Empties: September 2015 to January 2016

Posted on January 25, 2016 under Empties

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The idea of doing Empties posts at regular intervals is alien to me. I just do them when I think I have enough products to warrant a post. Inevitably I do not seem to notice how stuffed my empties box or bag is, and suddenly realize that it has been more than long enough since the last time. So, I present to you: lots of empties spanning from September until now.

Skincare

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The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil: It took me just over a year to finish this up and I meant to write a review the entire time. I loved it and used it religiously; it got my makeup off really well and left my skin feeling soft and hydrated. Right now I’m loving the Marina Miracle Sweet & Creamy Oil Cleanser*, but I do have another bottle of the Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil that I’ll continue to use as well!

Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream: I ended up really liking this product; I’ve been using a Boots No7 night cream since I can’t get this one in Canada, but it’s just not the same! I was very sad to see this go, but it was great value for the money considering I got it for £4!

Vaseline Lip Therapy: I mainly used this to seal in other lip balms at night. I’ve moved on to better things, so I probably won’t repurchase. (You can’t get Vaseline in these tins in Canada, anyway – just the dinky little plastic tubs. Not nearly as fun!)

StriVectin Present Perfect Antioxidant Defense Lotion: Definitely not my favourite moisturizer; but then, I think it’d be better suited to someone with combination to oily skin. It was okay when I was using it in the summer, but as the cold crept up on me this just did not do the trick. The ingredients are great, though, if you put any stock in Beautypedia.

Bath and Body

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One Direction You & I Shower Gel: … You know what? I HAVE NO SHAME. I did not particularly care for this very strong floral scent, but that was my fault for buying a shower gel aimed at 13-year-olds. I still used it up to show my #support.

Freeman Body Sugar Scrub in Pomegranate: This has probably been in an empties post before because my mom buys them in bulk. Body scrubs don’t excite me, but this one does the job well enough so I will continue to use it as long as I have easy access to it! (I’m about halfway through the last tube I have on hand right now – hopefully it will last me until the end of the semester!)

dermaglow 10% Glycolic Body Cream: This is probably like 75 years out of date but I DON’T CARE because it’s the best body cream I have found for my keratosis pilaris. I still weep every day that dermaglow went out of business; I have found some pretty good body creams but nothing as good as this. RIP dermaglow/my happiness.

Avène Akérat Smoothing, Exfoliating Cream: My mom and I both tried this in our quest for a replacement for the dermaglow; we both agree that it’s definitely far better than nothing, but nowhere close to dermaglow and not even the best of all the substitute options we’ve tried.

Haircare

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L’Oreal EverPure Blonde Brass Banisher Shampoo: I liked this. It didn’t blow me away. I’m not a blonde anymore so I will not be repurchasing any time in the near future.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo and Conditioner: I’ve gone through a few tubes of both of these; I think this might be #3, but I can’t be sure. I found them quite effective at keeping the brass at bay, but they weren’t the most nourishing. Again, I’m not a blonde currently, but if I ever am again (ONE DAY!!!), I’d be happy to repurchase.

Ice Cream Dry-T Hair Mask: I have already repurchased this. I credit it for singlehandedly keeping my hair alive far past its expiration date and for adding life back into it post-death.

Makeup

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Revlon Nearly Naked Makeup in 110 Ivory: I would consider repurchasing this in the future, but I’m trying something else out. (I don’t like to have more than one foundation going at a time.)

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser in Brightener: I picked this up after hearing nothing but endless praise; I think I should have gone for one of the flesh-toned shades rather than the Brightener. It wasn’t horrible, but the shade had a grey tint that made me look a bit sickly. I didn’t find that it did an amazing job of covering dark circles, either. I’m just worried that the lightest of the regular shades will still be too dark for me!

MAC StudioFix Concealer in NC15: I do not want to tell you how old this concealer is. You will judge me. There is still a lot of product in it, but IT IS TIME, PEOPLE. I actually really liked it for blemishes and wish I had just bought a new one instead of trying something new!

Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara: You guys know I stubbornly refuse to pay more than $10 for mascara; however, I’d absolutely spend my Shoppers Optimum points on this. It won’t be for awhile as I only use one mascara at a time and I have 3 backups, but I’m sure I’ll obtain another one of these one way or another. I very rarely feel any which way about mascara – but I love this stuff.

Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara in Clear: I feel like the tinted options might be better, but this one was just, you know, a clear brow gel. At $12.99 CAD, I really feel that it is not the best value for your money – especially because I didn’t think the hold was amazing. Will not repurchase.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black: I’ve lost track of how many of these I’ve gone through. Maybe 5? There is no end in sight!

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in East End Snob: Another product that I seem to go through like Kleenex. This is maybe my third or fourth; obviously, I’ve already made quite the dent in another.

NARS Pro-Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Primer: I would take a bullet for this product. It and the Stila eyeliner are my only true holy grail products. $30 CAD for a product that is undeniably boring is obviously steep – but I got over two years of use out of this guy. I have no qualms with that.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge: I liked this pretty well. I haven’t seen it for sale anywhere that I frequent so when it came time to replace it I went with another beautyblender knockoff, but I’d probably repurchase. (I’ve never tried the beautyblender because I AM NOT PAYING $25 FOR A SPONGE, so I can’t compare the two.)

Whew! Time to throw it all out and start again.

Top 15 products of 2015

Posted on December 20, 2015 under Favourites

You guys are probably bracing yourselves for a flood of these posts, so let’s skip the lengthy introduction and get right into it. These products were not necessarily launched in 2015, but I discovered each of them this year.

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LORAC Pro palette

I may just be the last person on earth to discover this palette – but timing notwithstanding, I’m glad I did. From the moment it came into my possession this summer, I’ve scarcely put it down. I firmly believe that it’s the perfect neutral palette – every shade is pigmented and blendable, there’s an even mixture of mattes and shimmers, and there are the standard neutral colours and a few interesting ones. Without a doubt if I could only have one palette it would be this one. My only complaint is that LORAC is so hard to get ahold of in Canada!

MAC 217 brush

I know there are people who don’t think this brush lives up to its hype, but clearly I’m not one of them. I didn’t realize how inadequate the blending brush I had was until this one came into my life this summer. I feel like a good blending brush is one of the most important makeup tools a person can have in their arsenal, and this is the best one I’ve used so far.

Lancôme Hypnôse mascara

I hate when absurdly-priced products are actually good, don’t you? I’m viscerally opposed to paying Sephora prices for mascara; there are good options at the drugstore, samples are aplenty, and I cannot make myself pay $30+ for something that’s supposed to be thrown out after three months. I got this as a gift from my wonderful friend Kristin, and it really is as good as everyone says. You may know from previous mascara reviews that mascara does not excite me; I rarely hate them and I rarely love them. So for this to wow me really means something. It builds volume and length effortlessly and is not the least bit clumpy. It also doesn’t flake or smudge under my eyes at all. Basically, it’s totally worth the hype. Would I pay full price for it? No. Would I spend Shoppers Optimum points to get it again? Yes. Definitely.

Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil

Black eye pencils are obviously a staple in most people’s makeup routines, but it can be difficult to find the right one. I’ve struggled to find one that was opaque, soft, smooth, and that actually stayed put. This one is perfect for tightlining as it absolutely does not transfer onto my lower waterline at all, and it takes forever to fade. The texture is perfect – it glides on comfortably and doesn’t scratch my delicate eyes. And it is truly a rich, opaque black. All in all, this is seriously the perfect black pencil.

