Sunday, November 29, 2015

Loving Lately - November 2015

Another month has come and gone and it was a really busy one! We had a slew of family birthdays plus Diwali to celebrate, and I've been training more and wearing makeup a little more minimally, so this month's favourites are low-key essentials that I turned to repeatedly for a bit of an everyday look. Let's get right into it!

Facial Oils

Three in particular have captivated my attention in the last 4-5 weeks since I've been dealing with some flaking around my mouth and nose that is highly characteristic of my skin when winter rolls around. Around the time of Sephora's VIB Rouge sale, I started reading up on Herbivore Botanicals, which was recently added to the ecomm mix at; I took interest in the facial oils from this range. The Phoenix and Lapis blends were intriguing, but they were both out of stock by the time the sale began and were never replenished. Aside from the fact that each bottle was steep as hell as far as prices go, I didn't really want to delve into bottles of oil I'd never even felt before, even in spite of Sephora's solid return policy. I actually discovered Herbivore is carried at Bibelot & Token, and this (e)shop actually offers up much more palatably-priced rollerballs of these oils. I nabbed them up in a heartbeat, received them 2 days later and haven't looked back.

Herbivore Phoenix Oil is meant to be cell regenerating, with a blend of rosehip, sea buckthorn, meadowfoam and chia seed oils (omega 3-6-9 all accounted for here!) plus CoQ10 in a base of jojoba oil means you're in for an herbal trip, but it's really good for skin. My skin drinks this stuff up, especially in the random dry patches that have cropped up since the weather's taken a cold turn. I concentrate this rollerball oil application on clean skin around my nostrils, mouth and cheeks, and then I switch to Herbivore Lapis Oil for the rest of my T-zone. The Lapis oil is meant to be skin-balancing with the help of azulene, which is an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredient found in blue tansy, which gives the oil its subtle blue tint. The formula also contains veggie-derived squalane (moisture barrier enforcer!), vitamin E and kukui seed oil for hydration that all skin needs.

The third oil I've been toying with is Nude Skincare Progenius Omega Treatment Rescue Oil. I received a deluxe sample of this with a recent Sephora order and am blown away by it! The fact that this oil absorbs so rapidly (quickly enough to use it under makeup without compromising everything I apply on top) and applies so smoothly without containing any silicones or petrolatum is wild to me. It claims to contain a natural alternative to retinol, as well as a slew of omega fatty acids that flood skin with nourishment. Honestly, it's a great texture that I'm really impressed by. Definitely going to keep this in rotation in the winter.

I have been into the Charlotte Tilbury range since it launched stateside and I could get my paws on it. I'm super happy the range has since launched in Canada, as I have fallen really hard for the Magic Cream, and I do find it to be an outstanding daily moisturizer. Makeup applies better on top of that cream than anything else I've used in a long time. Being so sold on that moisturizer, I was intrigued when this dual-ended concealer came out because one end was an eye cream. Charlotte has a series of YouTube videos explaining that she created this product because she believes the entire world is tired and I'm inclined to agree. The eye cream provides a mild - but real - tightening effect and can then be followed by the brightening concealer. I'm dubbing it a brightening concealer because it definitely has a bit of a peachy undertone to act as a mild corrector while concealing. It's a pick-me-up in a pen and I appreciate it at all hours of the day.

After finally unearthing my TF Shade & Illuminate Palette from the depths of my closet (it had been misplaced for nearly a year), I wasn't sure if this highlighting duo was merited, but it is pretty stunning. Rest assured, these two products are incredibly different. 

This powder highlighting duo is meant to mimic the flattering nature of daylight (the paler shade) and candlelight (the rosier shade). When applied to the tops of cheekbones, these two shades are just awesome. The swatches barely do it justice, but rest assured, it's stunning.

'90s Nude Lips

I held off for a while, but I eventually gave in to the '90s lip trend. I don't mind nude lips when they are the actual shade of lips versus overly pale lip colours that look like concealer or foundation. I've yet to meet anyone who looks better with foundation run over their lips versus not, but that's just my two cents on that whole look. I came across Chanel Lip Liner in "05 Nude Mordore" (top swatch in image above), which I love because it's a brownie nude with a bit of a pink gleam to it, so it doesn't look flat on its own. I follow up with a few light dabs of H&M Beauty Cream Lipstick in "Brunette Ambition" (bottom swatch in image above) and I'm left with an on-trend lip combo that wears remarkably well through the day. The Chanel lip liner is a serious anchor - I actually had a bit of a challenge removing it with Bioderma when I did these swatches. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Loving Lately - October 2015

Friends, I'm back! Took a break from blogging while working, but I'm still finding I have *plenty* to say. Let's get right into the swing of things with another monthly favourites!

