Empties: December 2016 to February 2017

Posted on February 20, 2017 under Empties

I feel like I did an empties post pretty recently, but I have accumulated a lot of garbage which I would like to throw out so that I can hoard new garbage in my room! So here you go…

Skincare

La Roche-Posay Respectissime Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover: This is definitely my favourite eye makeup remover. It’s gentle, super effective, and half the price of the Lancôme Bi-Facil. Have repurchased!

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Makeup Removing Micelle Solution: I got this for free through work and I really liked it. It’s right up there with the La Roche-Posay micellar water for me. A lot of micellar waters I’ve tried (Vichy, Avène, Garnier) have left my face feeling too dry and tight, but this one doesn’t dry me out. My mom and I are currently working our way through one of the 500mL bottles.

La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water: Obviously, I got this from work, because I am the kind of cranky skeptic who does not believe in paying money for a can full of water. I mean, they can say it’s packed full of minerals, but the literal only ingredient on this can is “water”. I know a lot of people swear by this stuff, but I am not one of them. I actually had this little can for about two and a half years and finally used it up by spraying it on my blending sponge to get it damp when I was too lazy to go run it under the bathroom faucet.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Riche Soothing Protective Care: This is my favourite winter moisturizer. It’s quite thick and rich, but it sinks into my skin pretty fast and I can easily put makeup on top of it. This was my second tube of it and I’m on my third now. Once it starts getting warmer I’ll have to switch to something a bit lighter, but this one is seriously great for dry winter skin – and if you’re super sensitive it’s a great option too.

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm: I love this stuff and seriously spent all day a few weeks ago going to five different Shoppers to hunt down a new one because they were all sold out. I scraped every last bit of product out of this jar and I will do it again with my current jar.

Body

The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter: I got three tubs of this in early November during a 3 for $30 sale and I AM OUT OF THEM ALREADY. Yes, since December 2 (when I posted my last Empties), I have used up TWO tubs. My dry skin loves this stuff. I’ll probably buy three more when there’s another good deal at the Body Shop, because obviously you should never buy anything full price there.

A-Derma Xera-Mega Nourishing Anti-Dryness Cream: I got this for free at a brand training event I attended for work. I loved this and I loved the Exomega Emollient Balm too. Both of them did a great job of hydrating my dry winter limbs without feeling too heavy or sitting on top of my skin.

Haircare

L’Oreal EverPure Repair Remedy Mask: This was pretty average as hair masks went. It made my hair feel pretty nice, but I don’t think it really repaired it. (I mean, my hair is super bleach damaged, so it’s not like I’m expecting a miracle.) It also had a very strong eucalyptus scent which I became accustomed to but did not enjoy. I think this has been discontinued, but I wouldn’t repurchase anyway.

Marc Anthony Hydrating Coconut Oil and Shea Butter Deep Nourishing Conditioning Treatment: Man, I bought two of these little packets back in June and I’m just now finishing the second of them. I use this about once a week and the packet is pretty generous, so I can make one of these stretch a long time. I like this treatment a lot and it always leaves my hair feeling smooth and healthy, but it’s not very cost-effective so I think I’ll hold off repurchasing for the time being.

Matrix SoColor Conditioning Permanent Hair Colour in 6C: This is what I used to dye my hair red and I liked it pretty well. I’ve never dyed my hair a natural colour before so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I like the colour result and it’s lasting pretty well. The colour is also really vibrant on top of my natural hair colour, which surprised me. All in all, good stuff. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to maintain red hair for awhile or go back to something similar to my natural colour, so stay tuned.

Makeup

Essence Lash & Brow Gel Mascara: Standard. This must be my third of these now. I don’t think it’s the best brow gel on the market, but it’s three bucks so a lot can be overlooked at that price point.

Lancôme Hypnôse Star Mascara: This mascara was okay. I ended up liking it better as it dried out a bit, which is normal for me, and I think anyone looking for volume would enjoy it. However, I think the original Hypnôse is better, and I prefer a lengthening formula anyway.

