L’Oréal

What I’ve Been Loving Lately…

It’s been a while since my last post, and I couldn’t be more excited to get back into the swing of things!  The products I’ve discovered these past few months are some of my all-time favourites, and I hope you’ll love them, too!

1. MantraBand “Smile, Breath, and Go Slowly” Bracelet

I discovered MantraBand during a trip to the USA this past summer.  Being someone who loves motivational quotes, I was immediately intrigued by these bracelets, which are sleek and simple in design (available in silver, rose gold, or yellow gold), and adorn various fun, inspirational messages.  In particular, I was drawn to the saying, “Smile, Breath, and Go Slowly“.  The MantraBand website describes this bracelet as a reminder to, “Remember to focus on one thing at a time and give it your all. Stay calm, look on the bright side, and keep going. Because it’s all about the journey, not the destination.”  I, like many others, often times find myself rushing to get things done, and I can easily forget to slow down and enjoy the process.  Naturally, I’m now hooked on these bracelets and have a handful of others on my wishlist: “Hakuna Matata“, “Ohana“, and “Que Sera Sera“, just to name a few!

2. L’Oreal Paris Hair Expertise Extraordinary Clay Shampoo and Conditioner

I’ve waited a long time for an affordable shampoo and conditioner that were specially formulated for oily roots, and guess what?  It’s finally arrived! L’Oreal’s Extraordinary Clay line is perfect for those who have hair the equivalent to “combination skin”: an oily scalp, with ends that could use some love.  These products use the power of various clays (white, blue, and green) to cleanse, moisturize, and revitalize the hair and scalp, leaving hair balanced for up to 72 hours!  The shampoo lathers beautifully and leaves your hair and scalp feeling clean and refreshed, and the conditioner is super moisturizing and lightweight.  Oh, and both products smell amazing.  Using the shampoo and conditioner, I noticed a difference in my hair within just two uses.  Next on my list to try is the Pre-Shampoo Clay Mask.

3. Benefit Cosmetics Dallas Box o’Powder Blush

I’d always heard great things about Benefit Cosmetic’s boxed blushes, but had never actually purchased or tried one for myself.  I decided it was time to hop on the bandwagon, and chose the shade “Dallas” (described as a rosy-bronze hue).  Trust me, the shade you see in the box does not do this product justice.  Once applied, it wears as a gorgeous, warm bronze that gives you a healthy glow, and is perfect for Fall.  You can even use it as a bronzer, or to contour, and it suits nearly every skin tone.

4. Quo Effortless Curl Mascara in “Black”

I’m someone who’s lucky enough to have long lashes naturally, but if I don’t use the right mascara, they just fall flat and can end up looking sparse.  I’m therefore always on the lookout for affordable options that give volume and hold curl.  I received this particular mascara in a gift bag from a Quo event, and was hooked after trying it just once.  The formula is glossy and super pigmented, the curved silicone brush adds curl, and it apples clump-free and lasts all day.  This mascara easily compares to high-end versions, and is just a fraction of the price. Definitely recommend!

5. Michael Kors Eau de Parfum in “Sexy Amber”

This is a perfume that has been on my wishlist for a long time, but due to it’s higher-than-average price tag, I always hesitated.  When Shoppers Drug Mart hosted their recent redeem your points event, I decided to finally take the plunge.  First off, this product is an Eau de Parfum, meaning a little bit goes a long way (making it a good value for money). It comes in a gorgeous glass bottle with gold accents, and the signature Michael Kors logo.  The scent itself has notes of warm amber, sandalwood, and white flowers.  It’s warm and musky but still feminine, and it’s perfect for the colder months ahead.

6. Bath and Body Works Ultra Shea Body Cream in “Golden Pear & Brown Sugar”

Surprise! Another warm, musky scent that I can’t get enough of.  Until it was recently discontinued, Bath and Body Works’ “Twilight Woods” was always one of my favourites.  However their new scent, “Golden Pear & Brown Sugar” has now replaced it as my number one.  It has notes of almond creme, Bartlett pear, brown sugar, toasted hazelnut, silken vanilla, and decadent pistachio mousse (hungry yet?).  It’s a pretty, sexy scent, but is also subtle and not overpowering.  I pair the shower gel in the same scent with the Ultra Shea Body Cream for an extra scent boost.  Note to self: stock up on this before it’s gone!