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NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Cruella

Have you ever tried an oft-talked-about beauty product and thought, “Yep, I get it now”? That was my experience with this lip product. Obviously, most of us North American beauty lovers are now in possession of a mini of it thanks to the Sephora birthday gift – and can I just say, what a great birthday gift it is! 2013 and 2014’s offerings didn’t do much for me, but this one was legitimately great. There is nothing I don’t love about Cruella. The colour is dramatic and beautiful; it glides on so smoothly (and accurately, thanks to the shape of the pencil); it lasts forever. The moment I put it on my lips I thought Where have you been all my life?

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes

I was not a fan of the much-hyped Ambient Lighting Powders, but the blushes are worth every penny of their $41 CAD price tag. Never have I encountered such soft, blendable, long-lasting blushes with the perfect level of pigmentation and the slightly glow-y effect afforded by the swirls of ALPs throughout the pan. I just wish they’d bring out more shades! (Since taking this picture I’ve added another one to my collection, which means there’s only one colour left that I really want. Please expand the line, Hourglass!!!)

Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished

This is the most-loved highlighter in my collection; it works so well with my fair, cool skin and is simply gorgeous on its own. It’s pearlescent and ethereal and I will never stop loving it. A makeup product hasn’t excited me this much in ages.

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Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream

I purchased this night cream for only £4 – bargain! However, even at its full price of £8, it’s hardly prohibitively expensive. I reviewed it positively about six weeks into using it, and having finished the tub I can say that I would absolutely repurchase it if I could get it here in Canada! My face always felt soft, smooth, supple, and healthy in the mornings when I was using this, which is no small feat considering I’m chronically dry. The smell was also divine. If I make it back to the UK I will be popping into Boots posthaste to get another tub of this!

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum

This serum made such a huge difference when used under my night cream. Whereas most people seem to suffer from oiliness in their T-zone, my nose is absolutely parched and flaky year-round. This serum has been extremely effective at combatting this particular problem, but it’s still a lightweight texture that sinks in instantly. I absolutely adore it and will most likely repurchase it when I run out.

Marina Miracle Sweet & Creamy Oil Cleanser*

I adore this cleanser. I adore that although it contains oils it’s a creamy texture, meaning it’s not as messy to use as a regular oil. I adore how well it gets my makeup off. I adore that it washes off easily without leaving an oily film on my skin. I adore how supple and hydrated it makes my skin. I adore the smell. It’s the best cleanser I’ve ever used, and I do not say that lightly!

Arbonne Intelligence Lip Treatment*

This is another product that I did not want to like on the basis of its price ($46 CAD), but I really do love it. For such a lightweight, unobtrusive texture, it does a great job at keeping my perpetually chapped lips looking and feeling reasonable. It’s effective on its own during the day, and at night I like to seal it in with a layer of Vaseline to trap all that moisture. I always wake up with the softest lips!

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+*

I was sceptical about this product’s ability to perform well enough to do something about my KP-ravaged arms and legs considering its thin texture. And while it does sink in quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy or sticky cast, somehow it manages to do to my legs what almost no other body product has.

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Avène High Protection Spray SPF 50+

This sunscreen is the perfect product for a) lazy people who hate spending more than 20 seconds applying sunscreen to their bodies, b) people who hate the greasy feeling most sunscreens leave, or c) all of the above. This sunscreen is singlehandedly responsible for my skin getting not a lick of sun this summer.

L’Occitane Almond Oil

If it looks like I haven’t touched this bottle, it’s because I haven’t! I’ve already used up a mini, and I finally treated myself to a full size bottle the other day. I feel a bit silly dropping $24 on almond oil, but it is that good. I use it to shave my legs, and despite it being on my skin for only a fleeting moment before being washed off, I swear my legs feel amazing straight out of the shower. And you only need the tiniest bit, so $24 CAD goes a long, long way. This is one of those products that is undeniably an indulgence – but it’s one of my favourite indulgences ever.

