Empties: May to September 2017

Posted on September 07, 2017 under Empties

Hello from Scotland! I landed yesterday morning and have been dealing with an uncharacteristic bout of terrible jetlag. I still feel a bit off, but I think one more sleep will set me right. I’m currently in a hotel and will be moving into my flat tomorrow afternoon. Yay! Here’s the view from my window:

Today I have some empties for you. This post outlines the results of my efforts to use up as much stuff as possible before my big move. Look, I had to use two box lids to house all of this crap!

Skincare

The Body Shop Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil: My third bottle! I’m a huge fan of oil cleansers, and this one emulsifies my makeup really well and leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated.

A-Derma Exomega Emollient Cleansing Oil: Got this through work. It’s my second bottle of it. It’s a little bit thicker and less runny than the Body Shop one but takes my makeup off just as well. I do wish it had a pump, though.

Bioderma Sensibio Makeup Removing Micelle Solution: One of my favourite micellar solutions for sure – it’s a classic for a reason! It doesn’t dry out my skin at all, which a lot of micellar waters do.

Vichy Pureté Thermale One Step Cleansing Micellar Solution – 100mL and 30mL bottles: I find this micellar solution too drying for my face. I used it for travel and to remove swatches. The deluxe sample size (30mL) is especially great for shorter trips.

La Roche-Posay Respectissime Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover: I’ve cracked open my third bottle after using this one up! I think it’s so great – gentle but really effective and reasonably-priced.

Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover: This is one of the best eye makeup removers I’ve ever used, but the price is unjustifiable. I really like the DS sizes for travel, but otherwise I stick to the LRP – it’s just as good and half the price.

Vichy Eau Thermale: I don’t use thermal water sprays on my face, but I used this to wet my sponge when I was feeling lazy. Got this for free through work.

Lancôme Tonique Douceur: This was gratis from work. I thought it was a decently effective hydrating toner, but it’s expensive for what it is and highly fragranced. Definitely would not buy for $39.

NeoStrata Purifying Solution 8% Glycolic Acid: My second bottle. My skin likes gycolic acid a lot. I also used this occasionally on my arms and legs since I have keratosis pilaris and glycolic acid is one of the few things that seems to visibly reduce it.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10%: My skin really liked this and I’d totally repurchase it. I have a full glycolic acid toner I got through work that I’ll use up first, though.

The Ordinary Niacinimide 10% + Zinc 1%: I like this to help purify and control blemishes. I don’t have acne-prone skin, but I get hormonal breakouts around my chin and since adding this to my stash I’ve found the severity of those breakouts has decreased. I’m also super into Niacinimide as a great all-around beneficial skincare ingredient: this form of vitamin B3 helps to even out skin and reduce dullness, and it’s an antioxidant as well.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: This is my second bottle of this product; it’s replaced all other hydrating serums for me because it’s so much cheaper and just as effective. I usually use it day and night and it really boosts my skin’s hydration. It got me through a dry winter and I don’t find it too heavy for summer.

Lierac Hydragenist Moisturizing Oxygenating Replumping Serum: I didn’t enjoy this deluxe sample very much. It was super thin and oily, which made it messy to apply. The full size is $65, which seems absurd.

Lancôme Energie De Vie Smoothing and Glow-Boosting Liquid Care: My usual review of Lancôme products: nice, does what it says, but way too fragranced and completely overpriced. Got this through work.

Reversa Antioxidant Booster Serum: This is more of a light lotion than a serum. I enjoyed the texture and thought it helped keep my skin hydrated throughout the winter. It smelled like boiled hotdogs, though. I got it through work.

Vichy Aqualia Thermale Dynamic Hydration Light Cream: Nice moisturizer! Nothing amazing, but nice. Wouldn’t buy the full size.

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast: This is what I always use to heal my tattoos. It’s a lightweight gel formula that sinks in quickly and adds lots of hydration to the tattoo without dulling the colour as its sister the Cicaplast Baume B5 does. (The Baume is zinc-based, so it leaves a pretty severe white cast.) I’ve used it on three out of four tattoos so far and I’ll use it again next time!

Bioderma Sensibio Eye: This eye cream grew on me when I abandoned the pretense that it would do anything but hydrate. As a lightweight moisturizing gel, it was very nice. I don’t have super dry undereyes, so the texture was perfect for me.