What have you been loving lately?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Lash Out: A Mascara for Every Budget

Mascaras for Every Budget

Drugstore, department store, or speciality store, I’ve certainly tried my fair share of mascaras over the years.  In my opinion, mascara is a product that can really make your look: what’s a smoky eye without lush, voluminous lashes?  It’s also an integral part of my “3 step process” for when I don’t have enough time to apply a full face of makeup: 1. apply under-eye concealer, 2. curl lashes and apply mascara,  3. apply tinted lip balm.  Fun fact? Egyptians were the first people to use mascara, where both men and women darkened their lashes in an effort to protect their eyes from the desert sun, and ward off evil spirits (after all, the eyes are the window to one’s soul).  Luckily, the formulation and wear of mascara has changed quite a bit since then (honey, dung, and water were the Egyptian’s concoction), and I’ve put together a list of my top 3 modern-day favourites.  Whether you’re looking to spend a little or a “little-more”, any of the mascaras below are sure to cause bouts of lash-batting and selfie-taking. Ready?

1. Drugstore: L’Oreal Telescopic Clean Definition Mascara $10.00

I originally purchased this product as an impulse-buy at the L’Oreal private sale, and was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be one of my all-time favourite mascaras.  The thin, comb-like brush separates and coats lashes without clumping, and the fragrance free/ophthalmologist-tested formula is suitable for sensitive eyes and washes off easily at the end of the day.  If you’re looking for extra length, and an extra-wallet friendly deal, definitely give this mascara a try.  Learn more about the L’Oreal Telescopic line here, and purchase it from stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Shoppers Drug Mart, or online at well.ca.

2. Department Store: Mac Zoom Lash Mascara $16.00

I’ve been a fan of Mac Cosmetics for a long time.  Their products are of professional quality, and there’s always a great mix of “fun” and practical goodies to try.  One of my go-to repurchases is their Zoom Lash Mascara, which has a fibre-wand that multiplies the look of lashes (while also elongating) and coats them in a shiny, gel-like formula.  One coat is enough, but you can definitely build coats for more drama without worrying about clumping or caking.  If you want lashes to look bolder and thicker, then allow me to introduce you to your new best friend.  Purchase it in-store, or on the Mac website here.

3. Speciality Store: Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara $29.00

I can’t help but laugh whenever I wear this mascara and someone asks me if I’m sporting fake lashes; I’m sure Benefit would be happy to hear that the name they chose definitely holds true to their product! The perfect combination of separation, length. and volume make this product worth every penny.  For application, you’ll want to stop after 1 or 2 coats to avoid caking (you really won’t need any more).  If I’m looking to revitalize my lashes before going out at night, I’ll simply re-curl them instead of applying more product.  For removal, you’ll want to use some sort of eye makeup remover (soap and water aren’t enough to wash this beauty away).  If you’re thinking that $29.00 is too much for anyone to spend on a tube of mascara, you’re probably on the same boat that I was before I tried it.  My recommendation is to jump-ship, skip a few daily lattes, search your couch for spare change, and start saving for this holy-grail product.  You’ll thank me later.

 

 

 

Review: Gel Nails For Less!

Loreal Gel Lacque

On a recent trip to Wal-Mart, I saw a display for the new L’Oreal Extraordinaire Gel-Lacque 1-2-3 nail polish system.  Basically, you purchase the gel primer (base coat) and gel glaze (top coat) as a set (I got mine for $9.99) and then choose your own colour (which you purchase separately, around $5.00-$7.00).  I decided on a dark, navy blue colour called “Don’t Shy Away”.  According to L’Oreal’s website, “New L’Oréal Paris Extraordinaire Gel-Lacque provides high-gloss, and resilient shine while protecting nail color from dings, dents and scratches. Get the high-shine of a UV-Gel and the perfect nail shape without harmful UV rays.” I was bit skeptical, but figured I’d give it a try.

Application

The gel primer applied easily, and dried quickly (you only need one coat).  I then applied 2 coats of the gel colour, which proved to be a little trickier (but nothing unmanageable).  The consistency of the coloured polish is much thicker than a normal polish, and I found that you need to dip the brush in the polish more often (once per fingernail).  The colour is extremely pigmented: after applying one coat, you can’t imagine needing to apply another (though you should).  I found it was really important to let the coloured polish dry prior to applying the gel glaze.  I say this because the polish is so pigmented, I found it smeared a bit and dyed the brush applicator of the gel glaze.  I did find that total drying time was very reasonable, and the finish was glossy, rich, and definitely looked professional (after I cleaned up the edges with nail polish remover of course!).

