Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Loving Lately - September 2014 Favourites

Hello, friends.

I am writing this post in a haze of mental exhaustion. I just started my MBA and the last 3-4 weeks have been a very firm and real adjustment of schedules, sleep, priorities and stress factors. Cortisol is at an all-time high in my body - seriously, stress rashes and hives are a thing I had the displeasure of experiencing during orientation - and feeling energetic or well-rested is a fleeting memory, but I'm actually enjoying my classes I'm in, so yay for me! On the flip-side, I'm quietly cursing the TTC commute. Here are products that have made me either look or feel less dead lately. High praise for everything mentioned below!



Essential oils have always seemed a touch hippy-dippy for my liking, but when I went to the NKPR IT Lounge during TIFF this year, a brand representative rolled Peppermint Halo all over my shoulders and neck area and the tingling delight was quick to set in and remain for probably a solid hour or so after the fact. It felt like a tension release without having to actually do anything, except use a rollerball. Pretty simple stuff. This set is dubbed a pocket pharmacy because several ailments can be addressed with the five rollerball minis enclosed in this pouch. The set comes with an instruction manual, explaining the benefits of each essential oil and where to specifically apply them on the body for maximum benefit. A superb little kit to keep on hand.


I know, I know, another oil-based foundation. To be honest, I've tried every iteration that's come out from L'Oreal and they're all pretty excellent. I generally felt the biggest difference was actually the shade range, not much else....until this YSL version launched. It's slightly more geared towards oily skintypes, which I certainly don't have, but I'm finding it to be the perfect texture for September weather, when it's chilly early and late at night (anyone else feeling their skin get a little drier?), but temperatures still hit the 20s, which can cause a slight spike in sebum production (at least in my skin). It manages to stay velvety matte pretty much no matter what. I also love the original oil wonder, Armani Maestro, but it definitely gives a far less matte finish than this formula. I wear shade B60, which seems a bit dark and warm for me, but blended out, it's a pretty spot-on match. It's definitely not full coverage - more medium, I'd say - but I do get at least 14 hours of wear out of it, so I have zero complaints about longevity in my experience.


I can't say this liner itself is groundbreaking, but it does apply with the utmost ease imaginable as far as waterline application goes, and it's a dream to tightline with. No brush, no fuss, no mess - just a simple glide of the pencil. A downside to this product is that it's supposedly only 17-20 uses in each cartridge (this can be purchased as a single unit, or in a set of 3 pencils - all obsidian black in colour). I have to beg to differ, because I've been using the single pencil since the product launched a few months ago, and I have yet to hit the end of it. It transfers to the waterline a bit when I tightline with it, but I don't particularly care about that. I don't find that it runs, smudges or smears, so it stays in the rotation. 

Blush, Blush, Blush


I probably pile on more cheek colours than apparent to the naked eye, but that's because I'm a big fan of natural, second-skin blushes. The term "nude blush" just seems silly, but I maintain these products have been one of the biggest saving graces I've had in my arsenal to prevent me from looking like the living dead on campus and in transit. I like that these shades sort of serve as both a blush/highlighter all at once, since there's a sheen or subtle shimmer to all of these (minus the CdP palette). I also like that these colours create an understated contrast against my skin, as I evidently am at odds with brighter makeup these days. 
Go-to shades, from the top right moving clockwise:
- Benefit Dallas - I've developed a significant dip in this boxed powder, it's been in rotation for years
- Joe Fresh Shimmer Powder Blush in "Radiant Rosette" - $6 steal, people! Pigmented but not scarily so!
- Lorac Velvet Rope - a bit more on the mauvey plummy rose side
- Edward Bess Quad Royale in "Summer in Capri" - definitely more of a highlight or for super low-key days
- Clé de Peau Beauté's cheek/eye palette from their Holiday 2014 Makeup Coffret (minus the included lipstick and mascara, which are both lovely) - This was love at first swatch. I've been using the whole palette (how often can you say that about a palette? That you use the whole thing?!) pretty frequently, as a couple shadows and a hit of blush are about as elaborate as my makeup gets these days. Available in October at Holts.

I hope everyone has had a marvelous month. Fall is a brief stopover on the way to winter hell, but I'm gonna try my best to enjoy it and I suggest you do the same!




Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lovely Lately - August 2014 Favourites

Summer is winding down to everyone's dismay, and I'm not exempt from that sadness! I say this so often that it's nearly lost all meaning, but I truly have no idea where the time has gone. The past few months were pretty fantastic, so that's probably why they flew by, right?

I've worn significantly less makeup lately than ever before (with the exception of weddings, in which case, more is more), but that doesn't mean I am lacking favourite products to share with y'all. I now realize this is also a bit of a fall preview of sorts, since most of these products have yet to hit stores, but here are the products I couldn't imagine getting through August without! 

