Packing Light for Prague

Posted on November 25, 2017 under Life

My last few trips I did not bother to pack light makeup-wise, either because I didn’t have to or because I felt I needed options. This weekend, however, I’m going to Prague for purely touristy reasons, and I thought this would be the perfect time to exercise some restraint. As with all my European weekend trips, I pack entirely in one small school-sized backpack, so I really need to streamline my makeup to make room. I thought I would share my very minimal makeup bag today.

I can easily fill a liquids bag with skincare, but I know that when I’m walking around all day and sleeping in a hostel dorm room at night my desire to keep up with a complex skincare routine is zero. So my liquids bag – which is from Muji, by the way – reflects a back-to-basics approach.

The skincare steps I cannot do without are cleansing and moisturizing. The Caudalie Vino Perfect Serum from this year’s Sephora birthday gift will help boost the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra moisturizer to keep my skin nice and hydrated. I’ve never had issues with dry undereyes until the past month or so, so I decided to bring the Biotherm Homme Eye Depuffer (which, by the way, is a nice gel eye cream even if you’re not a man). I got a sample of the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor which I’ve been saving for travel, since obviously my poor dead hair requires a lot of moisture. I don’t have any travel-sized shampoo right now, so I’ll have to pick one up at the airport.

The IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream is such an easy, fuss-free foundation that it was a no-brainer when it came to choosing which base product to pack. The packaging is also incredibly travel-friendly. For concealer, Maybelline Master Conceal works under the eyes and on blemishes.

I can’t be without Milani Eyeshadow Primer, and Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a staple for me as well. The Lancôme Hypnôse Drama mascara mini is convenient for travel, and I like the mascara as well. (Lancôme mascaras are so hit and miss to me, but this one is a hit.) Finally, a fresh tube of Essence Lash and Brow Mascara to keep my brow hairs in place.

And then the rest of my makeup easily fits in one small bag, which is a point of pride when I am prone to overpacking.

For the cheeks, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure goes with everything and is a perennial travel staple for me. This is the most beautiful flattering blush colour in the world despite how “meh” it appears in the pan. I’m not sure if I’ll bother with highlighter, but I figured I’d give myself the option. Glossier Haloscope in Quartz is easy to apply without brushes and it gives a very natural effect, so I thought it would be perfect for travel.

Urban Decay Naked Basics is probably the most boring travel palette choice in the world, but it’s small, practically indestructible, and foolproof. I decided to add an eyebrow pencil into my repertoire mainly for travel purposes, so I don’t have to mess around with a brush and pomade when I’m on the go. The Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner in Universal Taupe is one of many ABH Brow Wiz dupes, and it works for me.

Forgive me for being extra and packing two lip balms. Overnight, my lips need the heavy-duty power of Nuxe Rêve de Miel, but during the day I prefer something a little lighter like Vaseline Lip Therapy. In an uncharacteristic move, I am committing to a single lip liner – Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Enchantment – and a single lipstick – YSL Rouge Volupté in #17. I love moisturizing lip products when I’m travelling, and the soft berry shade of #17 makes it a perfect candidate for this trip. I usually like to pair the Rouge Voluptés with a liner underneath to increase the staying power a bit, so I’ll likely just wear this combination together each day.

I tend to really overpack brushes, but this time I cut it down to the essentials: Magic Collection Oval Brush, ColourPop Blush Brush, ColourPop Blending Brush, ELF Crease Brush, ELF Eyeshadow C Brush, ELF Eye Contour Brush, ELF Small Smudge Brush, Elf Spoolie. Wow, I do really like ELF brushes, don’t I?

(By the way, I definitely washed that foundation brush after I took this picture!)

In case you were wondering about cleansing, I did buy a pack of makeup wipes from Superdrug. I hardly ever use wipes, but I just think washing my face with an actual cleanser while travelling is more hassle than it’s worth. My skin is pretty resilient, so I think it’ll survive. I love using actives on my skin, but I know that I can get away with just makeup wipes and moisturizer for three nights. It’ll make my life easier!

Anyway, I’m off this evening with my nice light makeup bag. I’ve wanted to go Prague for years, so I’m really excited that I could finally make it happen.

Empties: September 2014-February 2015

Posted on February 20, 2015 under Empties

Who here loves empties? I love empties. I think I get a rush from seeing people use up products, because when you have a lot of things that can seem like an impossible task. It’s like vicarious satisfaction. Plus I like the sort of allowable voyeurism empties posts afford: it’s like digging through someone’s trash, except you’re invited to do it.