Aloe Mask: I don’t know what the brand of this mask is or where you can buy it, but it was a very nice hydrating sheet mask. Nothing super special, but a nice treat.

Life Brand Moisturizing Facial Sheet Cream Mask: This sheet mask was very much soaked in a thick, white moisturizing cream rather than a lightweight serum. I’m not sure I enjoyed this. I used two of them up, but only one is pictured.

A-Derma Intense Repair Lip Balm: I forgot to include this in the flatlays, but this lip balm honestly deserves its own picture because it is that good. It’s a clear, thin consistency which makes it a great daytime option when compared to the super thick and waxy Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm which I love for nighttime. The catch is that A-Derma has discontinued this product because of course they have! I would have repurchased it in a heartbeat, but apparently we just can’t have nice things in the year 2017.

Hair

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Floral & Fruity Blush and Big and Bouncy XXL Volume: I haaaated the XXL Volume so much. It completely dried my (super damaged) hair out. So I guess if you have extremely oily hair this stuff will really do the trick. The Floral & Fruity Blush wasn’t my favourite scent, but it was fine.

Light Blue Shade Original Shampoo and Volumizing Shampoo: Bottle three and four of Light Blue shade done and dusted – I’ve been using this for about a year now and I love it. It’s only $10 at the drugstore, and it’s the most effective purple shampoo I’ve ever used. It’s not too drying, either, which some purple shampoos can be. I didn’t notice any difference between the Original and Volumizing versions, but I have natural volume anyway.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact Restoring Shampoo*: I got this through Influenster and I ended up really liking it. I like to alternate between a purple shampoo for tone maintenance and one that’s a little more hydrating. This fit the bill for a hydrating shampoo perfectly. I’ve generally been a fan of the John Frieda blonde hair products – one of the first thing I bought here in the UK was a bottle of their tone-correcting shampoo since I can’t get Light Blue Shade here.

Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm: This is a nice conditioner which was a hand-me-down from my mom. It’s not enough for hair that’s thoroughly bleach-damaged, but I liked to use this on my roots and a deep conditioner through the lengths. I can’t get very excited about conditioner, nor can I compel myself to spend much on it.

StriVectin All Smooth Conditioner: Sample size received through work. Way too expensive for what it is: a decent conditioner. I used it up on my trip to Kentucky in the spring.

StriVectin All Smooth Overnight Anti-Frizz Serum: Sample size received through work. I don’t know if this did anything, to be honest.

Bath & Body

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil: I don’t care how unnecessary this expenditure is. I love this stuff too much to stop! Anyway, this mega-sized bottle of it lasted me and my mom more than a year and a half, so I’m not too mad about it.

Freeman’s Pomegranate Sugar Scrub: A staple of my empties posts.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Fluide: I liked this okay as a lightweight body lotion, but my arms and legs are so dry that I really need something richer. They’ve discontinued this and replaced it with the Lipikar Lait, which is very similar in texture.

Avène TriXera Nutri-Fluid Lotion: Pretty similar to the Lipikar Fluide except much more watery in texture. Nice enough for the summer, but not my ideal body moisturizer.

The Body Shop Grapefruit Body Butter (mini): Meh. This is a pretty standard Body Shop body butter – it’s pretty greasy and not enough for my dry skin. The coconut one is the best one, and I will probably buy some this winter.

Makeup

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundtation in Y215: This is my no-brainer, no-fuss foundation that never lets me down. It applies easily with whatever method I choose (brush, sponge, fingers), it has a nice medium coverage and a natural finish, and it never makes my skin look dry. This is also one of my best shade matches. (I was previously using R210, which was too pink.) I’m trying to get through some of my other foundations right now, but I can see myself going back to this.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly: I loved how this brightened my undereyes in initial application, but after a few hours it looked so dry on me. I know not everything works for everyone, but I’m sad that this didn’t work for me… especially at $36.

Marcelle Ultimate Fringe Effect Mascara: I’m generally a fan of Canadian drugstore brand Marcelle, and I thought this mascara was great. If anything, it got better with age. It gave me the length and definition I so crave in mascaras and never got clumpy. It wasn’t great on the bottom lashes because it transferred, but it’s a nice little drugstore option for those in the Great White North.

Stila Stay All Day Waterpoof Eyeliner in Intense Black and Snow: Loved these. Snow was so much fun, and Intense Black is a staple in my life. I can’t even tell you how many of them I’ve gone through, but I’m probably approaching double digits now.

Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil in Noir: This is a creamy, smooth pencil eyeliner. I used it daily to tightline. It’s not totally transfer-proof, so I wouldn’t repurchase.

Benefit Gimme Brow in Light: As much as I liked the convenience of this tinted, fiber-filled brow gel, I don’t think I could justify the price. I do really appreciate how easy this is to travel with; when I’m away I don’t always want to fuss with the pomade I usually use. There are lots of dupes on the market, though.

Tanya Burr Cosmetics Lash Glue: Even after I wore my Tanya Burr false lashes into the ground, I held onto the glue they came with. I think it’s great, and I love the brush applicator. It’s very goopy now, so it’s time for it to go.

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Eastend Snob: I think this is the third one of these I’ve gone through – it’s such a no-fail colour, popular for a reason.

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina (mini): I loved this dusty, mauvey pink colour, but my mini is finally all dried up. I probably won’t repurchase because I’m getting tired of liquid lipsticks.

ELF Lip Exfoliator: This brown sugar- and shea-based lip exfoliator is very convenient because it’s in stick form. Buying from ELF is a pain, though, since it’s hard to find most of their products in-store in Canada. (And the UK, for that matter…)

Miscellaneous

Quo Nail Polish Remover: This is a standard nail polish remover.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Sugar Fix: I could get more mileage out of this bottle with a nail polish thinner, but I’m not a nail polish person and the fact that it’s goopy and lumpy tells me that it’s time to say goodbye. I loved this cornflower blue, and I think the Miracle Gel formula is great.

ELF Daily Brush Cleaner: I liked this just fine, but the scent is pretty strong and as Lyn pointed out, you’ll get the same results with alcohol.

Foil Samples

Vichy Pore Purifying Clay Mask: This stuff totally works. I used it once all over my face and once localized on a gnarly chin breakout. I’d never buy the full size because you can buy kaolin-based masks for a lot cheaper.

Vichy Quenching Mineral Mask: This was nice, but I can give my skin a shot of moisture for cheaper.

Vichy Double Glow Peel Mask: I didn’t love the gritty texture on this mask. Because I incorporate AHAs into my daily skincare routine, I don’t really feel the need for an AHA mask.

Smashbox Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer: I don’t like how goopy this is; it just feels like an extra layer on my lips. If I really want to mattify a lipstick I’ll just powder it through a tissue.

Benefit They’re Real! Remover: Oh, boy, I could not resist the urge to try another part of the They’re Real! line given how much I absolutely despise both the mascara and eyeliner. This did get my waterproof eye makeup off, but because it’s a lotion it’s a weird texture to use on the eyes. I prefer a biphase remover – it’s quicker and not as messy.

By the way, I am finally letting go of my trusty empties box, because it has seen better days:

Yes, that means saying goodbye to Harry Styles…

… but I have tickets to see him in October and April so I think he’ll forgive me.

British Beauty Haul: Everything I Bought On My Year Abroad

Posted on April 10, 2015 under Lists

One of the allures of a year abroad in the UK was, of course, access to UK makeup brands. When I’m in Canada I can usually find my ways to get my hands on the goods, but nothing beats being able to browse at your leisure, to swatch, to mull things over in the aisle of Superdrug. (Not to mention not paying postage, not having to wait for the package to arrive, and not implicating someone else in the process of buying a simple lipstick.)

I think I controlled myself, to be fair. Sure, I purchased things, like any makeup lover would, but I tried to limit my purchases to things I would actually use and to avoid being swayed by the novelty factor of having so much British makeup at my fingertips.

I’ll be leaving the UK today, having a brief dalliance with all that Iceland has to offer, and returning to Canada on Monday. Today seems like the right time to post this: what I purchased, beauty-wise, while in the UK, in roughly chronological order.

illamasqua-hollow-3

Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow
I think I bought this within my first three days here. My lovely friend Jelena had managed to acquire this product in Toronto, and let me borrow it for around two months. It became a staple in my routine and was hastily purchased when I made it to the land of abundant Illamasqua counters. A full review of it will be coming at some point!