Ice Cream Dry-T hair mask

You guys are probably sick of me talking about how damaged my hair is. I’m stubborn and continue bleaching my roots every few months, and one day my hair will all fall out of my head at once, but that day is being delayed by this hair mask. My hair actually, miraculously, feels smooth, soft, and alive when I use this (which is every time I wash my hair, because otherwise I can’t run a brush through it). It’s nothing short of a miracle. And at only $10 for a 500mL tub, I don’t even feel bad buying it.

2015 was a great year in terms of beauty discoveries – I found some fun things as well as some things that have become can’t-live-without-it, would-follow-it-into-hell staples in my beauty stash. Not too bad!

I’m working non-stop this month (ah, retail in December), so I’m not sure if I’ll have another post for you guys before 2016. In the event that this is my last post of 2015, I hope your holidays are relaxing and fun and your new year brings you only good things!

Review: Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream

Posted on April 19, 2015 under Reviews

I adore having friends who are into all things beauty, because often they introduce me to new products! I’m pretty adventurous about makeup brands and styles, but when it comes to skincare I’m not exactly far-ranging. Chalk this up to the fact that I don’t find skincare very exciting or chalk it up to the fact that I mainly stick to the brands I’m trained to sell, but either way I don’t often try new things.

However, when I was with Aisling in March, she introduced me to a new night cream, and by “introduced me to” I mean she told me not to bring any of my toiletries because she had things that I could try.

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As luck would have it, she had recently picked up a new night cream from the Boots Botanics line, and I was stuck in a night cream rut since I just had not found one I loved. After using hers twice, I was hooked – and when she mentioned that it was half off an already very good price, I practically ran to Boots to pick one up for myself!

It’s hard to write about skincare in an exciting way, much less moisturizers, so here’s what I will say: it works. It feels nice. It sinks in easily. It smells good (a bit like a pine tree, but with a tiny hint of citrus). I wake up in the morning and my face still feels hydrated and soft, but not at all greasy.

This product is from the Botanics anti-aging line, which is not really a concern of mine right now. However, a quick glance at the ingredients makes this cream very appealing to me – vitamins E and C and hyaluronic acid are great ingredients for any age!

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I will note that the scent may be a deterrent for some people – fragrance sensitivity is a real thing, and I’m a bit surprised that a product that’s marketed as being more “natural” (whatever that’s supposed to mean, if anything outside of being a marketing buzzword) would have such a strong scent. Because, yes: it is fairly strong. Personally, I don’t mind, because I’m not sensitive to such things and I think it smells nice – very calming. But this is something to know if you tend to do better with unscented, or lightly scented, products!

As for the texture, it’s unsurprisingly quite thick. It’s definitely a cream, and definitely on the heavier side of things. I wouldn’t want to use it under makeup! However, as a night cream, it’s perfect: it’s definitely hydrating, but it sinks in reasonably quickly and never feels or looks greasy. I’d say this is probably best suited to people on the normal to dry side of things due to the thicker texture, but I don’t think it would exacerbate oiliness – it just may be overkill.

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Is this picture art or is it art? Don’t answer that.

Another thing I need to mention is the packaging, which I’m not a fan of. Tub packaging is just not desirable when it comes to preserving active ingredients and keeping them at their most effective, plus it’s not the most hygienic. However, tub packaging is the norm for night creams (probably due to the thicker texture), so it’s not like this product is falling behind other night creams in that regard. I still do want to mention it, though, because I’m pretty serious about preferring, well, basically any packaging that’s not a tub.

Overall, I really like this product. I’ve been using it for nearly a month now and it’s one of my favourite skincare products in my current rotation. Despite the less than ideal packaging, I think it works very well, smells good, and is an excellent price (even when it’s not half off). Is it revolutionary or really special at all? No. But is it a solid product that I will happily use up and consider repurchasing? Definitely.

Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream retails for £7.99 ($15 CAD) for 50mL, or £0.15/$0.30 per mL. It can be purchased from Boots locations or online from Boots.com.