Friday, July 3, 2015

essence Smokey Eyes Sets in Smokey Day and Smokey Night

Smokey eyes are easily achieved with the essence Smokey Eyes Sets ($3.99, exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart)An eyeshadow palette with all the colours you’ll ever need to create a sultry, smokey eyeshadow look isn’t a new or unique concept but with essence, it’s portable and affordable. Teenage Stephanie would have loved this.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

On Whitening & Brightening Skincare...

Skin whitening is the practice of using chemicals (aka skincare) to lighten skin tone. In the Asian markets, whitening products are HUGE. I prefer the tanned look over the paler complexions coveted on the other side of the world but lately I’ve been using whitening products. Why? For one, I like to try all the things. Secondly, my hope is to lift some of my hyperpigmentation due to acne scarring and sun freckling. All in the sake of vanity of course, but who doesn’t want their skin to be perfectly uniform and never, ever have to wear foundation? 

In addition to my regular skincare routine…

I’ve been using the Shu Uemura Whitefficent Cleansing Oil ($92, 450 mL) as my go-to makeup remover for the past year. The Whitefficent variation of the Shu cleansing oil seems to be discontinued on the site but now there’s the Blanc:Chroma Cleansing Oil ($92, 450 mL), which has similar claims of polishing away dead cells of melanin and makeup for a brighter, smoother looking complexion. As a makeup remover, it’s amazing. A couple pumps all over, then I splash my face with water and it immediately turns into a milky liquid, a few more splashes and my face is clean and without any oily residue. Over time, I’ve noticed my acne scars fading quicker than before. The packaging is amazing (though limited edition from the Mika for Shu collection) but this year there’s the Yaz for Shu collection, which is still available. On another note, the price is up there but the bottle has lasted me more than a year. 

Since April, I’ve been testing out the Estee Lauder Crescent White Full Cycle Brightening Moisture Crème ($83, 1.7 oz). Similar to the Shu Uemura Whitefficent Cleansing Oil, it’s quite pricey, but also claims to lift pigmentation, uneven tone and hyperpigmentation. As a crème, it’s fairly lightweight, sinking into the skin within minutes but potent as a hydrating product. I use it a couple evenings per week in lieu of a sleeping mask and when I wake up, my skin feels plump and looks refreshed.  

If anything, it’s not just about the whitening. They’re effective multi-use beauty products, not just whiteners – the cult Shu Cleansing Oil is a stellar makeup remover and the Estee Lauder Crescent White Full Cycle Brightening Moisture Crèmeis a deep moisturizer. Now that it’s summer, my face is significantly lighter than my neck (thank the beauty gods for self-tanner and bronzer), which is proof that these guys really work. 

Have you tried any whitening skincare products? What did you think? 

End note: There’s a common misconception that some cultures that “whiten” their skin in efforts to look more like westerners but that is not usually the case. I won’t go into this here but Gerry of the Bunnie Hole sum up the issue perfectly in her video about whitening

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Canada Day / Fave Canadian Brands!

It's Canada Day (aka day off... yay!!!). I searched my room for a few red/white things (colours of the Canadian flag). Funnily enough, I couldn't find any red/white items that were Canadian, with the exception of a Shoppers Drug Mart gift card. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Empties and Tosses #15 // June 2015

Another not so great month in empties... but a finished product is a finished product. 
I'll have to work on my emptying prowess for next month. 

Here's my rating scale: 
(>'-')> <('-'<) ^(' - ')^ // worthy of dance party (repurchase)   
^u^ ^u^  // pretty great (maybe repurchase) 
-_- // indifference (will not repurchase) 

Monday, June 29, 2015

NEW IN: P&G Beauty (CoverGirl, Pantene, Herbal Essences, Olay) #BeautyUnited

Last week,  I had the pleasure of attending another Beauty United (aka P&G Beauty blogger program) at Her Majesty's Pleasure (cafe/boutique/bar/spa). The program is in its third year and I've had the amazing opportunity of participating since the very beginning. At the end of the event, attendees received a HUGE goodie bag with some of the newest P&G Beauty launches. Below is what was inside! Let me know if you'd like to see something reviewed. Also, scroll to the bottom for a few event photos (courtesy of P&G). 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bioderma Sensibio Lait 3-in-1 Cleansing Milk & Sensibio H20 and Hydrabio H20 Micellar Solutions

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Solution was the first of its kind that I had ever tried and my first foray into French “pharmacie” drugstore skincare (soon after I tried La Roche Posay, Jouviance, Vichy). Bioderma is fragrance-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic with 11 different lines catering to specific skin types and needs (Sensibio = for sensitive skin, Hydrabio = sensitive/dehydrated skin). While my oily skin is neither sensitive nor dehydrated, I do have an extremely sensitive eye area and I’d rather be gentle to my skin than use something stripping. 

I’ve gone through at least 5 bottles of Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Solution ($19.95 for 250mL, see my empties) and have recently been testing out the Hydrabio H20 Micellar Solution ($18,95 for 250mL) and the Sensibio Lait 3-in-1 Cleansing Milk ($18.95 for 250mL) which are new (to the drugstore and to me!). 

The Bioderma Sensibio Cleansing Milk 3-in-1 is meant to act as (1) a cleansing milk (2) a toning lotion (3) an eye makeup remover. It contains something called a "Tolerdine patented complex" that helps increase the skin's tolerance. 

Bioderma Sensibio H20 is a micellar water that is meant to cleanse, remove makeup and soothe and prevent irritation. It's a lot like the Cleansing Milk, just in a different kind of liquid. 