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Tough As Taupe: Man, I am so proud of this one, guys. I used up an entire cream eyeshadow. It took me three and a half years, but I did it! I use this on my brows every single day, and I swear it’s looked almost empty for at least two of those years. Here’s a closeup to show just how empty it is:

The product that’s left on the bottom is so hard that I can’t get any colour from it. I’ve used absolutely every useable molecule of this product. Woohoo! And yes – I’m going to break open a new pot of it, because it’s been a staple in my life pretty much since I started doing my brows and I love it. I’ve never found a brow product that’s a better colour for me.

Miscellaneous

Essence Gel-Look Plumping Top Coat: You know, I still think my Sally Hansen Miracle Gel is my favourite top coat, but I always spring for Essence when I’m feeling cheap. It’s good but not the best. I haven’t yet decided if it’s worth sacrificing a week-long chip-free manicure for $10 savings.

Witchcraft Be Strong Protein Hardener: My nails started peeling about three years ago, and finally I decided to try a base coat to combat this problem. (I’d been holding out because I don’t really want to add an extra step to my nail-painting routine!) When this bottle got too goopy to use and I was too lazy to repurchase a replacement it became very clear to me how much it actually did for my nails. They still peel occasionally, but the problem has been drastically mitigated. I’ve made significant progress on my second bottle.

Quo Blending Sponge: So, I’ve never tried the original beautyblender because I am the type of person who physically cannot part with $26 for a sponge. But I have tried a lot of cheap blending sponges, and this one is my favourite by far. It’s very soft and does the one function it has very well. Plus, it’s $7, which is a price I am okay with.

Samples

I’m trying to make an effort to actually use up the samples I accumulate, throw into a box, and never look at again, so here are a few I’ve used up recently.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer: I have used up so many foil packets of this stuff with so many different foundations and it never does a single thing for me. My foundation looks the same on top of it and doesn’t last any longer. NO.

Deciem Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Advanced Serum: I layered this with my hyaluronic acid from The Ordinary for maximum hydrating benefits and I really liked it. That said, I won’t be buying the full size because I have enough serums for the moment and because I’m not really interested in anti-aging products at the age of 22.

Josie Maran Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment: Maybe I used too much of this in one go, but it felt a bit heavy on my skin. It did a good job of hydrating and would probably be a nice overnight treatment, but I just looked it up to find out how much the full bottle costs and the answer is $70, so ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

By the way, the box which holds my empties is from a One Direction fragrance set that I got for £10 at Superdrug in early 2015 and split with my friend Bec. Ridiculously, I brought the empty box back to Canada with me when my study abroad was over because I love One Direction and really wanted a cardboard box with a picture of them on it. So, basically, I hauled garbage across the Atlantic Ocean so that I could use it to store more garbage. Woohoo!

A round of decluttering

Posted on February 15, 2017 under Declutter

On January 1, I decided to do a round of makeup decluttering. The fresh start of the new year inspired me to put aside some products that I’d been on the fence about. Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve been adding more and more stuff to my declutter bag, which I’ll be giving to my friends to root through next week. Of course, a good ol’ decluttering session is not complete without a blog post, so here’s what I’m getting rid of this time.

The big ticket items! Yes, I finally convinced myself to get rid of two palettes. The Stila In The Light palette was my first ever palette, a Christmas 2013 gift, and I used it to death. I still think it’s a great little neutral palette, but I have the Stila Eyes Are The Window palette in Spirit, which has all the same colours and more. In The Light did me well as a makeup beginner, but it’s time to pass it on.

theBalm Balm Jovi Rockstar Palette is another that I’ve held onto for a long time. I rarely used it back in the day because I wasn’t adventurous with my eyeshadow and a lot of the colours were too intimidating for me to use. I actually like a lot of those colours now, but I have similar shadows throughout my collection. I only ever use this palette for the silver (for some reason it’s the only silver I have?), but I can just get a Wet N Wild single silver for $0.99 and dump the big palette. As for the blush and highlighter, I have plenty of warm, peachy blush, and my Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone is basically identical to the Mary Lou-Manizer.

