Friday, January 29, 2016

Loving Lately - January 2016

I'm going to cut to the chase here: I'm thrilled January is coming to an end, because it ultimately means we're making our way through winter and it'll be spring in due time. I know it's still a while away, but I believe that convincing myself it's not too far down the road is one of the multiple coping techniques I have up my (cashmere knit) sleeve for winter survival in Canada. I've been revisiting old products while dabbling in new finds and have found myself enjoying the process of makeup application all over again. On to the goods:

I have had this patchouli-, jasmine- and rose-driven shower gel for a while and always opted for my Coco Noir shower gel over this one when push came to shove. That changed this past month when I was instructed to consider switching to baths on occasion for the muscle-soothing benefits. I added a liberal drizzle of this ultra-fragrant shower gel to the tub and was rather in love with the end result: tons of bubbles and super-soft skin. If you know anyone who digs this scent - and chances are you do - this (or any Chanel shower/bath gel) makes a great gift.

Stepping away from the '90s lip is easy when you're switching to something this spring-y and pretty. I've had the original Lip Glow for years, glazed over the Coral version that launched a while back (I kind of hate coral cosmetics, it's a thing) and didn't think I'd really care for this Lilac version until I saw it on Sabrina. That was when I knew it could be a no-mirror, swipe-and-go lip colour that I could really get into for daily wear. Like its previous iterations, this lip balm reacts to your natural pH levels, developing into a custom shade once applied. It's not overly cool-toned so it looks surprisingly flattering on me, even with my lips being as pigmented as they naturally are. The formula contains mango butter to keep lips hydrated and smooth with each swipe.

This was a pleasant surprise when I opened a order the other day. A 30-mL tube of this stuff was sent along as a free sample and I was pretty tickled by that; will send you a full-size product when they note they're including a sample in your order, meanwhile will include a sample sachet of something if you spend a minimum of $35. Go figure. Anyway, back to the product. This multipurpose cream can be used just about anywhere on the body, but note that it is thick and greasy, but it will revive your skin in a major way. Once it absorbs, it is exactly what windburned skin needs. Skin Food is not just a clever name; lanolin and organic pansy are powerhouse nourishers. I'm super happy to have discovered this for the dry, freezing days we've had this month.

Frankly, I'm at a point where I cocktail 6 products together to apply to my wet hair...and that's after I've shampooed my hair about 4-5 times (reminder: I only wash my hair once a week), playing mixologist in the shower and using multiple formulations for colour neutralizing (I curse the day I thought highlights would be a good idea), smoothing, hydration, curls and shine. I'm anything but simple when it comes to my haircare routine and it's led me to have a generally experimental attitude towards trying products. I saw Janine rave about this product in her 2015 favourite discoveries post, and I'm late on this product as it's been around for a while, but it is really good. I spray it onto my damp hair and then follow up with styling products (all 6 of them), and the results have been softer-than-ever hair that behaves better overall, even when facing the woe of static electricity. The first time I tried this product, my hair was silkier than usual and I was so happy to realize that this leave-in conditioner made such a positive difference in my 'do. I believe wheat germ oil and wheat proteins can be praised for their hair-softening and strengthening properties. Huge love for this drugstore find, which eases the sting of being otherwise addicted to all things Shu Uemura, Davines and Oribe when it comes to my hair regime.

While it's slightly frowned upon to give any particular brand more attention than another on most blogs out there, I don't really care for this rule; I am picking favourites after all. When I first tried this foundation, I was sort of on the fence about it. It offers up light to medium coverage and a very natural finish, both things I feel I can get into. The real snag was that I tried it right after the holidays aka a stretch of time that entails me existing in full-coverage foundation (shoutout to Guerlain Tenue de Perfection, which actually *is* perfection in a bottle), so to see my actual skin was oddly jarring. After giving this foundation a whirl for the last month, I can very safely say the coverage is really lovely for daily wear and it really does even things out just enough for polished skin without veering into that "nice foundation" territory (Note: surely we can all agree it is always preferable to have someone compliment your skin vs. your makeup...right?). Related sidebar: This foundation is slotted to replace Chanel Les Beiges All In One Healthy Glow Fluid, which is a wildly different product in my opinion and experience, so if you were ever a fan of that lovely stuff, grab a backup or, you know, live in the now. 

Truth be told, I'm mildly obsessed with all Charlotte Tilbury skincare, from the Multi-Miracle Glow (a dry skin Godsend) to every form of Magic Cream the brand has churned out. Magic Night Cream is dubbed a "cream elixir" and I guess I'll go along with that, as it isn't really a cream texture, but rather it occupies a space between a cream and gel...yet I wouldn't classify it as a gel-creme. Whatever! The point is it's an unusual texture that you can certainly feel on your skin. Another review I read of this night cream referred to it as a veil that sort of seals in the rest of your skincare efforts of the day, and I'm inclined to agree. Two very superficial dabs will do it for your whole face; applying any more than that will be overkill. I find this cream leaves my skin soft, hydrated and plumped with no flakes in sight - a milestone achievement for any skincare product in my books. The formula contains time-released retinol (I still layered my own retinol underneath because I'm brazen like that), winter daphne stem cell extract (apparently known for its firming properties), vitamin E, red algae and a bunch of other bits that feel semi-silly to type about (looking at you, "bionymph peptides"). This cream has a light frangipani scent that I don't mind, but I'm sure anyone averse to fragrance in their skincare might! 


