My sun protection routine

Posted on July 22, 2015 under Reviews

As is typical of someone of my pallor, I don’t tan. I go from reflectively pale to bright red with nothing in between. Luckily, I haven’t actually had a proper burn in years, thanks to constant vigilance when it comes to sun protection.

As most of us know, sun protection is important year-round, not just in the summer. But I’m especially hardcore about it when the UV index is particularly threatening, and lately I’ve found three products that have quickly ascended to “favourite” status when it comes to protecting my skin from its worst enemy.

For the face: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 60 & Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 50

I can’t even tell you how many thousands of dollars’ worth of these two facial sunscreens I’ve sold. They’re my go-to when a customer wants a high quality lightweight, non-greasy sunscreen for the face, and the vast majority repurchase it again and again. It sinks into the skin in no time, feels like nothing on the face, and doesn’t cause breakouts. It’s perfect under makeup since it’s so lightweight – it doesn’t feel like you’re layering a billion things on only to sweat them off.


Left: Unblended so you can see the fluid texture. Right: Blended so you can see how the tinted and untinted versions appear on the skin.

Generally, I recommend the tinted mineral sunscreen to people as physical sunscreen does offer longer-lasting sun protection. A lot of my customers like the tint, too. Personally, I prefer the untinted chemical sunscreen (SPF 60) myself, since I’m so fair. One layer of the tinted version blended away fades into my skin fairly well, but if I use enough to maximize on my sun protection I find it looks a bit muddy. I am definitely paler than average, though, and the tint would be appropriate for most people.

It’s worth noting that the bottle does look a tiny bit different now: it’s shorter and wider, but the product inside remains the same. My bottles are from last summer – but don’t worry, they don’t expire until 2016!

For the body: Avène High Protection Spray SPF 50+

I really despise applying sunscreen to my body. I have enough incentive to protect my precious face, but when it comes to the far more vast surface area of my body, I’m reluctant to bother. Most of the time it’s not the threat of a burn (or complications from burning) that motivates me to do it – rather, it’s protecting my tattoos from fading. I paid good money for them, and I intend to preserve the colour for as along as possible!

A spray is the best bet for someone as lazy as me, and I love that this one is non-aerosol. I’m not exactly an environmentalist, but there are some things that are so easily avoided that it’s foolish not to! But besides the format, I’m a big fan of the product inside. I find that it sinks in fast and feels lightweight on the skin, and it does its one job admirably. A bonus is that I find it quite moisturizing, which is nice for someone as perpetually dry-skinned as me.

I will mention that it is quite heavily fragranced, which I find strange from a brand like Avène that markets itself towards those with sensitive and intolerant skin. My skin isn’t sensitive to fragrance for the most part, but my nose can be – and I must admit that I’m not a huge fan of the scent of this sunscreen. (On the other hand, one of my coworkers raves about it, so it’s obviously up to personal preference.) The scent doesn’t linger long after application, though, so I don’t consider it a dealbreaker in the least.

And that is how I maintain healthy skin when the sun is out to get me!

Products with bad packaging

Posted on June 18, 2015 under Lists

I’ll admit it: I’m a packaging snob. I have all the makeup basics covered, which means that to introduce a new product into my collection I need to be wowed – and packaging is definitely something that I take into consideration. For me, makeup isn’t just something I put on my face. It’s something I experience, and if it looks pretty my experience is even better. Just today I bought a YSL Rouge Volupté lipstick, which I have wanted for the better part of a year pretty much solely based on the packaging. It makes me feel so fancy! (And it’s my birthday tomorrow, so I can do what I want.) But packaging isn’t just about beauty, either: it needs to be functional.

So, today I bring you some of my least favourite packaging, both aesthetically and functionally. Let’s begin!

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder


Rimmel Stay Matte Powder packaging, how do I hate thee? Well, let me not count the ways, because we’ll be here all damn day. I hate that you’re not a compact. I hate that your lid has no fastening mechanism, meaning I cannot in good faith toss you into my makeup bag and expect you to stay intact. I hate that you have no mirror. I hate how goddamn cheap you are. But what’s inside of you? Well, there’s a reason this powder is a $5 staple in makeup bags all over the world. But you suck, packaging. You truly do.

Joe Fresh Matte Lipstick


I genuinely love the formula (and colour) of this $6 lipstick, but the packaging betrays its price point. Not only does it look cheap (white and clear plastic are dead giveaways), it’s flimsy as hell. I’ve never had lipstick packaging break in the way this one did – that middle piece in the picture is part of the tube! Add into the mix the tendency to get really dirty really quickly and you’ve got a recipe for unambiguously terrible packaging.

Wet N Wild Eyeshadow


By now we all know that Wet N Wild eyeshadow is some serious drugstore sorcery. There are, like, two powder eyeshadow formulas I will pull off the drugstore shelves and buy, and this is one. But the packaging is just so cheap. It’s entirely plastic, and no effort whatsoever has been made to make it look even a bit pretty. At ridiculously low prices I know I can’t complain, but I just wish the packaging would reflect the quality of the shadows. Think of how many people might overlook these amazing, insanely inexpensive eyeshadows just because the packaging makes them look like crap!

Benefit Boxed Powders


Don’t get me wrong – the packaging on these blushes is very aesthetically pleasing. Like most Benefit products, their boxed blushes are adorable. However, from a practical standpoint this packaging is hell. It’s, like, at least an inch thicker than it needs to be, making the products hard to store and even harder to pack for travel. Benefit Hervana would be my go-to neutral travel blush if it weren’t for the goddamn packaging! They’re also very annoying to store, since they take up so much room. Seriously – look at all that unused space! And I’ll always sideye cardboard packaging when I’m paying $35+ for a product.