The Stila Eyeshadow in Mahogany has a beautiful formula and it’s a great colour, but I have plenty of deep browns in palettes (my favourite being LORAC Sable) and I never reach for singles.

These two Maybelline Colour Tattoos in Shimmering Sea and Bad to the Bronze are past their prime. I thought Shimmering Sea was the most beautiful, ethereal colour, but I got it in the summer of 2014 and it’s a pain to work with now. Bad to the Bronze is even older – I got it in July 2013 when I was just getting into makeup. Obviously, it’s been a workhorse for me. However, I have replaced it with a ColourPop single that isn’t dry as a bone. (You’ll hear about that shadow – and a bunch of other ColourPop stuff – soon.)

I’m pretty sure the Sephora Collection Flashy Liner in Flashy Violet has been discontinued, but either way it’s old as hell and twice as dry. Another purple liner I’m getting rid of is the Stila Smudge Stick in Tetra. I have another Smudge Stick in a more vibrant purple which I reach for more. (Also, I’ve never purchased a Smudge Stick but somehow have like 55 of them. The formula is pretty good, but the packaging is super faulty.)

I only use black pencil liner to tightline, so I don’t go through them too quickly and I definitely don’t need a lot of them. I never, ever use the Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer in Noir, and by the time I get through black liners I like more this one will be dried up.

Another dried up product: Tarte Skinny SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Amazonite Blue. This is another product that is so old that I’d have to assume they don’t make it anymore. Even if they do, this particular pencil has to be five years old. I use it incredibly infrequently, and when I made it a point to actually incorporate it into a look, it was totally dry. Into the garbage it shall go.

I’ve had my Little Mix By Collection eyeliners in Jade, Perrie, and Leigh-Anne for something like three and a half years now, and they are worse for the wear. I stubbornly hold onto my Little Mix makeup because I think they’re by far the best active girl band in the Western world, but come on. I can get glitter liners from the Wet N Wild section at Walmart if I need them.

I’m getting rid of all my lashes! I actually loved the Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter lashes, but I wore them out. As for the Quo 815 Ultra Glam lashes, I mean, do those look like something I would ever wear? During university whenever I went out I’d do wild makeup and sometimes I’d add these lashes. I’m actually surprised I still have both of them since usually I’d get home at 5am and peel them off, discarding them on whatever surface was closest. Regardless, they do not factor into my current life. I think I’ll just stick with half lashes and individuals for the very rare occasions when I feel that falsies are warranted.

My boss gave me the Maybelline Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer Mascara in Blonde in my Christmas goodie bag, and the colour is totally wrong. I have not been able to evaluate whether or not the product is any good, because I put it on and immediately took it off because it made my brows look like they were coated in a layer of volcanic ash. Way too light and warm for my brows! I’m really not experimental with my brows at all, anyway.

Finally, the worst mascara ever: Maybelline Lash Sensational Luscious Full Fan Effect. I know a lot of people really like the Lash Sensational in the pink tube, so I was pretty excited for this when I got it in my Christmas goodie bag. But NO. You know how I hate Benefit They’re Real! in every conceivable way a human being could hate a mascara? This is the drugstore equivalent of that. It makes my lashes hideously clumpy and it DOES NOT WASH OFF. And it’s not even waterproof! I mean, guys, my eye makeup remover can take off actual waterproof mascara without a problem. So what the hell am I supposed to use to take this stuff off, nail polish remover? NO. I hate this stuff. HATE IT! And I very rarely burn with passionate hatred for a makeup product. But this mascara is chaotic evil.

Two blushes here: H&M Pure Radiance Powder Blush in Cherry and Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso. I still think Cherry is an absolutely stunning colour, but it requires a lot of work to make it look natural on my fair skin. I’d been using it primarily as an eyeshadow in the past few months, but now that I have the Anastasia Modern Renaissance palette I don’t need it. I got Luminoso a few years ago on a trip to the US, and I think it’s the last product standing from that trip. However, it’s time to say goodbye to it: when it comes to a glowy peach blush, I will choose the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush every single time.