I have been hoarding empty products for months now (uh, since I moved to Glasgow in September), and I have finally gotten off my ass and photographed them all so that you can dig through my trash.

It’s cleaner than it sounds, I promise.

Products denoted with an *asterisk* are sample sizes.

Products in italics were received for free through work. All opinions are my own and the individual companies were not responsible for me acquiring these products. (I’m just not that important.)

Hair Stuff

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L’Oréal Elvive Smooth & Polish Perfecting Shampoo: I did not especially care for this shampoo. Despite its claims, I didn’t find it particularly moisturizing or smoothing. It was just a shampoo. I used it up because I didn’t hate it, but I would not repurchase.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Tone Correcting Shampoo: This shampoo keeps my hair nice and blonde and doesn’t cost a bomb. It does a good job of cleaning my hair, and I feel like it’s fairly moisturizing. Thus, it does all three things I need it to do. My only complaint is that for someone with a lot of hair, one tube of this stuff gets used up scarily quickly. But I’ll keep buying it, probably. (I’m on my third or fourth tube, which is fairly high praise.)

Clean Scalp & Hair Therapy Total Care Shampoo*: I took this (and the conditioner, which I accidentally left in a hostel in Dublin) with me travelling. That is, essentially, the purpose it served: small enough to be packed in carry-on luggage for weekend jaunts around Europe. It did not blow me away otherwise, although, like the L’Oréal shampoo, I also didn’t hate it.

Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo*: Now this is a travel-sized shampoo that I like. I buy one of these every time I’m at the airport, because it is really, really good. It’s super moisturizing and leaves my hair feeling silky and wonderful, even without my trusty hair mask (which doesn’t conform to carry-on liquid restrictions). Unfortunately, it smells like public bathroom hand soap mixed with an old woman, which I don’t love. But the price is right, and it does the trick, so it remains my go-to travel shampoo.

Batiste Dry Shampoo – Oriental: Despite the (dubious) name, this does not smell especially strongly of anything to me, which is fine. I don’t need my dry shampoo to smell magical. I just need it to soak up the oil in my hair when I’ve been a lazy ass. I’ll probably just sick to the classic Batiste scent from now on, but this worked just as well.

L’Oréal Elvive Colour Protect Mask: Y’all know I swear by this mask.

L’Oréal Préférence Brass Defy Conditioner: This is such a good toner! It’s super effective and doesn’t leave a purple stain if you leave it in for, like, a minute longer than the recommended time, which so many toners do. The major downside to this one is that you can’t buy it separately – it comes with boxed bleach, and I prefer to mix my own bleach. Alas.

Skincare

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The Body Shop Vitamin E Illuminating Moisture Cream: I hated the “illuminating” part of this moisturizer, and admittedly it’s my fault for buying it despite the name, but, like, WHY WOULD THE BODY SHOP MAKE THIS? This is not the kind of subtle glow that means you look like an ethereal goddess even without any base makeup on. This is weird shimmer all over your face, which is fine if you live inside of a disco ball, but not fine if you live on planet Earth. I also didn’t find the moisturizer particularly great, but it is billed as “for all skin types” and I really should only be using products specifically aimed at dry skin.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner: I like this particular toner because it does precisely what it says on the tin (er, plastic bottle). I use it before moisturizer every single day, and I have noticed that my skin feels a lot better moisturized, for longer, since I’ve started using it. When I was in Canada over winter break (where Body Shop products are cheaper), I picked up a backup, which I have happily begun using ever since I ran out of the first bottle.

The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter: I’m a rather passionate advocate for body butter, and I always stock up on them when The Body Shop has a 3 for $30 sale. I’ve tried various scents, but this one is my favourite by far. It’s the thickest consistency of body butter I’ve tried, which makes it less slippery and messy, and the coconut oil does wonders for my dry, keratosis pilaris-plagued skin. Also, it makes me smell delicious. Next time there’s a 3 for $30 sale I might just buy 3 of these.

StriVection Present Perfect Antioxidant Defense Lotion*: This is a moisturizer. It is billed as a lotion that prevents aging before it starts, and I don’t know if that’s true or not because I’m only twenty and have not been using it long enough to know if it makes any difference. I have a million of these little samples thanks to a very generous StriVectin rep I used to work with occasionally, and I use them when I’m travelling. They are fine. They are moisturizers. The full size is $60, which is actually incredibly inexpensive for StriVectin. I will not be purchasing it.

Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover*: You know when you get a free sample of a really expensive product and you’re like, God, I hope I hate this so I don’t have to buy the full size, and then it’s the most magical product in the world and you’re like, Dammit, now I have to spend $36 on an eye makeup remover! Yeah. This is that. I thought micellar water was pretty damn good at removing eye makeup, but it is NOTHING compared to this magical shit. Fuck you, Lancôme. Just take my money.

Makeup

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Maybelline Mega Plush Volum’Express Waterproof Mascara: I did not care for this mascara, and I am rather easy to impress when it comes to such things. My lashes are naturally pretty long and thick, so it doesn’t take much for me to at least like a mascara. This one made them quite lackluster, and didn’t hold a curl well. Boo.

Maybelline Illegal Length Fiber Extensions Mascara*: Conversely, I have very strong feelings of love for this mascara. It lengthens admirably without ever clumping. It holds a curl well. It doesn’t smudge. I got three of them for free through work and I will be eagerly using up the other two.

No 7 Extreme Length Extend Mascara*: This mascara was okay. Despite the name, it didn’t do anything extreme to my lashes, but it’s a solid everyday option for those who like something a bit more subtle.

Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Lashes Mascara*: I loved this one! My lashes looked fluttery and voluminous with it. I’d totally buy the full size if I weren’t strictly morally opposed to ever spending more than $10 on mascara when a) the drugstore has so many awesome options, and b) you can get free samples of the fancy shit very easily.

Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara*: I liked this one too, and thanks to my mascara-sensitive mother donating her Sephora birthday gift to me, I have a backup. This is lengthening, voluminous, and slightly prone to clumping if you’re not careful. It’s great for dramatic looks, or just for when you want your lashes to look truly top-notch in every dimension.

ELF Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara: This was sent to me by my lovely friend Liz in a makeup swap, and it makes a great brow gel. I used both sides for my brows since my eyelashes scoff at the idea of clear mascara (or, indeed, any mascara that isn’t jet black) and didn’t notice any differences in formula. It held my eyebrows in place, and that is all I ask of a brow gel. If you want a good brow gel and you’re on a budget, I highly recommend this one.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner: Normally a story beginning with “I was in Brussels” would be happy, but what if that story is “I was in Brussels and accidentally destroyed a $26 eyeliner that I had just opened”? Yeah. True story. Tragic story. Of course, I promptly purchased another one, because this is my holy grail eyeliner.

Benefit They’re Real! Push-Up Liner*: I hate this eyeliner. Hate. DESPISE, even. It is evil. It simultaneously transfers on my eyelid and then refuses to come off. It can be used in the waterline, or to tightline, with reasonably okay results, but I find the applicator rather unwieldy to use. Dare I call this a gimmick? Yes, I do: it’s a gimmick. I’ll stick to gel liner with a brush, thanks. It must be noted that I also passionately despise the They’re Real! mascara, and thus must go on the record as being vehemently opposed to the They’re Real! line.

Revlon Nearly Naked Makeup in 110 Ivory: I’ve talked about this foundation before; I love it. This was my second bottle, and if it weren’t for Shoppers Drug Mart thwarting me and being out of my shade, I’d be well into my third bottle right now. (I suppose I could go to Superdrug and purchase it, but things are always more expensive in the UK and I’m stubborn.) When I make my triumphant return to Canada in April, I will be picking up another bottle of this. It’s a wonderful foundation, and it’s super budget-friendly. That’s a win, in my books.

L’Oréal La Touche Magique Highlighting Concealer in Rose Beige: I love this concealer and I bought another one as soon as I ran out. The fact that it covers my very dark, very present undereye circles so well and never creases makes me love science.

OCC Lip Tar in Hush*: I bought some Lip Tar samples from an online vendor for my friend Cheyne’s birthday last February. (It’s her birthday tomorrow! Happy birthday, Cheyne!) The vendor threw in this nearly used-up tube of Hush for free, and I kept it for myself because I’m a jerk like that. It took me until two weeks ago (so, almost an entire year) to try it on. It is not my colour; peachy nudes never are. It is also now empty, so I can finally throw out this used-up tube of Lip Tar that I have been hoarding for a year, which I even brought across the Atlantic Ocean with me like a total ding-dong.

And there you have it, my friends: 23 items from my trash, circa September to now. I hope it has been enlightening.