Deborah Lippman Dear Mr. Fantasy


I spotted this at the Murale Fall 2014 Preview and flipped out. It is my absolute dream colour for nails, as it's a vibrant purple-fuschia with a shimmer shot through, so it looks like glowing satin when applied. It's kind of crazy how much I love this shade and I'm going to buy all the bottles I can manage when it hits shelves. This is backup-worthy in my books. Lancôme has a similar shade or two in their fall collection (Vernis In Love in "Amethyste Brune" and "Topaz Rose"), so check those out if you can't stand to wait for this one (launching in October 2014, I believe).



This is technically a relaunched product, but that doesn't make it less worthy of your attention. The formula was updated to now fight acne marks left on skin post-breakout. It actually prevents your skin from forming pigmentation where a breakout existed. Science! It can be used as an overall facial moisturizer (it wears well under makeup) or localized spot treatment. It's proved to be useful to me in fighting clogged pores and breakouts alike this summer, so I highly recommend it. I have a soft spot for most LRP products, and this is just another example of the brand's offerings surpassing my expectations. Snap this up at Shoppers or Rexall, y'all, as it's a product to keep on hand, which I find to be true of most LRP products.


Dior DiorSkin Star Concealer


This concealer isn't hitting counters until next week, but I urge you to scoop it up once it does. I've been living out of a bag for one reason or another lately, taking mini trips here and there to visit family (mine and my bf's) and I also live across from a very major construction site that seems to pride itself on breaking every Toronto by-law regarding noise pollution and construction start and end times *sighs deeply*, so suffice it to say that sleep has been inconsistent as can be the past few weeks. This concealer is a godsend for effective (medium to full) coverage of undereye darkness and it doesn't crease or settle into fine lines, even after hours of wear. I believe it's available in 5 shades, so do check it out if you're at all plagued by anything that robs you of sleep! 



L to R: Roly Poly Rosy, Robust Rhubarb

Expanding on their Chubby Stick business was just good sense for Clinique, as they have had wild success with their various lip iterations and their eyeshadow version. I am more of a cheek product fanatic than I realized, owning more blush, contour colours and highlighters than I care to admit to, but these are a welcomed addition to my stash. The stick factor automatically means portable and easy to apply - dab it on, blend it out with a synthetic brush or finger tips and you're on your way. My favourite aspect of this product is easily the subtle sheen these blushes give skin, thanks to microfine shimmers in the formula that don't settle in pores. Rejoice! 


Armani Eye & Brow Maestro and Maybelline Brow Drama


I haven't changed my brow routine much at all since this post, but I'm always open to straying from my old faithfuls to try new formulations and product types. I've dabbled in potted brow products before, starting with Laura Mercier Brow Definer in "Warm" maybe four years ago. It's a good formula, but it didn't give me the lasting power or slightly bolder colour payoff I was looking for. Upon first application of this Armani product, a hybrid brow and eye colour (wear it through brows, as eyeliner or as an eyeshadow), I was sold. The shade range for this product leans to the cool side, as I feel most brow products ought to, but the shade I have (shade 2, "Wenge Wood") has a barely visible reddish shimmer shot through. This makes sense to me, because hair is reflective in nature, so matte-finish potted brow products (looking at you, Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade) don't make sense to me. They really look painted on, instead of enhancing your brows. This product will be hitting Armani counters in the fall, so wait patiently if this is at all piquing your interest. If you have particularly unruly brows, you'll probably still want to use a brow gel in addition to this cream brow colour. My fave these days is Maybelline Brow Drama in "Dark Brown", launching in the fall in Canada, but I believe it's available in other markets already. Drugstore brow gel at its finest! 




On a semi-related note, this lash and brow serum has really made a difference for me in the few weeks I've been using it. Every time a "brow expert" would look at my brows, they would exclaim, "You overplucked these areas!" and would demand I grow out the sparse areas I have on the outer top edge of both my brows. Like the dry person I am, I would flatly say, "I didn't pluck them this way, they've been like this since birth, so... any other suggestions?" No one suggested any specific brow growth product, so I tried this one and I'm happy with the results. My sparse spots have grown in considerably, which has made filling them in less of a challenge. Creating a good shape on a daily basis has become a simpler task and more of a joy when people see me and compliment me on my brows. Bless the peptide blend in this silver tube. It has done wonders for me. My lashes have also seemed longer and more fluttery, which I am absolutely NOT mad at.

Anyone want to share their faves of the last month or few? Do tell!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Weekend Roadtrip Essentials

I headed up north to Muskoka this past weekend for the first time in nine years. Here's a handful of products I found indispensable during my stay! 


Gillette Venus Snap

How cute is this thing?! When I first saw it, I sort of thought, "How hard can it be to pack a razor and a handle instead of using this little thing?" But the case of this shaver has proven to be pretty practical when traveling this summer. This shaver is around $17, fits any Venus razor (it comes with one when you buy it) and the case is aerated, so your razor will dry properly even if you have to pack up immediately after using it. These types of things matter to me, as a razor that stays in a wet environment can harbour bacteria. Handy dandy hair removal!