The Body Shop Camomile Oil Cleanser
The Body Shop was opened in Brighton, so it totally counts! I’ll probably write a proper post about this cleanser at some point, so suffice to say that it’s one of my favourite products from The Body Shop.

barry-m-swatches

Barry M Hi Shine Nail Paints in Kiwi, Sugar Apple, and Damson
I did not buy these at once, but as my opinion on the three of them is the same I may as well lump them in together. I love these three colours, especially Kiwi (it’s so vibrant and unexpected!), and I love the formula. These nail polishes were very hyped in 2012 and 2013, and for good reason: they really are long-lasting and shiny. I’ve recently written all about Damson, and Kiwi featured in one of my first blog posts. Here’s a shot of Sugar Apple:

sugar apple

Unsurprisingly for a lighter colour, I do find that Sugar Apple needs three coats to reach full opacity as opposed to Kiwi and Damson’s two, but that’s a small gripe.

barry-m-black

Barry M Lip Paint in Black
Admittedly, I only bought this because I have never seen black lipstick in a North American drugstore. I’ve never worn it out, but I’ve tried it on, and it’s surprisingly comfortable to wear. One day I will wear it for real.

Eyelure Nadine no125 lashes
This was a stupid purchase. I didn’t bring any lashes with me to the UK, and I was like, “What if I need some?”, ignoring the fact that I have never in my life found myself in a situation where I felt false lashes were especially warranted. I’m just not a false eyelash person, with one exception. Oh, well – I like these well enough for what they are, and I suppose I’ll find an occasion to wear them.

rimmel-apocalips-meteoric

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Velvet in 307 Meteoric Matte
I was drawn in by the hype, by my love for liquid lipsticks, and by the colour. I’ve worn it twice. I have products with similar colours in formulas I like better. It’s not that it’s a bad product, it’s just that it doesn’t fill any hole in my collection and thus falls by the wayside. I’ll probably end up passing it along at some point so someone else can enjoy it more than I will.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer
Despite a more positive post about this concealer, upon further use I have to conclude that I don’t quite get the hype. Maybe it’s just that the lightest shade is still too dark and too orange for me, but, although this is a perfectly adequate concealer, it just doesn’t blow me away. I’ll stick to my MAC Studio Finish; it’s more hygienic, anyway. (God, I hate doe-foot applicator concealers.)

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge
I love this sponge – the density, the shape, and the application, everything. Not to mention the price! At around £5, it’s much cheaper than the beautyblender, and totally does the job.

bourjois-healthy-mix-serum

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation
I picked this up despite my reservations about the colour. These reservations turned out to be well-founded; it’s simply too dark and too warm for me. Surprisingly, I also didn’t love how it applied on my skin – it seemed to sit on top of it rather than sink into it, and it made me look oily, which is quite a feat considering I’m on the dryer side of normal. My friend Hayley loves this foundation, so I’m taking it back to Toronto to pass on to her.

header-brushes

Real Techniques Nic’s Pick’s brush set
Reviewed – I use every single brush from this set regularly. A very good purchase.

collection-cream-puff-cotton-candy

Collection Cream Puff Moisturising Lip Cream in Cotton Candy
Not the best liquid lipstick, but it performs reasonably well, especially at £3. I have relatively few neutral lip colours, so this one is good to have on hand. I will contest the claim that this is moisturizing – it’s fairly drying, just as you’d expect of a cheap matte liquid lipstick.

topshop-depth

Topshop lipstick in Depth
Love the colour, love how it feels on the lips, don’t love the staying power. Ah, well; a colour like this is bound to be high-maintenance. I did not give this lipstick enough love this fall and winter, and now it’s getting too warm for it to be seasonally appropriate. Whatever; I’ll probably wear it this summer anyway. Life’s too short not to use gorgeous lip colours whenever the heck you want.

charlotte-tilbury-tube

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Red Carpet Red
Reviewed here. This is still my favourite lipstick formula. Even though I like to mix up my lipstick colours and not just stick with a classic red, I reach for this one all. the. time. I’ve never understood people who underuse expensive products – sure, one day this baby will be all used up, but at least I’ll get my £23’s worth!

Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter False Lashes
Reviewed here. Still impressed with these, still the only lashes I’m inclined to wear with anything resembling regularity.

packaging vaseline

Vaseline
I mean, it’s just a mini tub of Vaseline. But the packaging is cute and it keeps my lips in good condition, so it can stay.

