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 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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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

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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!

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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.)