Empties: September to December 2018

Posted on January 13, 2019 under Empties

Slightly belatedly, here’s the last bit of stuff I used up in 2018. Unsurpisingly, there are a lot of staples in this batch, but there’s some newer stuff too.

Bath and Body

As always, I am a shining example of refinement in my refusal to clean off gross globby residue before photographing my garbage for the internet.

A-Derma Exomega Emollient Lotion and Emollient Balm: A-Derma bodycare is always good. I prefer the Emollient Balm because I have dry lizard skin year-round; I used the Lotion up during the summer and switched to the Balm when the weather turned. The 200mL tube goes very quickly!

The Chemistry Brand Hyaluronic Body Mist: I really enjoyed this mist during the summer to quickly top up my hydration without having to commit to rubbing lotion in. It’s too bad it’s been discontinued!

Hair

Marc Anthony Nourishing Argan Oil of Morocco Extra Hydrating Shampoo with Keratin: This was my first shampoo purchase post-blonde, and I liked it. I don’t think it’s particularly better than all of the other hydrating shampoos on the market, but it worked and I enjoyed the scent and texture. It is a bit on the thicker side so if you have fine hair you might not like this.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hi Impact Restoring Conditioner*: This is a very standard conditioner. I used it up when I was in between conditioners I liked more. Also yes it is definitely covered in mildew because it’s been in my shower for two and a half years.

Olaplex Hair Perfector Number 3: Olaplex literally saved my hair’s life. After a certain point it didn’t particularly help anymore, but I used it as a treatment about once a week just to encourage my hair to continue getting healthier. I think it’s best as a short-term treatment to repair severely damaged hair (or, you know, as a preventative step when used in conjunction with the salon-only Number 1 and Number 2). All I can say is that my before and after pictures truly speak for themselves.

Skincare

La Roche-Posay Micellar Water Ultra: I really enjoy the LRP Micellar Waters. However, I have literally five 500mL bottles of Bioderma in my cupboard, so I won’t be repurchasing any time soon.

Avène 3-in-1 Make-up Remover: I didn’t like this – it left a major residue on my face and wasn’t particularly effective compared to my favourite gel cleanser, which is by Marcelle. Glad this was gratis from my old job, because I would not be happy to have spent money on this!

Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover: Still a great product for stubborn waterproof eye makeup, still way overpriced compared to the La Roche-Posay version. Now and then a bottle of Bi-Facil will come into my life and I’ll use it because it is good, but I will certainly not be purchasing it ever again.

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics: I thought I would prefer this to the original Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 since it’s much more lightweight, but that wasn’t the case. It’s so thin and watery that I found it tricky to apply. It worked just fine, but the HA 2% is a bit more user-friendly, in my opinion.

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm: Standard. This is the fourth one I’ve gone through (and I’m well into my fifth), so you know it’s serious.

StriVection Active Infusion Youth Serum: This is an overpriced serum. The pump stopped dispensing product pretty soon after I started using it, so I had to screw off the lid and tip the serum out. That’s a pretty major flaw for a $100 serum! I didn’t particularly notice any results. (I got this as gratis from my old job.)

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo: I did enjoy this salicylic acid-based spot treatment, but I’ve switched to The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% since it’s far more cost-effective.

Strivectin Multi-Action Stress Defense Hydrating Water Gel: This is an overpriced gel moisturizer. It was fine, but it was only workable because I used it during the summer. I shudder to think how flaky my skin would be in the winter if I used this! This was old gratis as well.

Makeup

NIOD Photography Fluid 12% sample x3: After going through four sample packets of this glowy primer, I ended up getting the full size. It made my 2018 favourites list, so obviously I like it. It’s definitely on the pricey side, but I love the effect it gives my skin.

The Ordinary High-Spreadability Fluid Primer: I have never found a silicone-based primer that I have felt does anything. I used this up to use it up. All I really need is a good illuminating primer!

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Colour Correcting Coverage Cream*: Ugh, I told myself I wasn’t going to buy another tube of this because the shade range is so terrible, but I really miss it. I absolutely love the coverage, finish, and wear of this foundation, but I do hesitate to support a brand that really lacks inclusivity. I’m on the market for a similar product that I feel a bit better buying!

The Ordinary Colours Serum Foundation in 1.1N: I liked this foundation a lot in the summer and less in the winter. I wish it was a bit more seasonally versatile, because the lightweight feel and coverage and skinlike finish were great. I’ve gone back to my MUFE Ultra HD because that one is a lot easier to work with (even in the winter). However, for $6.70 I think I got my money’s worth out of this foundation and I’m happy to have tried it.

Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer: I loved everything about this truly radiant, brightening concealer except the fact that the lightest shade was just a bit too dark to be workable. I ended up using it up by mixing it in with a lighter concealer, but that’s just too much work for me to continue doing daily. Luckily I now have my First Aid Beauty concealer, which is a great colour match.

Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner in Universal Taupe: I liked the waxy consistency and fine tip of this brow pencil, but the colour was a hair too warm for me. It’s nice to have a brow pencil on hand for lazy days, but ultimately I’ve been loyal to brow pomade for over five years now.

L’Oreal Brow Sylist Boost & Set Brow Gel in Clear: I never hear anyone talking about this brow gel, but I’ve been through several tubes now. It has the perfect amount of hold without making the brow hairs feel stiff or crispy. It’s a bit expensive for what it is at full price, but I try to buy it when it goes on sale for 40% off.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner: I went through SO MANY of these pens. I was devoted to the cause for years and years. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this liner in my opinion. It’s just that I’ve found something much cheaper that works just as well.

NYX Epic Ink Liner: Yeah, this is my go-to liner now. It does everything the Stila does for 1/3 of the price. My only gripe is that it’s not sold at Shoppers, so I have to go to the NYX store for it. I tend to just buy one when I’m at the mall so I’m not left liner-less.

Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara: Listen, I have never found a better mascara. This holds a curl and creates the most beautiful fluttery, defined, lengthened lashes. I am in denial that this has been discontinued.

The only proper conclusion for this post is to beg for non-smudging mascara recommendations for people with stubbornly straight eyelashes. (I’m currently trying out Glossier Lash Slick and liking but not loving it, so I’m open to suggestions!)

Summer 2018 Favourites

Posted on July 30, 2018 under Favourites

I hardly ever do favourites posts, mostly because I don’t try nearly the volume of products necessary to make that tenable on a regular basis. I think occasional seasonal roundups work for my purposes, though the last one I did was back in the fall of 2016. Here is the warm-weather answer to that, then!

Like many others, in the summer months I opt for a lighter base. This is now my second summer regularly using The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.1N, which doesn’t work too well for my skin in winter but looks beautifully natural in summer. To pair with this lighter base, I’ve really been enjoying Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer in Ivory. True to its name, it has a natural, radiant finish, but its peachy undertone does wonders in brightening up my dark undereye area. To give it a bit more coverage and lasting-power (and to make it a tad lighter), I usually mix in a little bit of Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer in C1. Mixing concealers is a new and slightly finnicky trick in my repertoire, but I can’t fault the results.

Here’s the Bourjois concealer on its own (on the right, obviously) for comparison’s sake:

When mixed with the Makeup Revolution concealer, it’s not quite as dewy as it appears in this picture. I do prefer that look slightly, but I think the results of Radiance Reveal on its own are lovely: natural, luminous, and surprisingly effective for such a comfortable, emollient, lightweight formula.

Back in May I used some Optimum points to pick up the Clinique Blush Pop in Peach Pop, my first taste of this well-loved formula. Though I find the clear plastic packaging a bit cheap-looking, I can’t deny that this is a beautiful buildable, long-lasting blush. Like a basic bitch, I love peach in the summer, so I’ve used this very frequently over the past few months. When I want a more vibrant blush, I use my trusty Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat, a lovely red-coral. Between those two blushes (well, and the always-appropriate Hourglass Mood Exposure, of course), I’ve scarcely touched anything else.

My eyelids eat cream formulas after the six-hour mark, and I always have the best results with powder shadow over a good primer. So colour me surprised that the Stila Shimmer and Glow Liquid Eyeshadows truly stay put on my eyes all day. In the heat of a humid Toronto summer, these shadows are quick and easy to apply and completely bulletproof. I picked up the shades Kitten (Stila’s classic champagne) and Jezebel (a rose gold) in May, and I’ve been using them… basically all the time. I do really like the Glitter and Glow shadows, too, but they’re a bit prone to fallout, while the high-impact, metallic Shimmer and Glows are not.