In a previous post, I wrote about how awesome the Tom Ford AW15 runway beauty look was, and I particularly loved the halo of warm terracotta brown that was blended onto the eye area. It was so flattering on the models! I was actually pretty late to the party in terms of learning about this unique product. It's a cream texture that's fairly lightweight and blends with serious ease - though it is pigmented, don't get it twisted! - and can be worn just about anywhere. It's brilliant across the lids for a wash of colour (and it miraculously doesn't crease, though there aren't any kind of long-wear claims made by the brand regarding this formulation), it's a modern take on the '90s matte brown lip because it has a bit of shine to it (but it's shimmer-free) and it's kind of brilliant on the cheeks as a contour-turned-cheek colour. I love a good multitasker, and this product is it.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Loving Lately - May 2015

May has been an absolute blur, very much a blink-and-miss-it month. I turned 28 this month and spent the long weekend celebrating, first with friends and then with family. I also took a quick jaunt to Vancouver, which is so lush and beautiful, it's sometimes hard to believe it's a part of Canada (I consider the vast majority of this country to be dull tundra). It's been a busy few weeks, but I feel like school has calmed down and I'm at peace. Maybe I've just watched the ending of Mad Men too many times. In any case, on to the standout products of May:

A particularly unsexy way to start this post, but I've been a bit caught up in my nails this month for all the wrong reasons. I can't even begin to harp on about the sahara state of my cuticles. I saw this on and marched over to the store to buy it. While this is $48 CAD, I must point out that Deborah Lippman's award-winning The Cure cuticle cream is $29 CAD in itself and a full size of that SKU is in this set, so it kind of sweetens the value a bit. I'm very into the cuticle pusher tool included and the Cuticle Remover works well (I suppose they all do, but believe it or not, I didn't actually *own* cuticle remover before this set!). The Cuticle Oil is a coconut dream, which is awesome because I find apricot oil-based cuticle treatments cloying. The Cure cuticle cream is honestly worth the hype. Its claim to fame is that it contains patented raspberry stem cells. Not sure if that's what I'm hooked on, or if it's all the other good stuff in here (red algae, shea butter, hyaluronate, vitamins A/C/E), or perhaps it's the floral smell... either way, it works fast, absorbs quickly and makes cuticles look picture perfect. Get into it.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Loving Lately - April 2015

The semester finally ended for me on April 17th and it has yet to really hit me that I'm very close to the end of my program; the vast majority of my peers are done for good. I'm super happy for everyone who is done, as it's been a longer road (up to 2 years!) for many of them. Alas, I still have a couple courses to do starting today, wrapping up my degree in July. I've been off the last couple weeks, so my makeup routine has been fairly relaxed/understated. Here are some products that have captivated my attention in the last four weeks.

I initially received this and frowned a bit, thinking it was too light to use on my lips (it is), but then remembered this formula is for lips and cheeks. I swiped Whisper on the apples of my cheeks, diffusing the colour with dabbing motions of a synthetic Sephora Collection brush. I then added a light stroke of Mystic to the hollow of my cheek and blended up gently. These colours are so flattering and crazy easy/fast to apply. Highly recommend this duo for the value if you're at all intrigued by the colours, as this dual-ended pencil is the same price as a single Nudestix pencil ($28 CAD)!


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Loving Lately - March 2015

March has been a busy month leading into the homestretch of the semester, which I'm now fully in the midst of. Products I've relied on have been highly functional, straight-forward and unfussy. Let's hop to it.

I rotate through different concealers all the time, but this one has held a spot in my makeup routine quite firmly all month. I'm a fan of UD Naked Skin Foundation, so I'm not surprised I like this concealer (also a fan of the UD Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation), as it brings the same natural-looking coverage to the table. I've actually been applying a swipe of this on each section of my skin after a heavy dose of moisturizer and then buffing in with a duo-fibre brush (Real Techniques Stippling Brush) and it's just enough coverage for an everyday look. I have both "Medium-Dark Neutral" and "Medium-Dark Warm" and must note that the neutral shade is noticeably darker than the warm shade. Also, the neutral shade is too pink for my liking, so I don't use it without mixing it with another concealer (usually with a shade or two of NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer that I have that happen to be too yellow in undertone). If you're a person who sticks to spot-concealing with a little bit of powder to set, this is a sound option to explore. The shade range isn't massive, so if you have tricky skin to match, definitely try before committing to the buy. 