It’s finally time to dump my crusty old Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow. I genuinely have no idea how there’s no pan showing there, because I used this to contour every single day for more than two years. But because it’s a two-year-old cream product that looks absolutely revolting, I have replaced it with my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light.

I loved my Body Shop Honey Bronzer in Light Matte, but the compact snapped in half and that makes it more trouble than it’s worth. I got the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer in my Christmas goodie bag, so that will be my new bronzer. I use bronzer maybe 15% of the time I do my makeup, so I definitely don’t need two.

Finally, I’ve had the Bourjois Java Rice Powder before and decluttered it because it thoroughly confuses me. It’s too shimmery to use as a setting powder but doesn’t really do much as a highlighter. Again, my boss tossed this in my Christmas goodie bag, which was very nice of her, but I won’t use it. Out it goes.

I got the Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense lipstick in 43 in a mini set at Winners. I use the clear lip liner that came with it all the time, but I probably got suckered into the purchase by the brand name. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this lipstick at all; it’s quite nice, in fact. But my red of choice is Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Red Carpet Red, and considering I paid a pretty penny for that I’d like to get my money’s worth out of it.

Two Christmas goodie bag products, both completely untouched: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen and Maybelline Colour Jolt in Red-dy or Not. I’ve tried the SMLCs before and didn’t love the formula, plus I have colours similar enough to Copenhagen in my collection that I didn’t even take the plastic off to swatch it. The Colour Jolt formula has never interested me, and again, I’m not in the market for reds.

Finally, some random bits. I got the Sephora Collection Biodegradable Pencil Sharpener in my Bite Beauty Influenster box, which I thought was a nice touch in the name of completeness. However, I have a NARS sharpener which I love, so someone else can have this one. My Duo Eyelash Adhesive in Clear has gone off (seriously, it’s orange and stinks), and I don’t have any lashes left anyway, so… you do the math. Finally, the Elizabeth Arden Hydrating Mask delivers nice enough results but smells REVOLTING. Oh my god. I was not aware that Elizabeth Arden skincare smelled like this. I don’t know how to describe it other than to say that it genuinely smells like dill. And I do not want to smell dill when I’m trying to drift off to sleep. Or ever, actually. Someone tell me to stop buying things at Winners just because they’re brand name!

By the way, I also finally waffled back to my original conclusion and returned the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation to Nordstrom yesterday. I don’t need that many foundations, and that one was too much of a pain in the ass for me to want to use regularly. Normally I would never even attempt to return a product that I’ve had for four months and have used a good eighth of, but the Nordstrom return policy exists for a reason, you know? The girl who did my return didn’t ask me a single question: I just said I wanted to return it, she scanned my receipt, and it was done. I took that money over to Sephora and bought another bottle of Make Up For Ever Ultra HD, which I have come to really appreciate as a foundation that always works on my dry skin and can be applied with basically anything.

That’s 28 products down, so I think I’m already making a good start for 2017!

Review: Bite Beauty The Lip Pencil and Amuse Bouche Lipsticks

Posted on February 08, 2017 under Reviews

This post features samples which I received as part of an Influenster campaign. The products were provided to me free of charge but this post is not sponsored and all opinions remain my own.

I was lucky enough to be selected for an Influenster campaign for Bite Beauty’s new Lip Pencils. I’ve been wanting to try Bite for a few years now due to the overwhelmingly positive reviews and the fact that they started out right here in Toronto. (Between Deciem and Bite, the Toronto beauty industry is killing it!) Along with two full-sized lip liners, I received two matching mini Amuse Bouche lipsticks, in Honeycomb and Whiskey. (To be honest, I was probably more excited about the lipstick minis than the liners.)

The Lip Pencils are classic wooden pencils which you sharpen rather than twist up. Don’t be confused by their marketing, these are normal lip liners, not “artisanal wooden barrels“. Bite describes the Lip Pencils as having “creamy coverage” and a “weightless formula”. They come in “22 neutral shades inspired by natural lip tones”.