The Wear

Below is a picture of my nails on day 4.  At this point, I’ve put these nails through cooking, fitness classes, typing, pretty much anything.  And, minus a few tiny chips around the ends of my nails, these babies are still looking freshly manicured.

Day 4-1

Next, is a picture at day 6.  At this point, normal nail polish on my nails would be extremely chipped and un-wearable.  Impressively, minus a few minor chips here and there, they are still completely wearable and could easily make it to the 1 week mark!

Day 6-2

Repurchase?

Would I repurchase this set, or recommend it? Definitely. This is one of the most effective, reasonably priced gel-nail sets I’ve seen.  It lives up to its promises and even comes in a full collection of colours, so you’ll have an option for every mood or outfit.  Next up, I’m thinking of trying “Diamond in the Buff”, a gorgeous peachy-pink colour, just in time for Valetine’s Day!  What’s even better about these polishes?  They remove easily with regular nail polish remover!

A woman is helpless only while her nail polish is drying

L’Oreal Private Sale: My Experience

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As L’Oreal is one of my favLoreal ticketourite drugstore cosmetic lines, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to visit their annual Fall private sale (I was able to get tickets through my employer).  I have visited this sale in previous years, and it’s a great opportunity to stock up on all your favourites and essentials.  The sale wasn’t just for L’Oreal products, but also included brands such as Maybelline, Yves Saint Laurent, Biotherm, Diesel, Lancôme, Vichy, Essie, Garnier, and more.  There were some great deals to be had, but I did find that the prices have gone up a smidge since the last visit.  Getting in does require a ticket, however one pass gains entry for 2 people (so if you know someone with a ticket, you can be their guest!). Or, you can find them fairly easily on Kijiji.

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When I first arrived, the small parking lot was absolutely packed, and I was directed by security to park at a church down the road.  Luckily, there was a shuttle bus to take you to and from the sale (which ran every 5 minutes or so).  You walk through the door, your ticket is scanned, and you instantly are overwhelmed by row after row of products and goodies.  The first aisle was mostly shampoos, conditioners and hair products, followed by aisles full of nail polishes, and cosmetics (mostly foundations, blushes, eye shadows, lipsticks, and liners).  The following rows also had various gift packages (the kind you get with your purchase at department stores, or the value sets you see during the holidays).  I’ll be sure to list some of my best deals down below.  In the meantime, here are some pictures of the venue.

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My Haul, and Some of the Best Deals:

Loreal haul

I definitely got some great deals at sale, but as you can see from the picture above, I was also pretty strong.  My cart before I got to the checkout was topped full with face creams, eye shadows and gift sets, but one really important thing to remember at sale like this, is that you don’t need everything.  It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by all the deals and hype, that you end up spending more than you planned, and go home with things that just sit in your closet until they expire.  One feature at the sale that proved to be really helpful was a lineup of tables near the checkout that let you sort through all the things you had thrown in your cart along the way.  You leave all the items you aren’t purchasing on the table, and then one of the staff collects it and puts it all back for you.  I found myself grabbing products I already owned (to have for when they ran out), or products that were a great deal (just because they were a “great deal”).  It helped to have a place near the check out to slow down, think each product through, and determine if I really needed it, or if I was just impulse purchasing.  Here are some of the goodies I’m most excited about:loreal 6

L’Oreal Elnett Satin Hairspray– $4.00 (Regularly $15.00)

L’Oreal True Match Foundation-$6.50 (Regularly $18.00)

L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick-$2.50 (Regularly $11.00)

L’Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow– $4.50 (Regularly $11.00)

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo-$3.75 (Regularly $9.00)

L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara– $4.75 (Regularly $13.00)

Lancôme Color Design All-In-One 5 Shadow and Liner Palette- $14.75 (Regularly $54.00)

In total, I spent about 2 hours and less than one hundred dollars at the sale, and walked away with well over a $200.00 value in products (FYI: the max you are allowed to spend in one visit is $600.00).  It was a positive experience, and I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go to take advantage of it.  Just be prepared to wait in a few lineups along the way (some products are stored behind counters so you need to ask for what you want), and an even bigger lineup at the checkout (though they do have many cash registers so it moves fairly quickly).  Stay strong, buy only what you need, and have fun!

“Buy Less, Choose Well.” ~Vivienne Westwood