Monday, March 16, 2015

Sunny Destination Travel Essentials

I was fortunate to escape the cold for 7 days this month to scurry off to Samaná in Dominican Republic with my boyfriend. Pretty sure the cold snap ended as soon as we left, but the tropical weather in Samaná was a welcomed reprieve after the unfathomably cold winter we just endured in Toronto.

As I mentioned in my last post, I planned on packing mostly sunscreens; I wound up only wearing makeup two nights of the entire trip. Here are the products I donned daily to protect against the sun during the day and rehydrate at night.

I like sunscreen oils, which were barely a category up until a couple years ago. Traditionally, oil + sun = human roast, but that's not the case anymore. Last summer, I wrote about L'Oreal's Sublime Sun SPF Oil and how much I adored it, and I think I actually might like this Supergoop! version more. It's a bittersweet discovery though, because I don't even know if it's possible to get it in Canada without paying an arm/leg + duties. Fun fact: I did some digging and can confirm that Supergoop! is reformulating and repackaging to meet the stringent rules we have in Canada regarding sun protection, but will be relaunching in due time this year. On with the review: I find the Supergoop! version dries down much faster than the L'Oreal oil and it just feels like moisturizer, no sunscreen residue or even oily residue at all, since the formula absorbs quickly. The formula is full of antioxidants to fight off free radical damage that sun exposure causes, and meadowfoam hydrates skin beautifully. The 1 oz size was included in last spring's Sephora Sun Safety kit, so it was perfect to take along and try out last week. I'll definitely be stocking up on my next trip to the states. Semi-related sidebar rave-rant: I love Supergoop!'s SPF wipes and curse the day they were discontinued.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Loving Lately - February 2015

I couldn't be more thrilled that February is winding down, purely because this winter has been dangerously close to unbearable, and the end of February means spring isn't too far away. I have heard that we're allegedly in for an extended winter in Ontario, but I will be glazing over that because I cannot mentally handle the idea that this weather may very well drag into April.

I'm going to be taking off for a week after some academic deadlines pass, so I'll probably do a post about which products I'll be taking along with me (spoiler alert: probably a lot of sunscreens). Until then, here's what I've been into over the last 4 weeks!

I had been staring at this liner on for ages and then was lucky to receive it at a Tarte spring/summer preview this week. A Tarte national makeup artist was on hand to do makeup touch-ups. I've developed an apprehension about the phrase "makeup touch-ups", but I removed my glasses and had this liner applied and the results were perfect. The idea here is that the liner is a consistency occupying a space between a gel and a fluid and after messing with acrylic and oil paint in my Parsons days, I have to agree that dubbing it a "paint" is certainly accurate. The tube format eliminates any opportunity for the gel liner to dry up before you have a chance to actually use it (novel concept alert!). The formula is waterproof, and the colour is matte black and I quietly suggested that Tarte produce a navy version ASAP, inevitably to replace my now-dried out pot of Tom Ford Noir Absolue. The bent liner brush that accompanies this clay liner is easy to use (reminds me of a bent liner brush Benefit did ages ago, which is apparently no longer - Quo also did one similar once upon a time) and allows you to create a flick without much effort. The bristles are long enough to lay the brush on its side in order to sort of "stamp" down the shape before filling it in with more liner. The liner-brush duo ring in at $29 CAD, which is downright reasonable, especially if you will actually get the full product life span of this liner because of its ideal packaging. A squeeze tube eyeliner. What will they think of next!?!


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Loving Lately - January 2015

Time-pressed, tired and back to the grind of work and school, so here are some bits that have delighted me over the past month!

Who actually likes putting on body lotion in the winter? Not me. If I'm damp from a shower and dying to get dressed, slathering on lotion is beyond a chore in such a vulnerable moment. I'm not as religious about body moisturizing as I ought to be, but this product helps substantially. I used to use the Olay in-shower body lotion many moons ago, but that formula made the shower/tub slick as ever, and I suspect it was pulled due to safety hazards galore, but I digress. This formula contains shea butter and only needs to be on skin a few seconds to work its magic. Towel-dry and get dressed because your skin is already hydrated. Blessed praise! P.S. There are three versions of this product for different severities of skin dryness, and the fragrance varies as well - I rec the Smooth Replenishing version, but they're all aces in my book.  

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