Milani Baked Blushes


Ugh, talk about bulky! This compact is ostensibly so large because it contains a brush and a mirror, but I don’t think most people use the dinky brushes that come with blushes. I certainly don’t, as evidenced by the fact that it’s still in its wrapper. And I fail to see why the mirror can’t just be in the lid, instead of in a special panel underneath the product. There is nothing sexier than a slim, sleek blush compact, and THIS IS NOT THAT.

Every Physician’s Formula product ever


I know, I know. A lot of people think their packaging is cute. I think it’s gaudy and unnecessary. This Happy Boosting Powder that I have is actually rather inoffensive compared to some of their packaging, but it’s still unnecessarily large. Like the Milani Baked Blushes, it has a panel with a mirror and brush, both of which go completely unused. I find a lot of PF packaging to be similarly large: their mascara is almost offensive to me, for example.

I know it’s what’s on the inside that counts and that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But I think my days of buying crappily packaged products are, for the most part, over. I like beautiful things, and I like things that aren’t a pain in the ass to use and store. Maybe that makes me high maintenance and shallow, but at least I’ll have a lot of pretty pretty things!

Some recent looks #2

Posted on June 04, 2015 under FOTD

I can never seem to get it together enough to do a dedicated, single-look FOTD post; rather, I photograph looks that I like and then compile them into one post when there’s enough to warrant such a thing. Here are three recent looks I did that I particularly liked. All of these have one thing in common: the (relatively) low-key lip colours. I’ve been into neutral lips lately – how very unlike me!


Peach FOTD using Lancôme and Milani

I wanted to try a peachy look mainly because peach is a colour that I’m afraid of. I also wanted it to be fresh, simple, and glowy, which meant that I skipped eyeliner and went light on the mascara. I decided to try out this Lancôme lipstick that Aisling gave me back in November; she thought I would dislike it because I steer away from peaches, and I let it sit there, taunting me, for half a year. Finally, I tried it out and – shocker! – found I liked it. I got compliments on it all day at work, too!

(I also finally tried an orange-red lipstick and liked it. Everything I thought I knew is a lie.)

Products used to create a peachy look: Lancôme and Milani

Foundation: Revlon ColorStay for Dry Skin in 110 Ivory
Concealer: MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer in NC15 on blemishes; L’Oréal La Touche Magique Highlighting Concealer under the eyes
Powder: Rimmel Stay Matte
Blush: Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso topped with ELF Baked Blush in Peachy Cheeky
Contour: Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow
Brows: Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough As Taupe
Eye primer: NARS Pro-Prime Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Base
Eyeshadow: Lancôme Kitten Heel over the eyelid; Lancôme Platform in the crease
Mascara: Maybelline Illegal Length
Lipstick: Lancôme Rouge In Love lipstick in Corail In Love topped with Lancôme Fever Gloss in 100 Degrees

(Apparently I was loving Lancôme here.)


Taupe FOTD, featuring Wet N Wild and Stila.

This look was a bit of an experiment: I wanted to pair Stila Patina, a “dusty rose” (as per Stila) with slight grey undertones, with one of my favourite taupe-y eyeshadows. That was a lot of neutral for me, so I used an indigo eyeshadow as liner, though if I did it again I’d probably use a product like Lise Watier Métamorfix to get more colour out of it!

Products for a taupe-y FOTD: Stila, Wet N Wild, Lancôme, The Body Shop.

(So, I love that gorgeous purple-y taupe Wet N Wild eyeshadow shade, but I’ve never touched the other two colours in the trio. Debating depotting.)

Foundation: Revlon ColorStay for Dry Skin in 110 Ivory
Concealer: MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer in NC15 on blemishes; L’Oréal La Touche Magique Highlighting Concealer under the eyes
Blush: Benefit Hervana
Contour: Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow
Brows: Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough As Taupe
Eye primer: NARS Pro-Prime Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Base
Eyeshadow: From Wet N Wild Silent Treatment Trio: “Eyelid” all over the lid. The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in the crease
“Eyeliner”: Lancôme Color Design eyeshadow in Infinitely Indigo
Mascara: Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant
Lipstick: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina


Smoky eye using Stila and Urban Decay

One of the nice things about working in cosmetics is that a smoky eye is not too much for work. Generally I don’t go too heavy on the eye makeup, since I prefer to play up my lips, but once in awhile I go for something more dramatic! The other day I decided to go for a smoky eye, and went with the conventional wisdom that says “eyes or lips, not both”. I don’t have very many neutral lip colours relative to the bold ones, but this one in the Rimmel Kate Moss line is one of my most-used lip products, period.

Products used to create a smoky eye.

Foundation: Revlon ColorStay for Dry Skin in 110 Ivory
Concealer: MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer in NC15 on blemishes; L’Oréal La Touche Magique Highlighting Concealer under the eyes
Blush: Lancôme Blush Subtil in Sheer Amourôse
Contour: Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow
Brows: Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough As Taupe
Eye primer: NARS Pro-Prime Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Base
Eyeshadow: From Stila All Day 3D Wet-to-Set Eyeshadow Trio in Thunder Cloud: middle shade all over the eyelid, lightest shade as inner-corner highlight. From Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette: Blackheart on the outer corner, lightly in the crease, and along the lower lashline. The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in the crease.
Eyeliner: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner on the upper lashline; Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer in Noir on the waterline
Mascara: Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant
Lipstick: Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss #17 over Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in 63 Eastend Snob

This look seems to be all about the Rimmel, balancing out my Lancôme love.

And there we go: some things I’ve put on my face recently! I’m sure there will be some more exciting looks coming at you in the future, since my job allows me quite a bit of freedom in terms of how I wear my makeup.