These are normal wood pencils, not artisanal wooden barrels.

I received shade 020, a lighter beige-brown nude, and 044, a rich brown with hints of berry. Despite my preference for twist-up pencils (which comes out of sheer laziness, you understand) and my aversion to wooden pencils (which can sharpen weirdly), I like these a lot. They sharpen to a very fine point (which I find some wooden liners never quite do) and are certainly creamy and easy to apply. I did receive a Sephora brand sharpener in my Influenster box, but I’ve chucked it in my “let my friends go through this” bag because I already have a perfectly serviceable NARS sharpener which does a fine job with these pencils.

One of the obvious advantages of a sharpenable lip liner over a twist-up is that the tip is much more precise, unless you get one of those self-sharpening ones. And because this one does sharpen to such a fine point, I feel like I can line my lips with the utmost precision. I will say that because this formula is quite creamy, the tip is prone to bending a bit if sharpened too far. There’s a sweet spot here, a compromise which comes with having a creamier formula. You can see what I’m talking about here:

I wouldn’t say this is the creamiest lip liner formula I’ve ever tried – it doesn’t exactly glide on the lips like some lip pencils. But compared to most wooden lip liners I’ve tried, which tend to be a much dryer formula, it’s up there. I think it’s a good balance between creamy and long-lasting; some lip pencils go on smoothly but never quite set, which I think defeats the purpose of a lip liner in the first place.

Shade 020 is a pretty classic beige nude with enough depth that it doesn’t look like concealer lips. It pulls a bit more pink once on my lips. It pairs perfectly with the Amuse Bouche lipstick in Honeycomb, which is also a beige nude. These aren’t shades I gravitate towards, but I actually like how these look on me:

Bite Beauty Lip Pencil in 020

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Honeycomb over Lip Pencil in 020

I’m not sure how suitable shades like these two would be across all skintones, but I like this combination on myself though I’m quite picky about nude shades.

The Lip Pencil in 044 is a deep brownish burgundy. It has a bit more purple in it than Whiskey, which is a rich mahogany, but they pair beautifully. This pencil does a good job of defining the lips and helping lipsticks adhere to it, but it’s a bit patchy so I wouldn’t wear it on its own.

Bite Beauty Lip Pencil in 044

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Whiskey over Lip Pencil in 044

This is a shade that I would not choose for myself but which I absolutely adore now that I have it. I can see this looking great on a variety of skintones. I don’t think it would truly be nude on anyone since it does have strong purple undertones, but it’d be a more understated way of wearing purple on dark skin and something more dramatic on fair skin.

L-R: The Lip Pencil in 020, Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Honeycomb, The Lip Pencil in 044, Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Whiskey

I think the Lip Pencils pair well with the Amuse Bouche lipsticks not just because the colours match well but because the Amuse Bouche lipsticks have a very creamy formula. I wore Honeycomb on its own to test its lasting power without liner, and it was significantly diminished. At this point I think many of us have started gravitating towards more comfortable formulas that don’t necessarily last as long on the lips, me included, so I’ve been a fan of the Amuse Bouche formula. (Now that we’re truly in the dead of winter my skin and lips have been super dry, so I’ve been using creamy lipsticks pretty much exclusively.) That said, it’s nice to have a liner that will help a formula like this last a bit longer, which the Lip Pencils do without drying out my lips.

So far I’m really impressed with what I’ve tried from Bite Beauty. The Lip Pencils do a great job and I think they fall perfectly between “comfortable to wear and easy to apply” and “long-wearing”. I’ve been looking for a lip liner that will match my lips exactly for awhile, and this line seems promising. If they have a shade that suits me I’ll definitely drop some of my own cash on another one of these, and I can see myself purchasing more of the Amuse Bouche lipsticks as well. A great offering from a Toronto-based company!

The Bite Beauty Lip Pencils retail for $20 CAD/$18 USD for 0.05 oz, or $400 CAD/$360 USD per oz.