One Direction You & I Shower Gel
Tragically, the newest One Direction perfume was on special along with the shower gel for just £10 at Superdrug. My friend Bec and I split it, and she got the perfume. Fine with me; I wear fragrance so rarely that shower gel is much more useful to me. I’ve smelled the perfume, anyway, and on me it’s pretty much indistinguishable from One Direction’s original fragrance launch, Our Moment, which I already own. (I’m ashamed of this fact, but not as ashamed as I should be.)

topshop-glow-swatch

Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished
Reviewed here. My opinion on this highlighter is unwavering: it’s simply the best, in my books.

rimmel-red-diva

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Red Diva
These twist-up Rimmel lip liners are excellent quality – so creamy and pigmented! This one is the perfect true red to match the red lipsticks I favour. I just wish there were more shades in the line, because I’ve bought all the colours I like!

little-mix-jade

Little Mix By Collection Lipstick in Jade
By the time you read this, I may have purchased Jesy’s lip colour just to complete the set. (I have Perrie’s and Leigh-Anne’s from a 2013 haul.) At just £2.49, these lipsticks are really great quality – easy to apply, comfortable to wear, and surprisingly long-lasting considering how creamy they are. It was Aisling who originally put me onto this colour, because it’s one of her favourite neutrals. I do love the slightly brown pink; it’s very wearable. And, as a fan of Little Mix, I also consider this a collector’s item. The packaging isn’t glamourous, but it’s very cute!

Boots Botanics Radiant Youth Night Cream
This was another product bought at the urging of Aisling, who is such an enabler. (I never would have bought the most expensive lipstick I own without her!) So far, I am loving it. Look out for a full review within the next few weeks.

And there you have it: a collective beauty haul spanning from September to April.

(And, of course, in the interest of not reducing seven months in the UK to pure consumerism, I had an amazing time in Glasgow, exploring the city, the UK, and beyond. I’ll absolutely be back… and I’ll probably pick up some more makeup while I’m at it.)

Review: Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter False Eyelashes

Posted on November 06, 2014 under Reviews

This weekend while in Brighton, something possessed me to pick up a pair of Tanya Burr false eyelashes despite the following two facts:

  1. I am not a big falsie wearer – they’re a hassle, generally not super comfortable, and look too dramatic for my day-to-day life!
  2. I’m not Tanya Burr’s biggest fan.

However, I didn’t bring my very small lash collection over to the UK with me in September, so I thought I might as well buy a pair just in case I needed them. Plus, I suppose my curiosity about Tanya’s line got the better of me.

tanya-lashes

I selected the “Everyday Flutter” style, because I thought half lashes would be easier to apply and more wearable for an everyday context.

Now, I was not expecting to be impressed. I mean, I didn’t think I’d hate them, but I thought that they’d just be another set of lashes.

Because it’s my style to reveal my conclusion near the beginning of the post: I love these lashes. Yes, I used the L-word. (No, not lesbian. Or lesbians.)

tanya-lashes-closed

In case anyone was wondering, other eye makeup: Burnout and Darkside from the Naked 3 Palette, Stila Stay All Day liquid eyeliner, Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Lashes mascara.

These half lashes are fairly long, with thin criss-crossing lashes that do make for a fluttery effect. Although they’re long, the fact that they’re not very voluminous makes them very wearable for daytime. I mean, I’m sure people know that my eyelashes aren’t naturally that good, but I don’t think they look out of place if I wear them to class to test-drive them.

Not only do they look great, they feel wonderful. Actually, they feel like nothing. At one point during my lecture, I was convinced they’d fallen off since I felt absolutely nothing. Nope – still on. Just super comfy.

tanya-lashes-open

I did find them easy to apply, probably thanks to the fact that they are half lashes. There’s no inner corner to tuck – that’s what always gets me! Also, the glue that comes with it is really nice. Normally I toss the glue included with lashes since it always sucks and I have my trusty Duo, but Tanya’s glue is the perfect consistency and has a little applicator that makes it easy to apply directly and accurately onto the band. Plus, it’s shimmery – what’s not to love? The glue holds very well and dries clear, which is always nice. (A bit of eyeliner to hide the seam is still a good idea, though!)

tanya-lash-comparison

My own lashes (with mascara) on top; Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter lashes on bottom.

I can’t speak for the ease of application or comfort of the full strips, but I am so impressed (and surprised!) with the quality of the half strip. Next time I’m in the market for lashes I might just have to try another set in Tanya’s range.

Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter false eyelashes retail for £5.29 ($9.65) at Superdrug.