Bioderma Hydrabio H20 is similar to Sensibio H20 with the added benefit of moisturizing and decongesting (according to Bioderma). 

While the claims are slightly different, all three products do the same thing for my face – gently yet effectively cleanse and remove face and eye makeup without the need to double cleanse (though I always do). The Sensibio Lait is the only one that’s different for me. It’s (obviously, as the name states) much thicker than the Micellar Solutions (aka waters), so when I apply it to my face and then wipe it around, it leaves a slightly sticky residue. For this reason, I prefer the Hydrabio and Sensibio H20 Micellar Solutions over the milk. The Hydrabio and Sensibio H20 Micellar Solutions are on par and appear to accomplish the same things with the same feeling (aka no residue) for my skin. 

Are you a fan of Bioderma skincare? 

End note: I’ve also tried the Sebium H20 Micellar Solution, which essentially works the same as the Sensibio H20 and Hydrabio H20 but it has a scent that bothers my eyes. I’m glad the Sensibio and Hydrabio H20 Micellar Solutions don’t!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

L'Oreal Infallable Pro-Matte Foundation in 107 Fresh Beige

It’s been a while since I’ve tested out a drugstore foundation. I’ve read and watched several reviews – all saying nothing but amazing things about the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation (~$15). I received the shade 107 Fresh Beige from Liz of Stay Gorgeous (she kindly passing it onbecause the colour was too yellow for her). So, I put the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation in 107 Fresh Beige to the test. 

L’Oreal says the Pro-matte is “longwear without the compromise”, a demi-matte finish that absorbs excess oil and shine without looking heavy or cakey. In terms of coverage, finish and longevity, the claims are spot on with performance. The L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation is quite high in coverage for its very lightweight texture. Using a sponge, I get medium coverage and with a couple layers, it’s a fuller coverage look. The demi-matte, not oily but not flat finish reminds me of the Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet Plus Foundation (which is my HG for special occasions), however, the Mat Velvet Plus feels a more weighty on the skin and requires a denser brush to apply. Also, the L’Oreal Pro-Matte lasts 8 hours before my oiliness peeps through. 

The L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation is everything I could ask for in terms of coverage, longevity, and finish. It’s downfall is the colour. As aforementioned, I got this from Liz, who let me know the colour was too yellow for her. I think I’m pretty yellow-toned, so I thought that 107 Fresh Beige would be a perfect match. It’s not. It’s ever so slightly too yellow for me. A close shade match to 107 Fresh Beige is Benefit’s Oxygen WOW Foundation in All the Rage Beige, which I mix with pinker toned foundations. On the bright side, summer’s just begun and I do get a little yellower as I tan. So, with any luck, this will be the perfect match come mid-July. 

The foundation matching struggle is real. 

Have you tried the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation? 

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Disappointing Products #1

I don't mean to be a negative Nancy, but the pile of "products I don't really like" in my room was kind of big. I'm quite picky with skincare, which would explain why everything here is skin-related. 

NAIR Cire Divine No Strip Wax  // I followed the directions to a T. After spreading the wax on my legs and ripping it off... it hadn't taken off any of my hair. 

Vichy Idealia Life Serum and Skin Sleep // I love the idea of a serum/sleeping mask combo and had been looking forward to testing these out. I applied both on my skin and all seemed good and well. Twenty minutes later... an uncomfortable burning sensation that didn't go away. I washed both off but the feeling didn't dissipate until the next morning. My skin is typically non-sensitive and quite resilient to products, so I'm a afraid to use these again. 

Arbonne Lifting and Contouring Eye Cream // Thought I'd get a head start on the anti-aging train but this little eye cream made the inner corners of my eyes incredibly dry. 

Cetaphil Derma Control Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30 // I don't ever apply moisturizer to my eyes but after putting this on my face, my eyes were watering.

Amie Naturally Kind 2-in-1 Cleanser & Toner // Perhaps this stuff was a little too gentle. I didn't feel like it removed my makeup thoroughly. 

Not to say that the products are terrible, they just didn't work for me. Who knows... They might work for you. 

Have you been disappointed in anything lately? 

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Boho Chic Collection // Fall 2015

Last week was the Sally Hansen Tribal Vibe collection and this week it's the Boho Chic! Here are swatches of the new Sally Hansen Boho Chic collection of Miracle Gel polishes ($11.95 each) for Fall 2015. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fragrance for My Father // At the Barber's Replica by Maison Martin Margiela

My Dad wears AXE so I thought he would appreciate the upgrade. I received REPLICA At the Barber’s by Maison Martin Margiela last month and decided to give it to my Dad (I don’t count this as a Father’s Day gift because I received it as a press sample…my gift is in daughterly love). Anyways, HUGE upgrade. At the Barber’s is eons better smelling (and better looking) than the other stuff. 

The “REPLICA” collection features scents crafted to evoke specific moments, periods, and places in time. There are two men’s fragrances (At the Barber’s and Jazz Club) and 6 women’s fragrances (Beach WalkTea EscapeFlower Market,Funfair EveningLazy Sunday Morning and Promenade at the Gardens). Last month, I had the unique pleasure of testing them all, along with numerous L’Oreal Luxe fragrances, at an Olfactory Workshop lead by Marie Duron, L’Oreal’s Director of Perfume Development.  My personal favourites in the “REPLICA” line are Funfair Evening and Jazz Club, as I prefer warm, spicy, enveloping caramel scents to the brighter, cleaner notes of At the Barber’s.