La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5

This stuff is an all-around do-gooder. It's a product to keep on hand, because once you do, you'll find endless uses for it. It speeds up healing, thanks to vitamin B5, making it practical for cuts, scrapes, burns, dry patches, bug bites, irritated skin....anything that ails your skin will almost inevitably find solace from a dab of this thick cream. I'm on my third tube and it only launched just under a year ago -- testament to a product!

Bath & Body Works White Citrus Travel-size Products

Regardless of where I stay, I don't rely on the room toiletries to give my skin what it wants. Hotel soap is annoyingly drying; body washes definitely are better, but if I'm not into the scent, I'm less likely to use it. I threw these two minis in my bag and they've been in high use since I placed them in the bathroom as soon as we reached. The shower gel removes sunscreen effectively, leaving behind a bit of scent and the lotion builds on the same scent, but neither are cloying. Would pick these two up again in a heartbeat.

L'Oreal Sublime Sun Invisible Protection Oil SPF 50

This is the US version of the Sublime Sun SPF oil that launched here in Canada this year, but I'm pretty sure they're effectively the same product in different packaging with diff SPF levels. I absolutely love this stuff. I bought it on a whim last summer and haven't looked back. The idea of a protective sunscreen oil may seem so counterintuitive after years of people essentially roasting themselves with baby oil (I'm cringing as I type this and thinking of Kramer roasting himself with butter in that ep of Seinfeld), but it actually works very well. This oil is water-resistant, hydrating, non-sticky, absorbs quickly and smells fantastic. The whole Sublime Sun range is, well, sublime (I've been using the BB facial sunscreen and SPF mousse plenty  this summer as well), so be sure to give it a gander next time you're in the drugstore.

The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Hand Cleanse Gel

This was actually included in a rather thoughtful welcome kit (primarily full of snacks) that each family received as they arrived at the resort this weekend. It was a practical idea. They gave us food, and sanitizing is logical beforehand. Also: weddings mean introductions and handshakes anytime anyone new comes into the picture. Also: I'm Indian. We eat with our hands a lot. Need I say more? I always prefer washing my hands properly with soap and water, but when that's not an option at any given moment, this'll do, and I really like the citrusy slap this hand sanitizer gives me.

Also pictured: prescription sunglasses with polarized lenses, because boating/driving can do a number on the eyes. Don't forget to wear shades for UV protection!

I can't believe how quickly the summer is going, as it's already mid-July. I hope everyone is enjoying it as much as possible! Wear lots of sunscreen and have fun, y'all!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Loving Lately - June 2014

I suppose this is a bit early, but I think I can confidently say the following products have been in high rotation the past few weeks and I don't see that changing in the next week, so off we go with June faves. Happy summer, y'all !



I always have a couple face brushes on the go for foundation/concealer application, and this one has been my most used this month. This brush can be used for buffing and stippling on cream or liquid products for a flawless finish. If you're a paddle foundation brush user, I must insist you try using a buffing brush and less product for a more natural finish than you deemed possible while wearing foundation. As always, love to Samantha Chapman and the Pixiwoo sisters for creating the content and products that they do!








Okay, apparently pink was a thing for me in June, as these two blushes and the next polish highlight. These two blushes have pretty wonderful levels of pigmentation for drugstore purchases. Application isn't nearly as intimidating or impossible as I imagined it would be; I don't even apply these with a stippling brush! My makeup has been very, very neutral for a while now, so injecting a bit of colour into my routine feels like I'm finally stepping into summer, and it was much overdue.



Ceramic Glaze Exotic Dragon Fruit


I'm pretty sure I've been drawn to hot pink nail colours since I was a toddler, insisting my mom apply "ninnie monish" (how I used to say "nail polish" as a child) to match her nails, and she has always been a hot pink and fuschia fan (clothing, nails, lips -- all pink). I've had this colour for a year now and the bottle is depleted, as it's a colour I reach for repeatedly for hands and feet. It's probably my favourite polish for pedicures, as I wear it, remove it and then reapply it. The colour is bright and has a hint of shimmer to keep it from being boring, and it dries quickly to a matte finish, meaning it's ideal for quick application, finishing with a gel top coat for hyper shine. The whole range of polishes are exclusive to Shoppers, so take a gander next time you're passing through.




After familiarizing myself with the Les Exclusifs range over the holiday season and subsequently finding a high level of appreciation for each scent in the range, I was ecstatic to learn three of the Exclusifs were going to be launched as pure perfumes, or extraits. There's something so quintessentially feminine and ladylike about pure perfume, especially the way it's dabbed onto pulse points sparingly with the crystal stopper. The warmth of the scent as it develops and morphs throughout the day is very much a journey each time. Beige consists of notes of freesia, hawthorne, frangipani and honey, and it wears close to the skin and has excellent longevity versus the eau de parfum concentration.