Posted on July 07, 2017 under Lists
All the beauty products that came into my life in April, May, and June! I’m including not only makeup but hair, body, and nail stuff, as well as beauty tools. Anything that has a second price listed in brackets reflects what I paid with my 30% off employee discount. Anything I’ve converted to USD reflects how much I paid at the time of purchase.
Products purchased between April 1, 2017 and June 30, 2017
There are a few brushes missing from this picture because I am imperfect.
- 03/20: Essence Matt Matt Matt Vibrant Shock lipstick in 09 – $4.49 ($3.14). I forgot to add this to my list from last quarter, so I’m slipping it in here. I wanted a fun lip colour for the Green Day show I went to so I picked up this navy blue. I didn’t love the formula on this and I’m undecided if I should keep it or not, but for three bucks it served its purpose.
- 03/26: L’Oreal Colour Riche Nail Oil nail polish in Vert Époque – $3.00. Again, a product that I missed in my last roundup. This was on clearance for three bucks and I loved the creamy turquoise colour, so I bought it. No regrets!
- 04/04: Milani Color Statement Lip Liner – Nude – $4.29. I’m on a lipliner kick lately and the price on these is good, so I thought I’d try one. Really enjoying it, and for an unbeatable price!
- 04/04: Milani Eyeshadow Primer – $9.49. I ran out of my NARS and didn’t want to shell out $30 for a new one, so I thought I’d try a cheaper option. Again, I love this product, so this was a great purchase.
- 04/04: ELF Small Stipple Brush – $3.99. I’ve been looking for a good brush to apply cream products with, and emilynoel83 raves about this brush for this exact purpose. When I came face-to-face with one, I had to buy it. Although this brush goes for $3 on the ELF website, with the Canadian conversion this price is spot-on. (At the time I purchased it, $3 USD converted to $4.02 CAD.) I’ve actually been using it most often for contouring: it gives quite a soft, subtle look, which I like.
- 04/04: ELF Blending Brush – $3.99. I’d been meaning to buy a few more ELF Crease Brushes since I use mine every day, and I thought this was the same one. When I got it home I saw I was mistaken, but I still use it regularly.
- 04/04: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Topcoat – $12.99 ($9.09). Replacement.
- 04/25: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – $6.80. Replacement.
- 04/25: The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane – $7.90. Replacement for my argan oil, which I used up. I read Lindsey’s post about squalane and was sold, and so far so good!
- 04/25: The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.1N – $6.70. I definitely didn’t need this, but I wanted it, and I bought it. It happens!
- 04/30: Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Mermaid’s Eyes – $4.80. This was on clearance for 80% off and I purchased it with Optimum points.
- 04/30: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anna – $40 ($28). Purchased with Optimum points.
- 04/30: Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara – $28 ($19.60). Replacement, purchased with Optimum points.
- 04/30: L’Oreal Brow Plumper Brow Gel – $8.99. Replacement, purchased with Optimum points. On sale from $15.49.
- 04/30:NYX Wonder Pencil in Light – $6.99 ($4.89). I got this to use in my waterline because I don’t have any nude eyeliners for that purpose. Purchased with Optimum points.
- 04/30: Lise Watier Eyeliner in Marin – $23.00 ($16.10). Purchased with Optimum points.
- 04/30: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Indigo. $29.00 ($20.30). Purchased with Optimum points.
- 05/09: Witchcraft Be Strong – $10.99 ($7.69). Replacement. I can’t live without this stuff. My peely nails love it.
- 05/16: ELF Small Smudge Brush x 2 – $5.99 total. Canadian beauty retailer FTB Beauty is closing down and I bought a bunch of brushes when they were on clearout for 40% off. I’ve had one of these brushes for years and I use it daily, so I picked up two more.
- 05/16: bdellium tools 768 Round Dome Shadow Brush – $5.99. Also from FTB Beauty.
- 05/16: bdellium tools 787 Duet Fiber Large Tapered Blending Brush – $7.49. From FTB Beauty.
- 05/16: Real Techniques Bold Metals 201 Pointed Crease Brush – $13.79. From FTB Beauty.
- 05/20: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Duo – $6.49. These duo sets were marked down from $19.99 to $6.49 at my store. I actually don’t love the nail polish colour (in Aqua Chakra) and I’ll probably just give it away, but the topcoat alone is $12.99 full price and I go through it like water so it seemed like a prudent purchase.
- 05/20: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel – All Chalked Up – $6.49. Another clearance polish! This one appealed to me because of its pale, grey lavender tones. I really like it and it’s well worth the price. The Miracle Gel formula is one of my favourites.