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Loving Lately - December 2015

I'm a few days late here, but let me start by saying happy 2016 to all of you! I can't believe 2015 has already wrapped and that the holiday season has come and gone. To me, the holidays always feel like the weirdest build-up and anticipation for this particular stretch of the year then it all winds down before I've even realized it's arrived. That being said, I had a fantastic holiday season surrounded by family and friends, so I'm grateful for that. I've had some new discoveries that have helped streamline my routine (the first two products mentioned below in particular), so let's delve in!

While I've certainly spent a chunk of time committed to a couple of brow products, in my usual fashion, I'm always open to something new. This pomade crayon made its debut at Toronto Fashion Week and was touted for its ultimate ease of application, resulting in unfussy brows that  actually look natural. As in not filled in meticulously with a slew of products. Just a few semi-errant strokes of this stuff through your brow hairs and you suddenly look more put-together. It's priceless. I use the spoolie on my Lancôme Eyebrow Reshaper Brush to brush the product through my hairs and call it day. On occasion, I may run Benefit Gimme Brow through my brows after if I'm facing a special event (such as holiday festivities), but overall, this stuff is simple, fast, good and affordable. That last attribute is key because brow products are one category I am forever replenishing.

I have this product in Deep Brown (heavily swatched on my hand, shown above), which I find ashy enough to not pull red on me at all, but anyone who needs a more ashy, black-based shade will have to continue their search for the ideal brow product. This pomade crayon is available in 4 shades and should be popping up in Canadian drugstores in due time; it's already widely available stateside. 

A huge deterrent of exercise was the unavoidable impact it would make on my hair. I usually only wash my hair once a week - that's all it tends to need, and my psoriasis seems to prefer less interaction with shampoo - so working up a sweat a few times in that week-long span throws off my usual hair regime. After picking up increasingly challenging (and thankfully fun!) BCBD classes twice a week (headed up by the one and only Eva Redpath), I found myself with heinous hair sooner in the week than usual. While I've obviously tried dry shampoos before from a bevy of brands - high and low - I wasn't too impressed and felt they usually only masked odour (functioning like Febreze - no thanks) and added tapioca starch in spades to my hair instead of actually quasi-cleaning it. Naturally, the geniuses over at Living Proof (MIT scientists are behind this concoction) threw a hat in the ring with this dry shampoo and it is better than any other formula I've come across. Not only does it absorb unwanted odours, but it also absorbs sweat. That basically sealed the deal for me! The formula takes about 30 seconds to kick in, so shake the can, spray on your roots, wait half a minute and brush out for hair that is a hell of a lot better-looking (and smelling) than it was before. 

Aside from the hyper-adorable packaging (resistance is futile), this blush palette offers up all 6 Too Faced Love Flush blush shades in a travel-friendly format with a handy mirror. The formula apparently boasts 16-hour wear time, but I'm not sure who that's actually a concern for; I'll just say these blushes wear for a long time without fading and the formulation is super pigmented, so a little goes a long way and call it a day - cool? 

Swatches (L to R): Love Hangover, Baby Love, I Will Always Love You,
 How Deep Is Your Love?, Justify My Love, Your Love Is King
The colours included can carry you from everyday looks through to evening looks. And it's cute. Like, abnormally cute. This palette was the only source of blush I took on a recent stint to Florida and it worked marvellously, standing up to the heat and humidity alike. Baby Love can also pass as a bronzer on me (I'm hovering somewhere around NC40/Chanel Beige 40 or Beige 50 these days), and I was surprisingly pleased with every colour in this palette. Oh, and it's actually a solid value for such a variety of shades. Snap this one up!

Aside from the usual seasonal dryness, I developed a tiny patch of eczema on my right hand that was annoyingly persistent. I decided to try to counter this parched patch of skin with persistence of my own in the form of consistent hand cream application. Normally, I'm kind of the worst with hand cream; I own a ton of different formulations in a wardrobe of scents, but I still seldom use the stuff. I have plenty of tubes I love (Cle de Peau's with SPF 18 was a staple in my school bag, I also love the Ambre Vanillé one from Laura Mercier), but nothing I would apply regularly. This Bliss formula contains macadamia seed and grape seed oil and no major fragrance (nothing offensive or distracting here) and really softens skin while leaving little residue. I can still use a touchscreen gadget afterward without leaving a ton of grease all over the place. I also have been reaching for Diptyque Baume Genereux (purchased before Diptyque repackaged from a jar format to a tube), which does leave a bit of a residue on hands since it takes a little longer to absorb. It has a warm, inviting apricot scent, which is actually kind of delicious and comforting. The formula contains Shea butter, argan oil, apricot kernel oil and vitamin E, for silky skin. It's a bit of a treat, but it's so lovely, particularly after a long or cold day. Highly recommend either of these formulations for knackered hands!

The holidays are usually a time of year when I would shift back into a gel manicure routine purely for longevity, but let's just say I was a bit lazy this year and dropped the ball when it came to booking myself in at Tips for a holiday mani. I stuck to my usual glittery reds and metallics, but as usual with most textured polishes, it's a challenge to prevent massive chipping. This Lancôme gel top coat actually let me go virtually a week with only minor tip wear. It takes a little while to dry, but patience pays off. Let me just go on record to state that I wash pots/pans by hand and clean my home pretty vigorously without gloves, so the lasting power this gel top coat afforded me is a mild Christmas miracle. All quick-dry top coats can exit my stash - they're notorious for chipping prematurely versus their slow-drying counterparts. 

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