Here’s how Kitten looks on my eye, with a matte brown powder shadow in the crease:

And Jezebel, with some similar crease shadow action (and mascara smudges):

And a swatch gif, so you can see how beautiful these guys really are:

In the summer I gravitate towards my impossibly bright lipsticks, all of which are in the same basic colour family. Marc Jacobs So Sofia, a purchase made almost exactly a year ago as summer wound to a close, has seen a lot of use. So has Revlon Fire and Ice, a truly classic shade which lives its best life in the summer months. New-to-me is NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, a shade popularized by Taylor Swift several years ago. In the wake of 1989 (which was a damn catchy pop album, sue me), I coveted the colour but could never pull the trigger; when a family friend gifted it to me last month, I was predictably ecstatic. On Swift, Dragon Girl is a bright, fiery red; on me, it’s noticeably more pink, though still as delightfully vibrant. Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in Romantic is a long, long, longtime favourite – it’s a beautiful sheer, warm red that’s never too much. (They still make this shade, too, though most of the Balm Stains are long gone.) After a long period of gravitating more towards neutral lipsticks, I’m back to my best self with my bold colours.

L-R: Marc Jacobs So Sofia, Revlon Fire and Ice, NARS Dragon Girl, Revlon Romantic

I arrived back in Canada at the end of May after eight months in the UK, and I found that my hands were suddenly very dry in this climate. Though I have a pretty dry face and very dry arms and legs, my hands have always self-regulated pretty well. But apparently the change in climate was too much, so I had to turn to The Chemistry Brand HA3 Hand Hydrator. This is a super effective, hyaluronic-based hand cream with a light whipped texture. The reason I like it enough to talk about on my blog is that it sinks in incredibly quickly without compromising its efficacy. I cannot stand feeling like there’s anything on my hands; I want to wash them immediately. A lot of hand creams are like nails on a chalkboard to me, but not this one. It also has a very peppy zesty scent which I enjoy.

I also really enjoy The Chemistry Brand Hyaluronic Body Mist for a hit of moisture between body lotion applications. It’s especially nice to have something so quick and easy to apply in the summer, when the heat can induce lethargy. Sometimes it seems altogether too much to rub cream all over my body, but a quick mist is within my capability. This product definitely isn’t a substitute for an actual body lotion (at least not for my dry skin!), but it’s a great interim product.

In the non-makeup realm, I would probably be dead without the Invisibobble knockoffs I got at Primark back in the winter. I’m growing out my blonde (as you have no doubt been able to surmise from my photos over the past year and a half), and I have a few months to go before I can chop it all off. My hair is longer than I like it, and since it’s very thick and abundant it’s just far too much to have on my neck in the summer. I’ve been putting it up in a high ponytail or topknot almost every day, and these little coiled hair ties do an amazing job at keeping my hair comfortably in place. I definitely don’t think you should pay for the brand name version, but if you can find cheap knockoffs they are great for keeping thick, unruly hair at bay.

And, before I go, one summery miss: Avène High Protection SPF50+ Emulsion. This sunscreen has a pleasant texture (if a bit thicker than other facial sunscreens by brands like La Roche-Posay and Vichy) and user-friendly packaging, and seems truly effective if my perpetually-fair face is anything to go by. Unfortunately, it leaves such a white cast. When I’m going to work this isn’t an issue as I put foundation on top anyway, but I often leave my house without makeup but still want to be protected from the sun. It’s a bummer, because I do like the product otherwise, and the pump/squeeze-tube hybrid packaging is always welcome in my home. When I’m out of this I’ll be looking to another brand for my face sunscreen needs.

And that’s what I’ve been putting on my face this summer! It’s a nice mixture of new discoveries and old favourites.

Pre-moving declutter

Posted on April 18, 2016 under Declutter

About a month ago, I created a pile of items to try out and decide on one way or the other before I packed up and moved back to Toronto post-degree. Well, here’s the verdict on those items, plus some other random bits I’m getting rid of. (I’m moving at the end of this week, but I’m still not quite done my degree yet…)

Eyes

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I’m getting rid of the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Brights in Cobalt, Mint, and Periwinkle, because they’re just bad products. I’ve tried to make them work for so long, and I can’t! They’re old now, anyway.

I’m keeping Benefit Gimme Brow because despite its relatively rare use, it is extraordinarily handy on the occasions when I need it. I’ll be back at work soon and this is one of my go-to products when I have to open the store and sleep in as late as possible, leaving myself with about 20 minutes to do a full face of makeup. I’m also keeping Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Inked in Pink for similar reasons, and because it’s a great base for rose gold eye makeup.

Lips

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I’m keeping L’Oreal Infallible Lipstick in Violet Parfait because I discovered that I actually really like it. Everything else is going.

I felt very “meh” about Marcelle Rouge Xpression in Cleopatra on me, despite it being a colour that’s usually up my alley. Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon is nothing special, and my little sample is nearly gone anyway. My OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet has separated, and though I like the colour a lot I found that it feathered and was generally a hassle to work with. Finally, I’m getting rid of Topshop lipstick in Depth; I don’t like the formula, and now that I have Stila Chianti (featured on my face in my ColourPop haul), I don’t need it.