- 06/07: Light Blue Shade Shampoo – $9.99 ($6.99). Replacement – this is my favourite purple shampoo.
- 06/10: Quo Deluxe Powder Brush – $14.99. I’ve been eyeing this brush for over a year and it was on sale for 40% off, so I snapped it up. Full price is $25!
- 06/19: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipstick in Secret Salma – $39. Technically I bought this with birthday money that my grandma sent me, but I will include it in this category.
The lipsticks I bought this quarter. Looking at this, NARS Anna and Charlotte Tilbury Secret Salma look almost identical, but I swear they’re different! Anna is a lot dustier and cooler than Secret Salma.
Jeez, looking at this list you’d think I was really into nail polish. Or clearance nail polish, at least…
Total value (CAD): $407.52 (almost the exact same as last quarter’s value…)
Total spent (CAD): $178.10
Year-to-date value (CAD): $812.70
Year-to-date spent (CAD): $512.94
Products received at no cost between April 1, 2017 and June 30, 2017
Makeup I got for free.
In the interests of full transparency, “gratis” indicates that I received the product through work, whereas “PR” means it was sent to me by the brand for review on my blog. I would receive gratis whether or not I had a blog, and the teams who handle gratis and PR are totally different.
- 04/01: Wet N Wild Liquid Catsuit – Nice to Fuchsia – $4.99 USD ($6.68 CAD) – Gift. Okay, technically I picked this out myself and am fully responsible for it entering my collection. I also fully intended to pay for it, but I was in Walmart in Kentucky with my family and my dad said I should just add it to the groceries we were buying because he didn’t want me using my credit card to pay for it. (I always use credit in the US because my debit card generally doesn’t work.) So I’m including it here since I didn’t spend my own money on it. Thanks, Dad!
- 04/04: Biotherm Life Plankton Sensitive Emulsion – $55 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/04: Biotherm Blue Therapy Serum-In-Oil – $78 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/04: Biotherm Biosource Total Renew Cleansing Oil – $34 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/04: Biotherm Homme Aquapower Eye Depuffer – $30 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/04: Lancôme Absolue Night Precious Cells – $205 – Gratis. Received at a brand training. I haven’t used this yet because the fact that it is $205 intimidates me.
- 04/04: Lancôme Energie de Vie Liquid Care – $60 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/04: Lancôme La Vie Est Belle Florale EDT – $93 – Gratis. Received at a brand training. I’ve since destashed it without opening it because I don’t like the scent enough to keep it. My coworker said her mom would like the scent, so she gave it to her for Mother’s Day.
Some skincare I got for free.
- 04/04: Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge Lipstick – 317 Pourquoi Pas? – $39 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/04: ELF Illuminating Palette – $6 USD / $8.03 CAD – Gift. My mom made an ELF order and received a bunch of stuff, including this, as GWP. She passed this on to me as she already owned the same product.
- 04/11: La-Roche Posay Micellar Water Ultra – $19.95 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/11: La-Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 – $16 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/11: La-Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra Moisturizer – $34 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/11: La-Roche Posay Lipikar Xerand Hand Cream – $11 – Gratis. Received at a brand training. Passed this on without opening it.
- 04/11: Vichy Eau Thermale 150mL – $13 – Gratis. Received at a brand training. Passed on unopened; I don’t use these thermal water sprays.
- 04/11: Vichy Idéalia Serum – $49.95 – Gratis. Received at a brand training. Gave to my mom because I have too much skincare on backup to bother with something that I’m not interested in.
More free skincare.
- 04/11: Vichy Idéalia Peeling – $39.95 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/11: Vichy Mask Sachets – Double Glow Peel, Quenching Mineral, Pore Purifier – $6.99 each ($20.97 total value) – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 04/11: Vichy Teint Idéal Pure Light Face Roll-On – $27 – Gratis. Received at a brand training.
- 05/21: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Pacific Blue – $4.99 – Gift. My friend Kristin found a vintage bottle of the old formula of Sally Hansen Pacific Blue lying around and generously donated it to my cause. Now I have four bottles of PB, which makes me feel slightly less anxious about the impending doom of using up the last of the world’s supply of the stuff.
- 05/24: Lancôme Matte Shaker in 374 Kiss Me Cherie – $29 – PR.
- 05/24: Lancôme Matte Shaker in 378 Pink Power – $29 – PR.
