custom palettes, which is a fun option! I took the picture below a few years ago and have added a few more since. My favourites among them are Bronze, Mulch, Amber Lights, Club, Twinks, Cranberry, and Ricepaper

Too many to list, but let me know if there are any shades you're curious about!

MAC Pigments
These were the first goodies that I ever really started collecting. So fun to play with and such stunning, dazzling shades! All of mine are in the old packaging. I've swapped away several helpings from some of the jars and there is still plenty left. They will truly last you forever!

(Left to right, top to bottom): Golden Olive, Melon, Old Gold, Lily White, Subtle, Violet, Pink Pearl

Make Up For Ever Star Powders
My love for MAC Pigments led me to start collecting these as well. I purchased the shimmery teal shade (top of the pic below) in a Make Up For Ever boutique in Soho, NYC when I was seventeen. I felt so fancy and mature buying it. It's one of my oldest and most-loved beauty products. The pigmentation of these powdered shadows really are top-notch! 

MAC Fluidlines
When these were first released, gel liners were not a staple of every line. They felt like a true innovation! To be honest, I'm almost always too lazy for gel liners, but these are my go-to choice if I'm in the mood. I love using them as eye shadow bases as well! 

Shade names are there! (Missing: Brassy- my ultimate favourite!)

Real Techniques Brushes
When these finally hit Canadian shelves last summer I almost fainted in Wal-Mart. I was verklempt! These have quickly become the most populous (by far) brush brand in my collection. They're dangerously affordable, ultra soft, cruelty-free, and always do the job perfectly. The brushes below are just a selection of the ones I own- I've listed those missing from the pic, below! 

(Top, then L-R): Powder Brush, Domed Shadow Brush, Contour Brush, Shading Brush, Multi-task Brush, Essential Foundation Brush, Setting Brush (Missing: Expert Face Brush, Buffing Brush, Pointed Foundation Brush, Detailer Brush, Stippling Brush)

Essie Nail Polishes
My nail polish stash has grown exponentially over the past year, and Essie is largely to blame for this! The shades are not merely colours- they feel like personalities! Those in the photo below represent about half of those in my collection. My faves are Mint Candy Apple, Smokin' Hot, First-Timer, and Lapiz of Luxury

(L-R, Top-Bottom): Vanity Fair, Over the Edge, Mint Candy Apple, Smokin' Hot, Sexy Divide, Peach Daiquiri (Missing: Lapiz of Luxury, Blue Rhapsody, Nothing Else Metals, First-Timer)

O.P.I. Nail Lacquers
O.P.I. is another giant in the nail polish universe and I have several in my stash because of the unique, quirky shades and always amazing names. My faves are Gargantuan Green Grape (a warm, cheery pale green) and Don't Pretzel My Buttons (the best-ever nude!).

(L-R, Top-Bottom): Rainbow Connection, Live and Let Die, Don't Pretzel My Buttons, Gargantuan Green Grape

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour
Chanel releases iconic nail shades season after season and I've been suckered more than once into splurging for these chic little bottles of colour. Four times, to be exact. The picture below might suggest that I'm cheating here, but missing (i.e., hidden in the wild depths of my bedroom somewhere) is the fourth, Holiday, my favourite orange coral polish ever!

(L-R): Peridot, Bel Argus, Vertigo (Missing: Holiday)

Illamasqua Nail Varnishes
Illamasqua may make the most beautiful and unique nail shades out there. They basically invented the speckled polish craze and their holographic microglitter in offerings like Scarce and Raindrops are stare-at-my-nails-all-day stunning!

(L-R, Top-Bottom): Facet, Scarce, Viridian, Raindrops

Julep Nail Polish
Julep is a more recent brand curiosity of mine. I picked up a few shades from this lovely, non-toxic, girl power brand last year when my polish maven of a cousin shared some with me. They are fab! I was lucky enough to snag some more at the recent Canadian Beauty Bloggers Toronto meet-up (an amazing time). Can't wait to give them a go!

(L-R, Top-Bottom): Abbie, Glam Roc, Petra, Scarlett, Catrina, Alice (Missing: Jennifer, Millie)

Phewf! One of my longest posts ever! I'm so happy that I did this tag, as it really highlighted the products that are absolute staples in my collection. True treasures!

I tag everyone reading this! Would love to see your versions of this theme; send me links if you do it! xo

Thanks for stopping by! :)