Face

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I’m keeping Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow despite how beat up it looks. It hasn’t gone off and it’s just the best contour ever. NYX Blush in Taupe is NOTHING compared to this baby.

Like I said in my initial post, Lancôme Blush In Love in Pêche Joue-Joue is a gorgeous colour and there’s nothing wrong with the product at all. I just have other go-to peach blushes, and I don’t need that many. I also returned Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Pearl, so now I have more than $50 in store credit to spend as I wish.

I’m also getting rid of the following, which were not a part of this little project:

Eyes

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I totally put The Body Shop Smokey Plum palette into these pictures, but after looking at reviews I remembered how much I love this so THE PICTURES LIE. However, I am getting rid of this Lancôme GWP quad because I don’t use these colours and I don’t think they’re very good quality anyway! I’m also tossing Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Shadow (sample); this was a 100-point perk and I wanted to love it because it’s the perfect cool taupe. Sadly, it creased to hell on my eyelids, even with primer. I tried using it to contour, but it’s just a bit too grey for that. The cashier at Sephora told me that it makes a good lipstick, but I tried it and just didn’t see myself actually wearing it regularly. So, of it goes to someone whose eyelids aren’t eyeshadow-consuming demons.

Lips

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Although Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Nude-ist is a really nice colour with a decent formula, it smells a bit off. I liked this, but I wouldn’t repurchase because I have similar colours and, I mean, ENOUGH WITH THE LIQUID LIPSTICKS.

Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Matte 107 is practically a beauty blogging cliché. It’s a nice colour and formula, don’t get me wrong – I just have too many berry red colours to justify keeping it around. This colour has sentimental value for me because it’s the lipstick I bought on the day that I went to hand my résumé to my now-boss – I picked it in a panic because I thought I should buy something rather than just ask her to hire me. But that is not a good reason to keep it! (Early May will be two years at that job!)

I’ve kept Lipstick Queen lipstick in Electric Slide around through two separate holiday seasons thinking it would be perfect for a Christmas party. But who am I kidding? I’ll choose matte red lips over garishly sparkly red lips any day.

I really do think that Arbonne Smoothed Over Lipstick in Aster* and Glossed Over Gloss in Hyacinth* are objectively good (though overpriced) products for what they are. I’m just not a person who goes for sheer lipstick or lipgloss of any kind. I know a friend will enjoy the hell out of these, though.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lipstick in Cassis is just not my thing. It’s a frosty brownish-plum and that’s not what I’m about.

Rimmel Provocalips Kiss Proof Lip Colour in Play With Fire is just okay. I prefer the L’Oreal version of this product, mainly because this one bleeds out of my lip lines. Otherwise it does have excellent staying power, but I have other reds that don’t bleed.

Face

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The Beautypedia calls Pür Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup in Porcelain the “cornerstone” of Pür Minerals, and I’d agree. I sell these powders all the time at work. I liked this pretty well when I first got it even though it’s about half a shade darker than my skin, but it developed a film that I had to constantly scrape off. Plus, it could be a bit too powdery on my dry skin. Ultimately, I realized that if I don’t wear liquid foundation I just put concealer where I need it and don’t bother with a light coverage powder foundation. This product is pretty old and crusty, so I’ll toss it instead of passing it on to someone else.

I swatched Stila Perfecting Concealer in A a million times and could have sworn that it was light enough for me, but when I actually used it on my face it was another story – too dark and orange. I’m a bit sad that I barely even used this $30+ concealer, but I did buy it with Optimum points so it’s not like I wasted any actual money on it. It’s a great coverage concealer, so I’m sure one of my slightly less fair friends will enjoy it.

Body and Skin

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I have nothing to say about any of these products because I haven’t used them. I just have an overflow of products thanks to my job. For the record, they are La Roche-Posay Lipikar Soothing Protecting Shower Gel*, Vichy Idélia Life Serum, Vichy Idélia Eyes, and Lise Watier Age Prevention Supreme Mattifying Creme-Gel. I have no idea why I receive so many anti-aging products…

I also gave away a Topshop Lipstick in Brighton Rock and Bourjois Java Rice Powder to my friend Hayley in February. I do not get on with the Topshop formula, even though Brighton Rock is a really pretty vibrant pink (and named after one of my favourite places in the UK). I never quite understood how to use the Java Rice Powder – it’s too sparkly to be a setting powder but not really noticeable as a highlight, at least on me.

And that, my friends, is a total of 24 products moved out of my collection. Not bad!