- 05/24: Lancôme Matte Shaker in 379 Yummy Pink – $29 – PR. I’ve put this aside to give away to a friend; I can tell that I won’t like the colour on myself so there’s no use in using it and contaminating it.
- 06/16: Avène Couvrance Mascara – $19 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss. Passed this on to my mom ’cause I don’t need mascara right now. She has sensitive eyes so she’ll appreciate it more than I will!
- 06/16: Laboratoires Filorga Meso-Mask (travel size) – $70 full size – $42 value – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss.
- 06/16: StriVectin Multi-Action Stress Defense Hydrating Water Gel – $65 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss.
- 06/16: Avène 3 in 1 Makeup Remover – $20 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss.
- 06/16: Vichy Mineralizing Thermale Water (mini) – $7.95 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss. Yes, another thermal water spray that I do not want.
- 06/16: A-Derma Soothing Foaming Gel – $15 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss.
Body care and stuff.
- 06/16: La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 60 Lotion – $29.50 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss. Very timely, since the day I got this I discovered that all my body sunscreen was expired.
- 06/16: La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 – $16 – Gift. Part of my birthday gift from my boss. Now I have two of these!
- 06/19: Stila Magnificent Metals Liquid Eyeshadow in Rose Gold Retro – $31 – Gift. I went shopping with my mom on my birthday and she offered to spend a few Optimum points on me. A super glittery eyeshadow seemed like the perfect ridiculous item to choose.
- 06/19: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire and Ice – $11.99. Another little birthday gift from my mom. I don’t normally wear colours like this, but I was feeling adventurous!
- 06/22: Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara* – $13.99 – PR. Got this from Influenster and did not care for it!
Total value (CAD): $1203.95
Year-to-date value (CAD): $1689.39
Uh, I wasn’t lying last time around when I told you that you’d see a lot more gratis in this post. The Lancôme training school is extraordinarily generous. I gave away quite a bit of this stuff to friends and family without trying it myself just because I don’t like to have too many skincare products going at once, and I already have a lot of backups. If products don’t interest me then I’m not going to try them just for the sake of it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty blogging lately. In any genre of blogging there are professionals and hobbyists; I think this divide is especially obvious when one is blogging about something so driven by consumerism. Professional beauty bloggers have huge makeup collections because they try everything. On the other hand, I’m a normal person, buying and using things that I’m actually interested in. I try not to buy products just for the sake of reviewing them and to instead buy what calls to me. My own beauty purchasing is pretty under control (though I still buy more than the average makeup consumer, probably), but working in cosmetics means I’m constantly acquiring new products faster than I can reasonably use them. But then, it is my job to keep up-to-date on products – I mean, my literal day job, regardless of my blog. However, I’ll be leaving my job next month (eep!), so my beauty stash is going to be a lot more under control and the second section of my quarter 3 accountability post will be considerably smaller. See you then!
Posted on March 09, 2017 under Lists
I’ve been doing a relatively good job at curtailing my makeup collecting habits, but I think I might have transferred these tendencies onto skincare. To be fair, I get a lot of skincare products for free through work, but I also purchase a lot of them myself. Skincare never used to be my bag; when I first got into makeup, all I did was use a St. Ives body lotion on my face (I know) and take off my makeup with a Garnier oil cleanser. Now, though, I have a multi-step skincare routine and a stable of products which I rotate through. I thought I’d share some of my favourites today, though this post is by no means an exhaustive look at what I own in the way of skincare.
For the record, my skin is normal to dry and currently at its driest. My biggest skin concerns besides hydration are a general dullness as well as stubborn post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
I absolutely adore washing my face at the end of the day. It just feels so satisfying. I never go to bed with makeup on, no matter the circumstances. I genuinely think I’ve at least removed my makeup if not thoroughly washed my face every single day in the past year.
I’ve been on the micellar solution train for three years now and I’ve cycled through a lot of them. I tend to just use whatever I get through work. I only started using everyone’s holy grail micellar water, Bioderma Sensibio H20, midway through last year. I originally had a 250mL bottle that I got from work, and then I purchased the big boy when I ran out of that. Bioderma is tied with the La Roche-Posay micellar solution for my favourite. I find both gentle and effective. A lot of other micellars strip my skin noticeably, but these two don’t. Bioderma gives me better value ounce per ounce, so I’ll probably stick to it. I like using a micellar solution to remove my makeup quickly and as a final step after a thorough cleansing to remove any leftover residue. I don’t use it as an eye makeup remover, though; I prefer a bi-phase formula since I wear waterproof eyeliner and sometimes mascara.
