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. LancĂ´me 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.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Loving Lately - May 2014

Another month gone and gorgeous weather is setting in at last. I haven't been using as many products on a regular basis as I usually would, but when I do, I've been reaching for these PLENTY.

Dior Diorlisse Abricot Nail range

When I say range, I mean the whole kitten kaboodle: remover, base coat, ridge filler in "Snow Pink", top coat, nail serum and nail cream (which apparently darkens with oxidization, oh well). Sounds excessive (please see title of blog), but all the products have a pleasant scent paired with ingredients that strengthen and improve the condition of nails. The serum and creme work wonders on cuticles. Can't say enough good about the serum, since it doesn't drip, dribble or make any mess at all. I've been doing less and less colour on my nails (even with summer shades galore all around me), so this is my clean, healthy nail moment and I've been enjoying it!

I used to use two different curlers because I'm actually neurotic to a point of firmly believing my eyes are that differently shaped from each other. Shu Uemura and Tweezerman were the two I used before this lash curler came my way, and I have appreciated how this curler fits both of my eyes brilliantly. It's best suited to anyone with larger eyes, less deep-set eyes, short-lashed people or almond-shaped eyes, so give it a go if you have any of the above and you'll inevitably experience less crimping and pinching than with other curlers.

I'm not a fan of Benefit's They're Real! Mascara at all, but this product was love at first application (which, albeit, was only last Wednesday...), as it is a product that delivers on its claim! This is a matte black gel liner that comes in a twist-up dispensable pen format and it does not budge at ALL once on. It's a drier texture of gel, meaning it doesn't take ages to set (anyone who battles liner transfer to their lids, PAY ATTENTION!) and it's actually waterproof so an oil-based remover is your best friend if you choose to use this liner. It is absolutely excellent for tightlining due to its waterproof nature. Cat or kitten flick enthusiasts will want to try this pen due to ease of flick creation, thanks to the AccuFlex tip. On my first try, with a group of bloggers watching, I achieved a reasonably good kitten flick with one hand, so this is a user-friendly product, without a doubt. Honestly, I don't love the removal process of this liner, but I am so keen on matte black liner that I had to let y'all know about it. It's hitting stores June 27th here in Canada, so do keep your eyes out for it. It's a fantastic product!

Mascara samples

I like being able to try mascaras before buying (who wouldn't?), so mascara samples are probably the most appealing to come across when redeeming points at Sephora or interacting with a sales associate at a counter. That's more or less how I wound up with these four! The Guerlain Maxi Lash and Dior Addict It-Lash samples were from purchases as add-on samples, the Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant sample was actually a part of Sephora's VIB Rouge Birthday Gift this year, and the YSL Faux Cils Babydoll sample was from a kind associate at the YSL counter at The Bay Yorkdale. Out of these samples, I'd probably put my money towards YSL or Guerlain full-size versions for a voluminous yet defined lash. I love that the YSL brush is nothing like the other Faux Cils brushes, and it doesn't seem to dry out as quickly, so huge props there. Guerlain Maxi Lash is a well-rounded formula that applies without clumping, allowing me to build up for clean volume.

I bounce around from sunscreen to sunscreen, because as long as I wear one, I'm not particularly fussy about which one I wear. I have been using this formula for a few weeks now and it has become a product I reach for more and more over the other sunscreens that crowd my bathroom vanity. I love the texture (not too fluid), the smell (citrusy!), and that it contains antioxidants and a bit of technology to attract and bind water in the environment to the skin to keep skin hydrated and healthy-looking. That can never hurt, am I right?

May was a real treat, as it was my birthday a couple wks ago and today marks 6 months with a pretty fantastic guy. I'm looking forward to the next few months of warmth, sunshine (with adequate SPF on hand, of course), and spending time with some great people. Hope everyone had a swell month! What've y'all been loving lately?