As I mentioned, even before I had anything resembling a skincare routine I used an oil cleanser. I’m still on board with that! I find oils break down my makeup super well and leave my skin feeling nourished. This is my third bottle of The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleanser, so clearly I love it.
An oil is a bit heavy for a spot of casual face washing, so in the mornings I use Marcelle Ultra Gentle Gel Cleanser. I mentioned this product in my 2016 favourites and I’m mentioning it here again because it’s that good. It’s an extremely gentle, non-stripping, but thorough cleanser which leaves my skin feeling 100% clean and smooth. It also removes makeup really well, though I do usually prefer an oil cleanser for that. Plus, it costs $12.95 at the drugstore. I feel like I should own stock in Marcelle based on how many bottles of this cleanser I’ve sold and how many of my customers keep coming back for it. It’s the best!
I’ve been [beauty blogger voice] uhb-sessed with acids for some time now. AHAs do wonders for my dry, hyperpigmentation-prone skin! I started with the NeoStrata Purifying Solution in the summer, which boasts 8% glycolic acid. There was a stretch of several months where I used it literally every single day, without fail. In the fall, I added The Ordinary 10% Lactic Acid into my routine, and usually rotate between these two. AHAs really help brighten my skin and reduce the longevity of my hyperpigmentation (which, as I’ve mentioned several times on my blog, is extremely stubborn – some spots will last six months).
Not an AHA, but I’ve been so totally reliant on The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 since the beginning of this year. This winter is really sucking the moisture out of my skin, and I use hyaluronic acid as my serum step every night and sometimes during the day to really give me that extra boost of hydration. I’ve noticed a big difference in my skin since I started using it. I have a bunch of products from The Ordinary (I’m lucky enough to live within walking distance of a Deciem store), but this one is probably my favourite. I haven’t had any of the dreaded nose flakes in months now, and any fellow dry-skinned people out there know how real that problem is in winter!
At night, I tend to rotate between two creams. First, I’m still loving my Origins Drink Up! Overnight Mask. I use this most nights and I always wake up with plump, soft skin. If I have the time, I like to put on a layer of this, let it sink in, and then add another right before I go to bed for maximum hydration. Sometimes I skip using one of my liquid AHAs and use the Jouviance Glyco Laser 5 Soft Peel Night Cream. I got this as gratis from my store’s Jouviance rep, and at first I was a little wary about using it as my only night cream. The texture isn’t too thick, and I thought that the 5% glycolic acid might make it a bit too drying to use on its own. But it totally works as a night cream, and it’s good for lazy nights (or travel) because it combines my moisturizer and acid steps. My skin always feels incredibly smooth after I use this. I recently brought it on my trip to Montreal and used it four nights straight, and it didn’t dry my skin out at all. In fact, every morning I woke up feeling hydrated and smooth – it totally counteracted the ill effects of long nights out partying.
Finally, one treatment product which I’ve been loving: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+. The Effaclar line is meant for oily, acne-prone skin, but the Duo+ is extremely popular as a salicylic acid-, zinc-, and niacinamide-based spot treatment. Those with very oily and acne-prone skin can use this all over their faces as a lightweight, purifying moisturizer. Because I’m dry and don’t really have acne besides the regular hormonal zits here and there, I use it as a spot treatment. It’s a lightweight gel formulation which layers well with other products, and it’s extremely effective at drying out active blemishes and nipping baby zits in the bud. I would never want to use something like this all over my face (I do much better with AHAs than BHAs!), but used sparingly where needed it works like a charm.
I have some other skincare products which I’m testing at the moment, so I might do a part two to this post sometime in the future. But for now, these are the skincare products that I’ve been loving the most recently.
Posted on November 25, 2016 under Lists
We had a very mild fall here in Toronto. Up until a week ago we had temperatures in the high teens and low twenties (Celcius) throughout, with a few nippy but not truly cold days here and there. And then everything changed and it became freezing, which is pretty much the way winter usually arrives here – that is, with no transition whatsoever.
I’m not a huge fan of winter. (That’s an understatement if I ever heard one.) The cold is one thing, but the wind, the prolonged darkness, and the ice are what really get me. Of course, as a lifelong Canadian, I’ve learned how to survive winter whether I enjoy it or not – and I have some indispensable things that I must have throughout these cold, blustery months. All of these things will be staples in my life until it finally starts getting warmer six months from now.
It’s probably the most obvious statement ever that skin needs more heavy-duty nourishment in the cold months. In the past few years my skin has become more normal due to a better skincare routine and a commitment to drinking a lot of water every day, but in the winter it tries its damnedest to banish all water and oil, so I have to be really diligent. I’m a big fan of using oils as moisturizer at night or on days when I’m not wearing makeup; I’ve recently been using The Ordinary’s 100% Organic Cold Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil, which was a steal at $6.80 CAD for 30mL (1oz).
I’ve also been loving the Origins Drink Up! Intensive Overnight Mask, which I purchased after hearing Allana Davison rave about it several times. Allana is a fellow dry-skinned Canadian, and because she lives in a way dryer climate than me I trusted that I’d like it. It’s $32 CAD for 100mL/3.4oz ($0.32 per mL/$9.41 per oz), which I think is a pretty fair price, especially considering the fact that a little bit goes a long way. I always wake up feeling nice and moisturized when I use this, and it helps keep the dreaded nose flakes at bay.
For my lips I could not be without the Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm. All the YouTube hype is real – it really is the best overnight lip balm. I’ve been using it for a year (so, all through last winter as well) and it keeps my lips in tip top condition. I often don’t even have to apply a lip balm during the day after using the stuff overnight!
Finally, I’m finding I have to kick my bodycare up a notch these days. Lotions just aren’t doing it for me. If my face is dry, my arms and legs are made of actual sandpaper. The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter is my body moisturizer of choice, and I’ve already stocked up on two more because I go through them like water. This one is thicker and more solid than any of the other Body Butters, I assume because coconut oil solidifies at room temperature. The coconut oil does wonders for the smoothness of my skin. I have keratosis pilaris and it’s not exactly a miracle product in that regard (generally the only thing that truly brings the KP down is a chemical exfoliant), but it really softens my skin. This is the only Body Butter I buy nowadays!
Uniqlo opened in Toronto recently, and their Heattech Leggings are LEGIT. The first time I wore them under my jeans I was like, “WHY AM I BOILING HOT?” Then I realized! I’ve been a longtime lover of fleece-lined tights and leggings, but the Heattech fabric is way thinner and thus more efficient. When I wear them under my Topshop Joni Jeans (which are fairly thin and very tight and stretchy), they don’t look bulky or weird. Consider me a convert to the ways of Heattech!
Cool weather means I can finally bust out the shoes I like wearing instead of half-heartedly slipping on the same beat-up flats every day. I’m of the opinion that a good pair of boots can make a “meh” outfit amazing. My favourite pair? My Topshop Marbles Elastic Ankle Boots, my biggest fashion-related splurge of 2016. They’re so beautiful and versatile. I love them because, obviously, I can wear black ankle boots anywhere, but the shiny heel and accordion detail makes them a bit interesting. Sadly Topshop doesn’t sell these anymore, but they have a lot of great boots right now!
I get cold super easily. If it gives you an idea of what I’m talking about, I sleep with a quilt even in the dead of summer and I never use a fan. If I drink my usual 750mL bottle of water during winter, I will not stop shivering for like fifteen years. So I turn to hot beverages to hydrate me, most notably peppermint tea. Unlike every other Canadian blogger, I’m not a huge fan of Davidstea – I like simple herbal teas, not fancy blends. But the travel mug I bought from them last winter is amazing and I’ve definitely used it enough to justify its price. It keeps tea warm for hours and hours, meaning I can bring it to work and sip whenever I have a chance and not have to worry about it cooling off. Plus, it’s really pretty. They don’t make my exact one anymore, but this one has the same features and looks similar.
When I fancy a sweet treat, I always go for Second Cup White Hot Chocolate. I’ve been popping into Second Cup to buy them since I was in middle school (so, a solid decade), and last winter I started buying the mix – it saves a lot of money and tastes just as delicious when mixed in with 2% milk. When it comes to real chocolate, dark is my favourite and I don’t like white, but there’s something about white hot chocolate that is so good.
Also, obviously I always drink my white hot chocolate out of my One Direction mug. Because I’m an adult.
Flannel sheets (the backdrop to all these images) are obviously necessary when it gets cold – hey, I sleep with a quilt in the summer, so I really need to step it up a notch in the winter.
I’m a reader in general, but when it’s too cold to do anything I always tear through long, meaty novels. Pictured are two books I’ve read in this final quarter of 2016 – The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, which you’ll see in my next Books Read post – and one that I read in the winter of 2015: The True and Splendid History of Harristown Sisters by Michelle Lovric. I’d highly recommend all three if you’re looking for something to sink your teeth into!
And that’s it for my cold weather essentials! None of these things will be too far from my side in the coming months.